Do you remember the first time you witnessed, even fictionally, an author at work?
I'm not entirely sure, but I think mine might have been while watching the movie Little Women, starring Winona Ryder. I remember curling up on the couch with my own three sisters, teary-eyed as Beth died, but soon cheering Jo on as she finally worked on the story she was meant to write. The moment the writing bug infected me for good may have been when Jo tied the ragged-edged pages of her manuscript with twine and tucked in a red geranium. Or it may have been when the typed version on the long white paper was delivered. I only remember that by the time the credits were rolling, I was sure.
I know the movie is not the book and the book is not Louisa May Alcott's real life, but all three versions entrance me. Maybe it was growing up with three sisters. We were, I considered, exactly like the March girls. My oldest sister Natalie was the pretty, logical one who never (so it seemed to me at the time) got in trouble. I was wild and moody and wanted to be a writer. Rose, the third girl, was the sweet peacemaker. Regina, the youngest, was, well, blonde. And...the youngest. See--exactly like the March girls.
Whether I was watching the movie or reading the book or studying the actual woman, I was inspired by Jo's/Louisa's determination and focus. I learned through her example to write the words that opened windows into my soul and not to mess about with vampires and murderers, because that is not the kind of writer I am. (Who would have thought that over a hundred years later, we would again be facing a vampire trend?) And I still wish I could tuck a red geranium into my manuscript before shipping it off to a publisher.
Lucy received some lovely Little Women paper dolls for her fifth birthday, so yesterday we watched the movie together so she would "know how to play them." The nearly-incessant questions of "Wait, which one is Jo?" ended when the movie did, and Lucy rushed out of the room. She returned a few minutes later with a two inch thick stack of yellow paper and announced, "I am going to write a book. On all of this paper. Like Jo. Because Jo is so, so cool."
Which were, pretty much, my thoughts exactly.