THE SITTING ROOM- A COMMUNITY LIBRARY started  in Cotati, California in the early 1980’s and in close proximity to one of it’s founders,English Professor JJ Wilson of Sonoma State University.

THE SITTING ROOM has grown into: a vast library; a community gathering place; a space for women’s oral and written herstory projects ; and a do-it-yourself publishing entity.

In 2003 THE SITTING ROOM began producing a small publication every Spring based on a particular theme. The Publication Party coincides with the Sitting Room Birthday Celebration, usually the first Sunday afternoon in June.


Listen to JJ Wilson address the liveliness and excitement of these wonderful readable anthologies. The 2014 theme was “This is what a Feminist looks like…” and the 2015 theme is “An overlooked female author”.


JJ Wilson reads aloud a passage from the book "Rumors of Peace" at The Sitting Room. photo by Beth Schlanker

JJ Wilson reads aloud a passage from the book “Rumors of Peace” at The Sitting Room. photo by Beth Schlanker

JJ Wilson states, “seems to me a long overdue conversation in many close knit communities and that the results will be bright bits of fabric which can be pieced together in a warm quilt of understanding, a kind of quilting bee over the internet, open to all interested who follow the guidelines of civil discourse and candid talk.”

THE SITTING ROOM is now located in Penngrove, California. If you are ever in the area stop by!


For More information go to:

To listen to and/or download Brenda’s conversation with JJ Wilson click the following link:     10-20-2014 Brenda_JJ Wilson

Rachel DeWoskin Rachel DeWoskin has written three critically acclaimed novels for adults.  BLIND is her first novel written expressly for young adults.  With BLIND she has taken a leap into the world of teenagers, their small and large tragedies, their relationships, their concerns, their hearts and their minds.

BLIND’s central character,15 year old Emma Sash Silver has been blinded in an accident.  And so the novel begins as weBlind live with Emma for a year in her life.  She has adjustments to make, to her new blindness, to her family’s concerns and new dynamics, to mainstreaming back into ‘her’ school, and to another tragedy in her small community that is not her own.

Rachel DeWoskin’s essays and articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times Magazine of London, Teachers and Writers, and Conde Nast Traveler.  She has published poems in journals including Ploughshares, Seneca Review, New Delta Review, Nerve Magazine and The New Orleans Review. She teaches memoir and fiction at the University of Chicago, and divides her time between Chicago and Beijing, with her husband, playwright Zayd Dohrn, and their two little girls.

Rachel lived in China working as an interpreter in her twenties and became the unlkely star of a Chinese soap opera.

To learn more about Rachel and her writing visit her website

To listen to and/or download Kathleen’s conversation with Rachel DeWoskin click the following link:    10-13-2014-kathleen_rachel-dewoskin.mp3

sarah billinghurstSarah Billinghurst is the Assistant Manager, Artistic of the Metropolitan Opera. Her career in opera administration started at the San Francisco Opera in 1972, when she became the assistant to the Artistic Administrator. In 1982 she was named Artistic Administrator, and in addition to her duties in that position, she undertook numerous special projects including co-productions with the Kirov Opera, producing concerts, recital and special presentations sponsored by the San Francisco Opera.

Sarah moved to the Metropolitan Opera on August 1, 1994. She reports directly to General Manager, Peter Gelb and Music Director, James Levine. She is responsible for the running of the artistic departments, presentations, media, recording and touring. The artistic department is responsible for casting, conductors and new productions. As head of the media department, Sarah oversees the radio and television broadcasts and is involved in the current efforts to preserve past broadcasts.

Sarah has also organized all the tours of the Metropolitan Opera in Japan and the MET Orchestra in Europe, within the United States and the season at Carnegie Hall. The special events she has organized include the James Levine 25th Anniversary Gala, Pension Fund concerts, New Year’s eve celebrations at the Met and the anniversary celebrations of celebrated artists such as Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti.

“I wouldn’t stay working in opera unless I was constantly stimulated by it and felt that I could still add something to it, but I’m very much behind the scenes.”

Sarah Billinghurst was born in Wanganui, New Zealand and graduated from Victoria University with a degree in political science. “I quickly learnt in opera that dealing with politicians and opera singers wasn’t that different. They have big egos but fragile egos.”

To listen to and/or download Corinne’s conversation with Sarah Billinghurst click the following link:     10-6-2014 Encore_Corinne_Sarah Billinghurst

This interview will air in the near future.  Please stay tuned.

Unknown-1Jenny Scheinman is a renowned violinist/fiddle player who grew up in Petrolia, California and moved to NYC pursuing her career as a musician. She has played with some incredible artists – Nora Jones, Madeline Peyroux, and Bill Frisell (just to name a few of many). She has eight albums – mostly instrumental,  all pictures of her complex and lively inner world. Jenny recalls while playing with friend Madeline Peyroux she felt a pull to find that part of her own creative voice to step up to the mic and sing. Now Jenny has a new album, The Littlest Prisoner. In this record she writes, sings and pretty much knocks it out of the park with a heart-felt, reflective album about love, relationships, and childhood. Listening to the songs one can see the slideshow of stories revealed in every verse and chorus. Jenny candidly talks about her creative process, how she survived living in NYC busking, and the transition of being a mom and a musician. Jenny recently moved back to Humboldt County with her husband and two young children, and we are lucky to have them here.


Jenny is having a CD release party at the Arcata Playhouse October 2nd. To find out more go to:

You can purchase “The Littlest Prisoner” on iTunes or Amazon.

For more information about Jenny Scheinman and her upcoming tour with Ani DiFranco go to her web-site:

Here’s an intimate look with Jenny Scheinman and Rodney Crowell practicing on the tour bus just before going on at Van Duzer theater!

To listen to and/or download Lynette’s conversation with Jenny Scheinman click the following link:     9-29-2014 Lynette_Jenny Scheinman


Leabeth PetersonWith only about 11% of the engineering field populated by women, it is difficult to argue that something is happening here. But what?

Wikipedia has a page called “women in engineering” that is downright scanty, and at the time of this writing, the section under the heading “factors contributing to lack of female participation” is blank.

Growing awareness that an issue indeed exists has led to a lot of hand wringing and speculation and studies, as well as several lines of toys designed to foster young girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math, before they are (possibly) socialized to downplay those interests and focus on the more classically feminine ones. Lego has introduced a “lady inventor” playset, Goldie Blocks, designed “to give girls confidence in problem solving,” are a surprise smash hit, and the doll Miss Possible comes with interactive educational games and apps. Barbie, who has been an astronaut for 50 years now, is still patiently waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

The future of engineering is going to be determined by people like Leabeth Peterson, a senior at Humboldt State University. Peterson is cheerfully leaping into the field well aware of the potential challenges. Open eyed but undaunted, Peterson even has the temerity to be studying for a career in engineering management. Management!

Peterson shares her ideas in what may be keeping the engineering world so very manly, what might help, and what a little biodiversity is going to do for the whole field. No, she’s not claiming to have the answers, but perhaps one woman at a time moving forward with her own interest, education, and career, is itself the answer.

To listen to and/or download Emma’s conversation with Leabeth Peterson click the following link:     9-22-2014 Emma_Leabeth Peterson

sherae onstage

Sherae O’Shaugnessy appears to be having a bit of a moment.  The Humboldt comic and emcee with the wild-woman rep landed a much coveted radio gig hosting KSLG’s morning show, she has columns in two local papers, and she’s hosting multiple events around town including a trivia night, a dating game, a live monthly talk show called Late Night With Sherae, and of course her very own comedy troupe, Ba Dum Chh.

She’s also got an adorable daughter, and a marriage, and she runs an orderly household (she says, we didn’t check), and she manages to look annoyingly great while doing it all.

This means Sherae O’Shaughnessy is like a lot of people you know, working multiple jobs and holding a family together, albeit probably with cuter shoes and a dirtier mouth.

Sherae found time (barely) to share her take on life with KHSU: Her onstage successes and not-so-successes, and how she balances numerous exciting, demanding professional projects with that happy homelife.

For more about Sherae O’Shaughnessy, just turn on the radio, open a newspaper, or walk out your front door. She’s there.

sherae and ivy

To listen to and/or download Emma’s conversation with Sherae O’Shaughnessy click the following link:     9-15-2014 Emma Sherae O’Shaughnessy Originally Aired 10-14-13


Elizabeth Rynecki

Elizabeth Rynecki

Imagine a generational puzzle which a Great-Granddaughter tries to solve. Elizabeth Rynecki tries to gain knowledge by searching continents, finding remnants and listening to stories passed down from a community in wartime Warsaw, Poland.

Moshe Rynecki was a prolific painter of daily and religious life in his beloved Warsaw. His work was the caliber of other Jewish artists who fled to Paris during the war. They not only survived but so did their artwork. Moshe painted more than 800 works reflecting components of the Jewish community and culture before dividing the lot amongst……well, that is the mystery and puzzle Great-Granddaughter Elizabeth has been uncovering.

Her Great Grandfather did not survive the Holocaust.


Using social media she has re-created Moshe’s work in a most unique way. And her new film Chasing Portraits highlights his life, times and artwork. Although most of Moshe Rynecki’s paintings show Jewish Faith, Family & Community, and Men Working, Elizabeth has uncovered a lot of paintings that show Women doing daily tasks and being whimsical.

The Ice Skaters

The Ice Skaters


Moshe Rynecki Painting used in #Draw Art

Moshe Rynecki Painting used in #Draw Art






Paige Dansinger's video project

Paige Dansinger’s video project

Elizabeth Rynecki will be speaking about her work at Temple Beth El, 3233 T Street, in Eureka, CA on September 14 from 4:00 pm5:30 pm.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Rynecki  projects you can visit:     or  #DrawArt: A Great Granddaughter’s Perspective

To listen to and/or download Brenda’s conversation with Elizabeth Rynecki click the following link:     9-8-2014 Brenda_Elizabeth Rynecki

Posted by: Through the Eyes of Women | September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014 From All of Us, To All of You

Through the Eyes of Women would like to wish all of our followers a restful Labor Day holiday.  We will be back next week with another new show for your listening pleasure.  On September 8, 2014 join host Brenda Starr as she speaks with archivist and film maker Elizabeth Rynecki discussing Elizabeth’s efforts to document her Great-grandfather’s contribution to pre-WWII Jewish Art; it’s recovery and significance.

Tania MalikUntil Three Bargains Tania Malik had only written a few short stories, never really thinking of herself as an author.  But, she did have a long story brewing in her mind.  She wanted, she said, to explore a story of a man who had lost a child.  The story was inspired by her own relationship with her father, a relationship that is very close.  What, she wondered, would it be like to have no such attachment?  What would happen to a child who was not valued?  What would a child, and a father, suffer without a close relationship?  What would a child discover as he grew, about himself and those he loved?Three Bargains

Three Bargains is that story.  Beautifully written, the story unfolds.  12 year old Madan lives in the fictional town of Gorapur in Northern India.  He is a lower-caste child who has not only learned to read, but to read in English.  The story spans 30 years in Madan’s life and in India’s history.

In this, Tania’s first radio interview, she speaks eloquently about her characters, their lives, personalities and motivations.  She talks about life in India and reflects on India’s politics, social systems and the status of women.  She writes using many Hindi words and expressions and does not include a glossary in the book; a fact that, I feel, serves to enrich the reading experience.

Tania Malik was born in New Delhi, and raised in India, Africa, and the Middle East. She was educated in boarding schools in the foothills of the Himalayas, and received her degree from the University of Delhi.  She lives with her husband and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area.

To learn more about Tania Malik and her debut novel, Three Bargains, visit her website at

To listen to and/or download Kathleen’s conversation with Tania Malik click the following link:     8-25-2014 Kathleen_Tania Malik

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