OK – you have to know my bias up front. I love Susy and am one of the endorsers of her book. But, I think that just means you will love her and her book. Today is your chance to win a copy of So Long Status Quo: What I Learned From Women Who Changed the World. Leave a comment below and I will pick a winner on Friday. If you have a group of cool, thinking, love-a-good-discussion-kind of friends, this would make a great book group pick. Susy even has some group discussion questions you can use at her website www.susyflory.com
INTERVIEW WITH SUSY FLORY
So Long Status Quo: What I Learned From Women Who Changed the World
Q. You describe your middle class suburban life as safe, boring, and predictable—like staying curled up in a comfortable couch. That sounds pretty good! Why were you so dissatisfied with your life?
A. I loved my comfy couch, and my safe life, for a long time. But at some point it became like a trap, like a safe warm cocoon that I couldn’t break out of. Do you remember when you were a kid and you longed for summer vacation? During those long hot days of school just before break you dream about summer and can’t wait for school to be over so you can sleep in, play with friends, relax, and enjoy yourself. Then summer comes, and it’s wonderful, and you get to do those things you were dreaming about, but after a while it goes on too long. You get bored, and there isn’t much of a routine or purpose to your days, and all of a sudden you can’t wait for school to start again. Do you remember that feeling? That was my safe-on-the-couch life. I yearned for something more.
Q. So what became the “something more”?
A. First, I studied a group of amazing women who changed the world, like Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Mary Magdalene. I immersed myself in their lives and tried to get to know them better. Who were they? What were their lives like? Why prompted them to step out and make a difference in the world? Then, for each woman, I created a little adventure in order to follow in her footsteps and live out one of her ideals or values. So for Rosie the Riveter, I went into a metal shop and learned how to weld. For Eleanor Roosevelt, I traveled to Cuba on a secret humanitarian mission to work with children. For Mother Teresa, I went on a fast. Now that one was hard!
Q. So Long Status Quo highlights nine amazing women who changed the world. Of those nine, who is your favorite?
A. My absolute favorite was Harriet Tubman. She had so many obstacles to overcome. She was born into slavery. She was illiterate. She suffered a brain injury when she was young that caused her to go into a coma. She had slave catchers after her. She had no money. She worked all alone. Yet, she accomplished unbelievable things. She never quit. Even after she had been a conductor on the Underground Railroad – she led 300 slaves to safety, to freedom, without losing one – after that she became an army scout, a spy, and an army nurse during the civil war. She was unpaid, just a volunteer. When she was an army nurse she was the first line of care and would care for the soldiers lying on the battlefield. They were just lying there, suffering and in pain. She took care of them with her own money, her own supplies, and no one to really help her. She was doing it on her own. And, at night, when she would go back to her room, she would bake 50 pies; she would make homemade gingerbread and homemade root beer from actual roots she got out in the woods.
Q. In the book you talk about the particular project where you sold jewelry for fresh water. You took an inventory of the things you owned and were surprised by all that you have. Now, have you found the clutter level climbing back up? Are you more proactive about reducing your purchases or consumption of goods?
A. After I wrote that chapter I went through my closet. And it’s not that I’m a huge shopper, but when I did count my shirts and my underwear and my shoes, it really showed me that I had way more than I thought I had, and, definitely way more than I needed. So I did give away a bunch of stuff. I think we can accumulate things sometimes for emotional reasons, almost like overeating. So my closet is on a diet!