The beloved author of Refuge returns with a work that explodes and startles, illuminates and celebratesTerry Tempest Williamsâ€™s mother told her:Â â€śI am leaving you all my journals, but you must promise me you wonâ€™t look at them until after Iâ€™m gone.â€ťReaders of Williamsâ€™s iconic and unconventional memoir, Refuge, well remember that mother.Â She was one of a large Mormon clan in northern Utah who developed cancer as a result of the nuclear testing in nearby Nevada. It was a shock to Williams to discover thatÂ her mother had kept journals.Â But not as much of a shock as what she found when the time came to read them.Â Â â€śThey were exactly where she said they would be: three shelves of beautiful cloth-bound books . . . I opened the first journal.Â It was empty. I opened the second journal.Â It was empty.Â I opened the third.Â It too was empty . . . Shelf after shelf after shelf, all of my motherâ€™s journals were blank.â€ť What did Williamsâ€™s mother mean by that? InÂ fifty-four chapters that unfold like a series of yoga poses, each with its own logic and beauty, Williams creates a lyrical and caring meditation of the mystery of her mother's journals. When Women Were Birds is a kaleidoscope that keeps turning around the question â€śWhat does it mean to have aÂ voice?â€ť Â Note: blank pages are intentional.