Song of the Lark by Willa Cather – Susan’s Newsletter August 2007

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August 6, 2007 Susan’s Thursday Note
Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
Scene of a room in her home where she could (think clearly, thoughts from morning awaiting her in the room when she reentered in the evening)
 
Hi friends! I have just made a decision that may affect the next hour of my life, but there is a storm brewing outside my sliding door with two kittens extremely interested in what all is blowing in the shadows.  I made a possibly unwise decision this moment to let them go out and and smell the air and feel the wind on their little faces – I may not have the chance to send you an e-mail if I end up chasing them down the alley, but if you could’ve seen the pleading look they gave me…I fell for it! They are like little children – so incredibly cute when they aren’t in trouble!
 
Yesterday as I was cleaning under my armoire (shocking thought for you that know me personally!) I found a print from the Willa Cather Museum in Red Cloud, NE that I fell in love with a few years ago.  The painting is a quiet, orderly scene.  Half of a twin bed with a simple patchwork quilt of navy and reds, a tall window to the right of the bed with straight lace curtains, and a little round hat box at the base of the window with a lantern and book on top.  The scene is from the book by Willa Cather The Song of the Lark.  I had already marked the paragraph in the book from this painting – and I’d only marked two paragraphs in the entire book of 404 pages! Here are the beautiful paragraphs from Willa Cather – descriptive thoughts as I wish I could put thoughts into words – beautiful paragraph…
 
The acquisition of this room was the beginning of a new era in Thea’s life.  It was one of the most important things that ever happened to her.  Hitherto, except in summer, when she could be out-of-doors, she had lived in constant turmoil; the family, the day school…  The clamour about her drowned the voice within herself.  In the end of the wing, separated from the other upstairs sleeping-rooms by a long, cold, unfinished lumber-room, her mind worked better.  She thought things out more clearly.  Pleasant plans and ideas occurred to her which had never come before.  She had certain thoughts which were like companions, ideas which were like older and wiser friends.  She left them there in the morning, and when she finished dressing in the cold, and at night, when she came up with her lantern and shut the door after a busy day, she found them awaiting her.  (This also reminds me of young Sarah in The Little Princess – she would come up to her little attic room in the evenings after horrible days & reunite with her imaginary friends and just talk and laugh and think and cry – another absolutely wonderful book!). 
 
The only other paragraph I underlined in this book was a discussion with her piano teacher.  This novel, Song of the Lark, is the life of Thea Kronberg, who feels stifled artistically in her small Colorado town.  She ends up in Chicago studying music for the greater part of the book.  This is a dialogue of young Thea with her piano teacher…  “Only how can I learn anything here? It’s so far from Denver…” Her teacher’s serious response…  “Nothing is far and nothing is near, if one desires.  The world is little, people are little, human life is little.  There is only one big thing – desire.  And before it, when it is big, all is little…”
 
I have always loved those two little sections of this daunting novel.  What I especially believe is that with all of the access we have now to books any of us can travel – any of us can dream – any of us can think outside of our busy over-scheduled life.  We all just need a place.  A place that we can be Thea.  A place where we find our thoughts – our place to dream.  This could be a garden, this could be at the kitchen sink (surrouded by little things you love), this could be under your favorite quilt.  The most important idea here is to make yourself have a place that is all your own.  You and your dreams.  You and your books.  Never say you don’t have time to read – you must make the time, for then you will have an entirely separate existence from your reality – an existence of places and new thoughts from authors that put into words what you didn’t even realize that you were thinking – where you say, “Oh, yes!!! That is exactly what I desire, or that I think, or that I feel…” – May we never stop desiring or dreaming or wanting to know more and more.  Books! You have to keep trying – you just never know when one will change your life!!! And with that (smile) – I’ll say to you – have a week where you make a memory (even in your own head).  Find ways to take on your life with passion.  Don’t settle for only routine.  At the end of routine – when you stop in your tracks, begin to think again, to desire, to make friends with your thoughts! May God bless your week.  May he give you the strength to face whatever comes into your path.  Thank you so much for letting me send you my thoughts.  Thank you for your business & your encouragement! There is no way we could have this little store without you!! Susan
 
Works Cited:
 Cather, Willa.   The Song of the Lark.   Mineola, NY.   2004.

Product Overview

From one of the foremost 20th-century novelists, a portrait of a formidable woman who defies the limitations set on women of her time and social station to become an international opera star. This coming-of-age novel, important for the issues of gender and class that it explores, is one of Cather’s most lyrical and popular.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 14 and up
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (August 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486437000
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces

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