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#0246: Willa Cather to Zoë Akins, October 31 [1912]

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My Dear Zoë1

I turn again to your beautiful long letter and again hope that you are quietly settled, with some firm person to keep you from shopping when you have a temperature. Working, writing, at least, is not apt to hurt you if you do a little at a time and try not to get excited about it. I believe one works better when one is reasonably calm, after all. Don’t you?

I am so glad you liked “The Bohemian Girl.”4 Yes, I really think it’s pretty good myself. Im doing another5 about three times as long about the same country. In this new one the country itself is frankly the hero—or the heroine—though I think the people, Swedes and Bohemians, are rather interesting, too. There’ll be a little verse6 about that country in the December McClure’s7.

I’ve been on to New York8 twice since I wrote you, and saw one excellent play there—Arnold Bennett9's “Milestones.”10 Quite a new sort of thing, strong as a steel spring. Of course I’d get on faster with my new story if the office11 would let me sit tight for awhile.

I loved your letter about California12 and the strange people you found there, especially Mrs. Oliver13. She must have been a delightful person. What you said about liking to “impress” people amused me greatly.

I had such awfully hard training in the corn fields that I don’t think I had that joyful stage—no “effects” could be made there by any stunts I could do, except, maybe, horseback riding. You can’t get any rise out of a cow with a sonnet, none whatsoever. Still, the desire to shine a little to people we admire, we all have, and in you its a thing to which I find myself soft-hearted. I’m hoping for a line, with good news of you, when you have time.

Affectionately W. S. C.