Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Pernell Roberts, 81, died yesterday. He was the last of the three Cartwright brothers from "Bonanza". Mae Sarton, "I keep trying to put together, in harness, the fact that I feel so young but I am not." I think we all reach that point on this journey. In Jan 1885 Louisa Mae Alcott attended "an old-fashioned party in at old-time house. All in antique costume. Country kitchen and country fare; spinning and weaving; old songs and dances." Now that's a great way to warm up in Jan. I smell the muffins. I hear the music. I feel the laughter.
I once wrote a play where one of the characters was called "The Beast of Atrocities". The lad who played the part brought the beast to life before my eyes. I had not known the beast was also the beauty. Yes, he was a vile assassin, a cruel murderer, but he was portrayed with such fierce grace that I stood ready to forgive all his sins.
Stephen Crane, author of "The Red Badge of courage", had expressed to Willa Cather how frustrated he was as a writer. It took so long to take an idea for a story into the process of actually writing it down. He said, "The details of a thing had to filter through his blood and then it came out like a native product."
Cather had read A.E. Houseman's "A Shropshire Lad" and "loved his magical lyrics." Even her most loyal readers agree that her poems "April Twilight" fall far short of her prose. She had confessed, "I do not take myself seriously as a poet." Her advice to other writers is a treasure. "Unless you have something in you so fierce that it simply pours itself out in a torrent, heedless of rules or bounds - then do not bother to write anything at all. Why should you? The time for revision is after a thing is on paper - not before."

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