Like the heroine of Alchemy’s Daughter, I have occasionally been described as “headstrong” by those closest to me. I take this as a compliment, despite the negative connotations of the word. Without a degree of willfulness, how else is a girl to make her way in a world fraught with obstacles? Becoming an author or achieving most any worthwhile goal requires focus, commitment to the end goal, and even occasional disregard for the opinions and feelings of others. It is not possible to be a people-pleaser all the time while also setting out to achieve your dream.
If a woman chooses a career in a competitive field–especially a field that has been traditionally dominated by men–a stubborn nature has to be cultivated. Astronaut Sallie Ride, conservationist and author Rachel Carson, and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart surely did not succeed by going with the flow and caring overmuch about the opinions of others.
When I began setting serious time aside to write and chose to give up a full-time nursing position, I ruffled some feathers, as my female role models surely did. A few family members could be heard grumbling about my impractical venture. Who does she think she is? Why give up full-time work to write when you have a child to support? Like Santina Pietra of Alchemy’s Daughter, I knew that not pursuing the dream would be a sort of death. Better to do as Walt Whitman says in “Passage to India” and “steer for the deep waters only,” or take a risk in life.
Today I am sharing Laura Fabiano’s review (and Rafflecopter giveaway) of Alchemy’s Daughter as published on her wonderful site, Essentially Italian. Laura describes the book’s heroine as strong and willing to make a bold move to defy convention. I have nothing against social conventions, but sometimes it is entirely appropriate to ignore them.
Sail forth — steer for the deep waters only,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.
Walt Whitman, Passage to India