In my June edition of Connect, I explore my journey to the place where I feel confident in saying, “I am a writer!”
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If you missed May’s edition of Connect here is the text:
|May…The perfect month to celebrate Louisa May Alcott! We all know Louisa May Alcott as the author of the Little Women stories. As a girl, I read all four books in the series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys. Like many girls, I identified with the character of Jo Marsh. My family always called me Jo, and my older sister can tell you how she would tease me by calling me Josephine, and how that would anger me. Even though my name is Jolene, simply because Jo Marsh didn’t like being called by her true name, Josephine, it had become an insult for me, as well!|
I admired Jo Marsh for many reasons. She was brave, adventurous, creative, imaginative, determined, strong, and fiercely independent. Yet, she was also empathetic and caring. In my mind, she was the most fun of the four Marsh sisters. Jo Marsh was one of my earliest role models!
I’ve read that Louisa May Alcott based Jo’s character on herself, and the other three Marsh girls on her own sisters. Like Jo, Louisa was independent, remaining single and supporting herself with her writing, a brave way for a woman to live in her time. She was an abolitionist and as a feminist, part of the women’s suffrage movement. In addition to the Little Women novels, she wrote other novels, short stories and poetry. She also wrote anonymously and under the pen-name of A. M. Barnard. Not all of her stories were written for children; some included thrillers and detective novels written for adults. Some of her stories were deemed too sensational for publication during her lifetime, and were published years after her death.
Ms. Alcott’s life seemed quite adventurous. She traveled in Europe and served as a nurse for Union soldiers during the American Civil War. Henry David Thoreau was one of her teachers, as were family friends Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. As with Jo, she appears to have been devoted to her family, and raised her niece, Lulu after her sister’s death.
In reflecting upon Louisa May Alcott, I’ve decided that while Jo Marsh was my role model as a child, Louisa serves as a great role model for me as a woman and as an author. I plan to re-read the books I enjoyed so much as a child. But I also plan to read her other works. I believe I can learn a lot from Louisa May Alcott, even so many years after her death. Just one more example of the power of Connections!
Note: In addition to my own thoughts on the author and her books, I used information found on Amazon.com and Wikipedia for this article.