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Juneau Author Publishes “Women’s Voices: The Wisdom of the Grandmothers”

Longtime Juneau writer and advertising and public relations agency owner Susan Stark Christianson recently completed a three year effort with the publishing of her first book, Women's Voices: The Wisdom of the Grandmothers.

The160-page book contains interviews with more than 30 grandmothers. It is available online at www.atlasbooks.com, www.WomensVoicesProject.com, and at selected book stores. It will soon also be available at www.amazon.com as well.

Christianson is an award-winning former journalist and the owner of Christianson Communications, an advertising and public relations firm, and Walton Group Publications, a new publishing business focused on promoting work by women. She is a former Deputy Director of Communications for the State of Alaska and currently works part-time as Director of Communications for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. She is the mother of two daughters and a soon-to-be grandmother.

Working on Women's Voices: The Wisdom of the Grandmothers was the fulfillment of a one of Christianson’s life dreams.” It was a life-changing project,” she said, “providing the opportunity to meet and be inspired by the incredible mothers and grandmothers we met along the journey.”

The book set out to find answers to important life questions, Christianson said The author and the three women who traveled with her on a north to south journey interviewed mothers and grandmothers from the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Alaska and across the United States. A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to help fund a women’s center in the Sakha Republic.

“We set out to ask grandmothers to share what they have learned from their life experiences with younger women,” she said. ”There were nine essential questions. We asked the women to share their most difficult experience in life and what gave them the strength to overcome it. We wanted to know who and what the women had drawn on for support during difficult times. We asked what in life had brought them the most joy. What was their proudest moment, accomplishment or experience?  And we wanted to know if there was anything these grandmothers thought was important when they were young that they later realized wasn’t meaningful or important. We asked if there were any “lies” they had believed to be true about themselves or about the world that they now knew had never been true. We wanted to know their greatest regrets, their biggest mistakes. And we wanted to know the one most important piece of advice they could give their daughters and granddaughters. Lastly, we asked the grandmothers if there was anything from their culture or their upbringing they thought was important to share and preserve.”

The women interviewed ranged from age 44 to 102. “They were black, white, brown, yellow and every mix between. They were Yurok, Navajo, The Tlingit, Irish, Russian, English, Iranian, Armenian, South African, Chinese, Chumash and more. They were Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Muslims, agnostics, and those who practiced their Native ways. They lived in Siberian villages, Alaskan towns, cities and suburbs across the Lower 48. They lived on mountains, tundra, plains, mesas, deserts and ocean sides,” Christianson said. “They voted for Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Regan, George Bush and Barack Obama. One escaped religious persecution in Iran and another escaped sexual slavery and physical mutilation. They were attorney generals, recovering addicts, nurses, teachers, homemakers, authors, and waitresses. They were married for 65 years, divorced after 60 years, widowed, rich, poor, abused, abandoned, honored, and forgotten.”

“We met them in parking lots, on their streets, in coffee houses and on the beach. We approached them as strangers and left as friends.  They shared their experience, strength, hopes and dreams, freely and for the asking,” she said. “It is my hope that the book and the wisdom shared within it will be an inspiration to those whose lives it touches. It is my hope and prayer that all who read it will be emboldened to follow their own path, enlightened in their despair, enriched in their sense of who they are and embraced by the love and the beauty that surrounds us. Our prayer is that the voices of all women will be heard throughout the world, and that as we listen, we will heal not only ourselves and future generations of women, but our mother earth as well.”

-End-

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