For the Love of Writing...
“If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.” -Emily Bronte
This quote speaks volumes about the person who penned it. The first feeling I get after reading this passage is this had to be a person who did what they did because they loved it. And I believe that’s exactly what Emily Bronte did. She wrote for the pure joy of writing. Luckily, that seemed to be enough for her as her literary career was cut short with Wuthering Heights being her only novel written before her death.
During Emily's lifetime women's voices were very rarely heard with the same verbosity as men's. However, that never stopped the Bronte sisters. They had a love of the written word that flowed through their souls. But however many women who loathed the social status quo, Emily Bronte quietly reveled in it.
Her shy nature made it easy for her to cling to the shadows while she was happy to secretly indulge in her stories. Her sister Charlotte was more of a force to be reckoned with, making Emily take her craft more seriously with a sisterly push in a literary direction. Because of that nudge, Emily’s wild abandon that she could only show through the lives of her characters and her sharp wit that spilled over into the words of her poetry was known and eventually celebrated. Her work was finally placed in an arena where she was always happy to let her efforts be known by their results.
Even though her acclaim didn't bubble up to the surface until after her death, it never stopped her from writing. And for that alone, the day of her birth should never be forgotten.
On this day in 1818, novelist Emily Bronte was born. She was raised in the remote village of Haworth on the desolate Yorkshire moors. The sisters, Charlotte, Anne and Emily along with their brother Branwell, had an insatiable appetite for the consumption of books and creating their own intricate stories about imaginary worlds. Those were the worlds Emily preferred to the humdrum of her existence. Many of her poems were written about those imaginary realms.
As you might imagine, reality didn’t serve her, or most of her family, with a happily ever after. Even though she was well educated, all pursuits in the workforce ended poorly for Emily, making her imaginary world that much more enticing. The world of her beloved creatures flowed into pages upon pages of the life she lived in her mind.
In 1845, Charlotte came across these many pages; she revealed that she too had secretly been writing. They soon learned that Anne had picked up pen and paper as well. So Charlotte being Charlotte published their joint work under male names, in 1846.
The book of poems sold only two copies, but even still that never deterred the sisters from writing. Charlotte’s Jane Eyre appeared a year later, and was an instantaneous success. Emily’s Wuthering Heights and Anne’s Agnes Grey were printed later in that same year. But as the way of the world, neither one caught the attention of the readers of the time. Charlotte openly disagreed, explaining that Emily’s book was superior to her own success. Eventually the world caught up and changed its view, making Wuthering Heights a classic in its own right.
Still, I have the feeling that Emily must be proud of her concluding success. However, I believe the pride she might hold for her work with its modern acclaim is no more or less than what she held for it on the first day of its publication, before society’s added bells and whistles.
I could only hope the connection to my stories coursing through me never finds their end and the words found at the tip of pen never dry.
I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself. -Emily Bronte
Happy birthday Emily and happy Thursday everyone!