Sunday, 6 February 2022
Sometimes you have to look back to look forward
It’s 4 years since we started.
“I am in the early stage of planning a project that is a bit ambitious but, I reckon, could be quite fun and maybe even important."
That was part of an email I sent to around 70 people on 14 January 2018, to tell them about the podcast I hoped to run over 100 days, sharing a different story of achievement each day. The story should be true, and by a woman. The project aimed to shed light on the huge variety of women’s stories that exist, but aren’t always heard. It was a celebration of 100 years since the first (small number) of women could vote in the UK, and it asked - what next?
It was late on a Sunday night, and I had ummed and ahhed about sending it over the day. The people on that list were the most important people I knew, my friends, teachers and peers that I looked up to. People who knew other people, people who I really wanted to impress. So I was a bit nervous. What if they thought my idea was stupid? What - and this was almost more scary - if they thought it was good? I would have no option but to go through with it.
Back in 2018 I wrote “Why? - Why not? I think that though we have made massive progress, women’s voices and their stories are perhaps not quite as prevalent as they may be. I’m hoping that the project gets a bit of attention and highlights that point. I also just think it would be amazing to have a collection of a hundred (one hundred!!!) people’s stories in the same place. Who knows if it’s even possible.”
It was possible. 100 writers shared my passion for great stories and the belief we need more, different stories in the world. 4 years later, 100 Voices has evolved - we completed the challenge of sharing 100 stories in 100 days, and then, thanks to over 500 people - all of you brilliant supporters - we have taken these stories, developed them, found more writers, designed an amazing cover (which I'm sharing here!) and are just about to launch the book into the world on 3 March. I can't wait to send you your copies soon, along with your rewards.
2018 was a great year for learning about how women, and numerous men, in the past had come together to push for women's rights. There’s still so much to do. 4 years on and the other side of a pandemic, it’s even clearer. So we hope that by creating this book, that by asking our writers to look back and find those moments that made them proud, we will inspire others to tell their own stories, and push for change.
I'll be sending out another email around the launch to let you know what we're doing and how you can get involved! And when you get your copy we'd love you to talk about it and share your pics on social media - tag us @100voices100ye1 on twitter and 100voices!00years on Instagram.
For me this project has always been about bringing people together - you, our writers and the community that we have built. On 6 February 2018, 4 years ago, we played our first episode - Lemon Curd by Rachel Barnett- Jones. Each time I listen back I love it more. It's fitting that the piece is all about connecting with others, and also being empowered to do your own thing (and getting over getting it wrong). I asked Rachel if she had any reflections on the piece and ahead of the book coming out. She said:
‘Lemon Curd is a piece about the friendship, community and the support of other women - without which this book would never have reached its publication date. Miranda and the entire team show that together we can achieve anything we set our hearts to.’
Here it is, and I thoroughly recommend listening to Rachel voice her story on our website. It even has sound effects.
Sending all the best for the week ahead - hope it's as tangy and delicious as this Lemon Curd!
Lemon Curd by Rachel Barnett-Jones
Kettle’s on - what’ll it be?
Coffee, Tea, camomile, peppermint, lemon and ginger, something to help with digestion, something else to help with digestion. Hot water with a slice of lemon?
Oh. No. Actually. I’m out of lemons.
I made lemon curd.
Yes. I did.
Had loads of lemons.
Thought I’d make lemon curd.
Juiced the lemons.
And a couple of ancient limes for good luck.
Texted Mum, ‘do you like lemon curd?’
Thought she did. Must have been being polite that time a friend gave her a jar.
Impressed I was making it.
BBC Good Food says it’s easy though.
Text best friend, ‘I’m making lemon curd’.
She’s equally impressed.
It’s really not that hard.
I start to worry.
Text friend who’s good at baking.
‘Is lemon curd difficult?’
She doesn’t reply.
Then she does.
‘No. It’s really easy, here’s my recipe.’
Her recipe looks REALLY complicated.
I decide to press on with the three step recipe I’ve found.
Cross referencing it with Delia Online which is entirely different and highly contradictory.
By now I’m flying blind so I decide to press on.
And I’ve already gone ‘off recipe’ because I’ve gone for a tiny bit of maple syrup rather than a cupful of sugar - because sugar is EVIL and maple syrup is less evil apparently.
So the butter is melting into the lemon juice.
I wonder about adding another flavour.
Decide not to.
Then I add the eggs.
Text best friend,
‘my eggs are scrambling in the lemons’
She sends a laughing yellow face with tears of mirth.
Text friend good at baking,
‘what should I do if the eggs start scrambling?’
She doesn’t reply.
Should have tempered the eggs apparently.
Bloody BBC Good Food recipe three simple steps.
Whisk like my arm is powered by Duracell.
Eggs still scrambling.
Find the sieve
‘How’s it going?’
I text back
‘Brilliant. Looking glossy. Kitchen smells of lemons.’
Let the mixture cool down.
Sieve it some more.
It looks like I’ve saved the curd.
Try a bit.
Bitter lemon pulls my lips back from my gums
Tastes of lemons
Smells of lemons
She texts back
Big pot for us
Little pot for elderly next door neighbour, I’ll take it round tomorrow and get back the container for the chopped liver I gave him a couple of weeks back.
In the morning
I peek into the pot
It’s set, smooth and clear.
My kitchen smells of lemons.
Kettle’s boiled - what’ll it be?