This weekend I attended the Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Science Festival. The concurrence of these two events turned Madison into a city-wide classroom of literature, history, journalism, poetry, science and, at times, all of these combined. It was a learning extravaganza for all ages.
One of the standout sessions I attended featured Gail Sheehy reading and sharing stories from her new memoir. Sheehy pushed boundaries throughout her life. Professionally, she broke of out of the women’s page at the New York Herald Tribune at a time when most female journalists were relegated to the back pages. She was one of the pioneers of New Journalism and she spent years researching and writing Passages, named one of the 10 most influential books of our time by a Library of Congress survey. During her appearance in Madison, Sheehy read from her memoir, Daring: My Passages, and shared wide-ranging stories of daring from her professional and personal life.
As a companion to her memoir, Sheehy has started a new online project called Daring to encourage women to share their own stories of daring. On the website she exhorts women to “dream dangerously and live confidently”. I certainly saw lots of women authors and scientists doing just that in Madison this weekend. I look forward to gleaning inspiration from all these women to take more risks in my own life.