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#0283: Willa Cather to Will Owen Jones, May 29 [1914]

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Dear Mr. Jones1;

Yes, I enjoyed writing Mr. McClure5's biography6; mainly because he was so honest about it and was not for dressing up the truth any. If he had wanted it ornamented or softened, or had wished to put all the emphasis on tha pleasant side of farm life in Indiana7, the story would have been dull to write and dull to read. He told me the facts exactly as he remembered them, and wanted them put down that way.

Yes, the newspapers have gone down a lot in the last few years---and so have the magazines. The news-stand public prefers yellow fiction to anyyhing else. All the flashy young business men in this part of the world want to be gay dogs and to be thought worse than they have time to be. It,s a curious phase; probably comes from too much prosperity.

No, I don’t hold any grudges about those early stories8. They were warped, but they were so frankly so that I wonder that anyone should have misunderstood them. If a young man- or young woman-- sits down in the cornfield and howls because he can’t hear any music-dramas, it does not mean that he has fallen out with the corn-fields. Give him all the music he wants and take him about the world a little until his mind finds what it’s hunting for, and he will come out all right with the corn. His was a case of mental dietetics; he hadn,t found the right food and went about half-nourished.

When I was working on the Journal9 you were always more than kind to me, and I cannot think without amazement of the amount of rhetorical wid wild oats you stood for. I don,t believe anybody ever made such hideous sounds in trying to learn to play an instrument as I did. When I’ve had to wrestle with young writers on McClure’s10, I’ve often remembered your patience.

I am away on a long piece11 of work now and shall not return to New York12 until the late fall. I am going to Wyoming13 this summer and may see you in Lincoln3, as I shall of course go to Red Cloud14.

Faithfully always Willa Cather
Mr. Will Owen Jones1 Nebraska State Journal Lincoln3 Nebraska PITTSBURGH, PA.2 MAY 30 1914 1—PM