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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Strictly from the imagination


“Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.”— Jessamyn West

Mary “Jessamyn” West, born on this date in 1902, was an American author of both short stories and novels.   Although shaped by her imagination, her works are loosely based on tales told to her by her mother and grandmother about a Quaker farm life that she herself never experienced. 

 Two of her popular 21 novels -- The Friendly Persuasion and its sequel Except for Me and Thee -- also were made into very successful movies.
West set nearly all of her stories in Indiana, a state in which she did not live and seldom visited, spending her own adult life in California.   
"I write about Indiana because knowing little about it, I can create it from the images I’ve learned from my grandmother’s (and mother's) stories," she noted.   "The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as is the future.”

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