Greenwich Pen Women, a branch of the National League of American Pen Women is a non-profit organization of women artists, writers, and musicians. We offer mutual support and exchange of ideas to encourage and inspire excellence in original creative work.

 Binney Park by GPW Catherine Stahl

“Now the noisy winds are still;
April’s coming up the hill!
All the spring is in her train,
Led by shining ranks of rain;
Pit, pat, patter, clatter,
Sudden sun and clatter patter! . . .
All things ready with a will,
April’s coming up the hill!”
– Mary Mapes Dodge, “Now the Noisy Winds Are Still”

Note from our President:

April, 2024

My plane deftly landed at JFK yesterday morning after a rocky ride over New England and Long Island. Peeling myself off the seat, rearranging the carryon, and exiting were brought to an abrupt halt by a medical emergency in the back of the passenger section. We cleared the aisles and returned to our seats while a team of medics and police speedily and efficiently performed a rescue.

Once inside, a big sign welcomed ALL to New York. It made me feel good to be there. It made me feel good that the sign said that. Outside, the traffic cops were shouting and gesturing in their yellow slickers in the freezing rain, clearing the pickup area and keeping traffic moving. Once again, abrasively efficient. It made me reflect on police in Egypt.

Many of you have been to Egypt and are fully aware that the state is run by the military. If they say “jump,” you ask “how high?” The military owns the gas stations and mans numerous checkpoints along the roads. In the Western Desert where we rode off-track in a small caravan of 4x4s, we were accompanied by a tall thin Egyptian dressed in a suit – worn daily no matter how hot the desert became – with the barrel of a UZI sticking out of his coat. At the end of the caravan was a police 4×4 with four uniformed young men who were detailed to protect us as well. However, they didn’t drive very well – got stuck a few times – and I understand from the Egyptologists we were with, most of them aren’t trained to use a firearm efficiently either. They are just drafted eighteen-year-olds stuck out in the middle of nowhere, broiling in their vehicle. And it was Ramadan so no food or drink between sunrise and sunset. We felt for them.

One unexpected beauty of the desert is in the surrealist limestone shapes sculpted by the wind in the White Desert. The one shown is known as the chicken and the egg. In the Black Desert, basalt creates the contrast and at sunset, where the lava is flat, it can resemble the sea – which it once was. Petrified wood from long departed forests tops some mounds of sand while fossilized scallop shells from a vanished sea define others. The remains of habitation, potsherds, walls, grindstones in what were once far flung swaths of green, habitable land around the oases were ruled over by Ptolemies and Romans – until they used up all the water. An ancient reminder of the misuse of resources and climate change. And then there are the tombs, in the West, in the oases, the marrying of Egyptian rituals with Greek and Roman ones.

Art is everywhere in Egypt: on the walls of temples, on the painted faces of the mummies, in the amulets and jewelry, and in the natural landscape. Dali would have loved the latter. Language on the walls of temples is a series of sounds meant to evoke the cartouche of a pharaoh, or a ritual, but not writing as we think of it today, and music, well, music has its own beat and to this Westerner, a pulsing, sometimes plaintive sound. The music of the pharaohs, whatever it sounded like, has vanished.

Returning to Greenwich Pen Women, I am reminded of the myriad forms of the arts detailed in our accomplishments letter I sent to National two weeks ago: seven pages of bullet points and all by professional women! The world has come a long way since ancient Egypt where the woman pharaoh, Hatshepsut, the Great Wife of Thutmose II and fifth pharaoh of the 18thDynasty, had herself portrayed as a man, and even portrayed as male, was denied lasting recognition of her many accomplishments. Both her form and her cartouche were systematically erased from her monuments.

Onwards and sideways,


Leigh Grant
President, Greenwich Pen Women