Happy Birthday Bronson and Louisa! Not a day over 217 and 184 ;-)

louisa coverNOTE: I just found out my publisher, ACTA, is giving away 15 free copies of Louisa May Alcott Illuminated by The Message in honor of our favorite author’s birthday. Go here http://actapublications.com/louisa-may-alcott-illuminated-by-the-message/ and type in code HAPPYBIRTHDAY at checkout. Even if you have your own copy, order one as a gift for friend!

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As the birthdays of two of my favorite people dawns today, I can’t help but think how deliciously ironic it is that I am finally finishing Eden’s Outcasts, the Pulitzer prize-winning book on the life of Louisa May Alcott and her father Amos Bronson Alcott by John Matteson.

eden's outcasts big And yet I never finished the book until now. I just couldn’t. I loved the book so much I didn’t want it to end. I find that reading this compelling story of two such talented, creative, intelligent, and difficult people orders my mind and fills my heart. It is told with such elegance along with touches of humor and irony. Among other things, it explores the spiritual aspect of the Alcotts which was so important to them.

Matteson skillfully presents the messiness of life through these people, pointing out potential fatal flaws along with glorious achievements. Bronson and Louisa are fully human as we are and it challenges me to remember that within everyone, there are redeeming qualities.

little women 190It also reminds me that genius lies within those with the courage to embrace and pursue it. Genius is dangerous (I call it embracing my Beast, although I hardly think I have genius — just some creative urge). Genius takes courage — one must be willing to walk off that proverbial cliff with hopes of either flying by themselves or being caught by others, knowing that the possibility of crashing is all too possible. Bronson and Louisa both suffered profoundly due to their genius. Each had spectacular failures. Each failed many times. And neither gave up. Ever. In the end, both knew success.

In the midst of their life journeys, despite everything they went through, Bronson and Louisa never gave up. And because of their grit, commitment and love, we are blessed with their works to guide us through our own journeys.

Happy Birthday Bronson and Louisa! You provide me with endless hours of stimulation, enjoyment, contemplation and the companionship of many wonderful friends. I look forward to “coming up” someday and meeting the both of you.




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