Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Women in Folklore Month: The End (For Now)

This is the 31st and final day of Women in Folklore Month here on the SurLaLune Blog. I have many more names I could write about, but I will save them for another time. I've left out some favorites, but also tried to offer some expected and unexpected names.

Today I'm dedicating this post to all of the women (and we'll include the men, too!) who have shared and taught and perhaps just loved fairy tales. Whether they are parents or other family members who read fairy tales to their children or teachers who taught in the classroom or librarians who recommended a book, there are many who have encouraged the reading and perpetuity of folklore and fairy tales. Then there are the other writers, performers, artists, etc. so many I have not recognized this month.

Many women have been important in my personal life, from my grandmother who hunted down a copy of Beauty and the Beast for me as a child--to parents who read to me and encouraged my reading--to librarians and teachers who encouraged my interests and reading experiences, too.

As a teen, my mother was a returning student, finishing her own degree by taking a few classes each semester. One of those semesters she took a Children's Literature course in the English Department which focused on fairy tales. She decided to have a "take your daughter to work day" and brought me to her classes and then arranged for me to meet the professor, Margaret Ordoubadian. Margaret sat with me in her office for a while and talked fairy tales, introduced me to Angela Carter's work and showed me through action as much as words that my interests were not foolish or childish.

Roughly five years later I returned to the same university to finish my degree with my junior and senior years. Margaret became my mentor--she remembered me!--as I committed myself to an English degree after leaving Physics behind. (Once upon a time, I was going to be an astonomer.) I thrived and grew, finding many professors willing to accommodate my interests. I even ended up taking Margaret's class myself. Then came grad school, a late change from a literature pursuit to information and library science, a decision I've never regretted and where I also pursued my interests with gusto. Few tried to squash me, most supported or at least let me be. I'm thankful for that.

And that is where SurLaLune came from, from years of support, teaching and learning by many women and men. So thank you to all of them, most who will never have a name on a book cover or be easily recognized, but I know who they are and I'm thankful their lives have touched mine. I've learned from so many people I will never meet or have only met a handful of times, great names and influences, but I have been equally touched by those who have nurtured and sustained on a personal basis. Both have been equally important and they are who I honor today.

1 comment:

  1. Thank YOU for such a wonderful Women's History Month of folklore! I've loved all the reading recommendations, the illustrators, and stories.

    Also, I imagine there must be some link between wanting to be an astronomer and falling in love with fairy tales, yes?

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