Pearl Buck Prolific Writer

Pearl Buck wrote lots of books. How did she do it?

Putting one's thoughts, ideas, memories and inventive stories into so many quality books in one lifetime takes discipline and talent.

As a high schooler, I read Pearl S. Buck's "The Good Earth" and needed to give an oral report in Mrs. Hanson's English class.

Mrs. Hanson's classroom was very long and skinny and it accommodated three long rows of desks. I still remember the utter terrifying feeling I had walking on that wooden floor up to the front of her classroom. I likened it akin to the fear of facing a firing squad....something, fortunately, I've never had to experience!

It's funny, because at our last class reunion, when it was my turn to share about myself, all those horrifying feelings of speaking in front of folks rose up in me like ghosts of my past, so I said, "Yikes, you guys, this is just as terrifying as speaking in Mrs. Hanson English class!" Everyone laughed and knew exactly what I meant.

Oral reports were terribly painful for me as a teenager. Now I love speaking in front of people, but back then I was like millions of other folks whose worst fear was public speaking, even in front of my small high school class in Echo, Minnesota, which included only 23 other students.

Although I never made a conscious attempt at being funny during Mrs. Hanson's English class speeches, my nervousness produced just that....uproarious laughter!

To my utter amazement, my fellow classmates intermittently burst into boisterous laughter during my oral presentations. I remember trying to describe an immoral character in "The Good Earth" and as I stumbled around, trying to find the words, my classmates could contain their belly shaking laughs no longer and they all simultaneously exploded into laughs.

I grew to love hearing those laughs. At least my classmates weren't bored or dozing!

One day, my friend, Pam, and Mrs. Hanson, decided I was the "class clown", along with Steven Leupke, whose nervousness also produced very funny statements.

Years later I enjoyed watching "The Good Earth" movie, with my husband and children. It's a sad story of the degradation wealth often brings.

The "Dragon Seed" is one of our daughter, Sarah's, favorite movies. Sarah's crazy about old black and white movies and this one stars Katherine Hepburn as a young, forward thinking Chinese lady. A young Agnes Moorhead also stars in it. Yes, another sad, but redeeming story of the Japanese occupation of China.

Pearl Buck grew up in Zhenjiang, China, which, I think she'd be pleasantly surprised to know is where lots of pearls come from today.

Zhenjiang is pronounced by the Chinese in a way that sounds similar, at least to my ears, to "Georgia".

The "Boxer Rebellion" broke her little eight year old world apart and she, along with her family spent a year in Shanghai as refugees.

Shanghai today is a bustling economic center in China. Sam, Matt and I spent a wonderful afternoon photographing the Pudong district which includes the Oriental Pearl Tower and watching the abundant traffic on the Yangtze River.

Pearl Buck also spent time teaching in Nanjing, China. Sam, Matt and I took a train from Beijing to Nanjing, but we didn't stay there...only a brief stop. We weren't ready for another big city just then.

Read more about famous people and pearls after Pearl Buck.

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