From the Author
"The women in this book," says actress Sharon Stone about Women of Courage, "push against the grain, defy complacency, and reach for their dreams. That alone is remarkable, but more remarkable still is that they do it for the good of others. In that, they inspire us all to speak and live from our hearts."
She's talking about women like Susan Winston, who had a perfectly accomplished and fulfilled life as a mother of two bright children, wife of a good man, and television producer who, among many other accomplishments, was Christopher Reeve's producer during the Academy Awards several years ago. It surprised no one more than her when she shook up her perfectly stable and steady life to adopt a baby girl from China. Her deeply moving story is one of forty in Women of Courage, a very personal and intimate book written in the voices of the women themselves, read as though you were sitting down over coffee or tea with them, sharing a moment, coming away deeply inspired.
Women of Courage is a book much needed as we roll toward the millennium, a powerful antidote to the toxic messages that batter us from every direction these days," says Larry Dossey, M.D., and best-selling author of Reinventing Medicine. "The stories in Women of Courage go beyond gender. They convey hope, and they reveal what life can be. If you need inspiration, if you need to get unstuck, this is your book."
Kelly Stone, Sharon's sister, reveals her tumultuous collapse following an accident, how her life changed entirely, how she climbed out of a desperate situation and went on to help homeless women and children. Laura Evans relives the moment she came off a mountain and entered an experimental treatment for cancer, how she survived and went on to create Expedition Inspiration, taking cancer survivors to scale mountains and raising millions of dollars for research at the same time. Dr. Janelle Goetcheus shares an unexpected turn in her life when she and her husband, bound for missionary work in Pakistan, ended up in the heart of Washington D.C. caring for the indigent on the streets. U.S. Senator Patty Murray recalls being branded "just a housewife in running shoes" when she ran for office. Cora Lee Johnson tells of her dream to start a sewing center and how she did the impossible in spite of naysayers. Carole Isenberg talks of taking in her father as he was dying.
The breadth of experience in Women of Courage is stunning. I, myself, initially went looking for the bigger than life stories, for women who could metaphorically slay the dragon. What I found was humbling and profound. Courage is a strange and magnificent, a curious and complex thing. It may be full of noise and boldness but it may also be a quiet thing, intimate, almost fragile - a deep look into our souls. It may be found in the exhalation of love. In the speaking of truth. In forgiving and the making of peace. Mary Pipher, best-selling author of Reviving Ophelia, told me, "The way our culture is defining courage is so ridiculous. Courage has become Raiders of the Lost Ark, or riding in spaceships, killing people, taking enormous physical risks. To me, the kind of courage that's really interesting is someone whose spouse has Alzheimer's and yet manages to wake up every morning and be cheerful with that person and respectful of that person and find things to enjoy even though their day is very, very difficult. That kind of courage is really under-valued in our culture. We need to redefine our dialogue about courage."
In Women of Courage is a rich tapestry of the human experience that touches a soulful place in each of us because this is life, not the heroics of myths or wars or movies. We have much to learn from these women. Their stories are precious and help us remember who we are, truly. Their accumulated experience is broad and inspires us to stand up and live our lives more fully.
About the Author
Former Senior Editor of New Realities magazine, author and screenwriter Katherine Martin won a 1997 Blockbuster/McKnight Film Award for her script, The Cloverfields of Cannon Falls, which Demi Moore's company, Moving Pictures, is Executive Producing. With film director Katt Shea, she wrote the original Showtime movie Last Exit to Earth. She also wrote the independent feature film, A Time of Darkness, starring George Segal. With fitness experts Debbie and Carlos Rosas (featured in the May 10, 1999, issue of Business Week), she wrote Non-Impact Aerobics (hardback by Random House, trade paper by Avon).
Over the last several years, Martin has written cover stories and profiles for the San Francisco Chronicle's Sunday Supplement and for Women's Sports & Fitness, as well as numerous articles for Ms., Parents, Parenting, Working Mother, Fit, Young Miss, Mothers Today, New Mother, Monthly Detroit, and San Francisco.