We are women who create, who tell stories, who want to support other women who create and tell stories. Join us!
Join us in this space for women, a place to share ideas, stories, and images, a place to shine a light in the darkness, a place to support each other as we learn to trust ourselves while impacting our world.
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As Important as Breathing
The idea for Storytellers Co started as an exhale. What would it look like to help women tell their stories? As a writer and teacher, with a firm grasp of the importance of story, I knew I had some experience I could use, knowledge I could share, and guidance I could give, but nothing felt concrete until my inhales deepened with two books: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
With Solnit’s book, I felt called to create a space for women and to join the fight against gender inequality. At first, in my daily life, I made small steps of strength and courage by speaking up within my tiny circle of influence. Each conversation gave me the confidence to embrace my voice, expand my circle, and see how I was helping other women by doing so.
With Kimmerer’s book, I found the words I needed to breathe life into the idea:
“Respiration…My breath is your breath, your breath is mine. It’s the great poem of give and take, of reciprocity that animates the world.” (p. 344)
Braiding Voices came from the idea that women often braid together, sharing space, air, and stories. Braiding strengthens the individual strands, but it also shows that we need each other because “the holder [is] as vital as the braider” (p. 3).
Tapping into Kimmerer’s key words of “reciprocity” and “braiding” and that we are all “storymakers” and “storytellers,” Storytellers Co was born.
Once it all came together, I knew what I wanted the website’s dominant image to be. I found it in Solnit’s description of the vigil after six women were murdered in California in May of 2014—and she juxtaposed it with defining conversations:
“At the memorials across California, people held up candles; in this conversation people held up ideas, words, and stories that also shone in the darkness. Maybe this change will grow, will last, will matter, and will be a lasting memorial to the victims.” (p. 83)
I saw in that image what the online space could look like—a place where women could come together to support each other, to braid our words, images, ideas, and stories together to encourage each other as we call out misogyny, embrace our right to speak, and tell our stories.
I commissioned a former student, Al Downs, to use her artistic talents to create the image Solnit’s words formed in my mind for the website. In Al’s words:
“It was refreshing to work on this piece, mostly because it has given me a place to put several admired features down in one drawing. I worked to achieve a sense of community… Despite the many body types, ethnicities, and clothing types, I gave all the women color-coordinating outfits as if to say, “We’re on the same team.” I like that Storytellers Co … exists to elevate, understand, and cheer for each other. I hope that the stories and camaraderie we find and create here ‘will grow, will last, will matter.’”
As I continue to read and embrace other women’s stories, I am becoming more convinced that this platform is necessary. I look forward to inviting and welcoming women into the fold and finding other voices to braid with my own.
Pauline Galovski Hawkins
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