In light of recent events, both of which I will talk about in the upcoming paragraphs, I wanted to talk about To Kill a Mockingbird. You might recall that I previously discussed it here.
The first event is one that, unless you either don’t care about Harper Lee, Atticus Finch or To Kill a Mockingbird at all or live under a literary rock, you will have heard of. (And I’m unsure if that previous sentence is grammatically correct or is too long, but I’m leaving it. Because I can. Unless Dave decides to edit it. Which he has only done twice. After asking. And I’m unsure where this whole parenthetical rambling came from.) In the last few days, it has been announced that Harper Lee is doing the very thing she has been insinuating or outright saying since 1962 she would not do; publish both a second book and a sequel of To Kill A Mockingbird.
“”When you’re at the top, there’s only one way to go,” she once said to a cousin. “I said what I had to say,” she told a bookseller in 2000.” (If you click the quote, it’ll provide the New York Times article from 2006 I found saying it.)
I am really, really torn on how to feel about this. It just seems slightly fishy to me that her sister dies in November, whom was the person who protected Lee’s privacy, and suddenly in February there is the announcement that she is publishing the “yay! Serendipity!” recently found by her lawyer manuscript. Considering that more than one source has stated that Lee has a horrible short term memory, and considering the flip flop that occurred in regards to The Mockingbird Next Door, the most recent Harper Lee biography to hit the shelves, it just gives me an uneasy feeling.
But, I am also willing to consider that maybe she has reached a point where she figures, well what the hell, I’m not going to be on this mortal coil much longer, might as well get this out there. Or that her sister was a horribly controlling woman that no one realized was dominating poor Harper and now that she’s finally free she’s going to publish her book and the rest be damned!
And, most likely, I will read it. And I will then hope against hope to not be horribly disappointed that I did. Or to later find out that it -was- published against her will and then feel the literary book reader equivalent of the walk of shame at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday across the campus green.
Now! Onto the more fun second thing. Dave recently published a short, very, very, very short piece of fiction. You can find it here. The site is called Cease Cows and I strongly encourage you once you read Dave’s story (because you all are going to of course) to browse around on there. Dave’s story is called “To Kill a Mokkingbird II – Kill Harder by Ahrrper Leeeeee”. It’s a pretty good guess as to what the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird will be about. (Just kidding 😛 ).
I have like three different things that this piece of fiction is trying to tell me, in addition to the thing that just says “Yay! This is funny!”. And everything I’ve just tried to type about those three things keeps sounding stupid and I keep hitting the backspace button and deleting it. But, it’s something about how some things in our entertainment culture come and go so fast that even when they’re big hits they don’t really stick but Boo, Atticus and Scout have all stuck with us, even if we can’t remember quite why.
Read it. Let me know if you agree. If you like it, tell Dave. And if you’ve never read anything else of his, check out all of that too (which you can find on his bio, or his own personal blog, or add him on facebook, or search David S. Atkinson on Amazon).
I hope everyone has a great weekend! And let me know too what you think about the sequel. Will you read it? Or will you pass on it? Do you think Lee really does want this published?