“I cannot get you close enough, I said to him, pitiful as a child, and never can and never will. We cannot get from anyone else the things we need to fill the endless terrible need, not to be dissolved, not to sink back into sand, heat, broom, air, thinnest air. And so we revolve around each other and our dreams collide. It is embarrassing that it should be so hard. Look out the window in any weather. We are part of all that glamour, drama, change, and should not be ashamed.”—Ellen Gilchrist. (Painting by Alice Neal.)
Louisa May Alcott’s birthday should be another national holiday—one for independent-minded girls everywhere. Certainly I have no idea of who I’d be without Little Women to straighten my spine and warm my heart through every stage of my life. As a child I felt special knowing she’d lived within 20 miles of my house, and ever since I’ve looked to both her life and work as an example of what can be accomplished through the marriage of hard work and imagination. These days, the phrase of hers that resonates with me most is this: “I’d rather be a free spinster and paddle my own canoe.” Happy birthday, Louisa May.
Doris Lessing died this morning at such a good, old age that I can hardly complain about her departure. But she did go just as I’d just been thinking about how much she’d given us and how little we’d noticed it lately. She said many wonderful, incisive things that opened our eyes, minds, hearts and crystallized a lot of realities with which we’d only been murkily familiar. The quote I always kept taped somewhere near me was this: “A simple grateful thought turned heavenward is the most perfect prayer.”