Count Leo Tolstoy and H. G. Wells are delicious sources of marriage counseling. They knew all about long-lasting marital love, the theme of the book I am now writing,  so I have gone to them to broaden my knowledge and get some new wrinkles.

Writing Secret # 6 from the Reclusive Lady of Shalott: Reading is a large part of writing, not to be neglected. You owe it to your readers to be informed on your subject. You owe it to yourself to know who your competitors are.

  • Tolstoy’s book, Anna Karenina, portrays the successful marriage of Konstantin Leven and his wife Kitty. The detailed ups and downs of a husband’s emotions come from the fact that Konstantin, the awkward landowner, resembles Tolstoy himself.
  • H. G. Wells’ book, Marriage, is a marvelous adventure story, full of confidence about what pleases women, and optimism. It was made into a movie in Hollywood’s pioneer days.
  • When the marriage breaks down and Rag is going off on his own to the most remote place in the world he can think of–namely, Labrador–Madge is persuaded by her mother-in-law to drop everything (even, figuratively, her young child) and goes along, too.
  • Also helpful is the role model of my parents’ 61-year marriage, portrayed in Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.
  •  Kay and Jack forge their happiness in Canada’s isolated north, with the earthy input of native wisdom. So do Wells’ hero and heroine.
  • They had to cope with giving birth while living in the bush, and that’s where the cariole comes into the picture. Kay insisted on having her baby in a hospital.
  • That might make sense to a British war bride but it was not easy when the temperature was thirty below and the hospital was five days by dog team away.
  • However, Jack was undaunted and his guide was all-knowing. Needless to say it was accomplished; the author is proof.

But after the birth what happened? Here are some quotes to show it wasn’t going to be so simple to retrieve mother and baby and bring them back to the Indian reserve (as it was called in 1929.)

” On March 9  they parted, since it was too cold to take the baby on a  trip … They would meet again, when the spring waters flowed.” 

“In late May, Jack and two guides started out for Norway House with a canoe tied to a toboggan…” 

“They got on a private motorboat…and were lucky they didn’t drown…”                        

From pages 110-111 of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

 

Kathleen’s Cariole Ride will be on sale at Prose in the Park, Ottawa’s young, famous, wide-open literary event, on June 4. It is a happy, optimistic story where you can laugh out loud as you watch other people struggle. You hope that, like most of us, these characters, with all their idiosyncracies, will somehow get out of the muck.

 

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

 

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