Category Archives: powerful women

She’s Proud to be an American

Traf paying off the mortgage on the house.

America is a nation of immigrants, something people seem to be forgetting these days. I want to tell you about a woman who grew up on an enchanting island in the middles of the Atlantic Ocean and the Twentieth Century. In the interest of full disclosure, Traf is my wife. We will celebrate seventeen years together on April 2nd. This year we’ll have to spend our anniversary apart, but separated only by distance. Our future is secure, in more ways than one.

Although I’ve fictionalized her stories of growing up lesbian on Terceira and am now writing a sequel full of love stories and laughter from her roarin’ twenties, I thought today I’d take a moment to celebrate the true and authentic Trafulha, meu esposa.

One of the most fascinating things about Traf is her ability to dream big and make impossibilities happen. Born a girl on a Catholic island run by men, she dreamed of breaking the mold she was expected to fill and did so. She knew in her heart that she would one day live in America, and made that happen. In her thirties, she studied for, passed, and was sworn in as a naturalized American citizen. She’s been American more of her life than Portuguese and proudly claims that title.

Being a lesbian in the 20th Century was anything but easy, yet my Traf stands proudly today, having achieved the American Dream. She has earned the right to be a citizen of this country and to participate in all its privileges and responsibilities. She votes, she pays taxes, she worked long hours to provide for her two daughters as a single mom, and she did it all without compromising who she is for anyone.

And then late last year she did the impossible, again. My incredible, foreign-born wife paid the mortgage on our house in full. That is something most Americans never achieve or even fully imagine for themselves, we’ve become so conditioned to living in debt. But my woman dreamed it, took a chance, and made it happen!

I love you, my Trafulha. Happy anniversary, honey, and may we have many more.



Authors Are Artists Too

Elly Wagner’s clay work during Celebrate Yourself!

I just got back from a wonderful weekend filled with powerful women. I was reminded how pleasant it is to be surrounded by women who are unafraid of asking questions and eager to explore both inner and outer worlds.

The youngest was eighteen while the oldest was ninety-something. Although there were fewer than forty women there, the place rang with creative energy. Women wrote stories, painted, drummed, expressed the feminine form in clay, and explored their inner selves through various mediums. There was a labyrinth in the middle of nature, and a sauna in which to relax among like minded women. Perhaps most importantly, new people were welcomed with open arms, and old friends reconnected at the yearly event.

The gathering was Celebrate Yourself! and was held at the Koinonia Retreat Center in a truly beautiful part of Minnesota. I was hired to teach two sessions on writing, but found myself wishing I had at least one of those sections free so I could attend one of the exciting classes occurring throughout the building. Tapping into your inner artist is such a vastly rewarding experience.

Writers – yes it’s important to work everyday, and agreed, it’s also important to join and participate in writer’s groups. But when was the last time you let your painter’s voice speak, or your inner drummer bang long and loud? I believe that we need to step out of our writing selves once in a while, in favor of remembering those first days of creativity, when we hadn’t found our preferred voice.

If you are a woman artist or creative soul living in or around Minnesota, and you’re interested in the Celebrate Yourself! artist’s retreat for 2015, drop me a line and I’ll forward it on to the planners of the event. If you do, you’ll most likely meet me there next year, as a participant!