13 June 2010

Jo March's Hat

When the writer's conference was over, a group of us were sitting on the patio discussing all the reasons why we couldn't write.  One of the reasons was family members who interrupted the work in progress, though it was often innocently so.  I mentioned that Jo March had a writing hat...and I only just now found the quote.

Here it is for all of us:

Every few weeks she would shut herself up in her room, put on her scribbling suit, and "fall into a vortex" as she expressed it, writing away at her novel with all her heart and soul, for till that was finished she could find no peace.  Her "scribbling suit" consisted of a black woollen pinafore on which she could wipe her pen at will, and a cap of the same material, adorned with a cheerful red bow, into which she bundled her hair when the decks were cleared for action.  This cap was a beacon to the inquiring eyes of her family, who during these periods kept their distance, merely popping in their heads semi-occasionally, to ask, with interest, "Does genius burn, Jo?"  They did not always venture even to ask this question, but took an observation of the cap, and judged accordingly.  If this expressive article of dress was drawn low upon the forehead, it was a sign that hard work was going on; in exciting moments it was pushed rakishly askew; and when despair seized the author it was plucked wholly off, and cast upon the floor.  At such times the intruder silently withdrew; and not until the red bow was seen gayly erect upon the gifted brow, did any one dare address Jo. 
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)
Little Women

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