chapter 27, literary lessons, quotations from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

“Now I must either bundle it back in to my tin kitchen to mold, pay for printing it myself, or chop it up to suit purchasers and get what I can for it. Fame is a very good thing to have in the house, but cash is more convenient, so I wish to take the sense of the meeting on this important subject,” said Jo, calling a family council.

where Little Women was written, 1941 image (wiki)

“Don’t spoil your book, my girl, for there is more in it than you know, and the idea is well worked out. Let it wait and ripen,” was her father’s advice, and he practiced what he preached, having waited patiently thirty years for fruit of his own to ripen, and being in no haste to gather it even now when it was sweet and mellow.

“It seems to me that Jo will profit more by taking the trial than by waiting,” said Mrs. March. “Criticism is the best test of such work, for it will show her both unsuspected merits and faults, and help her to do better next time. We are too partial, but the praise and blame of outsiders will prove useful, even if she gets but little money.”

“Yes,” said Jo, knitting her brows, “that’s just it. I’ve been fussing over the thing so long, I really don’t know whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent. It will be a great help to have cool, impartial persons take a look at it, and tell me what they think of it.”

 

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the old stone face of Hawthorne…

image & descriptor from wiki: The Old Man of the Mountain on April 26, 2003, seven days before the collapse. A late spring snow fell the night before.

As indicated to me by the editor, this was “in the pipeline” to be published in Books & Culture. So I was disappointed when the magazine was unexpectedly withdrawn from Christianity Today’s line late last summer. Also, I did not want B&C to go away! Ever. This entry below is part of the original essay.

A Maine writer–summering here as a youth and attending Bowdoin College–Nathaniel Hawthorne has a claim on the state. Or, maybe it’s the reverse.

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Mexico, Maine

Another Maine Metaphor is coming out, this one with a new geographic focus, Maine’s eastern uplands, a construct from my Maine undergraduate studies, in the late 1980s as a nontraditional student. But today I’m posting about a neighboring town and author, in part because of personal connections with the town. The town is Mexico, Maine.

You read that right. Mexico, Maine. Maine is more than half the geographic area of New England, and so far there is only a beginning immigrant quantity of Mexican-Americans in the White- Anglo-Saxon Protestant-founding of New England, USA. I’m seeing none at all in this part of the Western Mountains of Maine.

So, Mexico Maine? —White Maine? But the mill towns of Mexico and Rumford (over the river) had been home to immigrants from early days of the mill’s founding by Hugh Chisholm in the late 1800s. In those days it was woodland/farmland but possessed of the greatest national waterfalls east of Niagara — where Hugh Chisholm came from on hearing of these remote woodlands and the great unharnessed falls.

When we first drove into Mexico in our secondhand patched together 12-year-old gas hogging Buick, we saw the mill right off, of course. It was almost the whole reason we’d come.

image from the portland press herald

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by louise dickinson rich: we took to the woods

richardson lake map (2)

We are askew. There’s a lot going on, caring for an injured relative in a smallish log cabin on-the-grid. Daily life looks different. So right now, in snatches, I’m reading Louise Dickinson Rich‘s We Took to the Woods, one of my favorite Maine books. This is a good book, and it’s marked, plenty of marginalia from previous readings. Here’s my note on the title page, in pencil: “see p. 131-32 for the heart of it — what she has to say about their life in the woods.” I haven’t looked at that yet for this blogging. I began reading all over again this time from the beginning where she describes how she came to the woods 20 years before, one teacher among a group of such hikers (along with a guide). And how she came to write the book in 1942, living off-the-grid.

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