On Rose Wilder Lane and Her Animosity

Throughout my journey with Laura Ingalls Wilder last spring and summer I began to understand how fascinating, complicated and and difficult Rose Wilder Lane was. (Some of my understanding was thanks to the experts I interviewed–Wendy McClure, Kelly Kathleen Ferguson and  Sarah Uthoff.) She was educated, well traveled, successful in her career and known for her work in a time when women weren’t. Yesterday Slate featured a blog post by Rebecca Onion that included a full text scan of a letter RWL wrote to her mother while working on By the Shores of Silver Lake. The letter is full of the general vitriol and superiorioty we’ve seen Rose exhibit in their relationship. (Remember the forward to On the Way Home.)

It’s fascinating that so many years after both women’s deaths we’re still learning about and discussing their dynamic. Of course we know that we owe the success and craft of the Little House Series in part (possibly in large part) to Rose. But why does she have to be so difficult to like?

The Twitter universe, including Allison Arngrim, Nellie Oleson on the TV series, has commented on the potentially salacious details Rose cut from By the Shores of Silver Lake, including the time 12-year-old Laura pulled a knife on Cousin Charley when he tried to kiss her and when Pa told the girls not to watch the railroad men work because they were potential rapists. It seems that Rose was very likely overblowing these events in her letter. There inclusion in the letter should indicate their importance to the story, but Rose took every opportunity to prod her mother. As we see when she explained (as if to a child) that sexual degenerates didn’t exist on the frontier (but of course psychotic murderers did). And that her mother had misunderstood Charley. His attempt at kissing her was completely different than the time dumb old Mrs. Boast almost got her raped. Even though she didn’t know what sexual assault was at the time.

One thing that still fascinates me is the discord between how Rose saw herself (always precocious) and her seeming lack of maturity when speaking to her mother. I wonder how many of us would come across the same way if our 76-year-old letter to our moms were to be dug up and mass distributed.

Further, I find her lack of understanding of human nature interesting. But far more interesting (and keeping with her character) is her lack of awareness of such a shortcoming. Years of poverty didn’t make her wiser–just bitter.

Weekly Reads: 4.21.14

March is supposed to come in like a lion weather wise, but I’ve been so busy this month, that I’ve decided the statement applies to my calendar and to do list for the beginning of April as well.

During my lunch break, which I haven’t officially taken for two weeks, I‘m reading

The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar | Weekly Reads at The 1000th Voice blog

The B2B Social Media Book
By Kipp Bodnar & Jeffrey L. Cohen

This book has a lot of great insights for the BSB social media market that I am.

I finished Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty over the weekend. I absolutely loved it. It was so weird, but so great. I picked up


People of the Book
By Geraldine Brooks

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Weekly Reads: 3.31.14

I think I finished about a book and a half in March. A little slow, but I enjoyed what I was reading.

Last week I started two books. During my lunch break I‘m reading

The B2B Social Media Book: Becoming a Marketing Superstar | Weekly Reads at The 1000th Voice blog

The B2B Social Media Book
By Kipp Bodnar & Jeffrey L. Cohen

At home, I’m reading

A Object of Beauty By Steve Martin | Weekly Reads at The 1000th Voice blog

An Object of Beauty
By Steve Martin

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Creativity, Creativity & Creativity: A Review of The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

At the beginning of January I decided to choose two words to help guide my year. Why two? Mostly because I couldn’t decide on just one. But since January, I hadn’t really thought much about either word. Until I started reading

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp | Book Review by The 1000th Voice

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use it For Life
By Twyla Tharp

What are my words? Creativity and Intentional. Creativity is something I need (and well pretty much everyone needs) in their professional and personal lives. By continuing to hone my creativity, I’ll reap great rewards in my personal and professional lives. Intentional is a bit more abstract. I just want to take more time to focus on being intentional with my actions.

Review

Creativity as a habit is a foreign concept to the common portrayal of creatives in TV shows, movies and more. Generally we see a creative person who’s wild and unpredictable. But Tharp presents a different view, one in which the creative person is driven by habit, following an established daily routine and approaching projects in a similar way. This approach was new to me. I’ve often thought that I need to set up a daily routine, so that I can squeeze in time to write and pursue other creative endeavors. I’ve never considered that it would help make me more creative.

No one starts a creative endeavor without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you’ve begun. (page 22)

Throughout the book, Tharp presents a lot of great ways to help maximize creativity. For example, to get out of a creative rut, Tharp recommends challenging assumptions by identifying the concept that isn’t working, write down your assumptions about it, challenge those assumptions and act on the challenge.

When creativity has become your habit; when you’ve learned to manage time, resources, expectations, and the demands of others; when you understand the value and place of validation, continuity and purity of purpose–then you’re on the way to an artist’s ultimate goal: the achievement of mastery. (page 240)

Rating

Writing 4 out of 5 stars

Tharp’s writing was strong.

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Tharp doesn’t just tell people how to be creative. She shows them by sharing stories about her own creative pursuits–the ups and the downs, successes and failures.

Cultural Impact 4 out of 5 stars

Tharp’s book is commonly mentioned when talking about creatives doing their thing. There’s a reason for that. She has a long history of successful creative pursuits.

TOTAL 4.33 out of 5 stars

Have you read Tharp’s book? What did you think? What’s your favorite book about creativity?

Witty & Engaging: A Review of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love

Happening upon Nancy Mitford was, for me, a happy little surprise. I’d read that one of her books, a Christmas one, was recommended by Flavorwire. My library didn’t have that one, but it did have

The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford | A Review by The 1000th Voice

The Pursuit of Love
By Nancy Mitford

Review

I’m absolutely in love with Mitford’s sentences. Some of them are concise, some possess hidden barbs and others are complex and fascinating.

Louisa was to have two houses, one in London, Connaught Square, and one in Scotland. Her dress allowance would be three hundred a year, she would possess a diamond tiara, a pearl necklace, a motor-car of her own and a fur cape. In fact granted that she could bear John Fort William, her lot was an enviable one. He was terribly dull. (page 70)

The pursuit of love in this book is both romantic and familial. It’s Linda’s (the narrator’s cousin), it’s the Bolter’s (the narrator’s mom) and it’s really each character’s pursuit. Linda wanted so badly not to become just like the Bolter. But upon leaving her second husband and taking up with a French Duke she‘d only just met, she confirmed to the reader, Fanny and her family that she was just the same. She was going to be a problem.

Alfred likes people to be filed neatly away under some heading that he can understand; careerist, social climber, virtuous wife and mother, or adulteress. (page 128)

The Pursuit of Love was witty, smart and surprising. It was, ultimately, a wonderful book. In fact, a near perfect book.

Rating

Writing 5 out of 5 stars

As I said, I loved Mitford’s sentences. They were a thing of beauty.

Character Development 5 out of 5 stars

The story had an interesting structure where the  narrator was telling her cousin’s story while weaving in her own and the rest of her family’s. In that way, Mitford was able to craft well-developed characters

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Mitford’s story was fascinating, humorous and ultimately very entertaining.

Total 5 out of 5 stars 

Have you read any of Mitford’s work? What did you think?

Twitter is for (Book) Lovers

Literary Twitter is a great place, one of my favorite places in the real or virtual world. Here are some great people that I recommend.

Touching & Thought Provoking: A Review of Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou

A Review of Letter to My Daughter Written & Read by Maya Angelou

Letter to My Daughter
Written & Read by Maya Angelou

Review

Well, let’s get this out of the way. Angelou doesn’t have a daughter. Rather, this brief guide was written for all the daughters she saw around her every day. The entire piece is a series of numbered, brief essays that relate the struggles and triumphs of Angelou’s life and what she learned from each experiences. From racism to being a strong, resilient woman, Angelou covers it all.

Audiobook Review

Angelou, who has a very varied background, including dance, drama and writing, has learned how to moderate her voice. To use inflections when necessary, but mostly to cultivate a voice that when heard, the listener knows immediately that it’s THE Maya Angelou. Her voice is stilted, but the listener doesn’t really get a whiff of pomposity. Rather, it’s like her voice is imbued with intelligence and wisdom.

Ratings

Writing  5 out of 5 stars

Storytelling 5 out of 5 stars

Cultural Impact 5 out of 5 stars

Reading Performance 5 out of 5 stars

Total:  5 out of 5 stars

 Have you read any of Angelou’s work? What did you think?

Weekly Reads: 3.10.2014

I’m trying to focus a little on creativity this year. This book has been on my to read shelf on Goodreads for years. I’m glad I’m finally reading it!

The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp | Weekly Reads at The 1000th Voice

The Creative Habit
By Twyla Tharp

Last Week

Perspective Shifting: A Review of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

I’ve Got Your Oscar Fashion Right Here

What are you reading this week?

**Linked up with Book Journey**

Perspective Shifting: A Review of Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”

And just like that things did fall apart.

Perspective Shifting: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe | The 1000th Voice

Things Fall Apart
By Chinua Achebe

Review

There’s a tremendous subtlety in this novel. A tremendous amount of restraint with details, and a thorough understanding of which details to share. Ultimately culminating with a line drenched with irony that summed up the way the intruders really felt about the natives of the land.

I’ve heard a lot about this book, but I was honestly a little intimidated to pick it up. Like I’ve said before about other books, why? Why didn’t I read this sooner? This isn’t the first novel I’ve read written from the perspective of the people who’d been oppressed. But it’s somehow the most impactful. It was, as was the whole book, a very subtle shift, but it was a shift nonetheless.

I’m no stranger to the effects of colonialism and the reasons driving it, but there was something about this book that really drove it home.

Rating

Writing  5 out of 5 stars

Tight, subtleWonderful!

Character Development  4 out of 5 stars

Okonkwo was slowly but carefully developed.

Storytelling  5 out of 5 stars

So many stories mixed into the main story in a wonderful way.

Cultural Impact 5 out of 5 stars

As the most widely read book of modern African literature, the cultural impact of this book is undeniable.

Total 4.75 out of 5 stars

Have you read Things Fall Apart? What did you think?

I’ve Got Your Oscar Fashion Right Here!

Well, unlike the pizza guy, Oscar fashion didn’t exactly deliver. (What was up with the pizza gag? It just didn’t work.)

There were others who were nicely dressed, but just weren’t best dressed material. Nice, but just not there. Kind of like Ellen’s performance.

OK. You’ve probably read enough recaps of the show as a whole and fashion in particular. So, let’s make this brief. These lovely ladies and Brad Pitt looked great last night.

Jenna Dewan Tatum: Oscars 2014 Best Dressed List | The 1000th Voice

Jenna Dewan-Tatum did look like a fairy & I liked it!

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie: 2014 Oscar's Best Dressed List | The 1000th Voice

Angelina Jolie sparkled while breaking her own fashion mold.

Isla Fisher: 2014 Oscar's Best Dressed

Isla Fisher looked elegant at Vanity Fair’s after party.

Anna Kendrick: 2014 Oscar's Best Dressed List | The 1000th Voice Blog

Not a fan of her Oscar dress, but Anna Kendrick’s
Vanity Fair’s after party dress was hot.

Who did you think was best dressed?