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Southern Women’s Anthology

April 13, 2010

‘All that Glitters’ courtesy of Augusta Hyland, Atlanta-based Artist*

I’ve been thinking a lot about Southern women and the balance they have between their lives and their careers. Specifically Southern women writers. When I first moved to Atlanta it struck me how many people were not actually from here. They were transplanted here, mostly for work, like myself.

But, now, 10 years later, I’m surrounded by women who are actually from this area. I’m finding myself around especially strong women loaded with careers and creative aspirations (and all the while looking beautiful to boot).

Which sort of conflicts with the way I was raised. Growing up, you sort of had one or the other … not necessarily both (and certainly not at the same time). But, it seems like Southern women have mastered what their priorities are with a gentle balance of what’s expected of them and what they actually want for themselves. This is in sharp contrast to my own stereotypes of what I thought women from the South behaved and the life I assumed they wanted (an M.R.S. degree earned from a state school, cheering on SEC football while wearing a strapless dress and high heels).

Now, the word grace comes to mind when I think of Southern women. So, I’m looking towards women writers–Katherine Anne Porter, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Conner to allow me to be strong, yet graceful, in my writing and my life. And soaking in the Southern creative women surrounding me that embody it all and are guiding me down that path of elegance in life.

* For more of Augusta Hyland’s fantastic paintings (and great writing), check out her blog The View from my Studio Window.