Dwight Garner’s review of a new biography of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings* evokes a foible-wracked genius:
It’s a pleasure to meet this cursing, hard-drinking, brilliant, self-destructive, car-wrecking, fun-loving, chain-smoking, alligator-hunting, moonshine-making, food-obsessed woman again on the page.
The passage that hits home with me is this one:
She labored over her sentences, writing and rewriting. “No one knows how many composite sentences I have broken up into shorter direct ones, like the convict of hard labor ‘making little ones out of big ones’ on the rock pile.”
Pounding verbiage into gravel and sifting out twelve smooth stones to array in a select saying is the end of this sentence.
The author of “The Yearling” viewed mankind as less promising than rocks:
“Someday, I shall write a great feminist novel,” she wrote when young, “urging women to gird on their armor and kill all the men…”
(Dwight Garner, “Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a Novelist Who Went on a Quest for an Authentic Life,” NYTimes, 5-10-21)
*Ann McCutchan, “The Life She Wished to Live.”
(c) 2021 JMN