Women of today, don’t dismay. Rise up. Keep hope. And run with the wolves.

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In the midst of all the troubling news of today, all that is so disheartening in the seeming lack of progress women have made despite decades and more of painful struggle and dreams broken, a voice that draws still-living hope out of the darkness and inspires us to stand tall, together, centered in patience as well as action and love instead of anger, is welcome indeed. So read the words below and perhaps share this for others to do so as well. It is by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the author of an empowering book for women called Women Who Run With the Wolves (1992).

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Poet Rainer Maria Rilke, a feminist in his time and for ours as well.

Beloved poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote the words below in one of ten letters exchanged during 1903-1904 with a young student, Franz Xavier Kappus, who had sought his advice, initially about becoming a writer, but ultimately about life. The collected letters were first published in 1929 and later, in 1984, translated into English by Stephen Mitchell. Published in a small volume entitled Letters to a Young Poet, they are among the most beloved letters of all time.

On this International Women’s Day, and in light of my novel’s themes of female empowerment at a time, the late 1960s, when modern-day “Women’s Lib” was first hitting its stride, it seems fitting to share Rilke’s early twentieth century perspective on women’s potential:

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