happy birthday harper lee
Having met Adrienne Rich, a wordlessly spiritual, inarticulably wondrous experience, the next soul-stirring woman writer for me to meet is Harper Lee. She turns 80 today. She wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and has published nothing since, living an utterly private life, granting no interviews, making no public appearances. A few years ago, people wanted to erect a monument between the two houses in Mississippi where she and Truman Capote grew up -- one side of the monument would celebrate Capote and the other side would celebrate her -- however, she wouldn't give them permission to use her name or quotes from To Kill a Mockingbird. A recluse. Which, of course, makes me want to meet her all the more.
What has she been doing for these 40 plus years after completing To Kill a Mockingbird? Can anyone imagine she's *not* still writing, even though she hasn't published? This is a woman who started writing two-hours a day with Truman Capote on a typewriter in a treehouse when she was 9 years old. Is it even fathomable that she finished her masterpiece and then put down her pen, sold her typewriter, gave it all up? Of course not! So, what's she sitting on in her seclusion? A stack of manuscripts a mile high, I imagine. Waiting to be posthumously published. That's my guess. Or maybe just my fervent hope.