women who make distinctive moves


Hudson Senior Center


Elizabeth Kubler Ross

Many people in the medical profession disapproved of her work — they thought it was indecent — but most patients were eager to talk. She used these conversations to write On Death and Dying (1969), which became a huge best-seller. In it, she outlined the five stages of grief, specifically when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her work also paved the way for hospice care.


writingIsSwimmingUnderwaterHolding breath

“writing is as difficult as staying underwater and breathing while you write!”

It’s the birthday of writer Shirley Ann Grau, whose novels and short stories, set in the Deep South, explore the intricacies of race and gender. Grau was born in New Orleans (1929), spent her childhood in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, and was educated at finishing schools. She says, “I was probably the only 17-year-old who knew precisely how to set a table if I happened to be giving a dinner for the pope.” The head of the English department at Tulane University turned down her request for a teaching position, telling her, “There will be no females in the English Department.” She married a philosophy teacher, began having children, and kept writing, making notes on scraps of paper and holding “noisy conversations” with her characters. Grau corrected the galleys for her first book, The Black Prince, in her pediatrician’s office, as her son was being treated for measles, spreading the papers on the long examination table.
Though considered one of the finest portrayers of relationships between blacks and whites in American literature, Grau says, “I’m interested in people, but not as representative of race. I see people first. I do stories first.” She was just 35 when she won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1965 for The Keepers of the House, about a wealthy white man who marries his black housekeeper.

%d bloggers like this: