I finished the semester! The online course on the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder was absolutely wonderful, and being a student again a delight! The class was taught by Dr. Pamela Smith, editor of the recently released best-seller Pioneer Girl. This semester the course focused on the later books: from The Shores of Silver Lake and on. Every week students had to watch lectures, do the reading , participate in the discussion and complete a quiz. Every lecture was so interesting, filled with fascinating information and curiosities about her writing process, about what happened in her real life, about her cooperative relationship with editors, and the list goes on.
I have joined the Laura Ingalls Society, will attend this summer conference here at SDSU, and am planning on a proposal for a paper/talk for next summer's conference. I will discuss growing up in South America reading and loving the books, not having any idea I'd be living... here one day! How to the two worlds match up? The world Laura painted in her books, and the world of my life here, so close to where she lived. Doesn't it seem like a great project?
Well, I have a move and a wedding before I can begin!
Here is my last entry on the discussion forum:
I live in SD and it's fascinating to see how so many here have no sense of how widely known Laura Ingalls' books are! I loved them as a child in South America, and I believe they will be around for a long long while! The books offer a rare combination of a mesmerizing story, a historical setting of a fascinating time and place, and extremely talented, poetic writing. But even these factors together, I think, may have missed the mark and not become as beloved as Laura's books became, all over the world. Laura tells the story of a real girl, but a real girl who strives constantly to improve herself, acknowledging her faults and learning from them. Just like most of us! Great books are made of such characters: think Dostoevsky, Alcott, Austen! It it my profound conviction that Laura' books speak to the human spirit: it is her main character striving always for virtue, for Love and Charity--universal values and longings of the human heart in any age, in any space--that top off the happy combination of factors making the Little Books extraordinary in every sense. For these reasons, her books have the power to carve a niche in the corner of every reader's heart!