- Stories & Articles by Sonia
Articles and Stories by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- In Memoriam: Lynn Ruth Miller.
- On July 29, 2020, the new website of the Cornell Club of Sarasota-Manatee was launched. It included Sonia's article on her friendship with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
- Sonia's article, "The Meadows has a fascinating history," appeared in the online newspaper, the Sarasota News Leader, on Sept. 13, 2019. Sonia bought a condo at The Meadows in March 1999 and thereafter spent varying amounts of time there during the winters. Beginning on Nov. 1, 2006, she lived there full-time until Nov. 1, 2019, when she moved to a nearby Jewish senior community called Aviva. In early January 2020, The Meadoword, the newspaper of The Meadows, republished that article. You can access it here.
- Sonia's article, "How Being an Immigrant Shaped My Life," appeared in the summer newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SW Florida, published on April 3, 2019, and on its website. You can read the article in pdf format here.
- On Jan. 14, 2019, Sonia's remembrance of her late, feminist friend, Dr. Bernice "Bunny" Sandler (known as the "Godmother of Title IX"), who died at the age of 90 on Jan. 5, 2019, in her Washington, D.C. condo, was published in the "We Remember" section of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA).
- On Nov. 1, 2018, a paperback anthology of writings by older women about their lives entitled “You’re Doing What?: Older Women’s Tales of Achievement & Adventure,” edited by Marjorie Penn Lasky, was published. In a section called " A Life of Activism," it contains a piece by Sonia named "Eighty-five years old in Sarasota County, Florida." The book can be purchased from Amazon. For purchases in bulk, Regent Press (email@example.com) will take orders for 10 or more books and provide them at a discount.
- Sonia's write-up of her experiences with Hurricane Irma in Sarasota in September of 2017 appeared in the Cornell Alumni Magazine of July/Aug. 2018 in the Class Notes for her class, the class of 1950, on page 69.
- On March 20, 2018, Mary Wilson, president of the Greater Orlando, FL chapter of NOW, put Sonia's write-up on how she became a feminist in the chapter's enewsletter.
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, The Forward newspaper shared its readers' stories, including Sonia's.
- Sonia participates in a one-hour webinar set up by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) on Jan. 13, 2016. 1) Click here to read about NWHP. 2) To listen to the oral comments and see the written comments, click on "webinar archive" toward the bottom of your screen. On the "webinar archive" screen, it is, however, very difficult to move the written comments up or down. 3) To get a clearer view of the written comments and to be able to move them up and down easily, click on "Chat Log." 4) Click on "Final PowerPoint Presentation" if you would like to see that.
- Sonia's article on the second wave of the women's movement: its origin, accomplishments, and the problems that remain--both in the U.S. and globally--appeared on June 14, 2015, on the website of the Institute for Science and Human Values.
- Sonia's write-up appeared on the Facebook page of the Red Star Line Museum commemorating the 81st anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. from Germany, via Belgium, of Sonia and the rest of her immediate family.
- "My Jewish Weekend in Sarasota," sent by Sonia to her friends, Nov. 16, 2014.
- "History Without Hitler?", Op-Ed in the New York Times and its international edition, October 26, 2014. This Op-Ed was written by Sonia's friend, Timothy Ryback, and edited by Sonia.
- "End of Life Issue," October 16, 2014.
- “Top 18 Issues Challenging Women Today,” The Shriver Report, May 5, 2014.
- Sonia’s letter of April 16, 2014, to Bishop Frank J. DeWane, bishop of the Venice, FL diocese, is on the blog of Bridget Mary Meehen.
- “The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement—Past, Present, and Future,” Women You You Should Know website, March 26, 2014.
- Sonia reminisces about her three British feminist friends, March 25, 2014.
- Sonia’s article about her trip to the Catskills appeared in the Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Jan. 2014, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 23A).
- Three-part series by Sonia in the Sullivan County Democrat, a newspaper in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
- Sonia’s submission to the book Mother Knows Better - Sense and Nonsense from American Moms by Patti Murphy is one of over two hundred momisms in the book.
- Sonia’s article about the travails of The Forward after Superstorm Sandy appeared in Der Bay (Vol. XXIII, No. II, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. 12).
- NOW (National Organization for Women) Founder Sonia Fuentes Gives Back To Education.
- "A heart-healthy diet is easier to adhere to than it may seem, especially with plenty of grocery and restaurant choices in Sarasota," December 7, 2012. (To see this article, which first appeared in the online Sarasota News Leader, once the large picture appears, scroll down to the article.) On April 27, 2015, the article was published on the website of Vegan Everyday Stories. On May 22, 2015, a shortened version of the article appeared on the website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- “A Journey of Discovery,” Sonia’s article about her September 2011 week’s trip to Germany exploring Jewish life in Germany, published in two parts.
- "Finding My Identity as a Feminist" - This article appeared in the online magazine, Identity, on September 21, 2011.
- "My Story" - This article appeared in HavaMag, Issue 4, August, 2011.
- To access the article:
- Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left.
- Click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10.
- When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.
- To access the article:
- "First Woman: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," appeared at the end of July 2011 in Ms. JD, an e-zine for women law students and lawyers.
- “Judging Our Future: Supreme Women Move Up,” about the increasing percent of women judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, went online in the Café section of On the Issues e-zine on December 21, 2010. In February of 2012, the article was added to the featured news & comments section of the website of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
- "Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of a New Era" - This article was published in On The Issues Magazine, Café section, on August 25, 2010, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
- Sonia has written articles for Scitable, a website for women in science, or been introduced as a resource on women and employment law for Scitable, as follows:
- Sonia decries American women’s ignorance of the legal rights they have achieved since the early 1960s and lists those rights. (August 13, 2013)
- Sonia discusses breast implant ruptures and leaks. (Mar. 21, 2011)
- "Sonia Pressman Fuentes on Pregnancy Leave, Parental Care Leave, and the Law" - Sonia explains the law on leave and benefits in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. (July 28, 2010)
- Correction to posting of June 3, 2010, introducing Sonia as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 4, 2010)
- Sonia is introduced as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 3, 2010)
- "My Life After Divorce" - Sonia discusses her life after divorce for a “Divorce and Women’s Success” series. (2010)
- "A Negative Experience, A Positive Outcome" - The lucky day Fuentes was fired. (2009)
- "First Wedding at the Fontainebleau," an unpublished anecdote, November 23, 2008.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, Oct. 2009, and updated in Nov. 2013.
- “If You Build It, They Will Come—The Birth of A Yiddish Club,” published in Der Bay, The International Anglo-Yiddish Newsletter (Vol. XVII, No. 9, Nov. 2007). Sonia starts a Yiddish Club in Sarasota, FL. Also published in the Gantseh Megillah. (Nov. 14, 2007, Issue 8.10)
- "My Fortuitous Escape from the Holocaust and My Life Thereafter" - This article is published on a Web site called "Women and the Holocaust." (2006)
- “A Love Letter to Ostuni” (2005)
- "My Visit to Piltz" - A sequel to "A Visit to Piltz." (2005)
- "Three-hour Tour Turns Unforgettable" - This article, by Fuentes, recalling the saga of her trip to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford estates in Ft. Myers, FL, appeared in The East County Observer, a newspaper in East Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, January 16, 2003.
- "I Lucky Everything: The Story of a Real `Miss Saigon'" - Along with a manicure, a reminder of how immigrants revitalize our nation. (2002)
- "A Visit to Piltz" - This article is about Fuentes' August 2001 journey to her parents' birthplace, a village called Piltz in Poland. (2001)
- "How I Built a Life in Retirement" - Sonia had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, and then she entered the best years of her life. (2000)
- "How I Published My Memoir: A Lawyer-Feminist's Story" - This is the story of the six years Fuentes spent in researching, writing, publishing and marketing her memoir and making the transition from being a lawyer to a writer and public speaker. (Also see: "How I Got Published in South Africa) (2000)
- "A Seder in Shanghai" - Fuentes participates in a seder in a most unlikely city, Shanghai, China. This piece appeared previously in JoyZine and on Harry Leichter's website. (1999)
- "HUD Goes to the Moscow Trade Show" - This article was originally published in Sparks 28. March - April, 1999. (1999)
- Breast Cancer and Ruptured/Leaking Breast Implants - The story of Fuentes' experience with breast cancer. (1998)
- "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" - This article is about Fuentes' most memorable encounters with Alice Paul, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, and Catherine East (1998). Later that year, a slightly different version of the segment on Alice Paul was published in Moondance. A more readable version can be accessed here.
- “Representing Women,” a 17-page article, originally published in Frontiers, a Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 18, No.3, Nov. 3, 1997), by the Washington State University Press, is available by emailing Sonia at firstname.lastname@example.org and asking her to email it to you or by purchasing it at jstor.org. This was Sonia’s first published article about women’s rights.
- "House of History" (written in 1996) -- A history of the headquarters of the National Woman's Party (NWP). The house, most recently known as the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument and previously known as the Sewall-Belmont House, was for many years the headquarters of the National Woman's Party. However, at the end of 2020, NWP ended its existence and transferred its functions to the Alice Paul Institute in New Jersey.
- "Magnolias" - A Washington, DC, love story. (1996)
- "Family Past Unfolds Like Detective Story" - Research Leads to Ship's Records, a Movie and Snapshots. (1995)
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
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Sonia Pressman Fuentes
How I Got Published in South Africa
by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
"If you make this many changes in your memoirs, it will either cost you a fortune, lose you the [book] contract, or make you a lifelong enemy in the publisher."
I often browse the Internet for information on marketing my work and that is how I came upon the December 1997 issue of WritingNow.com. The section "Writers Around the World" by Linda Davis Kyle contained an interview with Dr. Joseph Sherman, a professor of English at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, a writer and translator, editor, public speaker, and television personality. Dr. Sherman sounded like an interesting man.
Because I'm an inveterate letter-writer and knew no one in South Africa, I decided to send Dr. Sherman an email, introducing myself as a founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a lawyer, writer, and public speaker. I mentioned that I had recently completed my memoirs, excerpts from which had appeared in various publications.
To my surprise, I got a quick -- and totally unexpected -- response. Dr. Sherman invited me to submit a piece for publication in a literary/cultural quarterly he edited called Jewish Affairs. I was, of course, delighted. What writer wouldn't be? I emailed Dr. Sherman that my memoirs contained two types of pieces: (1) humorous family pieces, with a Jewish flavor; and (2) articles about the women's-rights movement. Again, his response took me by surprise. He said he'd be interested in a piece about women's rights.
Actually, I had written only three pieces about women's rights. "Representing Women" was then about to be published in Frontiers, the women's studies journal of Washington State University [18.3 (Dec. 1997)]; the second piece concerned the Sewall-Belmont House, the headquarters of the National Woman's Party (NWP), on whose Board I serve; and the third was about my encounters with three legendary Feminists: Alice Paul [a founder of NWP and the drafter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)], the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray (an author, lawyer, civil rights activist, college professor, and the first African-American woman Episcopal priest in the United States), and Catherine East (a government staffer who had held significant positions relating to women's rights). Because Jewish Affairs didn't run previously-published articles, and the Sewall-Belmont House would not be of interest to South African readers, only the "three feminists" piece was a possibility. But there was a problem. I had arranged with NWP to sell the Alice Paul segment of the "three fems" piece in its museum shop. When I informed Joseph of this (by this time, we were on a first-name basis) he responded, to my dismay, as follows:
"Given the fact that your piece on Alice Paul is going to be published elsewhere, it would be good to have a section of your memoirs that has not been published yet."
I was in a dilemma. I did have other pieces, but it was more important for me to get my "three fems" piece published because of its historical significance. I didn't, however, want to antagonize Joseph by pushing its publication, and I didn't think it likely that he would change his mind. Nonetheless, I thought it was worth a try, and I wrote him again suggesting he publish "three fems."
To my surprise, Joseph backed down. He wrote: "Leave things . . . as they are -- I'll pass round the piece . . . and get some other views." I asked him to send me a copy of Jewish Affairs, and he did. Writers are always advised to review the publications to which they want to make submissions. I'd never done that -- I simply don't have the time -- and I wasn't doing it now since I'd already submitted the piece. But I was interested in seeing what the publication looked like.
When I received it, I was dismayed. I had expected Jewish Affairs to be a small, commonplace magazine. Instead, it was a scholarly journal, beautiful in appearance and impressive in content. The writing was of very high quality. Joseph had told me that all submissions had to secure the approval of his editorial board. I could not imagine why the board would approve my piece, which seemed more pedestrian in tone than others in the copy he sent me. Furthermore, my article had little to do with Jewish affairs. But I was not about to withdraw it from consideration.
The board approved my article. Then, we had three crises involving endnotes, Dr. Margherita Rendel, and my endless revisions. I had sent the first draft to Joseph by regular mail, but all our subsequent correspondence was conducted by email. Joseph wanted me to submit what he optimistically thought would be the final draft by email. The piece, however, had numerous endnotes. In the past, whenever I attempted to email a piece with endnotes, either as an attachment or a cut-and-paste, the notes were either erased or came out as gibberish.
A computer expert whose advice I sought told me about rich text format [RTF]. I tried that, and the result was an email from Joseph headed "All is retrieved!"
Then Joseph pointed out that one of my endnotes, which cited two articles by Margherita Rendel, a London friend, was incomplete. Since Margherita does not have email, I faxed her asking her to fax the proper citation to Joseph. Several days passed, time was running short, and Joseph had not yet heard from her. I suggested we omit the incomplete citation. After Joseph had done that, Margherita faxed me the correct citation. Joseph agreed to revise the article yet again to include it.
The revision problem was serious. Every time I read the article, I saw ways to improve it and sent changes to Joseph. It would then take him hours to integrate the new material mechanically because his typesetters worked from carefully formatted diskettes. He was becoming increasingly concerned by my continuing revisions. "It is always fatal to allow contributors to make changes after acceptance," he wrote at one point, and at another: "You will see no more of it till it's published, else you'll be writing and rewriting forever."
But I kept revising. I realized he was as much a perfectionist as I and that his concern for excellence would prevail. It did. He incorporated every change I submitted.
At the end, when I wrote that I thought the piece was good, he responded: "After about four rewrites and three copy edits, it should be. If you make this many changes in your memoirs, it will either cost you a fortune, lose you the [book] contract, or make you a lifelong enemy in the publisher."
I responded: "Who cares about any of that if it improves the memoirs?"
In fairness, though, Joseph did point out that the revisions he permitted me to make were exceptions, and that normally he expected authors to submit pieces for consideration in final form. Due to the then-socio-political sensitivity to women's rights in South Africa, his interest in the piece resulted in his giving me extra leeway.
In April 1998, "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" was published in Jewish Affairs.
© 1998 Sonia Pressman Fuentes. This article was originally published in September 1998 as "Getting an Article Published in South Africa" in writingnow.com and then under the present title in the mid-April 2001 issue of Writer Online at novalearn.com/wol.