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
what you might imagine it to be vs. what it might quite possibly be.
i recently listened to this book written and read by stephen king, and loved every minute of it-
a mix of his personal story and very straight shooting practical advice.
“It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write,
remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room.
Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
― Stephen King
Amazon book review summary: Short and snappy as it is, Stephen King’s On Writing really contains two books: a fondly sardonic autobiography and a tough-love lesson for aspiring novelists.
image credits: tom gauld, simon and schuster
“what difference does it make if you live in a picturesque little outhouse
surrounded by 300 feeble minded goats and your faithful dog?
the question is: can you write?”
– Ernest Hemingway
early winter hiking in MacCready Nature Reserve, Irish Hills, MI, USA 2020
that surprising and wonderful moment
when you discover
there is yet one more unread book
written by one of your favorite authors
hiding in plain sight
waiting for you to pick it up.
“books are for nothing but to inspire”
an important kinder note.
i’ll be writing back.
“words are but pictures of our thoughts.”
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.”