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Hello friends! Dani Viridian is doing great work in her project “The Uprising.” This is a response to Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.” No matter who you are or how you identify, please take moment to complete any of the surveys linked in this post.

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Yeh Shen’s Lament


My knees crack as I kneel before my mother, father, and their tomb guardian. I must make haste.

The mingqi accompany brittle bones in the name of balance.  As I feel my body bow, they remind

me of my solitude. We will all be erased.


The woman taps her feet as I navigate the stone path. She’s stolen your house. Believes she’s replaced

you. For many years, I found companionship in a fish with large golden eyes.  He was enchantingly kind

and spoke to me as plucked napa leaves.  One morning I awoke in haste—


I heard his crimson fins beating wildly against the edges of his shallow pool. I clutched my waist.

There was no time.  The house-thief was standing over him, dagger drawn. The metal cursed and whined

as this monster woman thrust it through my old friend’s heart. She forced him to become erased.


She did not openly gloat but she knew I had witnessed her crime. Her supper complete with his taste.

I am hollow.  I would take to my heels if this wasn’t my home. How could a single person be so unkind?  

There is pure contempt between us. I work in silence and careless haste.


What could you do for me now, old friend?  What good was the patience you embraced?

Will you join the mingqi protectors in the gardens or leave me behind?

I’m afraid my memories of you are almost erased.


Dear Yeh-Shen, ponder no more. Wandering minds are a waste.

In death, as in life, I will serve as your protector. Just do as I say. Find

my bones and whisper your greatest desires. Quick! Make haste.

Before the chance for your freedom is forever erased.    


WW Wednesday: Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi

  • Screenshot 2017-10-25 at 9.31.13 AMIndra Nooyi began her career in 1976 as the Project Manager for Mettur Beardsell, Ltd; a textile firm in India. 
  • The very next year, she took the same title with Johnson & Johnson.
  • In 1980, she became the International Corporate Strategist for Boston Consulting Group
  • From 1986-1990 she served as the Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning for Motorola.  
  • She became a Senior Vice President of Strategy and Strategic Marketing in 1990 for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrial company

All this experience helped Indra Nooyi when she became the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning (1994) and Corporate Strategy & Development (1996) for PepsiCo.  Nooyi climbed all the way to the top of PepsiCo.  As President and CFO Nooyi took on responsibility for PepsiCo’s finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement,  investor relations and information technology.  As CEO (2006) and Chairperson (2007), she directed several acquisitions to PepsiCo, including the largest international acquisition in the company’s history: Wimm-Bill-Dann. 

Indra Nooyi serves as a board member for the following organizations:

…and a member of the following organizations:

Indra Nooyi is actively working to make PepsiCo a healthy, progressive company. In 2006 She proposed a long-term plan known as Performance with Purpose.  This plan has already made great strides in improving the nutrition of Pepsi products, limiting their environmental footprint and increasing respect for human rights.   Take a look at How Will We as well as this Accessible and Downloadable 2025 Agenda to learn more about what Nooyi and PepsiCo are doing to improve the company.






Review: The Art of Peeling an Orange, Victoria Avilan


That very day I fell in love with you, I asked why you wrote alternate endings. You said that reality is cruel and that fiction should be truth, but also an escape. You said that if a writer is considered God, she should be a benevolent one.


Carly Rosen is nothing, if not distraught.  As she sits in a dark church, mourning the death of her best friend and fiancé, she cannot ignore the woman delivering his eulogy. Anna Garibaldi is a master of arts in the public eye and Greg’s grieving widow.  Though she despises this stranger, this woman who stole Greg away and allowed him to die, Carly loses herself in the life of Garibaldi.  She stops painting and stops contacting her family and friends.  In doing so, Carly uncovers some of the most well-kept secrets of Garibaldi’s past and learns a little about herself as well.  Perhaps most importantly, she discovers that with time and the right support, she is able to cope with love and loss.   

As I opened my copy of The Art of Peeling an Orange, I couldn’t help feeling a little hesitant.  Romance is not typically my genre of choice, so I didn’t know what to expect from an Adult Fiction novel.  Nonetheless, my eye was drawn to Victoria Avilan’s vibrant cover and clearly symbolic title.  Who (or what) is the orange? All I knew was that whatever was about to happen, the story was going to get delightfully messy.  I suggest this book to readers who enjoy LBGTQA+ and Adult Fiction with splashes of Erotica.

What I like most about this book is the way Avilan writes sexuality into her plot. She does not alienate or insult her audience by writing from a heteronormative standpoint. She does not spend pages explaining a character’s sexual preferences and successfully avoids falling into a “coming out” storyline. As a disclaimer: the “coming out” story is important, especially for audiences who are struggling to discuss or even claim their own sexuality, but “coming out” is not an LGBTQA+ person’s only story. (Just as a character who happens to be African American has more to share with the world than their experience with race.)  We need more books like Avilan’s  because they feature sexually fluid characters who are struggling with love and loss in the volume and fashion we’ve previously seen from books which feature heterosexual characters.

I have just a few qualms with this text. In terms of literary content, I didn’t agree with the frequent and blatant references to Hades. I think the land and/or god of the dead is useful in order to convey themes of grief, anger, and loss; however, sometimes the image feels forced.  I think “Hades” makes sense in an internal conversation for Carly because otherwise, it’s as if all the characters are speaking to each other in metaphor.  Also, the word “musk” is used 29 times and is sometimes used multiple times in the same section or chapter.  I suggest replacing the word here and there with others such as “scent,” “perfume,” or fragrance.  In terms of grammar, I only spotted one typo. (On page 62, the word “crank” should be “prank.”)

All things considered, I give The Art of Peeling an Orange 4 out of 5 stars.  


Avilan, Victoria. The Art of Peeling an Orange. Shaggy Dog Stories, 2015. Kindle file.


You Woke up in a Hospital Bed

You Woke Up in a Hospital Bed

I live someplace else now, I don’t know where that is.

                                                          Eve Ensler- The Vagina Monologues


You are propped against overstuffed pillows

chin up, knees up-

a needle invades the natural fold in your left elbow

and the nurse is at your side, scooping grey applesauce

into the corner of a partitioned plate.


The rotten peach walls whirl across your pinched vision

and what you wouldn’t give to have your mother

masking her whimper in the corner…

must have stocked up on self-pity.

The nurse insists “You’re lucky.”


“Lucky” you mutter

and the word smears itself across your lips

like the blackberries Sam would steal for you on Sunday mornings,

juice trickling down to a sun-baked porch.

Wipe it up with a rag— good as new.


He knows what his mother went through.


Your eyes scrape up sleep

and in the background

you detect the nurse’s amateur tune

barely audible above the ventilation system…

“Someday, my prince will come.”


WW Wednesday: Eve Ensler

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  In honor of those who are dealing with the effects of domestic/sexual assault, and to call attention to the multi-faceted issue of gender-based violence, today’s WW is poet, playwright, and activist, Eve Ensler.


Screenshot 2017-10-18 at 11.13.35 AMEve Ensler was born in Scarsdale, New York in 1953.  As is more common that one would expect, her childhood and young womanhood were filled with domestic abuse. She struggled to overcome the resulting trauma, which manifested through drug addiction and a number of unhealthy relationships.  In the midst of getting clean, she also worked to achieve self-love as a woman.  She talked to other women about their experiences. Before she knew it, she had compiled multiple interviews, profiles, and poems to create the Tony award-winning play: The Vagina Monologues.

Screenshot 2017-10-18 at 12.06.41 PM

“Probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.”

– The New York Times

Ensler began performing the piece in 1994 and in doing so she began a longlasting and controversial call to action.  Today, The Vagina Monologues is performed in over 140 countries and has been translated into over 48 languages.  In 2011, she wrote a similar piece, I am an Emotional Creature, which was targeted to and captured the experiences of young women.  She has written several other plays, books, and articles over the years which call attention gender-based violence.


Ensler became completely devoted to ending global violence against women and girls.  Shortly after The Vagina Monologues performances began, she started a global activist movement through V-Day.  The organization has raised over $100 million and works to educate people worldwide on how to end gender-based violence.  Thus far, V-Day has led PSA campaigns to fund over 13,000 community programs, safe houses and shelters in Africa and the Middle East. (Check out One Billion Rising and City of Joy.)

This coming January, the Manhattan Theatre Club is presenting the New York premiere In the Body of the World, which is based on Ensler’s critically acclaimed memoir of the same name.  In this short piece, Ensler shares her experience working in the Congo and the connections she felt to her own illnesses through life.

For more information on Eve Ensler, check out her website.




REVIEW: Women in Sports, Rachel Ignotofsky


Do you know many women in sports?  How many professional women’s sports teams can you mention off the top of your head?  Unless you are a sports fanatic, I am guessing you would be struggling to name more than one or two.  In fact, I’ll admit I knew very little about the relationship between women and sports until opening my copy of Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win, by Rachel Ignotofsky.  


This book is fabulous.  I gladly award Ignotofsky a 5-star review!  Not only does she succinctly compose the biographies of 50 athletes, she also includes effortless and colorfully animated illustrations of each woman demonstrating her craft.  These women have proved sheer dedication to the world of athletics.  For example,  Ignotofsky highlights women who fought for the advancement of women in athletics by winning Olympic medals and fighting for equal opportunities and wages.  She provides a timeline of women’s involvement in professional sports (8-9) which notes outstanding athletes like Althea Gibson (the first black tennis player to compete at U.S. Nationals), important legislation such as Title IX (a 1972 amendment against gender discrimination) and the development of women’s sports organizations such as the WNBA).


Ignotofsky also illustrates a breakdown of muscle anatomy and influential women’s sports teams (Did you know, 20 years before Title IX was passed, the TSU Tigerbelles trained 40 track runners who went on to become Olympians?)  Perhaps most importantly, Ignotofsky includes a concise section regarding the gap in pay and disparate television coverage between women and men’s professional sports.  In basketball alone, the minimum salary in 2015 for man was still $415,593 more than the maximum salary a woman in the same field.


The inequality wasn’t necessarily a discovery or revelation for me.  People are more apt to watch the NBA than the WNBA due to advertising and out of habit.  However, we need to change things up.  In 2017 there are countless outlets through which to view and discuss sports.  I see no reason as to why we cannot redirect the conversation toward women’s professional sports and female athletes as a whole.  The future of sports could be a more equal playing field as a result.  This is why I think every young person (woman or not, sports-oriented or not) should add Women in Sports to their bookshelves.  


Rachel Ignotofsky

Author Rachel Ignotofsky is primarily an illustrator and designer from Los Angeles, California, but she is also a New York Times best-selling author (Check out her other books: Women in Science, published in 2016).  She graduated from the Tyler School of Arts in 2011 with a degree in Graphic Design.  Her work has been featured in media outlets such as Babble and The Huffington Post.  She is an inspiration, much like the women about whom she researches and writes; she is her own boss and follows her passion spreading scientific literacy and feminism through illustration. Click here for her website.



FTC disclaimer: I received this book for Blogging for Books for the purposes of this review.

Ignotofsky, Rachel. Women in Sports. Ten Speed Press: New York. 2017. Print.