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Letter from Rose Wilder Lane to Laura Ingalls Wilder

In this letter Rose Wilder Lane writes to her mother Mama Bess, to discuss edits and plot points for her mother's manuscript for the book referred to as Silver Lake, part of the Little House on the Prairie series., The Grosvenor Hotel, 35 Fifth avenue, New York City, January 21,1938 Dear Mama Bess, At last I have got through all hindrances to SILVER LAKE. I am sending you your mss., and a typed copy of it. I have the other typed copy here and also have kept the map you drew. I still think that the place to begin is the house on Plum Creek. There are four years to skip if Laura is twelve; she was 8 in PLUM CREEK when she started to school. Therefore the more nearly you can tie the two books together the better, and the house on Plum Creek will do that. You must take into account the actual distinction between truth and fact. It is beyond all human power to tell all the facts. Your whole lifetime spent at nothing else would not tell all the facts of one morning in your life, just any ordinary morning when you get up, dress, get breakfast and wash the dishes. Facts are infinite in number. The truth is a meaning underlying them; you tell the truth by selecting the facts which illustrate it. All your travels to Burr Oak and back can be skipped because they do not mean anything except elapsed time. Essentially the family is the same except that time has passed. It is not a fact, but it is perfectly true to take them west from the house on Plum Creek, where everything that has happened during this time might as truthfully have occurred as where it did occur. You object to making any kind of character of Aunt Docia or the other relatives, Uncle Henry, Cousin Louisa, and Cousin Charley. It is true that you don't do this in the manuscript, but Mama Bess it is a necessity of fiction that you just can't have people in a book who aren't alive. These names are just dead wood that has to be cut out altogether, or else they have to be mad...
National Archives and Records Administration
Part of:
Laura Ingalls Wilder Series
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