There is an event coming up, an opportunity to share some work on the theme of “Women” at my local theatre.  My initial response to this was one of delight – I have several pieces to choose from that  would be perfect. Women supporting women, mothers supporting mothers,  mother and daughter relationships… the theme was a gift,  but quickly that initial feeling changed to, “But what if the theme was ‘Men’?  What could I offer then?” It bothered me that I was floundering.

There are a couple of pieces in “42” inspired by men,  such as “Pastries and Tea” and “David” but they are pieces focusing on an individual rather than the universality of men.  There was really nothing that jumped out at me which communicated men’s role in my world in the same way that, for example,  “Mothers’ Manta” did about women.

Now writers do tend to write about what they know:  I have a sister,  three daughters…I worked in a female dominanated teaching department, I have a web of insanely incredible female friends.    But though my writing is female focused, by default of being one, I realised quite starkly that actually it has overwhelmingly been the men I know who have been instrumental in the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of both the website and the publishing of “42”.

I have male friends who match unquestionably the female ones in their incredibleness, I now also have a gorgeous nephew and work in a much more diverse workplace, so maybe the next collection will be more balanced in its influences.

I discovered tonight there is such a thing as ‘International Men’s Day’. It was established 30 years ago and it is celebrated on 19th November. Its purpose is to celebrate and recognise men’s achievements and promotes male mental health.  Wow – I have never heard of it. Fittingly,  one of their values us “to promote positive conversation about men, manhood and masculinity.”

I remember a book which was shared amongst friends when our children were very small, called ‘What Mothers Do’ (When it looks like nothing) by Naomi Stolden.  The title came to me today, I think that is what I wanted to explore in this piece.  Individually, the men who contributed to “42” think that what they did was insignificant, I hope when they read this they will acknowledge (please!) that though it may seem like what they did was ‘nothing’, collectively it was a forcefield. And for once I am not being dramatic.

I also really, really hope that for these men the odd emotional exploration, tear-shedding or self-reflection, which has come along with getting swept up in this whimsical, over-thinking, emotional writer’s journey, was a positive experience for them too.

There is a quote by Isabel Allende that is the foundation stone of everything I write:

“Write what must not be forgotten.”

It must never be forgotten the support and wisdom men and women can give to each other and the importance of friendships between men and women.  It must never be forgotten the inherent differences between us that we should value and embrace.  And ultimately, we should remember what we can do to raise each other by virtue of our complimentary strengths.

And as for this,  well it absolutely should not be forgotten the part the men played in creating Calonwyrdd and ’42’…. so it had to be written.  There are at least 18 individuals within these lines for whom I can say, this one is for you.



Author: Lowrey E. Gray

Usually found with a cup of tea, a pet or a book, I am most content with life's humble gifts. A catch up with friends and home baked cakes is my idea of bliss. My heart beats where my family are close but my soul will always be in that place between sunset and sunrise. 💚

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