Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Flying High

Posted by: Shawna Reppert

I'm a timid driver. I’m a nervous flier, even on a commercial jet.  (This scenes with Raven's adventures in Mundane air travel in Raven's Wing are based on my own personal aversion.) You couldn't pay me enough to get on a small private aircraft.
With this background, you might be surprised that one of my childhood heroes was Amelia Earhart.
Part of the appeal, of course, was the mystique of her last flight and how she disappeared without a trace.  I was one of those kids who was all about myths, legends, and mysteries. Stonehenge. Nessie. UFOs. The Bermuda Triangle.
But Amelia (in my child-mind, we were always on a first-name basis), Amelia was far more to me than another mystery. She was a woman who did, a woman who dared. She ignored all those who said a woman's place was in the home, who said that women were inherently less capable, that real ladies don’t go adventuring. She set records. Congress awarded her a medal for her aerial courage and pioneering spirit.
I grew up in a very traditional Catholic family that believed in separate roles for men and women. I went to a Catholic school that tried to instill in me the feminine virtues of mild manners and modesty.
Amelia and women like her showed me another way to be. I galloped racehorses in high school. I handled birds of prey in college. I've shot a pistol and a longbow, and I've thrown javelin from the back of a moving horse. The unfortunately early onset if arthritis may have slowed me down a bit, but, damn, I had fun while I could.
And a tiny bit of Amelia's spirit lives on in my characters. Catherine Fairchild from my Werewolves and Gaslight series never listens to the people who would tell her what a lady can and can't do, either.

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