WomanScape celebrates 100 published stories!
Of course, this matters for more than 100 reasons. It matters that we have amazing WomanScape writers who dare to use their voices to build inspiration. And it matters that a handful of women and a few seriously modern men are helping us to share our creativity and content. But what really matters is the small green bottle in my kitchen pantry. It traveled all the way from Waiheke Island New Zealand to explain the foundation for WomanScape.
Its contents? Olive oil.
Let’s back up for a minute so I can tell you a story. After all, that’s what we do here. This time last year, my small voice of one got to thinking. I was fed up with the PESTs in my life. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a pestering husband or my nagging kids. PEST was my personal acronym for political, economic, social and technological things that weigh me down.
Everywhere I looked, people were consumed with negativity – the news channels sensationalized scandal, politics were divisive, people struggled with financial challenges, social interactions seemed unfulfilling, and technological drivers held us hostage in our own homes.
I escaped into art – an enticing painting, a newly discovered city street in a foreign country, a perfect swirl in the latte made by a smiling student.
It didn’t matter where I looked, I found the positive in everything. It fueled my quest for an artful and art-filled life. And, I wrote about it. I started with the artists I knew and the ideas that filled me with possibility and happiness.
It felt good. And when I set off on a long travel adventure to Australasia, I took pictures of the interesting people and places I visited.
Who knew that a bottle of olive oil was waiting to show me something more. It would become my liquid gold inspiration.
I discovered it on The People’s Republic of Waiheke Island. It is the second largest island in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, and sits 20 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. There are 8,500 full-time inhabitants and seasonal visitors who take a short ferry ride from Auckland to enjoy the beautiful vineyards and spectacular island scenery.
According to Clifford the small tour bus driver that chauffeured my husband and I around the winding hills and sun-soaked valleys, people also come for the pristine beaches. Clifford boasted that his wife has a bathtub sitting in the sand on a beach. There she literally soaks up the water, the sunshine, and the surrounding that look like floral paintings.
People also come to Waiheke to enjoy some seriously bodacious wine while sipping in the landscape and locals. And this is where the story starts to get interesting. Wine growing is a tricky business. And, at one of the wineries, the owners who had invested their savings lost an entire crop one season to a horrible bug infestation. At the end of their ropes and threatened with financial ruin, they suddenly realized they had a golden opportunity.
Alongside the vineyards were hundreds of olive trees. They are indigenous to the island and wonderfully pest resistant, growing quite freely with little care compared to the myriad of things that can ruin a wine crop. So, this family, desperate to survive, planted more olive trees hoping to harvest and create an industry around their extra virgin olive oil products.
I’m guessing you can see where the story is going and how it ties back to WomanScape? We wanted to harvest the health benefits of our stories. WomanScape would be the olive-oil elixir of all storytelling, offering its readers a healthy dose of monounsaturated dietary fats to the risks of negative health and uninspired living while harnessing the beneficial properties of our shared experiences and joys.
Making WomanScape more than one tree would take some time.
It’s one year later, and the trees are growing. WomanScape shares stories in a growing number of corners around the world. We are overwhelming the unhealthy, negative soundbites and short-form news reels that are keeping us from realizing happiness.
While WomanScape doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, our stories are real and grounded in authentic living that resonates in each of us. This is why WomanScape is everyone.
It speaks to the artful ways we can learn and grow together. We are not political, investigative journalism. We offer a unique value – artful stories that inspire us to live richer, more meaningful lives.
Inclusivity and understanding are ingredients.
We cull the politics and divisive stems leaving them for someone else to us so they don’t clog the olive press and infer with the velvety smooth oil.
As we move into a new year and 2018, WomanScape thanks these believers and we invite you to our website and our social media platforms to meet them, where together, we build inspiration. So happy 100th WomanScape! As you read through the list of amazing storytellers below, it’s worth pointing out that the name of the olive oil company in Waiheke is Rangihoua, which means ‘The Day of Renewal’ in the indigenous Maori culture.
Denise Benson – California-based writer and photographer sharing travel and art-related articles in “Attitudes and Latitudes”
Marybeth Coffin – Living in Accra, Ghana and writing about parenting and her life in the series “Moving to Ghana”
Fiona Goggins – “Gallivanting Feminist” based in Australia and writing about her travels and related musings
Liz Hall – International Traveler and volunteer coordinator for a non-profit organization in Switzerland. She is based in Tulsa and writes about “A Call to Action: UN Women & Beyond”
Arica Hilton – WS’s Art Ambassador, guest writer and soon-to-be host of our new WS web series “Artist Interviews”, is Turkish-born and resides in the Mid-West.
Rose McInerney –Canadian-born WS Founder who writes about “Women Making History” as she coaches a growing team of global women writers already making history.
Elsa Pastelle – Cameron-born, Paris-raised and London-based. Her series “The Love Coach” draws on her professional consultancy experience as a life coach.
Sonal Shah – This “Sunny Side Up” series writer lives in Hollywood and is a successful dramatic and comedic actor with serious optimism.
Georgia Simmerling –Canadian 3X Multi-Sport Olympian, Rio Bronze Medalist, and amazing Wonder-Woman who writes about “The Daily Grind of Being an Olympian”.
Yara Zgheib – Lebanese-born Boston resident whose “Her Way” series who shares the inspiring stories of women around the world who are making a difference in their community.