Wednesday 14 September 2011

If I could be AnyOne, I’d be Mary Wollstonecraft ...

Mary Wollstonecraft by
John Opie just before she died
Why? – because in those days of long ago before she who could be anyone started a blog, when she was visiting St Pancras Workhouse she could walk through St Pancras Old Church churchyard ...  and came across the Memorial to me ... my bones have long been removed to rest in St Peter’s Churchyard, Bournemouth.

Why? was she visiting St Pancras Workhouse ... long after Workhouses went out of fashion, and I had long gone?  She was visiting her mother at the Workhouse now Hospital before her mother was relocated to Eastbourne.

St Pancras Old Church in 1815.  It was largely 
reconstructed in the 19th Century.  The River
Fleet’s  two headwaters in Hampstead Heath flow
into the Hampstead Ponds and Highgate Ponds
before the river gets directed underground by.
So much change which she and her blogger friends are documenting in ways that Harold Godwin and I could never envisage ... bearing the Frankenstein creator was almost a baby too far ... but look what my daughter has given you – a genre within novel writing.

I did not live long (1759 – 1797) ... but over the years my writings have become appreciated and I am now regarded as being one of the founding feminist philosophers.

Life was difficult I had to give my earnings to my father, ultimately became a governess, while continuing to write – helped by friends who supported our advocation of women’s rights.

She saw my Memorial and my name inspired her – Wollstonecraft – and she printed out some information to read to her mother about us and the St Pancras area ...

Who is She?!
I, Mary Wollstonecraft, inspired the She who would be me, she is the author of the Positive Letters ... Inspirational Stories Blog.  I had that passion for writing I wrote to improve the rights of women and girls.

Congratulations to She who would be Marilyn for what will be a tremendous fun blogging day out ... promoting her new book out in November "Watching Willow Watts".

Talli's book The Hating Game is out now on Amazon

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Francine Howarth said...


Lovely post and interesting historical snippet!

Have a fun party day, and chink a glass in memory to Mary Wollstonecraft! ;)


MorningAJ said...

If I could be anyone I would be me. But I guess we have Mary and her family to thank for the fact that I CAN be me. Great post.

Unknown said...

Wonderful post, Hilary. We who can be whoever we want have a lot to thank Mary for.

Doesn't TalliMarilynstein look fantastic!


Hi Hilary, where I live it is full of history about the Shelley's.
The son of Mary and Percy Shelley also called Percy bought a manor along the road from me, All the street names are named after Percy, Mary Lord Byron who was friends and I know the land the house I live in was once owned by the Percy jnr. I have visited the graves at St. Perter's Church, very awe insspiring. Excellent choice .

Have a good day.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Francine .. many thanks and I've emailed you ..

Mary Wollstonecraft deserves her place in history .. it looks like it will be an amazingly fun day ..

@ Anne .. yes, I too would be me .. however I couldn't decide who to be .. and in the end Mary came to the fore .. and you're right - she was one of those early pioneers for women writers and education .. so we could be you, me or I!

@ Shirley .. thanks - I think probably Mary has a lot to answer for in freeing us up ..

But TalliMarilynstein does look gorgeous ..

@ Yvonne .. I wondered if the Church was near you .. and interesting your house is on their land .. one day I shall get down and have a look around.

I now know why they were uprooted from St Pancras and taken to St Peter's Church .. thanks for telling us.

Francine, Anne, Shirley and Yvonne .. such fun times today .. seeing who we each would like to be .. thanks for visiting - cheers and continue on enjoying the party .. Hilary

Talli Roland said...

What a fantastic person to choose to be, and another informative and interesting post, Hilary! I love how I always learn something, every time I come here. Thank you so much for taking part, and for all your hep and support. It is very much appreciated.

Janice said...

A wonderful and inspirational choice - thank you, Hilary, for telling us about this amazing woman!

Old Kitty said...

A most amazing pioneer for women!! A true shining light - love this woman!! Brilliant! Take care

Denise Covey said...

Brilliant choice Hilary. I love history and you certainly know your Mary. She is indeed inspirational. D

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary. Wonderful post. I think if I could be anyone, I'd be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. One of my favorite movies. Of course I'm happy to be me, but sometimes it is fun to pretend being someone else.

J.L. Campbell said...

Making a meaningful contribution is wonderful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. I reckon come sundowner you'll be ready for a glass or two - great Marilynfest ..

.. but your choice was fantastic too - and I loved learning about her .. and will read up some more on Emily Carr - the artist.

It's a pleasure - always fun to be part of the party .. cheers for now enjoying the rest of the day - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janice - it's great I've been wanting to do something on Mary and suddenly I thought = now! Delighted you enjoyed the brief bio.

@ Old Kitty - she was an amazing pioneer for womens' rights ..

@ Denise - many thanks .. funny what you learn walking through a graveyard!

@ Susanne - actually tripping my way along the golden path towards the rainbow, singing happily would be a huge amount of fun .. Being me too is not too bad! Glad you're enjoying being you - but when you're Dorothy invite me along!!

@ JL - yes, and having that contribution recorded into history makes the difference .. so we're remembered ...

Thanks Janice, Old Kitty, Denise, Susanne and JL .. good to see you all here - enjoy the rest of your visits to "If I could be anyone .. blogs" - Hilary

Jessica Bell said...

Frankenstein is one of my favorite books ever. Wonderful choice!

Anonymous said...

Excellent choice. Again, I appreciate the historical perspective that adds so much to your posts. Frankenstein is such a classic that will be around for generations.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jessica .. good choice I made then! I just loved her name "Wollstonecraft" and then I found out more for my mother ..

@ Stephen .. it's those bits that interest me - there's just so much I don't know and by posting I add a little to my knowledge base.

Delighted you enjoyed it - and Frankenstein will continue to be filmed, talked about, dissected as a book etc etc - as you say around for generations to come.

Cheers Jessica and Stephen - good to see you both .. Hilary

LR said...

Very interesting and important woman. Good one. ;)

Susan Fields said...

Great choice! Sad that she died so young. And hooray for Talli and her release party!

Unknown said...

Fascinating information. How sad when such potential is lost so soon.

Unknown said...

Just a note, you can read Jane Austen's letters to her sister for free. Just search amazon or gutenburg. Also, I love Woolstencraft. She was an activist for women and the rights of the mistreated. I have read a great deal from her.

jabblog said...

Inspired choice:-)

Sara said...


Great selection for YOU:~) I think it's fun to imagine someone we'd like to emulate. I'm not sure who I would chose at this moment, but I think you made an excellent choice.

I also enjoyed reading your historical commentary about Mary Wollstonecraft. It is so true that only strong women were able to follow their passions and dreams during Mary's lifetime.

Thanks for sharing this:~0

Len Lambert said...

I've learned something from this blog post. A very good choice indeed. Thanks for sharing, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee .. good to see you.

@ Susan .. thanks and as you say sad she died so young - but hooray for Talli - good shout out.

@ Siv - it is sad when someone so forward thinking and way before their time is lost to us early in life.

@ Clarissa - thank you! Great to know that Cassandra's letters to Jane Austen can be read for free - that would be interesting.

You know more about Mary Wollstonecraft than I do .. you must an amazing source of information Clarissa .. is all I can say!!

@ Janice .. thank you.

@ Sara - great to see you again .. I honestly didn't know who I was going to do .. but the story line of Mum inspired me .. to tie it in to starting the blog ..

.. and Yvonne told me where they are buried now .. and Clarissa enlightened us .. that we can read her work on Project Gutenberg.

It was a fun post - glad it felt right ..

@ Len - delighted to read your comment .. many thanks

Great to see you all thanks for coming by for Talli's Marilyn lookalike - Watching Willow Watts book launch .. cheers Hilary

Southpaw said...

Another great post. People have been posting the greatest people-to-be today.

Joanne said...

I appreciate the way you wrote this, in Mary's voice. I haven't seen that done yet on this blog splash, so kudos to you for your innovation :)

Hope all is well and that you had a great summer, Hilary ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Holly - isn't it great how many wonderful choices everyone has made .. I've loved reading about the others.

@ Joanne .. thanks you're the only one who's picked that up so far .. I just suddenly had the thought about how it tied in with me starting the blog - & I've been wanting to blog about her for ages!!

Well .. not as good as you Ms Joanne!!!! off on your summer break with family and friends - but how sensible. We're fine and trickle on .. Expect you're feeling lots more refreshed now ..

Thanks Holly and Joanne good to see you both back and blogging again .. cheers for now - Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

Fabulous post, Hilary! Interesting to read, and inspirational as well. Great choice!

Alleged Author said...

Cool choice! So cool to meet Mary's mom Mary. :P

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Lovely post, Hilary! It's so much fun seeing who everyone chose to be.

Yay for Talli!!!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

You hooked me good, Hilary. I was believing you were Mary at the end. Great post. Best to your mother.

LTM said...

Fun stuff! And what a great choice... I daresay she was the original paranormal writer! LOL~ :D <3

Amanda said...

What a great post, Hilary!

It will teach me to not blog regularly, I missed out on being someone I've always wanted to be!

Yay for Talli!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - many thanks - it was fun to be able to write about her.

@ Mara - so often we forget their roots don't we .. good to see you here.

@ Sharon - hasn't it been .. a rock around the times .. interestingly many chose quite recent people .. and some I haven't heard of. Love everyone's choices .. not many duplications so far! Absolutely Yay for Talli!

@ Joylene - thanks so much .. I suddenly realised I could swing things around and talk about the past, while peering into the future through Mary. Glad you enjoyed it .. and thanks re my Ma.

@ LTM - she certainly passed her writing gauntlet to her daughter .. Mary I think was more concerned for women's rights, education and rights for all - the paranormal became Mary Shelley's genre.

@ Amanda - better late than never .. I'm sure we'd all love to hear about who you'd want to be?! Good to see you ..

and as you all say Yay for Talli!

Enjoy Thursday and thanks for the visit .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

Lovely historical choice Hilary.
I liked how you tied it in to the modern blogging day. :O)

The Blonde Duck said...

Why did she have to give her earnings to her father?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Madeleine .. many thanks - she fascinates me .. they had tenacity in those days and kept at things!

Then of course the 220 years since she lived and wrote needed to be crossed somehow .. tied my own story in with her bones in some way ..

@ Blonde Duck .. thanks for asking: her father was abusive and a drunkard, who had inherited money .. but frittered it .. and as she was the only earner .. he squandered her earnings too .. including her inheritance ...

Her father preferred Mary's older brother .. and there was the constant threat of violence from him.

Thanks Madeleine and Blonde Duck .. this added another layer to the story .. Hilary

PK HREZO said...

well I learned something here today. How nice! And unique! I love reading about all these.... I was too busy to participate this time. :(

J.D. Meier said...

It's great how the power of the pen is enduring over time.

Words really can etch and stretch the ideas in a way that can be shared over time and space.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ PK .. many thanks - re the learning something and that it was unique .. while I told her story.

There's always so much going on .. I can quite understand - til next year!

@ JD - how lovely to see you here. Her pen came back .. as she was ostracised for about 100 years before her writings were truly appreciated and understood - and now again 100 years later via Project Gutenburg - that's an amazing resource.

Interesting words, JD, you mention here .. as I became her for a brief moment of time .. etching and stretching those ideas into today.

Thanks PK and JD .. good to see you both .. Hilary

nutschell said...

I love that I always learn some interesting fact from reading your blog. I'm such a trivia-monger! Thanks for telling us about Mary.

Gina Dickerson said...

Hi Hilary,

Such an interesting and informative blog - new follower!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nutschell - great to see you .. and I'm glad you learnt something .. as you're such a great absorber of useful! information. Cheers ..

@ Gina - lovely to see you and Lady Gaga! here, and thanks for following .. glad you enjoyed what you saw ..

@ Pam - many thanks .. isn't it interesting that we can involve ourselves in various blog 'fests' and then meet such wonderful friends ..

Lovely seeing you Nutschell, Gina and Pam .. cheers for now Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

YaY for Mary Wollstonecraft! There were many strong female writers who paved the way for the rest of us.

I wish Talli the best of luck with her book. Can't wait to read it!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Theresa .. thankfully the female race wasn't completely restrained in its educational desires .. or wanting to put their own thoughts out for the wider public to read.

I'm reading Talli's book now ..and it's sure fun .. just got to the beginning of the show and can't wait to see what happens ... I won't spill the beans, I promise!

Cheers Theresa .. have fun this term in your new job .. Hilary

Glynis Peters said...

Brilliant post! Well chosen character, Hilary.

dolorah said...

Very interesting. I can see how she would be an inspiration.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Glynis .. thank you - but your table dancing Julie Walters has to be the steal of the show - brilliant and such fun .. good for you!!

@ Donna .. lovely to see you here .. Mary's name started my digging around the internet for information - that I could read to my mother and then finding the information about St Pancras Church .. etc etc

Cheers Glynis and Donna - have good weekends .. Hilary

Paula RC said...

Another great posting Hilary!

I love learning something new every day thank you for sharing Mary Wollstonecraft with us.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jarmara .. many thanks - good to see you .. she must have been one amazing lady .. and it's grand to know that she's still with us and remembered through her writings, let alone her daughter Mary Shelley ..

Have a good weekend .. Hilary

Arlee Bird said...

I suppose a short life of quality and one that produces something of consequence might be preferable to a long life that produces little. I considered some lives like that like Franz Schubert for instance. Interesting view of this authors life.

Tossing It Out

Patricia said...

Oh Hilary,
This post is a gem. What a great choice to inspire and yes Talli looks great as Marilyn...

I can not imagine who I would choose and then write myself in as, but this exercise reminds me of my religions class I taught at university, where we took on social issues by exploring a question a week. We had to answer the question as a historic male and historic female person and then as ourselves.
I was so amazed that the last group I worked with on this issue would or could not figure out how to answer the questions as an historic figure...28 of the 33 students would not comply...
It was such an amazing lesson in history and context and understanding
Thank you for sharing this

Anonymous said...

She really did die young--only 38? wow. Enjoyed learning a little more about She. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lee .. 31 years for Franz Schubert is a very short life - but he was extremely prolific I see.

You've put it clearly .. live life to the full - full of quality and passion producing something of consequence .. I'm on the way to the latter choice! Glad you enjoyed the brief notes on Mary's life.

@ Patricia - good to read you enjoyed the post .. and Tallistein has had a wonderful 'party' ..

Not quite sure why I wrote myself in - just seemed to make sense and was a little different.

At your University class - I'm sure I'd have struggled too .. people can be incredibly intransigent. Talk about digging their heels in! Frustrating for you as their teacher.

@ Scarlett - yes, Mary died in childbirth sadly .. ah - yes and the 'She' of this blog mentions where a great deal of the articles found their inspiration to explore the odd connectivity and talk about things in life from a different perspective!

Thanks Lee, Patricia and Scarlett - have good weekends .. Hilary

Juliet said...

She was such a pioneer - an admirable woman.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

You are wonderful with your historical snippets! Love all these marvelous chances to view the lives of other writers.



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - it's amazing what passion and dedication spurred the ladies on .. and continue to write, journal etc etc - yes she was a pioneer.

@ Monti - delighted you enjoyed the post - it's been a fun experience .. also seeing who other bloggers have selected .. and I love the history!

Cheers to you both .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

You are so delightful, Hilary. And thanks for stopping by and cheering me on with my book project with my friend Maureen. I love getting your encouragement, and others as well, of course. Such keeps us writers going--having friends/readers like you.

Isn't Talli delightful? I've got to finish her book (I have started too many lately). I love it. I love her style. Her characters remind me a lot of Anne Tyler's, one of my favorite authors.

And Mary Wollstonecraft--lived a short but productive life. What an interesting character you'd like to have been. It has been a while since I read her. She was good. Yes, a difficult life. Doesn't almost if not everyone have a difficult life, or at least some trials to be able to say they're a part of the human family?!

Jen is quiet in her room, playing on her computer. Pain in her sinuses and left leg, but she plugs on. We both wish you a good and peaceful Sunday!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Empty Nest Insider said...

This was such a clever way to tie in Talli's theme from Frankenstein to Marilynstein! I always look forward to the adventures you take us on! Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ann - pleasure .. just delighted you're putting finger to keyboard and that Maureen is ready with her project.

Talli is just one amazing lady - I'm reading her book right now .. and loving it ..

Have you read Mary Wollstonecraft too - erudite bloggers and readers around here. I must have a look on Project Gutenburg to see some of her work.

You're right some people and families have difficulties almost beyond belief - yet seem to achieve much in their lifetimes. While everyone has challenges of differing sorts .. and they make up human family life.

Excellent Jen is in her room enjoying her computer - gosh her pain must be frustrating for her - but she soldiers on - good for her.

Many thanks - you too have a good Sunday .. lovely to see you - Hilary

Marja said...

Sounds like a very interesting person to be. How great it would be if we could step in somebodies shoes for a while. Just somewhere in history. Well written and I love the looks and name of TalliMarilynstein lol

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Marja .. lovely to see you here .. I expect her writing allowed her to express her thoughts about her father, family and life of the male and female roles - and thus escape the horrors of her existence.

Many thanks .. I think I still prefer my life today .. somewhat easier! Yes - Talli did so well with her wig and Marilyn look .. brilliant blog day ..

Cheers - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie .. gosh thank you so much - I hadn't thought about the Frankenstein to Marilynstein aspect! I think I saw Marilynstein used by Talli .. Delighted you enjoyed the read .. have a wonderful week - Hilary

Susan Scheid said...

Love the shift in perspective so that Mary W. is observing you observing her.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Susan .. it just suddenly felt the right thing to do - problem was her bones were already in Bournemouth .. oh well! I so often walked through the graveyard ...

.. and I do wonder what dead people would have thought as we learn more and more about them over time ..

Many thanks for coming by - Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

I remember this blogfest of Talli's! I like your choice a lot. Wollstonecraft was so brave.
I hid behind one of my characters

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deniz .. it was fascinating to find out about Wollstonecraft - so it made it interesting ... which is the important bit to me, then I know everyone else is interested ...

Apologies being quite so late picking this up - comes of having Memorials to sort out etc .. cheers Hilary

Silvia Writes said...

What an amazing woman, about whom I knew little -- sacrificed her dream and income, yet kept fighting for art, for women's rights.
Someone worth wanting to be.
Great post, Hilary. Learned something -- or a whole lot -- new.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Silvia - what a surprise to see a comment from you here - thankyou! I've since read up more about her - she's worth reading about - a book by Claire Tomalin told me much. So pleased you felt you learnt something ... cheers Hilary