2014 has been declared as the year of reading women by writer & illustrator, Joanna Walsh! In a blog post that she wrote for Berfrois this past January, Joanna stated that: “though women read more books than men, and female authors are published in comparable numbers, they are more easily overlooked: a smaller presence in literary journals both as reviewers, and the reviewed, they also account for fewer literary translations.” This isn’t a question of whether female writers are published, because they are. It’s a matter of how they are published.
Between the dedicated Twitter account to a slew of reading list suggestions, readers, publishers, and publications have created their own definitions of #ReadWomen2014, and have supported female writers in various ways. Here at Workman Publishing, we’ve decided to feature one of our female authors a month until the end of the year, through Q & A’s, book features, and more!
Now, without further ado meet Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Real Happiness at Work, which was just chosen by Oprah.com as a “Book That Every Joy-Seeking Woman Needs to Read.”
Q: If you were to name one small thing a person could do every day at work to get closer to real happiness, what would it be?
A: The single thing I’d suggest would be “remember to breathe.” There are times we get so stressed it seems as if our ability to breathe normally freezes, and a few conscious breaths can release some of that tension. Also, periodically placing our attention on the feeling of our breath moving in and out of our bodies returns us to ourselves, and to the moment, even in the midst of crazy, hectic momentum all around us. When we return to ourselves in this way we can remember our priorities, what we really want out of an encounter or an endeavor. I like mindful awareness of the breath as a tool because it is independent and private. No one needs to know you are doing it.
Q: What surprised you most about writing the book on the workplace?
A: How similar peoples’ descriptions were of the sources of stress in their jobs, (communications difficulties, feeling unappreciated, and a sense of an overwhelming workload), though the range of livelihoods represented was enormous: including writers and artists, special ed. teachers, firefighters, hedge fund managers, divorce lawyers, and an undercover policewoman.
Q: What was the most memorable thing you learned while researching and writing this book?
A: How people can find meaning and fulfillment at work even if it isn’t the job of their dreams.For example, several people with jobs not afforded much respect in society at large (eg. working at a call in center, or as a home health aid) found great fulfillment through their commitment to kindness towards all whom they encountered.
Q: Who are some of your favorite female authors?
A: Barbara Fredrickson, Annie Lamotte, Naomi Shihab Nye (poet), Elizabeth Lesser, and for most of my life, Harper Lee.
To find out more about Sharon Salzberg, visit her site here or check the Workman Facebook page throughout the week!