Monday, January 16, 2012

Women Only Write Lighthearted Romances

Women Only Write Lighthearted Romances

Inspiration this week comes from a quote my good friend Kate (you'll meet her tomorrow) sent me.

"It's never too late to be what you might have been."

The quote is credited to George Elliot, or in actuality, Mary Ann Evans, an accomplished writer of the Victorian era.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/George_Eliot_at_30_by_Fran%C3%A7ois_D%27Albert_Durade.jpg

Mary Ann, who later became Marian, wrote under the pen name George Elliot, because even though women were publishing under their own name at the time, Evans wanted her writing to be taken seriously instead of being judged under the assumption that women only write lighthearted romances. Her words, not mine! Evans authored seven novels, including the better known Adam Bede and The Mill on the Floss. Her work was highly popular during it's time and later hailed by Virginia Wolf, who called her novel Middlemarch, "One of the few English novels written for grown up people."

I can only imagine, for Evans, the quote was in reference to her feeling that work often felt like an uphill battle. Okay maybe I am projecting here, but if she felt as though she had to create a male pen name in order to be taken seriously, then there is a possibility that many a door had slammed shut in her face, right?

The quote brings a lot to mind for me and I think speaks to one of the most provocative ideas in this pursuit of doing what we love.

When is it time to give up?

There I said it. I know you all are thinking it. What number of doors slamming shut is too many? When do we pack it in a say that this quest has been a fantasy and it's time to move on? Go back to a lucrative career, not struggle to make that credit card payment, get out of debt and become an adult.

Hmmm. All good questions. And ones that I do not know the answer to right now.

What I do know is that being true to myself, even at 35 (I'm going to listen to Evans on this one and assume it's never too late) is worth a try. A damn good try. I'm not even sure try is the right word. It's more like a going to. The option becomes either make this journey work or make this journey work. For each time I feel that I have fallen from heights I cannot recover, failed more dramatically than I ever thought possible, and for all the moments in my life that I have not been taken seriously no matter the pursuit, I keep getting back up.

If it is never too late to be what you might have been, then I invite you to stand with me on this one. Time to get real. Face our internal demons. Converse with our critics. Get to know the hideous beast that lives within us. Visit that precipice together. Stand on that ledge with the wind behind us and scream at the top of our lungs,
YES TO THIS LIFE.

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