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Monday, May 30, 2016

Inspiration from J.A. Jance

Listening to J.A. Jance Talk About Her Journey to Realizing Her Dream as a Writer was inspiring.


Tears welled and my head nodded in agreement. My throat choked with emotions. I sat spell-bound while J. A. Jance talked about her journey to realizing her dream as a writer.

Many life events could have deterred her but the dream and drive to write always won out. She'd been told women couldn't support themselves writing. Being a part of that same generation I found her talk heartwarming and inspiring. I'd had a college professor tell me I would not get hired as a history teacher because the history teachers were men and coached.
The gracious J.A. Jance and a thrilled Judith

The time does come in every writer's life when she must decide whether to use her "real" name or a pseudonym. That time did come and although Ms. Jance was more than willing to use her legal name, that wasn't what happened. People wouldn't buy her books if they knew they were written by a woman!

Actually as I was growing up, girls and women were often told they could not succeed in certain professions because – well, after all they were women and women just didn’t or couldn’t do that. I had my share of challenges as I worked in law enforcement and corrections two male dominated professions.

While I've always had positions that required me to write (articles, newsletters, reports, home studies, etc.), I didn't start writing fiction  until 1999. Being self-employed with several different contracts and being a parenting grandparent didn't leave a lot of time to write - but I did when I could. Now I'm semi-retired. I still teach workshops based on Dr. William Glasser's Choice Theory and Reality Therapy and I write. And, as long as these two activities bring joy to my life, I plan on keeping on. Currently I've the last two books in the original The Sacred Women's Circle series to finish and several more books to write after that. Good thing I want to live to be 100!

As I look around me at the young women of today including both of my granddaughters, I see a level of confidence, a belief in their right to go for whatever career or life they want. Do they know that at one point there wasn't even a path and that women like J. A. Jance and other pioneers in writing and other professions worked long and hard and sacrificed so that they now have a paved the path upon which they walk? Do they understand that many of the things they take for granted (birth control, freedom from sexual harassment, the right to vote) are precious because generations of women before them fought and survived abuse and deprivation?

I can only hope so.

Judith Ashley is the author of The Sacred Women's Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nurture the soul.

You can learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle series on my website.


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© 2016 Judith Ashley




2 comments:

Diana McCollum said...

I often wonder if the teenagers and twenty and thirty somethings, really realize how easy a time they have in a society where there is birth control, where women are encouraged to do anything career wise, and have the right to vote and be free of sexual harassment? I believe they take it all for grant. I remember in high school my Dad pushed me to go to college and be a teacher or a nurse. I really didn't want to do either. I tried to be a nurse, and found it wasn't for me, couldn't finish the course!

I ended up getting married, raising three kids, and not finishing college till my eldest was in high school. I ended up with a business degree. Great blog post! Awesome you got to meet Ms. Jance.

Judith Ashley said...

Diana, I did go to college and became a teacher so I could support my family if something ever happened to my husband (my dad's rational). And I know there are many younger women who grew up with these protections and rights. Rape was something that happened to women who "asked for it" and that was also the mind set when it came to stalking. Domestic violence? Why that wasn't even a problem. Husbands had the right to "discipline" their wives.

I'm grateful beyound belief that young women are taught they are not the responsible for men's inappropriate, unreasonable and at times, dangerous, behavior.

Congratulations for returning to college and getting your degree.

And, yes, seeing J. A. Jance was a highlight of that conference.

Judith