In honor of Harper Lee’s 89th birthday, I chose one of her quotes that I had not seen before. “I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement.” People write for many different reasons. Some want to become published. Others want to become published and famous. There are people who want to share their stories, knowledge or experiences with others. Maybe there is a little bit of each of those in all of us.
But then there is that other group of writers. It’s the group I’m in. I write because I have to. I’ve mentioned it in past posts. Writing is like breathing for me. There isn’t a time in my life when I didn’t feel the need to write down words that were running through my head. Would I like to publish something? You bet. Would I like to be famous? Well, no not really. Like if I wrote a book and people read it, I would really like that, but do I want to be out there doing interviews and book signings? Let’s just say that the mere thought of it fills me with such anxiety I can’t even go there. If I was told that no one was ever going to read a single word I wrote….ever…. I would still write. It’s an integral part of who I am.
“I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement.”
I read that quote and thought, ‘Wow! That’s something I might say. But Harper Lee? Wow!’ It’s so unassuming and reticent and writer-like. You know what I mean, right? I sat here thinking about that quote and Harper Lee’s life. I thought about how To Kill a Mockingbird– her only published book and a MAJOR one at that- could have changed her life in a completely different way than it did. She has gone on to live a private life, staying out of the spotlight. Her second book, Go Set a Watchman, which is due to be released in July, was written before Mockingbird and shelved on the advice of her editor. I can’t help but wonder if that same quote “I sort of hoped…” still holds true all these years later.