We Took to the Woods

Another book from a woman in the woods. This one by Louise Dickinson Rich came out in 1942 detailing her life in the Maine woods, cut off from “civilization” when during the freeze-up when the ice was too thin to walk/drive on but otherwise living in various cabins with her husband and small son year-round. Her story about giving birth in the woods was very matter-of-fact, just popping him out easy as pie, wagging a finger at other ladies who complain and pretend to be fragile.

Woods life involves making up lists of groceries needed for the week (during the summer) or for the month (during the winter months), gathering lots of firewood, fishing, mending, tinkering with motors, boating, making their own flies for fishing, baking, hunting, being entertained by the loggers who come in annually and the additional telephone lines that get hung from the trees when they’re there. Berry picking, pie baking, gardening, fending off the deer from the garden. Life without modern amenities once again sounds idyllic yet constantly busy.

I liked her honesty about her own writing quality:

I’ve read a lot of first-rate writing, and I have some critical sense; so I know where I stand. I’ll never be first-rate. I’ll improve with practice, I trust, but I haven’t got what it takes to reach the top… Everything I write, no matter how lousy it turns out to be, is the very best I am capable of at the time. My writing may be third-rate, but at least it’s honest. You can’t be even a third-rate writer without taking your work seriously.