Tag Archives: Essays

Little Women 150th Anniversary Anthology

My copy of Little Women, shown here on my daughter’s bed, is over 40 years old. My mother read it to me and I was happy to read it to my daughter when she was about 12.

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This scene, of a mother and daughters gathered around a piano singing together, has always touched me, even though it is more substantial to me in imagination than in real life.

In real life I’m a shy, tremulous singer and a self-taught one-finger picker of keyboard melodies. Instead I have found a voice on the violin and viola, and in writing. My family members are not singers either, although both my kids have played, or still play, various non-piano instruments. We played together when they were younger, but teenagers tend not to want to play with mom so much.

Several years ago, when Susan Cain’s book Quiet, the Power of Introverts came out, I was reading Little Women to my daughter, then in 7th grade. We lived in the Boston area then, close enough that we could visit Orchard House, and we did so twice, once for the Girl Scout troop my daughter was a member of, and again years later for her Coming-of-Age class at our UU church.

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I started to think about the March girls according to their temperaments, introvert or extravert. In particular, I was able to put my feelings about Beth March in a different context. In the past I had always been a little ashamed that I identified so strongly with Beth. In the book, she was too quiet and introverted to live. What did that mean for me and others like me? I wrote these thoughts down and put them first in a blog post, and then in an essay that I submitted to a new anthology for the 150th Anniversary of Little Women.

I just found that my essay has been accepted for publication in the anthology, which will be coming out later this year, from Pink Umbrella books.

newpinkumbrellalogoFor generations, children around the world have come of age with Louisa May Alcott’s March girls. Their escapades and trials punctuated our own childhoods—maybe we weren’t victims of “lime-shaming,” like Amy, and we probably didn’t chop off our locks for the cause, like Jo, but Alcott’s messages of society and independence, family love, and sacrifice resonate over a century later. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Little Women, published to wide acclaim in 1868.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Listening Against the Stone by Brenda Miller

Listening Against the Stone: MeditationsListening Against the Stone: Meditations by Brenda Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my writing life, I tend to chafe against expectations of starting in medias res. I like backstory, I like to be prepared for the action when it comes. I don’t mind a leisurely pace. I am easily hurt by the implication that readers will not be as interested in my protagonist’s innermost thoughts and reflections as I think they should be.

One of the gentle lessons of this collection of essays is why I need to get over that reluctance to “get the story started”. Continue reading Book Review: Listening Against the Stone by Brenda Miller