With Courage and Common Sense presents an extensive selection of memoirs from the OWL Circle project. Organized thematically, they describe women's experiences of identity, place, work, family life, love and marriage, loss and healing, adventures great and small, major historical events, and legacies to keep and pass along. Taken as a whole, the memoirs chronicle far-reaching changes in the ways that women participated in the world during the twentieth century. They show how women learned to surmount obstacles, to courageously make the most of the opportunities that came their way, and to move quietly and wisely beyond the limits that were imposed upon them.
Susan Wittig Albert, Ph.D., founded the Story Circle Network, based in Austin, Texas, in 1997.
Dayna Finet is an independent scholar and writer who co-directed the OWL Circle project.
Nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Root
Chosen by Emma Straub as a Best New Celebrity Memoir
“A book of essays as raw and honest as anyone has ever produced.” — Lena Dunham, Lenny Letter
In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.
China is relishing the scents, produce, and even the showers of spring. She’s also busy hosting Pecan Springs’ Farmers’ Market. It brings additional customers to her herb shop Thyme and Seasons. And residents find rare ingredients they wouldn’t otherwise find in the supermarket. Everybody wins…
But as the town bustles back to life in the warmth of the season, one woman’s life is tragically brought to an end. China happens upon a burning house trailer and hears a woman screaming for help. The evidence leaves no doubt that it’s arson homicide—but who would commit such a ghastly crime?
An intern-reporter at the local paper, Jessica Nelson, is assigned to cover the story. Drawn into the case by its similarity to her own tragic loss—Jessica’s family died in a fire—she soon finds herself deeply involved and in danger. And when Jessica disappears, China becomes determined to help find her, before she becomes headlines herself…
A frantic phone call from her mother brings China back to her family’s Mississippi plantation—a place she’d forsaken long ago. But the late-spring air is thick with fear—and from the moment of her arrival, China knows that something has gone desperately wrong at Jordan’s Crossing. An ancient property deed has surfaced—and the man who uncovered it has mysteriously vanished. And as the fates and fortunes of two very different families collide in frightening, unpredictable ways, China must face disturbing new questions about her family’s past—and her own future…
Together, Alone opens in 1985, as Albert leaves a successful, if rootless, career as a university administrator and begins a new life as a freelance writer, wife, and homesteader on a patch of rural land northwest of Austin. She vividly describes the work of creating a home at Meadow Knoll, a place in which she and Bill raised their own food and animals, while working together and separately on writing projects. Once her sense of home and partnership was firmly established, Albert recalls how she had to find its counterbalance—a place where she could be alone and explore those parts of the self that only emerge in solitude. For her, this place was Lebh Shomea, a silent monastic retreat. In writing about her time at Lebh Shomea, Albert reveals the deep satisfaction she finds in belonging to a community of people who have chosen to be apart and experience silence and solitude.