Harper Lee — the famously private author, might never have written the classic “To Kill A Mockingbird” if it hadn’t been for a 1950s Christmas gift.
Back in 1956, Lee was a ticket agent for British Overseas Airways Corporation. Like most struggling writers, she was having trouble balancing her job and finding time to write. She told this to her New York City friends, Michael and Joy Brown (who were also friends of Truman Capote).
Michael was a successful “industrial musical writer” whom American corporations hired to create performances to inspire their workers. His clients ranged from DuPont to JC Penney, and he was raking in the money for songs like “The Wonderful World of Chemistry.”
So in 1956, the Browns’ gave Lee the best Christmas present of all: An entire year’s salary so she could take time to write whatever she wanted. “There was an envelope on the tree, addressed to me. I opened it and read: ‘You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas,'” she wrote in McCall’s Magazine in 1961. “ They assured me that it was not some sort of joke. They’d had a good year, they said. They’d saved some money and thought it was high time they did something about me.”
Lee took that time to write “To Kill A Mockingbird,” which sold over 40 million copies worldwide, has been translated into over 40 languages, served as the basis for a hugely popular film, and for which she won a Pulitzer Prize.
“when life gives you a gift, receive it with all your heart.”
credits: Megan Willett-Wei, Insider
“all you have to do is write one true sentence. write the truest sentence you know.”
image credit: scott metzger
my class has recently become enamored with a giant box of dinos
they play with them every day
create wildly imaginative scenarios
ask questions about real dinos
reassure me that the ones in our room are not real
one day when playing, a child asked
“would they wear masks if they were alive now?”
another jumped up to say
“never, ever, ever, ever, try to put a mask on a t-rex!!!!”
and an instant class book was born
what a brilliant title
others jumped in to offer reasons why you shouldn’t try to mask one
brainstorming was in full swing
some became illustrators
it is a fascinating and funny work in progress.
dinos may have left the earth forever, but books will never die.
“stories are the common ground that allow people to connect, despite all our defenses and all our differences.”
an update of my progress on my book.
“i’m writing a book.
i’ve got the page numbers done.”
(not me, but we could easily pass as sisters)
for some reason
after almost 8 years of blogging
and never questioning it
I only recently discovered
what the word ‘blog’ actually means.
Blog is another word for weblog.
A weblog is a website that is like a diary or journal. …
Bloggers often write about their opinions and thoughts.
A blog containing video material is called a video blog or video log,
usually shortened to vlog.
“Blogging is to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” For most of human history, all published writing had been carefully inspected, edited, and approved. In the last decade, blogging has turned the publishing world on its head. A blog allows you to write and publish anything, from anywhere, and have it be immediately available to billions of people all around the world.” -Andrew Sullivan, the Atlantic
. I, for one, am happy to embrace the chaos and vitality.
I’ve been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning.
Most of it’s just whining,
but every so often there’ll be something I can use later:
a joke, a description, a quote.
It’s an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments.
‘That’s not what you said on February 3, 1996,’ I’ll say to someone.
image credit: connecticut public radio
“what we write should surprise us, the way life surprises us.”
January 17th is National Send a Handwritten Letter Day.
(one of my favorite things in this world)
Why celebrate on January 17th?
Because it’s the birthday of Benjamin Franklin,
the first Postmaster General of the United States.
The idea is to save the dying art of letter writing
and help the ailing Post Office
by sending a letter to someone you care about.
Who will you surprise with a letter?
Saving the world one letter at a time.
“letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.”
-johann wolfgang von goethe
image credit: Anastasy Yarmolovich
that moment when the apple crisp you made
is finally ready to eat
and you learn how to write a new word
because you need to tell people something.
“words are but pictures of our thoughts.”
image credit: glen baxter, new yorker magazine