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228 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1927
"'This book lacks spontaneity. It is saccharine and melodramatic, mawkish and naive.'
'I know I fell into the well,' said Cousin Jimmy pitifully. 'Is that why I can't make head or tail out of that?'"
"'[Y]ou must learn never to write happy endings—never. I will teach you. I will teach you the beauty and artistry of sorrow and incompleteness.'"
I always give Dean my stories to read. I can't help doing it, although he always brings them back with no comment, or, worse, than no comment - faint praise. It has become a sort of obsession with me to make Dean admit I can write something worthwhile in its line. That would be a triumph. But unless and until he does, everything will be dust and ashes. Because - he knows.THE ABSOLUTE WORST.
No use trying to please - critics. Live under your own hat. Don't be - led away - by those howls about realism. Remember - pine woods are just as real as - pigsties - and a darn sight pleasanter to be in.Emily's loneliness should be relatable - look at her letter to herself at 24! The comments from her relatives about her age! Dean's "You've never lived" comment (MONSTER) - but instead she's positioned as a tortured artist and her loneliness as unique and special. She gets critical raves (and sniffy negative reviews) and delightful congratulations from Miss Royal and petty congratulations from Dean, and all of it makes her a more distant character. I want to rejoice with her and cry for her but instead I can't quite feel what she's feeling. She lives so much in her head and her writing is so solitary by design that Montgomery almost backs herself into a corner here. Somehow the events in Emily's life lose their immediacy and impact.
But oh, for her unborn Seller of Dreams!- DEAN, YOU ARE THE WORST - and yet my main reaction this time around is: Teddy, why did you whistle again?
Something nice happened today. I feel pleasantly exhilarated. Madison's took my story, A Flaw in the Indictment!!!! Yes, it deserves some exclamation points after it to a certainty. If it were not for Mr. Carpenter I would write it in italics. Italics! Nay, I'd use capitals.