I used to write a column called Homefront that ran in a string of California newspapers including the San Francisco Progress, the San Mateo Times, the Santa Cruz Good Times and half a dozen more. It was a sweet column with funny and sometimes tender reflections on motherhood, my three small children, womanhood, and life. But when the kids grew older, their privacy became more important, so I stopped. I was still a writer, though. I just didn't have any readers.
So that's the first thing I love about Medium: it connects me with readers.
Here's my favorite column photo. They took a few of them over the years. I was 31.
I've lived a lot since that photo, which was taken in 1986. I've had a variety of jobs, including high school English and Journalism teacher, and faced a variety of challenges, including mothering an adult son with a major mental illness, surviving breast cancer, and weathering a sometimes difficult marriage. These experiences inform the things I write about today, as well as my lifelong interest in women's rights.
When I decided to start a publication here in 2019, I named it after the Fourth Wave of feminism, which is the period we're in now, and created sections which roughly correspond to things I care about: World, Women, Health, Culture, Writing, and San Francisco.
On Fourth Wave, we're trying to build a community of women and their allies who stand up for the rights of disempowered groups, who support each other, and who believe that all people deserve a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Also, we like to have a bit of fun. So if those are your values, Submit to the Wave!
It's a great pleasure and honor for me to edit this growing publication, which has 1.1k readers at the time of this writing and has hosted writers from all over the world. Here's our beautiful banner, created by graphic designer Leila Register. To learn more about what the images stand for, read this.
The second thing I love about Medium is it connects me with writers.
The third thing I love is the elegance and fluidity of the platform. I love to compose on Medium, because of the beautiful way the writing looks right out of the gate. Designers have done their work well. I also love that I'm free to post anything I like. Medium is like a blank canvas, already stretched over the frame, with beautiful daubs of rich color waiting nearby on a palette, inviting me to get started in creating my art. Also, of course, it's nice to get paid, even if it isn't very much...
I've posted two novels here so far, or perhaps I should call them creative non-fiction. They're both based on events in my life. Thirsty Work tells the story of two sisters, age 20 and 17, who travel from their small town in California to New Orleans for Mardi Gras after the death of their mother. Count All This follows a mother who develops breast cancer at the same time her adult son develops schizophrenia and her marriage faces a test. I've also posted poetry, book and movie reviews, political essays, personal essays, a photo essay, and more. Not surprisingly, many pieces have been about mental health.
The third thing I love about Medium is the elegance of the platform.
So what do I look like now? I'm not sure it's relevant, but I'm always interested in seeing photos of how people change as they age. I just wish the latest Medium re-design didn't make vertical photos so HUGE. But here I am at 67. I didn't have a professional photographer for this one. I'm more wrinkled, sure, but I think I look just as happy or happier. That's something you don't read about very often. But as it turns out, getting older feels good. I'm glad to be wiser, calmer, and more in control of my destiny. I'm still learning. Still writing. Still reaching out to new readers. And still hoping to meet you in the comments some day--or maybe when I publish your story on Fourth Wave.
Old ladies are a lot happier than you've been led to believe.