Written & Narrated by
Nonfiction / Self Help Memoir / Aging & Longevity
Publisher: Narrating Sound ** February 22, 2022
Length: 4 hours, 43 minutes
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Ever since Eve was banned from the garden, women have endured the oftentimes painful and inaccurate definitions foisted upon them by the patriarchy. Maiden, mother, and crone, representing the three stages assigned to a woman’s life cycle, have been the limiting categories of both ancient and modern (neo-pagan) mythology. And one label, in particular, rankles: crone. The word conjures a wizened hag—useless for the most part, marginalized by appearance and ability.
None of us has ever truly fit the old-crone image, and for today’s midlife women, a new archetype is being birthed: the Creatrix.
In Creatrix Rising, Raffelock lays out—through personal stories and essays—the highlights of the past fifty years, in which women have gone from a quiet strength to a resounding voice. She invites us along on her own transformational journey by providing probing questions for reflection so that we can flesh out and bring to life this new archetype within ourselves. If what the Dalai Lama has predicted—that women will save the world—proves true, then the Creatrix will for certain be out front, leading the pack.
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Before saying much more about the book, I think it’s important to explain the word creatrix. The author defines it as a “distinctly feminine word that simply means a woman who makes things.”
What a great and wide open definition that is. It could describe a woman who creates art. Or a woman who creates something to help her community. Or a woman who remakes herself in her middle-to-late years into something new. Perhaps a new career, or a move to a new home that opens up possibilities of fulfillment in a new environment.
Something I didn’t know before I read Creatrix Rising was the three ways women have been defined in the past; maiden, mother, and crone.
Like Raffelock, I take a great umbrage at the term “crone” as it has such a negative connotation and brings to mind images of a gnarled, ugly old woman who yells at neighborhood kids for crossing the lawn or snipes at a store clerk. While I do have gnarled, ugly old hands, I neither yell nor snipe.
In addition to sharing her experiences going through the three stages of womanhood and how she changed and grew as a person, the author relates stories of the many different people who influenced her along that journey. Some of those people challenged the author, but in essence they all nurtured her in different ways, from the intellectual to the spiritual.
There is a lot of wisdom to absorb by reading this book, and I encourage you to do so with a notebook and pencil nearby to respond to the reflections and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. Raffelock makes it clear that the reader can respond to some of the exercises, all of them, or none of them, so there’s no pressure.
Like with her previous book, A Delightful Little Book on Aging that I reviewed here in July 2020, the intent here is to invite women to think, to consider, to reflect at their own pace. Creatrix Rising isn’t a textbook for a class where one needs to get a passing grade at the end. It’s just a gentle, and most enjoyable, nudge to expand our way of thinking about ourselves as the years start to pile up.
I listened to the audio version of this book which was narrated by the author. She did a terrific job with her delivery, and it soon soon became clear to me why she’s so highly rated and respected as a public speaker. Her voice is natural, conversational in tone, and her passion for her subject matter is very apparent in every word, every nuance.
When reading a book in paper, it’s easy to see where there’s a scene break or a new chapter. A bit of white space, or a symbol, or the obvious new chapter heading helps the reader navigate the format changes, but some of that is hard to duplicate in an audio book. Narrators can simply read the new chapter heading for that clarification of that change, but what to do about those pesky scene or subject breaks? In Creatrix Rising, the author uses a very light sound, like a soft ping of a tiny bell, to indicate that a chapter had ended, and we were now going to get the wrap up and the questions for consideration before moving on to the next chapter.
I smiled every time I heard that pleasant little sound.
Even though I truly enjoyed listening to this book, for me it would be easier to take full advantage of the invitation for self-reflection to have the paper copy to highlight passages that resonated, as well as answer the questions.
But keep in mind that I’m that old lady with crooked fingers. Younger women more adept at using a smart device to listen to a book and quickly switch to a notetaking app, will have no problem. And I encourage women to check out this audio book and accept the invitation to be a Creatrix Rising.
Stephanie Raffelock is an author, speaker, and voiceover artist. She is the editor of the anthology, Art in the Time of Unbearable Crisis (2022). Stephanie is the author of Creatrix Rising, Unlocking the Power of Midlife Women (2021) and she penned the award-winning book, A Delightful Little Book on Aging (2020). She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and a goofy Labrador Retriever named Mickey.
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