Had a letter from Stokes today re my new book-series. I suggested calling it The New Moon Series, making the first book Emily of New Moon. They like the idea but want “a more attractive name than Emily.” I have written them my ultimatum on this. “Emily” is a quaint, delightful name, and hasn’t been worn threadbare in recent fiction as almost every other name has. Besides, my heroine is Emily, just as Anne was Anne. She has been “Emily” for the past ten years during which time I have been carrying her in my mind, waiting for the time when I could put her into a book. She has “grown” just as “Anne” did and so ought to be just as well-beloved. And “Emily” she shall remain.
Yet an old book has something for me which no new book can ever have — for at every reading the memories and atmosphere of other readings come back and I am reading old years as well as an old book.
Today I finished Emily of New Moon, after six months writing. It is the best book I have ever written — and I have had more intense pleasure in writing it than any of the others — not even excepting Green Gables. I have lived it, and I hated to pen the last line and write finis. Of course, I’ll have to write several sequels but they will be more or less hackwork I fear. They cannot be to me what this book has been.
I don’t know whether I shall ever become sensible enough not to go to see screen versions of my favorite books. I am afraid I won’t because I have been disappointed often enough to cure me of the foolishness if I were curable…I would resolve never to to to see another book-film if I thought I could keep it but I know I cannot. I will always go to them when occasions offers and will always be sorry I did.
There are two adjectives that are never separated in regard to a November day — dull and gloomy. They were wedded together in the dawn of language and I shall not divorce them now.
The papers these days are filled with radio…It is all very wonderful — and I find it a little depressing. Is it because I’m getting on in life that all these wonderful inventions and discoveries, treading on each other’s heels, give me a sense of weariness and a longing to go back to the slower years of old. Doubtless that has something to do with it. But I do really think we are rushing on rather fast. It keeps humanity on tiptoe. And all these things don’t make the world or the people in it any happier…The world can’t eat its cake and have it, too. And none of these things really “save time.” They only fill it more breathlessly full.
This fall I said, “Now, I’m going to make myself read Les Miserables.” I made myself read the first few chapters. Then there was no further making. Or rather, the difficulty lay in making myself stop. I read hours when I should have been sleeping. One part of me enjoyed the book, another part shuddered in pain over it — but always it was fascinating. I am through with it — I don’t think I’ll ever want to read it again — but I would have missed a wonder out of life if I hadn’t read it.
Well, as Ila says, we can’t live other people’s lives for them. For that matter most of us find it is about all we can do to live our own.
On EMILY CLIMBS:
It has been hard to do these revisions when ever since New Year’s I’ve been so upset and worried. And yet, whenever I forced myself to sit down to it, I found solace and escape — I was free from my bonds and torments and roamed in an ideal world — coming back to reality at the end of my three hour’s “stint” with renewed courage and “grit.”
Well, I no longer think fame a grand word or fame a very important thing. It certainly does not confer or increase happiness of goodness or usefulness. My work has brought me fame of a sort but the real reward of the work was in the pleasure it gave me to do it. And the fact that my name and my books are household words in all English speaking countries doesn’t make it a bit easier for me to shake the furnace down of keep my patience with Lily’s forgetfulness and untidiness!
Faith E. Hough says
Yes…that one about technology. “And none of these things really “save time.” They only fill it more breathlessly full.” Being an introvert makes it easier, but it seems that the world these days has less and less time to just live and reflect.
Beth Kephart says
oh boy, did I agree with your Lucy.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Beth and Faith, I’m there with both of you.