Below is an excerpt that I couldn’t help but compare to what I’m sure many NaNoWriMo households will live out next month.
From Chapter 27: Literary Lessons
Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and ‘fall into a vortex’, as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace. Her ‘scribbling suit’ consisted of a black woolen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action. This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally to ask, with interest, “Does genius burn, Jo?”
They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an
observation of the cap, and judged accordingly. If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on, in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew, and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor. At such times the intruder silently withdrew, and not until the red bow was seen gaily erect upon the gifted brow, did anyone dare address Jo.
The chapter ends with a lively discussion Jo has with her family as she shares her agony over the edits her publisher demands.
Click here to read the rest of this chapter (at Bartleby.com, “Great Books Online”) and find out if Jo’s novel fares well with the publisher. It’s an interesting and entertaining passage. The 145-year-old truths and lessons will touch both readers and writers of today.
Have you ever read Little Women?