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#1090: Willa Cather to Zoë Akins, December 18 [1931]

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My Darling Zoë1

Of course I knew you had not heard of mother3's death4 when I did not hear from you, and I knew that when you did hear you would be sorry for me. For her sake I was thankful when that long ordeal was over. I am here in the old house5 that seems still so full of her, and have made it clean and cheerful for my sister6 and brothers7 who will come for Christmas. I have my mother's dear little maid8, who came on from Colorado9 to keep house for me for six weeks. She takes wonderful care of me.

I was surprised—and delighted—that you liked the book10, my dear. Simply because it entirely lacks many elements that both you and I highly prize in writing. I has no fire at all, and almost no energy. It's just a question of whether one cares enough for the qualities it does have. It's all of a piece, and the tone is good, if you happen to like that tone. To some people it seems goody-goody. To me the problem was keeping the feeling of that life all the year round—holding the tone. In music you can have a stormy and passionate movement right next to a reflective one;—in writing you can't. One makes the other seem unreal. That is the truth. I send you a copy of a letter11 I wrote Governor Cross12.

All my best to you dear Zoë, and I wish you a merry Christmas with all my heart.