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The Winnowed Woman
cover artwork 2007 Kurt Ozinga.





The Winnowed Woman

Celia A. Leaman




What does it matter what month it is? Except, I think it could be April. I'm so numbed, I can't think.

When we were sitting on the porch today, a beer cradled in your hand, two in your belly already, you said, "I've been living a lie. I never meant to marry you, I only wanted an affair, but it went too far. I didn't know how to get out of it. Now there are things I want to do and they don't include you."

My heart stopped. I swear it did. And then, recovering itself, it began to pound.
The pain in my chest was so bad, I was momentarily crippled. I wanted to ask: What do you mean? Why are you hurting me? Me, who has done everything possible to keep you alive? We've struggled through months of hope. I thought, I hoped, that as you got well you would want me again.
But this?

As we sat there, something inside me slid away. I saw a part of me, slinking into a cave to hide in a dark, safe place. Cave Woman. Her name is Cave Woman and I heard her say: I'm going to protect myself. We can't let him hurt us both.

The husk that was me: the pathetic, emotionally floundering creature, torn between anger, indignation, sorrow and disbelief, just sat there. I didn't understand--I was nowhere near accepting. I thought: after all we have meant to each other in the past, do you really mean to throw me away?
But quicksilver was my mind. I didn't ask that because it would have killed me further to hear the answer confirmed.
You said I didn't know how to get out of it.
Well. You're getting out of it now, aren't you? Is this what this illness is all about? To get rid of me?

Consumed by sudden anger and pain, I got up and walked away.

Once you would have come after me. Said you were sorry; assured me you didn't mean it and that you loved me. But you watched me in silence; lifted the detestable beer to your lips and sucked it back. And I knew I'd lost.




"The Winnowed Woman" Copyright © 2007. Celia A. Leaman. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.





Author Bio

Celia Leaman is the author of four novels and three collections of short stories. She writes in many genres; stories inspired by her life's experiences and a vivid imagination. Details of her books and upcoming releases can be found on her website at

Celia lives in British Columbia with her husband.

TTB titles:
Island Stories
Mary's Child
PastPresent I - sequel to "Mary's Child"
PastPresent II
Unraveled  [a Gale Island story.]
Who is Margaret? What is She?

Visit Celia's web site







Winner of the WordWeaving Award for Excellence

...Celia Ann Leaman's poignantly powerful voice brings any genre vividly to life whether to she chooses to pen fiction, short stories, or an essay. Yet never has her voice proved so profound as in The Winnowed Woman....

The Winnowed Woman reflects the thoughts and reflections of a woman in her maturity that has come beyond the vanity of youth to confront the challenges of middle age. Through the challenges of divorce, remarriage, in the face of death and disillusionment, Leaman recounts a spiritual journey of healing [that] reflects every woman who has struggled and overcome. A powerful and beautifully written book, The Winnowed Woman earns the WordWeaving Award for Excellence.

Reviewed by Cindy Penn, Senior Editor,, Amazon top 50 Reviewer and eBook Specialist, Midwest Book Review.

Five Stars

We all go through life changes during the years and no matter how hard we try, we canít prevent these changes to dominate and mark our lives and experiences.... 'The Winnowed Woman'Ö a collection that is very helpful to others who seek a spiritual meaning with their lives. It's a book to give an insight in how to gain your self-esteem and become a stronger person. And you won't get stronger without having gone through pain. As the author writes: 'Where there is bad, there is good; when pain is present, there can also be joy; where there is darkness, light is only waiting to be asked in.'

'The Winnowed Woman' is not a religious book at all. It's a wonderful chapbook for everyone to read, enjoy and to learn from.
Reviewed by Simona Nielsen for The Writer's Room Magazine.

"When you are unsure of the future, keep doing what is in front of you, and with love, and what is meant for you will find you." (Gurumayi Chidvilasananda). This is the essence of Celia A. Leaman's masterpiece, The Winnowed Woman a touching, surprising collection that aims straight at the core of emotions, be they desperate, grievous, fearful or blissful. It shows how softly unfolding spirituality will completely change a woman's life.

Celia A. Leaman keeps surprising me. I knew she could write terrific books - both funny and romantic. With this one she has outdone herself.
Christine Spindler, author of the Inspector Terry Mysteries.

The Winnowed Woman is a true gem! It is a journey through a labyrinth of emotional and physical trials that bring about a deeper sense and understanding of life and the universe.

The Winnowed Woman is about a woman facing crises, losing love, then embracing temporary solitude. It is about one woman's struggle to find herself after years of reliance. It is about pain, fear, hope and the eventual acceptance of loss. But mostly it is about discovery; the discovery of that integral aspect begging for release in each and every one of us: spirituality.

Ms. Leaman has masterfully presented this journey into spiritual awakening. Using a combination of essay, poetry and journaling, the story flows so smoothly that I found it impossible to put down. The author's insight is uncanny, and her word pictures truly stunning.

If you have ever experienced heartache or pain and would like to experience hope, The Winnowed Woman is a book you should not miss!
Reviewed by Maureen McMahon, author of Shadows in the Mist and Return of the Gulls.

This is one of the saddest, yet most hopeful, books I have read. The author tells of a journey through the pain of divorce and its aftermath. Anyone who has gone through a similar experience would identify with the characters and benefit by reading this book. It shows the light at the end of the tunnel one must pass through in going from being married to being no longer married.

This series of well written essays detail the emotional upheaval of a broken relationship, the stages of grieving, and coming to terms with being alone but not unhappily so. The book speaks to the reader of seeking and finding self identity instead of mourning always the loss of being recognized only as an appendage to a mate.

It is said, one must learn to stand alone before one can walk. The same is true for becoming a whole person, one must learn to stand alone before one can walk into a relationship and know its limits. Multi-talented author, Celia Leaman, has posted the signs showing the way to help any reader find that inner peace they seek after divorce.
Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, author of Journey Into Terror

The Winnowed Woman isn't an easy book to read. But between elegantly crafted words and beautiful illustrations, it moves back and forth like a weaver, creating a tapestry that is at once glorious and thought provoking.

What makes it so difficult to read is the raw honesty in the words. They leap at you from the pages and make you want to howl in anger and pain. No one should undertake a journey of this sort. No one should shred their skin to let so much light in.

This journey isn't the kind you can read all in one night and sit back feeling fine and happy. It takes time and patience to get through it. Because it reflects pain all of us have felt. It speaks to our souls and we listen.

The author explains the meaning of 'winnowed' to us at the beginning of the book. It was aptly named since it separates the wheat of life and love from the chaff. The Winnowed Woman is every woman's story. Painful, daring, full of heart and sometimes, fear and anger. It shouldn't be missed!
Reviewed by Joyce Lavene, author, Berkley Prime Crime.




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