I didn’t realize how desperately I was waiting to hear someone say this until I read it in print:
Why quarrel with a writer over realism and idealism? After all an author is a glass through which a picture of life is projected. The picture falls upon the pages of the writer’s manuscript according to the mental and emotional contours of that writer. It is useless to try to change those patterns. If one writer does not see life in terms of grime and dirt, adulteries and debaucheries, it does not follow that those sordid things do not exist. If another does not see life in terms of faith and love, sympathy and good deeds, it does not follow that those characteristics do not exist. I grow weary of hearing the sordid spoken of as real life, the wholesome as Pollyanna stuff. I contend that a writer may portray some of the decent things of life around him and reserve the privilege to call that real life too. And if this be literary treason; make the most of it.
from Why I Live in a Small Town by Bess Streeter Aldrich
(reprinted from the Ladies’ Home Journal, 1933)
The beauty is every bit as real as the sordid.
And, what’s more, the beauty is True. It’s why I even dare to take up my own pen.
Thank you, dear Bess, for affirming me to the depths of my writer’s heart. And thank you, dear Sallie, for pointing me in the right direction.