I recently was given a copy of the new book Spinster by Kate Bolick as a member of the From Left to Write book club. I thought the topic was a really interesting one because I have more one friend who could be considered a “Spinster”, or at least what I would have considered a spinster.
Bolick weaves her own coming into womanhood and what it means to be a spinster story based upon her experiences and her research of five literary figures who she defines as her “awakeners”, Neith Boyce, Maeve Breenan, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Edith Wharton. I was admittedly not familiar with the first three but they generally are like Bolick, white women. And throughout the whole book, that was one of the things that stood out to me that these are only white women.
And it then was in her pages that she admitted that the topic of her coverage couldn’t cover African American women because the topics that lead to their spinsterhood could be a whole book unto themselves. I even tweeted her because I wanted to talk about why she said this; I had my suspicions but wanted to hear from her. She also responded very nicely and told me that I could reach her via her website.
— Kendra Pierson (@spelken) April 29, 2015
I what she said true but it also felt like a slight rub. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it isn’t a rub. I decided that I didn’t really care what she thought either and didn’t send the question via email. It’s a reality and she could only write a story based in her reality.
The irony of this is that I was reading the book on the way to the Mom 2.0 Summit, where the theme for 2015 was “What’s the Story?” As I read her story, it was only further confirmation that I needed to keep telling my story. After finishing it, I remarked to a friend that I wanted to write a memoir focusing on my life. I don’t know that I really do but I would like a six-figure advance and bidding war to explore some issues in my life. Bolick has written a memoir that tells her story, albeit through the stories of other women like her. I can’t credibly speak on being a spinster because I’m not one. I feel like that might have been why I missed the point of this book.
If you ever have that point when you feel like all signs are point to the right answer? I feel like reading Spinster while being at Mom 2.o Summit, just are the big neon signs pointing me in the right way. I want to make sure that I’m telling the stories that I deem as important. Bolick’s research style reminded me that I needed to include the details of my mundane life in case some young woman 100 years into the future found my life interesting enough to study. I want her to be able to learn more about what I thought was important just as Bolick found the details of these women important as well.
I can’t wait to share more of my stories and life with you.