An Inspirational Woman, and she’s only 10 years old!

From time to time in these pages I interview wonderful women that I think will inspire you, the last being Sheila Dillon of BBC Radio. This post is slightly different in that I have no idea who this young talented woman is but I wanted to share what she wrote under ‘Inspirational Women’ because it is so inspiring!

What I do know is that her teacher tweeted the picture below with a request to share. Her class of ten year olds were asked to write a poem that could be read backwards and forwards. Start by reading it the usual way and then from the back upwards. She is only ten. I have such faith in our youth.

Poem from a 10 year old girl

If you can’t see the picture clearly here is the poem in it’s entirety:

I am stupid

Nobody would ever say

I have a talent for words


I was meant to be great

That is wrong

I am a failure


Nobody could ever convince me to think that

I can make it in life.


Well done, AO. It almost makes me cry. Thanks to Ms Broadis for sharing

Women Writers Book Club

Yaa Gyasi, courtesy of BBC

Seems appropriate to segue into the book club after that. A quick reminder, we only look at books by women writers, living, with the intention of promoting and supporting women writers who are often discriminated against (see this post on some of the issues women face – Men Are Much Better Writers Than Women – Really?). Our last book was Yaa Gyasi’s Home Going, an extraordinary first novel written in 2016. As usual our group had varying opinions but we all appreciated the beauty and skill in it. In brief, this is the story:

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

It is an extraordinary book. Those of us who most liked it most had read it fairly quickly, one through the night! Read over a longer period it became hard to retain all parts of the story and gratitude for the family tree at the beginning increased exponentially to the time it took it to read. It is an extraordinary story and unsparing in how it tells the story of slavery, the complicity of so many people, not just the ‘bad white man’. Each chapter focuses on a different individual in the story. I think the earlier stories are the best, especially the romance and love portrayed in awful circumstances. Reading how the slaves are transported is almost unbearable, despite knowing these facts; she brings a new life to them. I’ll leave you judge the ending.

Each member of the group takes turns to choose a book. We put all the names remaining in a hat and draw out one. This time the lucky winner did not have a book in mind and chose one she herself has not read but wants to read. A true mystery book. The next book club selection is The Cactus by Sarah Hayward. It is a genuine mystery both in style and in my knowledge of it. Hopefully it will also give us a few laughs!

Courses for You

The March RenewYou is full (it filled up in record time) but, buoyed with that success, I am planning another one for May when I hope we can also get out into the garden. See here for more details. I am holding the lower price at least for this next one, as once again, it’s at my home near Bath. Do take a look and get in touch if you have any questions at all.

Plus, I am percolating an idea for a brand new course. Every time I deliver RenewYou or Speak Up I have to be very disciplined re time to make sure we get all the great content in. This new course will be much more relaxed and aimed at women who want time to discover more about themselves, where they want to be, (similar aims) but we will be using more creative techniques, more relaxation, and looking at all aspects of a woman’s life, including how we look after ourselves, or not, where our support comes from, if we need to shed or accrue friends (that sounds brutal, it’s not. just an opportunity to look at our life in the round.) Here’s the blurb:

A day to simply reflect, de-stress, and relax, that women will enjoy, find beneficial and life enhancing. It won’t be particularly career focussed, although if that’s important to you you can use it to reflect on work. It will be very small, an absolute maximum of 6 women and it will be in my home near Bath. We may be sitting around the kitchen table, (how many good things in life have happened around a kitchen table?) or in the garden weather permitting. (That’ll make me get on top of the weeds!) We might even end up chilling in the hot tub if you want to. I don’t want it to be in an impersonal hotel, however lovely it is. I want to look after you, cook for you, help you relax, and give you some creative exercises that will (forgive me I’m going a bit tree huggy here) feed your soul. I want to send you home refreshed, feeling far less stressed, and with plenty of food for thought. No pressure, just time out for you.

I haven’t given it a name yet but it’s almost fully formed in my head. If you have any thoughts please share them. I am planning a day to trial this which will cost significantly less than the fully formed experience, only about £160 per person. If you’re interested please get in touch, no obligation, and it would be great if you could share this with friends and colleagues. Come with a friend as a treat! It is likely to be sometime after the Easter break, late April, with a formal launch towards the end of September/early October. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you. I’ve already had a lot of interest and one definite booking (brave soul, but then she has done two of my courses already). If you’re interested please get in touch by email. I am genuinely interested in what you think. You can see the original post here.

Looking forward to hearing from you! As I write I am still a ‘nanaJ in waiting’ (I am so excited I can barely type!) but will be reading all emails. Send them via this link, please.

It’s a Man’s World

Fabulous new books promoting the cause of equality keep appearing all the time. Back in 2013 I interviewed Caroline Criedo-Perez, who has written a new book Invisible Women:Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed by Men. You can see an article Caroline wrote about it recently in The Guardian here. Much of it will be familiar to anyone who has attended one of my Speak Up courses but I am very much looking forward to having the data in one place. I feel like I have been banging on about this for years. Look out for a review soon, grandchild permitting ;>)

Changing People licences experienced trainers and organisations to deliver its International RenewYou programme for women.

Read more about it here.


Posted on February 28th, 2019 by

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