- Text Analysis
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To Douglass Cather,
, from on letterhead of the Brown
Palace Hotel, ; ;
Has returned to with Edith after days in the heat of . has very mild evenings and only brief periods of heat during the day. Fine horses are available; Edith is an accomplished rider, and Cather can get along well enough to handle irregular terrain. Is Douglass still coming north this July? How far? To ? If it is possible to see him, would like to, but otherwise won't travel far, though if Edith is up to it they might drive near around the Rio Grande pueblos. Edith has to return to by July 25, and her holiday, though fascinating, has not been relaxing. When she leaves, Cather might travel to , and will get to as some point. Hopes to convince mother to spend some time in with her, since Elsie reports that she isn't in good health. Would like to be in for several weeks, but won't do it if no one wants her around. Regrets coming home the previous summer. Her very being seemed to annoy everyone. Douglass shouldn't think her too smug, it's just that writers have to promote themselves or forget about it. Doesn't self-promote near as much as most. Doesn't believe it would do any good for her to give up, though quitting is tempting sometimes. Had a difficult winter and wrote very little, just two short stories [possibly and ], and one of them was really weak. The death of and the marriage of Isabelle were big blows and gave her the unsettling sense of losing a home. Will survive, but is not too enthusiastic. Maybe going on trying after losing interest is a sign of character. Doesn't want to dwell on depressing facts, though. Why can't she and Douglass have fun together more? Yes, is difficult to be around, but any woman who has made good money in a business is difficult and she's no different. Nevertheless, the two of them still ought to enjoy one another's company, as they did in the year before. Likes Douglass more than nearly everyone else, except when he's grumpy; and when he's grumpy, will just leave and accept it with detachment. Will, however, relish all positive feelings from her , all of whom she likes very much, even more so now than when she was young and tried to change everybody. Still tends to believe in her own way of thinking first, but now tempers it with the knowledge of past errors. Has mellowed since last year. Three close friends died [?], and the displeasure last summer may have helped too. Is drained of spirit now--but that's bad for writing. Will probably never write well again. One needs to be transfixed with the material to write well. Hopes at least to be able to support herself still. Two stories were rejected recently for being dull, and the editors were right. Please plan on meeting somewhere—really has gotten more easy going. Willie
To Roscoe Cather,
, on letterhead of the Brown Palace Hotel, , but written from
Received Roscoe's letter just as she and Edith Lewis were starting out from for . Wanted to come to , but Edith was intent on coming back here, where they had such a wonderful week last year. Hopes that after two weeks in , she can stop by on the way back east. At some point, will make it to . Hopes Mother, whom Elsie reports as being unwell, can be convinced to spend some time in . Does long to meet young West Virginia [her nickname for Roscoe's oldest daughter, Virginia]. May remain in 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 —not of much merit [ , 92 (May 1916): 51-59]. bought the second one, which is considerably more successful [ , 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 ]. 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 . 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). 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.