Today's guest is Erin M. Blakemore. She learned to drool over Darcy and cry over Little Women in suburban San Diego, California. These days, her inner heroine loves roller derby, running her own business, and hiking in her adopted hometown of Boulder, Colorado.
The Heroine’s Bookshelf, her first published book, is an exploration of classic heroines and their equally admirable authors, it shows today’s women how to tap into their inner strengths and live life with intelligence and grace.
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The Heroine’s Bookshelf. The contest is open worldwide and ends December 22nd.
A CERTAIN LACK OF ROMANCE (AND A VALUABLE WRITING LESSON) .
There’s a terrible, little-mentioned side effect of writing a book about your literary heroines. Over time, it manages to ruin all your excuses.To wit: it is almost impossible to lament that you haven’t been able to get to the post office when you know that Louisa May Alcott had to tramp across a muddy field and take an uncomfortable coach to get to town.
It’s hard to complain about being poor when you know that Alice Walker’s parents could not pay for medical care when she was shot in the eye by a brother’s BB gun.Lack of inspiration starts to seem trivial when you consider that Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote their books at phases of emotional prostration and in the face of extreme physical, financial, and emotional odds.I point out these facts not to depress, but to point out that a certain lack of romance, that sense of going through the motions, is A-OK. We’ve been fed the line about divine inspiration, pretty muses and lofty Writing Experiences for so long that it’s easy to get bogged down. In my experience, “I can’t” raises her head whenever anything, be it a bad cold or the fantasy of a writer’s life, gives her an in.“If you think, from this prelude, that anything like a romance is preparing for you, reader, you never were more mistaken,” wrote Charlotte Brontë in the preface to her novel Shirley in 1849. “Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and reverie? Do you expect passion, and stimulus, and melodrama? Calm your expectations; reduce them to a lowly standard. Something real, cool and solid lies before you; something unromantic as Monday morning.”
Don’t accuse poor Charlotte of being bitter; after all, she did lose three of her dearest siblings within one miserable year at Haworth. To be sure, she wrote these lines at an all-time low in her personal life. But the girl has a point. What if you could exchange something sentimental for something real? To me, exchanging my fantasies about writing for the reality of writing – challenging, maddening, distressing, infuriating, and fun – means the writing gets done. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.