The original subject of this post (which was so very longwinded and conflicted and you’re better off never having read it) was the February 3rd announcement of Harper Lee’s “new” book, Go Set A Watchman, an early version of what evolved into To Kill A Mockingbird.
The story goes that this manuscript was recently found in a safety deposit box by Lee’s lawyer, having been all but forgotten for years. How thrilling! I was over the moon about it… that is, until I had a few minutes to think about it, and then read up on it. The timing was incredibly suspect– Lee’s sister Alice, who had been her fierce protector and legal advisor for decades, passed away just this past November. Lee is notoriously reclusive, and all contact with her is filtered through her current lawyer, the person who apparently found the manuscript a few months ago. The information coming from her publishers was incredibly inconsistent and sketchy. The news didn’t match up with decades of Harper Lee’s actual words on the subject of another book coming out.
The fear of Harper Lee being exploited, of having her writing released without her explicit, cogent approval, gave me a deep, sick knot in my stomach.
BUT, that post has been preempted by news that I somehow completely missed when it came out in April– a longtime friend of Lee’s has come out and confirmed her recent lucidity, the state of Alabama investigated to ensure that Lee is not the victim of elder abuse, and Lee personally responded to a nosy journalist’s letter with the southern equivalent of “fuck off!” (“Go away. -Harper Lee”). Upon reading that just now, I immediately burst into hysterical tears of relief and joy, very much confusing my poor boyfriend.
GUYS. Harper M-F-ING Lee has a NEW BOOK COMING OUT and I’m allowed to be thrilled now. I have a tribute to her work permanently etched into my arm (“The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience” with a mockingbird), I intend to name one of my future children for her (Nelle, her legal first name and the name by which friends call her), and I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THIS NEW BOOK NOW I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY JLKJHASHFOIHREAWIRAFCHAUSRAFSD. I wasn’t intending on ever reading it if I couldn’t be sure that she actually wanted it published (which was killing me but non-negotiable in my mind), so I never let myself get excited for it… IT’S ALL FLOODING OUT NOW!!11!1!! We’re having a goddamn Harper Lee party on July 14th, babies!
*throws confetti and glitter, moonwalks out of the room*
(gotta say, I’m a little bothered that I didn’t see this good news plastered everywhere like the initial book announcement was, though…)
//not directly related, but a terrific LONG heart-breaking Vanity Fair article my dad sent me– To Steal A Mockingbird