This week, I shared an interview on the podcast with Melanie Falick that inspired me enormously. As well as being a highly acclaimed published author in her own right, Melanie has built a career on nurturing and empowering women to find their voices and become published authors. When the interview ended, we both felt there was still a little more to add. As is often the case when I interview a guest, we talked a little while off air and Melanie very kindly offered this guest post to share an important idea.
When I interviewed artist Katharine Cobey for my first book, Knitting in America, she said to me, "If I were a man and I were knitting things, I would feel perfectly calm. It would be perfectly ordinary to have a beautiful studio, to say what I do is as important as I can make it." But women don't always feel that confident and entitled. "It takes putting both feel firmly on the ground," Katharine continued, and saying, " 'Stand up,' all the way that you can go. Just as big or as little as you are, but as much as you can."
I think of Katharine words often. As an editor of craft books, I always try to give my authors (who are most often women) the chance to "Stand up," that is, the opportunity to express their creativity and knowledge in a bold, solid, confident way. Gone are all of the apologies that women often make for being a bother or taking up too much of someone's time or space. Gone is the modesty that many of us have come to believe we must express lest be labeled bossy or egotistical. Gone is the idea that what we do with yarn or thread and needles is trivial. Instead, we create a book that is as beautiful and substantive as we can make it, that allows us to say to the world, "I have something important to express, my work is worthy, I believe in myself."
I'm not sure how to define the term "feminist act," but I do know that I have always been dedicated to the idea of celebrating what women do, especially the parts of women's lives that have often been devalued and under-appreciated.
Find Melanie online on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as @Melaniefalick and also at her new online home, MelanieFalick.com.