I WOULD have been as great as George Eliot

Photo from McKendree Yearbook
Spoon River Anthology Cast

I pulled up my files on my anthology project I call the Spoon River of Houses. It is modeled after Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, something I would never have discovered if not for George Lightcap.

Thank You George.

I was in the McKendree College Production of Spoon River. So, doing what many authors do best, I left my WIP to look back to the source of my inspiration.

This excerpt was among my favorites and at the time I had no idea I’d actually turn into a Writer. But I did know who George Eliot was… In the production I had five roles, one of them was the photographer, Penniwit, I made the photograph of Margaret Fuller Slack.


Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

47. Margaret Fuller Slack

I WOULD have been as great as George Eliot
But for an untoward fate.
For look at the photograph of me made by Penniwit,
Chin resting on hand, and deep-set eyes—
Gray, too, and far-searching. 5
But there was the old, old problem:
Should it be celibacy, matrimony or unchastity?
Then John Slack, the rich druggist, wooed me,
Luring me with the promise of leisure for my novel,
And I married him, giving birth to eight children, 10
And had no time to write.
It was all over with me, anyway,
When I ran the needle in my hand
While washing the baby’s things,
And died from lock-jaw, an ironical death. 15
Hear me, ambitious souls,
Sex is the curse of life!

I should get back to editing.  Thanks for dropping by and don’t touch anything sharp.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.