Emma Barnes, in a recent post, wrote about sisters in books. Suddenly we were back to the March girls in Little Women, and I was ten years old again, with Jo March as my heroine and role model. Like me she was constantly writing stories and plays, often while sprawling about on the hearthrug. ‘Ladylike’ was not her thing, and she wouldn’t pretend that it was. Further along the series (SPOILER ALERT) she’s a successful writer. Talking to other writing women, I’ve found that a lot of us were inspired by Jo March.
And have you read The Railway Children? The mother in that makes ends meet by writing stories, and whenever she sells one, there are buns for tea. I don’t know what sort of buns, but I hope they were sticky ones. There are still authors out there who treat their families to buns when a story is accepted. In our house, when the children were growing up, it was chocolate and hazelnut spread.
Then there’s one of my favourite books ever ever, The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston. There is nothing quite like that book. The main female character in that isn’t a strong-minded author or a resourceful writing mother, she’s Mrs Oldknow, a tiny little great-grandmother in a manor house. She loves her old house, her garden, wild animals and birds, and her great-grandson, and tells him stories by firelight and candlelight.
I feel I’ve done the Jo March thing and the bun money thing. When I’m an old lady I want to be Mrs Oldknow, and sit by the fire in winter telling stories.