Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (August 8, 1896 – December 14, 1953) began writing as a child, but the kind of literary success she craved eluded her for some time. Her best known work remains The Yearling, the story of a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was subsequently made into a successful movie. Despite being criticized for her uneven talent, Rawlings kept writing, driven by her fascination with the land and people of Cross Creek, Florida.

Rawlings worked on newspapers in many cities as a reporter and feature writer. While supporting herself through newspaper work she attempted to write fiction for magazines:

“I tried to write what I thought they [popular magazines] would be most likely to buy and all that brought me was rejection slips. Then in 1928 I had an opportunity to buy an orange grove in Florida and I bought it, left the newspaper and settled down to give all my time to fiction. Still the stories didn’t sell, so I gave up … But then I thought—just one more. An I wrote a story that seemed far from ‘commercial,’ that—it seemed to me—no editor would want to buy but that had meaning for me. It sold like a shot and I’ve had no trouble selling since, though I never have tried to write ‘commercially.’”

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Quotes

“Sorrow was like the wind. It came in gusts.”

“A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life, to be thankful for a good one.”

“We never run from conditions and circumstances but from ourselves … so that actually we make no escape. But there are times when it doesn’t hurt to yield a bit, as long as we are not deceiving ourselves too greatly.”

“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”

“A queer thing happens to me whenever I am all through with one piece of work, and I have wondered if it was common to all writers. Before I go to work on something else, I drop into the most terrific despair. It has always been so … Then when the new work takes hold of my mind, nothing exists but the necessity for working it out.”

“Now he understood. This was death. Death was a silence that gave back no answer.” (The Yearling, 1938)

“Writing is agony. I stay at my typewriter for eight hours every day when I’m working and keep as free as possible from all distractions for the rest of the day. I aim to do six pages a day but I’m satisfied with three. Often there are only a few lines to show.”

“I get as much satisfaction from preparing a perfect dinner for a few good friends as from turning out a perfect paragraph in my writing.”

“Women always worry about the things that men forget; men always worry about the things women remember.”

“If there can be such a thing as instinctual memory, the consciousness of land and water must lie deeper in the core of us than any knowledge of our fellow beings. We were bred of the earth before we were born of our mothers. Once born, we can live without our mothers or our fathers or any other kin or friend, or even human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in mans heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.” (Cross Creek, 1942)

“Madness is only a variety of mental nonconformity and we are all individualists here.” (Cross Creek, 1942)

“‘Good’ is what helps us or at least does not hinder. ‘Evil’ is whatever harms us or interferes with us, according to our own selfish standards.” (Cross Creek, 1942)

“Sift each of us through the great sieve of circumstance and you have a residue, great or small as the case may be, that is the man or the woman.” (Cross Creek, 1942)

“A woman never forgets the men she could have had; a man, the women he couldn’t.”

“He who tries to forget a woman, never loved her.”

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