A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather

12 letters found

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To Roscoe Cather February 6, [1912] from Boston, on blank postcard ; UNL-Roscoe 

Glad he enjoyed the story [possibly "The Joy of Nelly Deane," which appeared in Century in October 1911], and thanks for the kind letter. Had surgery and has not completely recovered from three hours of ether.   W.S.C. 


To Roscoe CatherJuly 8, [1916], on letterhead of the Brown Palace Hotel, Denver, Colorado, but written from Taos, New MexicoUNL-Roscoe 

Received Roscoe's letter just as she and Edith Lewis were starting out from Denver for Taos. Wanted to come to Lander, but Edith was intent on coming back here, where they had such a wonderful week last year. Hopes that after two weeks in Taos, she can stop by Lander on the way back east. At some point, will make it to Red Cloud. Hopes Mother, whom Elsie reports as being unwell, can be convinced to spend some time in Denver. Does long to meet young West Virginia [her nickname for Roscoe's oldest daughter, Virginia]. May remain in Nebraska until well into autumn. Felt so overwhelmed by deaths and marriages of friends this past winter that she only managed to produce two pieces of short fiction the entire winter and spring. He likely noticed the one in The Century—not of much merit ["The Bookkeeper's Wife," The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 92 (May 1916): 51-59]. McClure's bought the second one, which is considerably more successful ["The Diamond Mine," McClure's Magazine, 47 (October 1916): 7-11; 66-70]. Would like to discuss her conception for a new novel—not striking in itself. Hasn't had a really striking idea since Sandy Point [a play town Cather constructed out of packing boxes with her brothers and friends as a child in Red Cloud, Nebraska]. The challenge of the new novel, an especially difficult challenge for a woman writer, is that it must center on a man. Gets a lot of credit for her male characters, but they are successful only because a woman is always at the center of the story and the men are seen only through them. Can manage that much quite well, but is nervous to go beyond that strategy. Nevertheless, a boy and a man must be at the center of this new book. Wishes she could discuss it with him; he could give her some guidance. If only he had written a diary on his trip to Yellowstone. The book she has in mind is somewhat similar. Apologizes for the bad penmanship, but there are five Jewish salesmen in line for the hotel's one bottle of ink. Is staying at a comfortable hotel run by a dignified Mexican woman and her French-speaking parrot (her dead husband was a Frenchman). Taos is wonderful, if one is up to crossing forty miles of canyons to reach it. The population is completely Mexican and there is a lovely Indian pueblo nearby. Would be wonderful if Roscoe could come along on these adventures. Life is so unforgiving: remain independent and one feels unanchored; get bound up and, well, that's it. Isabelle's new husband is a terrible Jew that nobody likes. It's a dilemma. Plans to remain less encumbered from now on. Goodbye and hopes to see Roscoe and Meta soon.   Willie. 


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