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  Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Dawn Develops A Heimweh

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It's hard trying to develop into a real Writer Lady in the bosom of one's family, especially when the family refuses to take one seriously. Seven years of newspaper grind have taught me the fallacy of trying to write by the inspiration method. But there is such a thing as a train of thought, and mine is constantly being derailed, and wrecked and pitched about.

Scarcely am I settled in my cubby-hole, typewriter before me, the working plan of a story buzzing about in my brain, when I hear my name called in muffled tones, as though the speaker were laboring with a mouthful of hairpins. I pay no attention. I have just given my heroine a pair of calm gray eyes, shaded with black lashes and hair to match. A voice floats down from the upstairs regions.

"Dawn! Oh, Dawn! Just run and rescue the cucumbers out of the top of the ice-box, will you? The iceman's coming, and he'll squash 'em."

A parting jab at my heroine's hair and eyes, and I'm off to save the cucumbers.

Back at my typewriter once more. Shall I make my heroine petite or grande? I decide that stateliness and Gibsonesque height should accompany the calm gray eyes. I rattle away happily, the plot unfolding itself in some mysterious way. Sis opens the door a little and peers in. She is dressed for the street.

"Dawn dear, I'm going to the dressmaker's. Frieda's upstairs cleaning the bathroom, so take a little squint at the roast now and then, will you? See that it doesn't burn, and that there's plenty of gravy. Oh, and Dawn-- tell the milkman we want an extra half-pint of cream to-day. The tickets are on the kitchen shelf, back of the clock. I'll be back in an hour."

"Mhmph," I reply.

Sis shuts the door, but opens it again almost immediately.

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"Don't let the Infants bother you. But if Frieda's upstairs and they come to you for something to eat, don't let them have any cookies before dinner. If they're really hungry they'll eat bread and butter."

I promise, dreamily, my last typewritten sentence still running through my head. The gravy seems to have got into the heroine's calm gray eyes. What heroine could remain calm-eyed when her creator's mind is filled with roast beef? A half-hour elapses before I get back on the track. Then appears the hero--a tall blond youth, fair to behold. I make him two yards high, and endow him with a pair of clothing-advertisement shoulders.

There assails my nostrils a fearful smell of scorching. The roast! A wild rush into the kitchen. I fling open the oven door. The roast is mahogany-colored, and gravyless. It takes fifteen minutes of the most desperate first-aid-to-the-injured measures before the roast is revived.

Back to the writing. It has lost its charm. The gray-eyed heroine is a stick; she moves like an Indian lady outside a cigar shop. The hero is a milk-and-water sissy, without a vital spark in him. What's the use of trying to write, anyway? Nobody wants my stuff. Good for nothing except dubbing on a newspaper!

Rap! Rap! Rappity-rap-rap! Bing! Milk!

I dash into the kitchen. No milk! No milkman! I fly to the door. He is disappearing around the corner of the house.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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