By C. LaRene Hall
The past couple of weeks I’ve been scrapbooking for my mother. It has brought back many forgotten memories. I’m putting into a book her pictures from the vacation that we took together in 2002. That year we flew to Rhode Island, and went to the beautiful mansions in Newport. Then we drove to Boston, Salem, Plymouth, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod before flying home.
I can’t say that I liked one day better than another one, because I planned fun things every single day. I thoroughly enjoyed the day we spent in Salem. Yes, I loved the Witches Museum, but for a writer, the best thing is seeing the place where an established famous writer once spent his time putting out manuscripts. Remember, until recently there were no computers.
Wow was I excited as our tour bus approached The House of Seven Gables where the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his novel by that same name as well as the Scarlet Letter and over thirty other books. He spent many months writing in that mansion, I suppose because he was a relative of the Ingersoll family, who owned the house.
A costumed interpreter took us on a tour to see the beautiful Georgian interiors and the hidden staircase. If I could live in such a mansion, I think I’d accomplish lots of writing. The atmosphere felt so peaceful, and the scenery out the window was heavenly.
His life story gives me hope. He burned his first short-story collection, Seven Tales of My Native Land, after publishers rejected it. I haven’t gone to that extreme, but I’ve thrown some away making the end result the same. His first novel was self-published, and he burned all the copies that didn’t sell. I’m going to self-publish my first novel, but I’m not going to order so many copies that I’ll have to burn them to get rid of them. My dream is to sell a few.
To me, Hawthorne is a hero. He was one of the first American writers to explore hidden motivations of his characters, and he helped to establish the American short story as a significant art form. He had good friends, and a spouse that allowed him to bloom as an author.
I haven’t read any of his books for several years, but I picked one up at the library this week. It’s Twice – Told Tales, which is a collection of several published short stories that appeared in magazines and annuals during his lifetime.
I think every writer can relate to a quote he wrote in a letter to Longfellow. “I have not lived, but only dreamed about living.”
Next week I will include another travel experience to the home of an author who lived in a different century. I keep forgetting to invite you to visit my other blog for other things I enjoy besides writing – http://www.clhall.blogspot.com/