I’m excited to bring you this conversation with Danielle Dutton, acclaimed Margaret the First author, whose own mother instilled an appreciation for reading and education early in her life. Danielle and I spent many family holidays together growing up because our mothers have been life-long friends. But, it’s been years since I’ve spoken with Danielle and it was such a joy to hear about the E.P.I.C life she is living.
Danielle is the author of three books, most recently Margaret the First, based on the life of Margaret Cavendish, a 17th century Duchess who wrote and published poems, plays and other works during a time when “being a writer” was not an option for most women.
In addition to being an author herself, Danielle also co-founded, with her husband, the independent press called Dorothy, a publishing project. The press came from her own desire to create more space for innovative works by female authors. It is named for her great aunt, a librarian who drove a bookmobile through the backroads of Southern California, delivering books to underserved desert communities.
Born and raised in California, Danielle now lives in Missouri, where she teaches in the writing program at Washington University in St. Louis and enjoys time with her husband and eight year old son, both writers themselves.
Danielle and I talked about the small steps she took along the way in her life, from working in a book store in England to taking a writing class and then applying for her MFA on a whim, that brought her to where she is today.
She shares with honesty how she has moved through depression and anxiety and how she has become a kinder person since becoming a mother to her son, who she says is hilarious and her favorite person in the world.
We also discuss the importance of a mindful daily practice. How Buddhist meditation has begun to transform the way she thinks about herself, helping her to go down the “right roads” in her thoughts. And she shares how the books she has authored came from both a mindset of patience and a commitment to daily writing.
I found Danielle to be totally delightful and was inspired by her honesty, her sincerity and this way in which she comes across at the same time relatable and brilliant.
I hope you will join me in exploring the resources she shared in Buddhist meditation and also in following through on her challenge to read more, read books we wouldn’t normally read, and make time and space for a writing project of our own to emerge.
Topics discussed in this episode:
- The impact Danielle’s mother had on her life and on her own journey as a mother
- The unique gifts her great aunt, a librarian, sent her as a child that planted seeds for Dorothy, the feminist press Danielle co-created
- Danielle’s struggle with anxiety and depression and how mindfulness and meditation has helped her
- The various, but significant, shifts that Danielle has experienced to get to where she is today
- How her son is her favorite person and how becoming a mother has changed her
- The need Danielle saw in the cultural conversation of including more women writers and their voices in the literary world
- Neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to change and adapt
- How her press became part of Danielle’s support network and why a community of self is also important
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Dorothy, a publishing project – Danielle’s press
- Danielle’s book, Margaret the First: A Novel
- The Wallcreeper by Nell Zink
- On Being with Krista Tippett, a podcast
- Tara Brach, a psychologist and proponent of Buddhist meditation
- Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill by Matthieu Ricard
- Modeh Ani Morning Prayer/Song (version by my cantor Elena Jagoda) that I sing each day after a short morning meditation
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
If you haven’t yet visited the website, I want to invite you to head over to mothersquest.com to explore some of the ways you can get more connected. At the site, you can sign up for our email list to have show notes delivered to your inbox, click the link to join the Facebook group and press record to leave a voice message for me.
Help me Create the Finale!! – I would love to hear your favorite moments from the podcast and how what you’re learning impacts your E.P.I.C. life. I plan to highlight those moments from the different episodes, and your voices, in the season finale coming in early April. So do head over to mothersquest.com by March 31st and use the voice message tool to tell me who you are, your favorite moment, and the impact it’s had on you.
Finally, I invite you to schedule a free 15 minute planning session where I can help you bring more intention to your life using the Live Your E.P.I.C. Life Planning and Reflection Sheets which you can download for FREE at www.mothersquest.com/reflectionsheets. Email me at email@example.com to set a time.
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- Claire Fry who dedicated this week’s episode of the podcast
- Divya Silbermann
- Rachel Winter
- Caren and Debbie Lieberman
- Cameron Miranda
- Fran and David Lieberman
- Debbie and Alan Goore
- Jenise and Marianne of the Sustainable Living Podcast
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Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.
Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. life, engaging mindfully with their children (E), passionately and purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), investing in themselves (I), and connecting to a strong support network (C).
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