<bt>Three women are doing spectacular things in the literary world. Yet, for the majority of the public, they are relatively unknown. They are opening up a dialogue that once was closed.
Renee Fisher, Joyce Kramer and Jean Peeler are the authors of "Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50," a book about what it is like to be over 50 in an environment where women become invisible after that magic number.
The book came out this past June, and has been positively reviewed by men and women alike. They have had multiple book signings and readings at different bookstores around Virginia, Maryland and other neighboring states, including one this past Saturday at Barnes and Noble on Clarendon Boulevard. They have also done radio shows for Voice of America and other local stations.
They have been best friends for 10 years, but it seems like they have been best friends their whole lives. The constant joking and laughing between them shows how close they are.
"We met at a workshop," said Jean, who is now an actress and model but was a civil rights lawyer. "We just clicked and have been friends ever since."
They have been through many similar things, from marrying at a young age to raising children and divorce. They have also been through other trying times, from breast cancer to the death of a loved one.
But those experiences made them wiser and gave them information and stories for the book that they were yet to write.
One day, while at the beach, they were talking about men and how the authors were fat. Jean unexpectedly said "Let's write a book."
After they decided that they wanted to write a book about life after 50, they started to do research and found that there were no authoritative books about being a woman and being 50. There were books written by psychologists and sociologists and their observations, but nothing that really spoke to women and what they were going through.
"We talk about [being over 50] with our friends, but there is nothing in print," said Fisher, a resident of Arlington, who has been a Realtor with McEnearny Realtors for 26 years.
They had many conversations with friends to find out what they noticed about being 50 and the majority of them said the same thing.
"We become invisible," explained Kramer, who was a teacher for many years but then became a development director for a major community-based HIV/AIDS organization. "They said that after 50 no one notices them, from co-workers to men."
The invisibility issue is prominently addressed in the title of the book.
"We [women over 50] seem to be invisible to the rest of the world," said Kramer. "Our hope is that this book will be inspiring to women, that nothing can stop us."
THIS BOOK HAS started a dialogue between those who have heard the authors speak or read the book.
"[I have] interest in reading this book," said Helene Deramond at the book signing on Saturday. "I could relate to what they were saying.
"It is amazing what this book provokes in readers," said Peelen. "It opens up conversations between mothers and daughters."
"Reading this book gives people permission to open up about things that they would normally not talk about," said Fisher. "Makes it possible for women to look at their own lives."
No matter who hears the authors speak, they say the same thing.
"They were very open and honest," said Kristen Udowitz, who was there with her mother. "It felt like I was having coffee with friends. It peaked my interest in the book."
The book is now available at book stores such as Barnes and Noble and local bookstores in the area and also online at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. They are currently working on a companion to the book, which will allow readers to jot down feelings about something they read or answer questions about their personal experiences. For more information on these women and future book signings, go to their Web site: www.invisiblenomore.com.