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Writing this collection of journalistic nonfiction has come at an appropriate time for me as I head out into the world on my own. I still don’t know if or where I’ll be working. I don’t know if I’ll be an intern or employee or if I want to go to graduate school in the future. The world is wide open before me, and that is a scary thing. However, these women have been assuring and guiding me. Meeting and interviewing them has taught me that life is subjective. They have shown me that everything we own can be lost in an instant, that life—family, freedom, happiness—is more precious and more fragile than we may think. These women are not superficial; they are sincere and wise. I would consider myself blessed to have a fraction of their strength, and, indeed, it is their characters to which I aspire. Each woman has suffered loss, but each woman has also gained a new, deeper perspective on life. They are the ones who, from my point of view, are flying high and clinging tight—with views from the crown of the forest.



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