Monday, February 28, 2011

TRUE GRIT

by Suzanne

Since I write western historical romances, both erotic, (THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN) and just plain sexy, (REFUGE), I loved getting to go see True Grit a while back. When my son and I walked out of the theater after watching this remake of the old classic, we talked about what we like about the movie. One of the things he said to me was, "Mom, the person who had the most grit in that movie, wasn't Rooster Cogburn. It was Mattie." And he was right.

Mattie Ross had true grit.When her father was murdered hundreds of miles from home, she took it upon herself not only to go collect his body and send him home to be buried, but to find someone to help her track down the low-down murdering sidewinder and see he was brought to justice.She weathered low opinions men of the time had for a slip of a girl, nearly drowning in a river, shooting her first man, tumbling down a huge pit and being bitten by a rattler. (I won't tell you how it ends, just in case you haven't had the time to go see this movie.)

As this is the last day of the AHA GO RED for Women month and the Bandits celebration of such, I thought we should look at other women who throughout history have shown true grit.

Queen Elizabeth I: Talk about someone walking into a pit of snakes...the human kind. She took over the English crown when the kingdom was broke, under threat of both the Spanish and French invading, not to mention some rowdy Scots to the north. But her country had just gone through some very bloody years at the hands of her sister. Her kingdom was writhe with spies and traitors, advisors who saw her as nothing more than a brood mare to provide a male heir to take her place.Yet she was able to rule with cunning and a strong will for 45 years. Her country and it's empire grew in land, strength and finances during her rein.

Elizabeth Blackwell: Growing up in England where she watched eight of her siblings and eight of her cousins die, Elizabeth decided to go to medical school after her family moved to America. Elizabeth was rejected by 16 medical schools but was finally accepted by Geneva (New York) Medical College. Despite the taunts of not only the other students, but the people in the college town, she graduated on January 23, 1849. While furthering her medical studies in Paris, she developed an eye infection that cost her sight in her left eye. Undaunted, she continued to study. She returned to America two years later and opened a school to help other women become doctors. She also raised money with her sister Emily and opened The New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1857. Run by women doctors, it was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.



Marian Anderson: Despite many years of prejudicial treatment, even being refused entrance to a local musical school after graduating high school because of her color, Marian rose to be the first black opera singer to be a regular cast member of the New York Metropolitan Opera. She sang for Kings and Queens, many presidents, including FDR and JFK. She also quietly fought many of the segregation laws that were in place during the early part of her career, by insisting on "vertical seating" in segregated cities. This meant that black audience members would be slotted in seats on all levels of the auditoriums. For many, it was the first time they'd ever sat in orchestra level seats.


Sylvia and Cristobal Pankhurst and the Suffragettes: (doesn't that sound like a rock band?) At a time when women were little more than chattel, they literally fought for women's right to vote. So passionate about their beliefs they thought nothing of chaining themselves to public building railings, smashing windows, interrupting public debates and even setting off bombs. Many of their followers, including Cristobal herself, went to prison, where they conducted hunger strikes to get their message across. Finally, during World War I political changes were made to give limited voting rights to women in England. In 1920 American Women achieved the right to vote through the Nineteenth Ammendment to the Constitution and by 1928 full suffrage equal to those of men were granted to women in England.

These are some women who have grit to stick to their beliefs, dreams or goals throughout history. Do you have any favorites you look up to? Admire? Or just appreciate their grit?

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Sign up for the Go Red Better U Program and receive two free romance e-books. From Feb 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's Better U Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited edition magazine (that features this offer) on newstands and in a grocery store near you.Go Red for Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books. 

Here's your heart healty tip for today: Whether cooking or making dressings, use the oils that are lowest in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol – such as canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil – but use them sparingly, because they contain 120 calories per tablespoon. (I personally prefer to mix a small amount of butter with olive oil for most cooking, and vegetable oil for baking.) You can also cut back on sugars and oil in baking by adding applesauce to cake recipes!

As always this month, one commentor will receive a GO RED for Women pin and today I'll give that same winner a $10 gift card to Amazon.com. (Heck you might use it to buy a copy of THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN or some other book to make your heart race!)

60 comments:

Jane said...

Me?

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, drat you, Jane! SOOOOO close to the feathered one! I hope he behaves for you - really, I do, even though you beat me to him (she said, surreptitiously giving the rooster some red cordial!).

Suz, what an inspiring post. I didn't know about Elizabeth Blackwell. What a wonderful story and how strong would she have had to be! I actually spent some of my 27 years as an unpubbed author researching an Elizabethan book (still think it's a good story!) so I developed an enormous admiration for Elizabeth I. As you say, a lesser individual wouldn't have lived to make it to the throne!

Jane said...

I definitely agree with you about all those involved with the Suffragist movement. I also admire Harriet Tubman and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Sheree said...

Great post! I remember the Schoolhouse Rock song "Sufferin' Til Suffrage" which is how some people of my generation remember the 19th Amendment being passed in 1920. Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock for all sorts of history, grammar, and times tables lessons via song!

flchen1 said...

Suz, what a terrific post! Thanks for sharing some of your favorite gritty women :) I think one of the people I admire now is my mom--and I imagine I'm not alone in having women we're related to who are pretty incredible women in their own rights :)

June M. said...

Just a couple of women I have always admired:
Jane Adams (worked on suffrege movement with labor laws, housing, immigrants, etc/helped establish Hull House in Chicago)

Helen Keller b/c she did not allow her physical disablities to limit her life.

Helen said...

Well done Jane enjoy your day with him

Suz

A great post and we can be thankful to a lot of woman from the past becase yes they did show True Grit to give us what we have today.

Have Fun
Helen

barb said...

well done Jane .... so sorry you just missed him Anna.... LOL

Great blog Suzanne, there have certainly been some great women.... I have already bought The Surrender of Lacy Morgan but have to read the Aussie authors for ARRC2011... but will read it after

Suzanne Ferrell said...

hey Jane! Congrats on getting the GR. Make him do something fun today, okay?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Anna! Thanks. I find Elizabeth the first's life very intriguing. I especially loved the movie with Kate Blanchette. It really dealt with the history.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jane...Dang it, I meant to include Harriet Tubman. Now that was a woman with true grit. Going back through the South dozens of times to bring out other slaves, at great danger to her own freedom!

Who was Aung San Suu Kyi? That isn't someone I'm familiar with. I'll have to look her up when I get home.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Sheree! Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock for all sorts of history, grammar, and times tables lessons via song

I loved "Conjunction junction!"

While I'm a student of all kinds of American history, I have to tell you I have a little personal history with women's sufferage movement. My grandmother was one of the first ladies in her town to be arrested for wanting t he right to vote! Isn't that cool?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Fedora! I think one of the people I admire now is my mom--

I'm so glad you feel that way about her. I know a few women who don't feel that way about t heir mothers. Luckily I have a fantastic mom for a role model...and my girls have both said how they admire me, their grandmothers, aunts and great grandmothers...(Can you tell we're a very strong matriarchal family? :) )

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey June!

Both of those are good choices, too.

Helen Keller was a favorite of mine since I read "The Miracle Worker" as a young girl. Now that was someone who had to face huge adversity and still thrived.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Helen!

So, who are some historical Aussie women with true grit? You know, we don't get nearly enough of y'all's history over here.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Barb! I have already bought The Surrender of Lacy Morgan but have to read the Aussie authors for ARRC2011... but will read it after

How many of those books do you have to get through? Miss Lacy can be your reward!

Maureen said...

Thanks for the interesting post. I would say I truly appreciate all the women who went and fought for equal rights for women in the past and even today.

barb said...

Hi Suzanne
There are over 30 authors going I would like to have read at least one of their books .... of course, I have read all of Anna's LOL I think I might have to read 24/7 to read all of their books, I only have just over 3 weeks to do it in

Margay said...

Oh, there are so many! How about Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks? Or Anne Frank - what truer grit is there than a girl who faces her fate like that, at fifteen? I'm sure there are many more, but those ones just jumped into my head.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Barb: There are over 30 authors going I would like to have read at least one of their books

Wow, Barb, how long do you have to finish them by?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Margay! Rosa Parks is another quiet dissenter with True Grit, wasn't she? I'm always amazed when people do the right thing and quietly stand up for themselves how it can change and impact the world around them! Same goes with Anne Frank.

Louisa Cornell said...

Pipped at the post, La Campbell. Good luck with him, Jane!

Great post, Suzanne!

I am a big fan of Elizabeth I as well.

And Marian Anderson is a particular hero of mine. Absolutely amazing voice. I have all of her recordings on vinyl. And she did everything with such grace, dignity and class when those around her did not. I look at wonderful singers like Kathleen Battle and hope they know how much they owe to Marian Anderson.

The Rosa Parks Museum is just twenty minutes from my home. It is a wonderful monument to a brave and tenacious lady.

I admire both of my grandmothers, but especially my maternal grandmother. A full-blooded Creek working a share cropping farm in rural Alabama in the 20's and 30's when racism against "Injuns" was as rampant as that against any race. She raised nine children on that dirt farm with a Cherokee husband who was not around much and when he was he tended to be a mean drunk. She endured and taught her children that they could do anything if they worked hard enough at it. She managed to feed and clothe her children with little or nothing, worked long hard hours and never complained. She was an amazing woman.

CrystalGB said...

Wonderful post. I always admire gutsy women. Some that I find admirable are Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightengale, Carrie Nation and many more courageous women.

MsHellion said...

I admire Margaret Sanger--who I think of as the birth control lady. I think she was controversial and innovative in taking charge of women's sexual rights.

I also admire Audrey Hepburn--she faced a lot of hardship and scary stuff, but she always seemed to have a smile and kindness for everyone. Goodness in the face of adversity.

And the other Hepburn: Katherine. AUDACIOUS. *LOL* I think she was probably difficult to like at first because she didn't seem to care what you thought of her, but at the same time, you can't help but respect someone that comfortable in her own skin.

I also think Sandra Bullock has true grit; and Nicole Kidman. Sandra is so girl next door; and Kidman is so glamour Hollywood--but I think they're both dignity personified and both have backbones of steel.

jo robertson said...

Inspiring post, Suzanne. Thanks for the reminder of the courage of all women who've gone before us.

Hooot, Jane. Congrats on getting the rooster.

During last night's Academy Awards, as they flashed the names and pictures of those show business people who died last year, I thought of Lena Horne. Such a flat-out gorgeous woman, but also someone who played a role in civil rights issues in the U.S.

Cassondra said...

Woohooo Jane!

Grabbed him from under Anna's nose!

Cassondra said...

Suz, fantastic post!

I have not seen the new movie, True Grit, but I always thought it was Mattie who had the grit. John Wayne was great because he was John Wayne, of course, and an icon, but that movie was about the girl even then. I'm glad to see they kept that, at least. Steve will have to preview this one for me. I've heard it's a little darker than the original film, and that's probably good, but certain things I don't want to see, so he'll have to tell me if they're in there.

Cassondra said...

Sheree said:

Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock for all sorts of history, grammar, and times tables lessons via song!


YES!

A noun's a special kinda word
It's any name you've ever heard
I find it quite interesting
A noun's a person, place or thing.
A noun is a person place or thing.


I still remember those.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?

Donna MacMeans said...

Nice Post Suz. It's amazing what women with both passion and tenacity can accomplish. It makes me so mad to hear of the high volume of women who do not bother to vote in elections.That they take the rights they have for granted. Grrrr.

I applaud all the women you've highlighted today and the many more who quietly go about their way to change history.

traveler said...

Great post. I admire any woman who strives for the best. Helen Keller.

petite said...

Inspiring and lovely post today. A woman who deserves credit and accolades is my mother whose life was tough but never complained.

Joan said...

Yes, many women but one comes to mind now...Suzanne Ferrell.

She tirelessly pursued her dream of publication, fought the doubt demons with Rocky the Wonder Dog at her side.

But most of all, this amazing woman is filled with energy and encouragement and downright passion to help others traveling down the same path she has. I've never seen such a selfless act and am honored to be hounded, er...encouraged by this amazing author.

I so admire her, I acquired bronchitis in her honor :D

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Louisa! I figured Marian might have a special spot for you. My oldest studied opera a while and she loved to listen to Marian.

my maternal grandmother. A full-blooded Creek working a share cropping farm in rural Alabama in the 20's and 30's when racism against "Injuns" was as rampant as that against any race.

Your grandmother is truly an inspiration! I bet everyone of those nine children not only respected her, but adored her!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Crystal!

You're right. Those are all great women. Y'all know how much I admire Florence, (Or as the nurses in my nursing school used to call her...Flo). Again another woman who changed the world by her common sense and true grit.

We've chatted a bit about Rosa earlier in the comments, but not Susan B. Anthony or Carrie Nation.

Susan was part of the driving force behind the American women getting the right to vote, while Carrie took on alcohol abuse and getting Prohibition started.

Two more great ladies

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Ms. Hellion!

More great additions to our "Ladies of True Grit"!

I am thankful daily, (or in my case nightly) for the awareness of birth control and it's need, and thankful for Margaret Sanger's groundbreaking work in the field!

I also think Sandra Bullock has true grit; and Nicole Kidman. Sandra is so girl next door; and Kidman is so glamour Hollywood--but I think they're both dignity personified and both have backbones of steel.

You know, in this world of celebrititis, it's great to see some rolemodels we can look up to and watch them deal with the stress and craziness that Hollywood breeds, isn't it? I think both Sandra and Nicole have done it well!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Oh, and by the way, Ms. Hellion, I got one glimpse of the Oscars last night at work and it was Sandra Bullock giving the Best Actor Award out. (Yea Collin!), and she looked fabulous!!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jo!

By the way, you are one of my personal inspirations of True Grit in raising seven children while working and then starting a new career as a writer! (Especially after yesterday's post!)

And wow, I do love Lena Horne's voice. And as an actress. Sadly, much of her work is not in the mainstream, but boy did she do a fantastic job in Carmen Jones!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Cassondra!


I have not seen the new movie, True Grit, but I always thought it was Mattie who had the grit. John Wayne was great because he was John Wayne, of course, and an icon, but that movie was about the girl even then.


After Steve checks it out I hope you get to see this. I think this one really focuses on Mattie more than the last one. And Jeff Bridges as Rooster is definitely less "shiney" than John, (Sorry John, my love, but he is.)

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Donna!

I have to agree on the women not voting. First thing my daughters both did when they turned 18 was register to vote. Do you think me telling them their greatgrandmother went to jail so they'd have that right had anything to do with it? :)

I applaud all the women you've highlighted today and the many more who quietly go about their way to change history.

There are so many out there. Many who just see a need and volunteer to fill the void.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Traveler!

Helen was amazing. She championed not only women, but all individuals with handicaps, especially in a time when many were shut into institutions instead of given the chance to rise to their potential. My faovrite story is of her meeting Mark Twain!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Petite!
A woman who deserves credit and accolades is my mother whose life was tough but never complained.

Isn't it great to have such an inspiration so close to you? And I'll bet she's your biggest cheerleader, isn't she?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Maureen!

I would say I truly appreciate all the women who went and fought for equal rights for women in the past and even today.

I'm with you, too. Without their efforts the world would be a very different world, wouldn't it?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Aw, Joanie, you've got me blushing down here, lass!

I think all the Bandits are big supporters of each other, as well as other aspiring and published authors. We know what a long and difficult, and sometimes lonely road this is we travel.

And NO getting Bronchitis in my honor!! I get it enough for all of us! Get thee some meds ASAP!

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, I always admired Lena Horne too. And wasn't she the most gorgeous woman? Beautiful smile. And amazing voice.

Leni said...

Shirley Chisholm, Harriet Tubman, Octavia Butler, and Bette Davis are four women that show example of what can be done when the odds are against you and how you can keep moving forward.

catslady said...

Every woman that was mentioned. And all the women who never got famous and survive day to day on their own!!

Deb said...

Kate Shelley. She was a 15-year old girl who crawled across the highest railroad bridge on her hands and knees to give warning to railroad workers that another bridge was out so they could stop the Midnight Express? (1881)

Or Abbie Gardner. She was 14-years old, captured by the Sioux Indians; she and another woman were the only survivors of the Spirit Lake Massacre. They were marched for days on end in March to the Indian camp. She was finally traded to Indian agents that summer for blankets, tobacco, kegs of powder, and cloth.

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

P.S. Iowa History...I love teaching it.

Another one---Sacajawea traveled with Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery and had a 2-month-old baby that she brought along on the trek to find a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean.

Christine Wells said...

Suz, great post! I admire all of the women you chose. Elizabeth I has always been a favourite of mine. I read everything about her I could get my hands on as a teenager. Someone closer to home that I admire for her grit is Nora Roberts. Every time I feel a slacker moment coming on when writing, her voice sounds in my head!

Jane, hope you're showing that rooster some true grit over there!

jo robertson said...

Wow, Deb, thanks for sharing the stories of these young women. I didn't know the history.

jo robertson said...

I totally agree with you, Catslady. I really like acknowledging those women who live quiet lives as unsung heroines, just doing their jobs, rearing their children, contributing to their communities.

jo robertson said...

Yes, Anna, Lena Horne was beautiful way into her latter years too. Such gorgeous skin! Not to mention the voice LOL.

jo robertson said...

Awww, shucks, Suz! That's awfully kind of you to say so. What's the line Julia Roberts says about being an ordinary girl. I'd add an ordinary person trying to do the best with whatever gifts -- or lack thereof (ha, ha) -- she had.

That's why I love our Banditas and Buddies. They're all such fabulous women who may never go down in the history books, but change the course of lives in their own stewardship.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Catslady!

You're right, there are thousands of women who have done great things quietly and on a daily basis!

Sometimes I think women are made of gentle steel.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Leni!

Shirley Chisholm, Harriet Tubman, Octavia Butler, and Bette Davis I know and smire Shirley, Harriet and Bette, but have never heard of Octavia Butler. I'll have to look her up!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Deb!

Two more young heroines to add to my list of ture grit women! I'm so glad you added their stories to our group!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Deb, How could I forget Sacajawea? I'm actually related, by a few generations, to Merriweather Lewis!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Christine!

Someone closer to home that I admire for her grit is Nora Roberts. Every time I feel a slacker moment coming on when writing, her voice sounds in my head!

LOL, that might be a little scary!!

But all kidding aside, La Nora is always a sense of inspiration and kick-your-butt-into-gearness, isn't she?

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Jo: That's why I love our Banditas and Buddies. They're all such fabulous women who may never go down in the history books, but change the course of lives in their own stewardship.

I have to agree with you wholeheartedly on that!