This is just super interesting to me:
As soon as she could, Rose left her pioneer childhood behind. She sold real estate, she taught herself languages, she got married and then divorced a few years later. She lived in San Francisco, Paris, New York City, Berlin, and Albania. She made her living as a freelance journalist and a ghostwriter. She wrote sensational stories and profiles, often enraging her famous subjects because she saw no harm in changing the facts if it made for a better story. Lane was one of the highest paid female writers in the country, although she never held on to her money for long — she spent it on travel or luxury items, or gave it away to friends. She despaired of her parents’ self-sacrificing pioneer lifestyle — she insisted on building them a new, fancy house on their land, and made them move into it, which depressed both Laura and Almanzo. She gave them a car, but her father quickly crashed it.
Lane and Wilder were stubborn women with very different lifestyles, but together, they created the beloved Little House books. No one knows for sure how much Lane influenced the books — she was at the least her mother’s editor, at the most her ghostwriter, but probably something in between. For years, Wilder wrote a biweekly column in The Missouri Ruralist, and in 1930 she decided to write an autobiography. Her story was originally called Pioneer Girl and was intended for adult readers, but it was rejected by several publishers. One of them suggested that she rewrite it as a children’s book, and Lane decided to help her with the rewriting. She wrote to her mother about her changes: “A good bit of the detail that I add to your copy is for pure sensory effect,” and Wilder wrote to her daughter “Do anything you please with the damn stuff if you will fix it up.” The two argued over how to structure the books, whether there were too many characters or too few, whether they would be interesting to children. Sometimes both women would dig in their heels and insist on getting their own way, but more often, Wilder deferred to her daughter — when they were working on By the Shores of Silver Lake (1939), Wilder wrote: “Without your fine touch, it would be a flop.”
In the end, it’s hard to know exactly how much Rose Wilder Lane was responsible for the finished books. Some books appear to follow her mother’s original text more closely, others to have been rewritten start to finish. Although Lane worked so hard to leave behind the subsistence life of her parents, without her, the Little House books would probably not exist.
In 2012, Husbands The Series—Brad Bell, Jane Espenson, and Sean Hemeon—came to Salt Lake City to support the Homeless Youth Resource Center and raise awareness about the challenges facing queer youth in Utah. (Homeless youth are disproportionately LGBTQ everywhere, but it’s worse here. Here’s a link to help).
We never got to see Brady and Cheeks’ honeymoon, so they’re head to Salt Lake City for a good cause (Backlot)
Team Husbands at the Homeless Youth Resource Center, Salt Lake City
It was a great event. We screened the show and hosted an open discussion with representatives from local community and nationwide support organizations. We heard about a failed attempt to exorcize Brad’s gay demons. I heard from many young people that Husbands was the first time they’d ever seen a positive image of a gay couple. Yes, representation matters.
Representation isn’t the only thing that matters, though. Right now, it’s COLD here in the Mountain West. Right now, as “the greatest snow on earth” is piling up around us, Park City is gearing up for Sundance, and the holidays are coming on, the Homeless Youth Resource Center is looking for help filling holiday backpacks and handing out sleeping bags and tents. The center isn’t a shelter. It’s just a storefront. These kids sleep outside. Some live under bridges. Some live in camps in the hills. Sometimes the kids donate their own money to get motel rooms for the homeless kids who have kids of their own. Here’s how to help them.
They look so cold and it was only November. Help us help kids keep warm!
A lot has happened since then. Brad, Jane and I went to Albuquerque for the SWTXPCA to talk about Husbands in the classroom. Their show got picked up by CWseed (watch Husbands on CWseed) and we got more episodes. Brad wrote an essay called #BradamForever for my book, Fic. Brad and Jane just got nominated for 2 Writers Guild of America awards. It’s been awesome. But we haven’t forgotten that it’s still cold here in Utah.
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