By Banah Isaac Wright’s Hollow, New Hampshire
September 17, 2018
It seems I took a short sabbatical from writing, as my peace and quiet were upended too, like the cat’s. But it was for a good reason; living for myself would be pretty pointless anyway and isn’t real peace at all.
Things settled down. Yesterday I was reading about Tasha Tudor, and wishing I could live more like her, until I looked up her biography on Wikipedia, and found her life had its own share of brokenness. I’ve got plenty of that myself; don’t need to borrow hers. I’ll be satisfied to live as simply as possible in a little house by a brook, and not be upset that I can’t weave my own clothes. At least here I can cook on a woodstove sometimes, and have dogs and a cat.
She had wonderful gardens. Mine are wild, the perrenials are halting, the vegetable garden needs work, and even she said patience was the key. And she worked from home!
One by one, my literary heroines and heroes have been shown to have had such difficult lives, so very human. Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of “The Secret Garden,” was divorced. Lucy Maud Montgomery, of “Anne of Green Gables” fame, who recorded such beauty in her writings, revealed in her journal how miserable her marriage was, her depression so terrible, that she took her own life. Louisa May Alcott, who wrote of such close family life, had a pretty tough one herself, wanted to get away from writing “childish pap” (but it paid the bills), and died young after being ill for years. Henry David Thoreau died young too, depressed and bitter because his books weren’t selling and no one was listening.
It isn’t the circumstances that make you happy. (Although it helps.) Probably because these people could create transcendent worlds or simply be aware of the wonderful living world around them, they could escape themselves sometimes, live as well as they did, and give us what they saw. But their sadness or trouble, mostly that some couldn’t overcome it in the end, saddens me. I think they gave us the best that was in their hearts, and that we cherish.
It’s better to have a little, have it real, have a heart full of living joy that really does transcend the circumstances–because of knowing Who loves us. That’s real. You can live on it, and give it away too.. That as my friend Mike would say, ‘is the most fun you can have.”