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It’s the heat under the simple words that counts

Willa Cather in 1912

A new book is coming out with the letters of Willa Cather, an author whose work and whose prose I like very much. I look forward to reading her letters, which have never been published before, only quoted in paraphrase. The book is The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout. [Amazon link]

A review [link] of the book quoted one letter where she reflected on writing. She said:

“…it’s the heat under the simple words that counts. I early learned that if you loved your theme enough you could be as mild as a May morning and still make other people care. … It’s the one thing, that simple really caring for an old Margie, an old cat, an old anything.”

If I was set just one goal for my writing it would be to kindle that heat under the simple words. That’s all that truly matters, and it’s hard to do well.

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