Friday, May 2, 2008
Harper Lee's gift
In 1954, writer Harper Lee received one of the coolest Christmas presents I have ever heard of. A couple of her friend got together and gave her money ... an entire year's salary with this note attached: "You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas." Within a year, she had written a working manuscript of her wonderful Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. It is even considered by some to be the best English language novel of the 20th century. Before becoming a famous novelist, she was a clerk for a law firm. After the novel was published in 1960, she expected it to be panned by the critics. She only hoped that someone would give her some encouragement so that she could make a career out of it. She was overwhelmed with the response and terrified of her fame. She never wrote another novel.