About one third of the way through A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother by the Anna Prushinskaya she writes the following in the essay "Our Sphincters, Our Births:"
"How are women's stories told? Who hears these stories? What do these stories do?"
As we read these lines, these essays, and Anna Prushinskaya's dispatches from the world of motherhood and childbirth, we kept thinking what questions could possibly be more timely than these... until we that is, we thought, questions are great, there are no solutions until there are questions, but really, more important than the questions are the answers. Which may be too reductive, or simple. But with The Handsmaid's Tale upon us again and Bill Cosby being found guilty today, allegations against Tom Brokaw, you wonder how cultural change happens and how fast it can happen. This speaks to women in positions of power, publishing and political, policies that are equitable, inclusion riders, and men shutting-up and listening. It also speaks to stories being pushed-out into the world. All of which, may be unfair to wrap around Prushinskaya's work, but if men and politicans, humans, don't hear these stories, all of them, the tragic and triumphant, the chance for change is only diminished. The question then may be not be how these stories are told or who hears them, but how do we ensure they're heard at all? In this case, Prushinskaya crafted them and Midwestern Gothic got them out in the world. But who will write the next story and the one after that, and who will publish them, who will listen and how does it grow? Again, Prushinskaya may not be asking her book to do any of this, but the questions have to be asked, now, and tomorrow and then the day after that, and people have to listen. And the stories have to be told. It's a gift to have Prushinskaya's stories in our hands and head and in the ether, and they should be read, now, tomorrow and the day after that. After that, we need more, always more. What do these stories do? They change lives.