Writing Wild – An Inspiring Book About Women And Nature

By Nikki Tilley | August 9, 2020
Image by Timber Press
by Nikki Tilley
August 9, 2020

I had the chance recently to review a new, inspiring book, Writing Wild – Women Poets, Ramblers, and Mavericks Who Shape How We See the Natural World by Kathryn Aalto. This fascinating read celebrates some of the most inspirational women writers from across the globe. Their penned thoughts, along with the author’s, take readers on a journey through time while “deepening their connection to the natural world,” as she so eloquently describes it.

A Refreshing Book about Women Writers

This is truly a book “celebrating scholars, spiritual seekers, conservationists, scientists, novelists, and explorers” of all things natural and more. I found the diversity of these women quite compelling. I could even relate to many of them, envisioning myself in their world. Some of my favorites included famed garden designer and writer Gertrude Jekyll. I’ve always enjoyed her works. In fact, she’s one of the many garden writers that helped inspire my own writing endeavors, and gardening too.

And who could overlook Laura Ingalls Wilder…more than just the well-known spitfire gal from Little House on the Prairie – another favorite of mine growing up. Her stories delve deep into life on the plains back in the day. I used to imagine myself traveling across the land in covered wagons, journeying to places new and untouched, a far cry from today’s crowded developments and busy streets. Another inspiring woman that took me away to destinations unknown was poet and mountaineer, Dorothy Wordsworth.

Andrea Wulf, a German nature writer, attracted my attention. I, too, am a fan of the first-person narrative (with German ancestry too), and hers is a narrative nonfiction approach into garden history. What a fabulous way to bring stories to life and take readers into the beautiful gardens of yesteryear. Mary Austin was another inspiring woman. Oh, how I relate to her life story, the difficulties with marriage, family and the juggling of “life.” The way she viewed the world around her and fought to defend others. I can see much of myself in her. If you’ve never read about her story or her works, you definitely should.

So many women, so many stories. I found the book uplifting and nostalgic. “Part travel essay, literary biography, and cultural history, Writing Wild encourages a new generation of women to pick up their pens, head outdoors, and start writing wild.” I’m headed outdoors to the backyard now, into the wildlife garden – pen and notepad in hand, camera too. You never know what serendipitous adventures nature will present. I can only hope to be half the writer and/or explorer many of these influential women have been.

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