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  • In Honor of 10,000: Shout Out a Woman Who's Got Your Back!
In Honor of 10,000: Shout Out a Woman Who's Got Your Back!
Written by
The Salonniere
July 2010
Written by
The Salonniere
July 2010
Today I welcomed member number 10,000 to join the ranks of She Writes. (Feel free to welcome her, too: Heather Gordon-Young!) And those ranks have swelled in a way that Debbie and I never dreamed possible. In a little over a year we have gone from zero to 10K, and when Debbie and I were discussing how to commemorate the rapidly approaching milestone, Debbie said something very simple, and very powerful. "Just think of it!" she said to me. "Ten thousand women have now got your back." That's right. Ten thousand women (and a few good men, too) are now a part of this community, sharing their knowledge, lending their support, and banding together to make the art and practice of writing just a little bit easier for us all. This is an incredibly powerful thing, a potentially game-changing thing. Debbie had it right. Every one of you can now say: ten thousand She Writers have got my back. To celebrate, I am asking each of you to shout out a woman who has had your back, now or ever. We all need to be carried sometimes; none of us can walk this walk alone. Who has protected you from hurt, from sadness, from harm? Who has fed you when you were hungry -- for a hug, for an encouraging word, for a hand? Who has remembered your birthday, read your first draft, dropped everything to come when you called? Who has been your teacher, your mentor, your student, your sister, your friend? Remember her and honor her by giving her a shout out on She Writes today, and if you tweet, shout her out on Twitter with the hashtag #SWSO. (She Writes Shout Out.) I can think of no better way to mark this occasion than lighting up this network and the world beyond it with the names of the women who make us shine. My shout out goes to my flesh-and-blood sister. A few weeks ago she flew from San Francisco to New York to help me celebrate my 38th birthday. She'd been pulling all nighters for two weeks working on a grant application for her job in city government, and was dead tired and downright spent. (The subject line of her email to me with her flight information was: "I'm coming, dammit!") But that didn't stop her from fulfilling what she saw as her mission for the weekend -- getting me settled into the apartment I'd been living in for a year, but hadn't yet had the strength or the help I needed to make into a home. This woman held my hand on the ferry to IKEA, hauled flatpacks onto flatbeds and was visibly frustrated that while she helped me find just about everything I needed, she didn't succeed in getting me a headboard for my bed. She and my dad, who also flew up to lend a hand to the rescue-Kamy mission, spent hours building bookshelves, assembling cabinets, and hanging lamps. She made multiple trips to the hardware store. She used a power drill. She cut out newspaper sqaures the size of the art I'd never hung on the walls so I could decide where I wanted it. And on my birthday, she and my dad spent the day chopping, slicing and cooking a feast for eight people (and two little boys: mine) to create the first-ever dinner party in the apartment was finally, after a very long, very difficult year in my life, beginning to feel like home. Rescue mission: accomplished. Kimberly Wicoff, thanks for having my back. Now tell us: who's got yours?

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  • Lynn Fisher

    A big Shout out to all 10,000 of us....and to She Writes for making a space for our words!

  • Julie Jeffs

    Two shout outs, one to Sally Schloss, a fellow She Writer, my mentor, editor and friend who has kept me writing even when I swore I couldn't. The other to my friend Mendi Davis, also a She Writer who has encouraged me to write, listened to me whine when it gets hard, celebrated with me (from a distance) when it is fun and good, read what I've written both as a friend and as a friendly critic, and generally has been one of the best friends I could have hoped for through some of the most tumultuous years of my life. Congrats Kamy, Deborah and all 10,000 of us.

  • Shonell Bacon

    Have a SLEW of women I could shout out, too, but I'll give honor to two: my mom Brenda Henson because she has more than stepped up in the last year to be there for me and provide me with wisdom with my new move and the pursuing of my Ph.D. And author-sisterfriend Samara King who has been my shoulder to lean on for the last several years during EVERY facet of my life!

  • Cheryl Wright

    A big loud SHOUT OUT to: Janice, Joanne, Cindy, Sita, Victoria and Diantha - all passionate writers, whether they are writing books, blog posts, letters or Facebook and Twitter updates.

  • Jacki Zehner

    Yeah SHEWRITES!!! My shout out goes to my dear friend Kathy LeMay. She is a woman who shows up! Thank you Kathy for your amazing frienship.

  • Heidi Mann

    My shout-outs go to Kathy, Cindy, another Cindy, Clarinda, Marje, Suzanne, Mari-Anna, Michelle, Cheryl, and too many more awesome women to name!

  • A grateful shout out to a woman who adopted me at a gathering of women a couple of years ago, and has made it her mission to have my back with humor, wisdom, and encouragement. Thanks, Jeanne:)

  • Shout out to my Fairy God-Mentor, Valerie Young!

  • Tina Deschamps

    I want to honor my long-time critique partner, Johanna Gallers, who died of breast cancer last year. I know she's cheering us on from the sidelines.

  • Linda Strawn

    I'm gong to give a big shout-out to my critique partners: Lynn, Lynn Anne, Fay, and Kay Sue. You girls are awesome!

  • Marcia G. Yerman

    I guess that has to go hands down to the person who gets all my jokes because she realizes how truly funny they are....Amy Ferris.

  • Lorraine Agnew

    Tina Markoe Kinslow has always been the one woman who makes me believe I can accomplish my dreams.
    Congratulations 10,000! It's a great thing.

  • Linda Rosenkrantz

    No doubt about it--my brilliant and beloved nameberry.com partner Pamela Redmond Satran.

  • Wendy Shanker

    MAZEL TOV, She Writes!!!
    And Shout Out to my aunt/fairy godmother, Nancy Gell.

  • Deanna Jewel

    Congrats to She Writes members, new and old! What a landmark accomplishment! There are many 'sisters' here who have had my back these last few months as we all try hard to get noticed and read. To name a few, Sharon Donovan, Hwyla Lynn, Tracy Krauss, Marti Melville, Lorna Suzuki, Cate Masters, and this list is only the few off the top of my head, there are more who have helped and I want to say thank you to each of you! Mmuuaah!! And warm hugs too!

  • Maddie Dawson

    Oh, this is such a delicious thing to think about! The woman who has my back is my friend Diane. She is the very first person I ever hired, back when I was the new editor of a weekly newspaper and she was a fresh graduate from journalism school. We made a great team: I was a just-divorced, half-crazy single mom with 2 little kids, and I was a fiction writer wannabe who'd gotten a journalism job because hey, at least it was writing. But I had NO idea how to write for a newspaper, much less run one, and she knew everything about the news biz but was paralyzed by panic attacks. We were quite a pair, trying to put out a paper every week, in a town where the political players came in and screamed at us nearly daily. Diane couldn't find a place to live and her car broke down, so she came and lived at my house for a few weeks while we figured out our jobs and how to get from Point A to Point B every day without having nervous breakdowns. I'll never forget how we held each other up during those awful first months--and how that friendship turned into a lifelong (20+ years now) relationship, in which we've held each other up through everything. In that time, we've both gotten married, had more kids, lost family members, helped each other move dozens of times, lost money, made money, written books, quit jobs, acquired and then broken up with men, found our husbands, gotten ill, recovered from illness, published books, started projects, raised kids. We read each other's first drafts, listen to each other's wild plans and dreams, commiserate when we're down, and celebrate when we're up. She's wise and funny and warm, and she she always knows exactly how to cheer me up and bring me back to life when I'm faltering. When my sister died, Diane was the one who drove hundreds of miles to come to me, and when I opened the front door, she was standing there with a casserole, four books on grief, two herbal sleep remedies, and three boxes of Kleenex. When she fell in love, got married and moved across the country, I knew we'd stay just as close, and we have. The day I got an email from her that said: "I have cancer, but I'm going to be all right," my heart fell right into my shoes, and we talked on the phone for hours, crying and planning and praying together. We write long, complicated emails (one of the perks of being a writer is that you can always keep in touch!)--talk on the phone between her carpool runs and my deadlines, and of course we visit when we can. And forget being there for death and disease: she did the ultimate act of friendship, going through the rakes and brooms and boxes in my garage, searching for the garter snake that was terrorizing me by his very presence there. (I wouldn't let her tell me if she ever found him.) She taught me compassion and an understanding of panic attacks, and I learned the things to say to help her. And when her cancer was in remission and she was finished with chemo and against all odds, got pregnant with her first baby at 44, we sat by the fire one winter evening and toasted to this new life with cups of hot chocolate and happy tears running down our faces. And when the baby, a perfect little daughter, was born, I flew across country to show her how to breast-feed. She comes back to Connecticut once a year, and we sit in a cafe and talk and laugh and cry, and I always think that this is surely heaven, knowing there's this person out there who always, always, always has my back, and for whom I'd do anything.

  • Well, um, this may seem a little obvious (and I swear it's not a plant) but I can't resist: Kamy Wicoff has my back. When I was 2 minutes pregnant, barfing all day long, wondering how, in the near future, I would possibly integrate the various pieces of this writer’s life (writing, coaching, teaching, consulting, speaking, you know the drill) into a more consolidated whole, Kamy tapped me to start this venture with her. She provided me with maternity clothes, the glider in which I would rock my newborns, and a job. When I was laid up on bed rest, she brought the staff meeting to my room and cooked the most delicious chilled zucchini soup I have ever had. When Marco and I had been too busy with the babies to make a birthday plan for me, she brought the party to my house (and introduced me to champagne with St. Germaine). She’s the kind of new friend I cannot believe I’ve had the good fortune to make after 4 decades walking this earth. You know that trust game where you lean back and take a plunge into the unknown? Launching She Writes felt like that. And always, Kamy, has had my back. She's the chosen sister of this only child. And girl, indeed, now we are 10,000 strong. Kamy Wicoff, thanks for having my back.

  • Jane Ciabattari

    Shout out to MY flesh and blood sister, Denise Low-Weso!