“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.” ― Ernest Hemingway
“April ended and May came along, but May was even worse than April. In the deepening spring of May, I had no choice but to recognize the trembling of my heart. It usually happened as the sun was going down. In the pale evening gloom, when the soft fragrance of magnolias hung in the air, my heart would swell without warning, and tremble, and lurch with a stab of pain. I would try clamping my eyes shut and gritting my teeth, and wait for it to pass. And it would pass….but slowly, taking its own time, and leaving a dull ache behind.
At those times I would write… In my letters to her, I would describe only things that were touching or pleasant or beautiful: the fragrance of grasses, the caress of a spring breeze, the light of the moon, a movie I’d seen, a song I liked, a book that had moved me. I myself would be comforted by letters like this when I would reread what I had written. And I would feel that the world I lived in was a wonderful one. I wrote any number of letters like this…”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us,
we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to heaven,
we were all going direct the other way
– in short,
the period was so far like the present period,
that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,
for good or for evil,
in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
“A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens
[First Sentence from the Novel]
By David Marchese
This article Originally from VULTURE.
The upcoming arrival of Harper Lee’s second novel, Go Set a Watchman, came as just as much of a shock to people in the publishing industry as it did to the rest of us. Even Hugh Van Dusen, Lee’s editor at HarperCollins, didn’t learn about the book’s existence until Monday.
Van Dusen, who’s been working with Lee for years, spoke to us about the new book, the author’s current life, and whether or not she’s been able to put some recent legal skirmishes behind her.
When did you learn the book existed?
I learned Monday. Other people have read it at Harper, but I haven’t yet. The book had been a deep secret here, even to me.
Do you remember your reaction in the moment?
Amazement. It’s absolutely stunning. To find a complete and apparently very good book by a writer of this caliber? To Kill a Mockingbird sells more copies in this country than any other classic novel. No one is really sure how many copies it has sold since publication, but the number is huge.
I’ve seen a 40 million figure.
It’s more than that, but roughly in that neighborhood. I’m trying to find out exactly. It sells about 750,000 to 800,00 copies a year, which is much more, for example, than The Great Gatsby or Salinger—you name it. Maybe not more than Huckleberry Finn, but we’re talking 20th-century novels.
Why is this book finally showing up now, after all these years?
The version I was told was that the book was in either a safe deposit box or a bank vault, and it was wrapped in a manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird and nobody noticed it for all these years. I don’t know this for a fact, but one must imagine that Harper Lee — we call her Nelle—just never told anybody about the book and then forgot it existed. Her lawyer, Tonja Carter, who is also Nelle’s very close friend, was apparently looking through this safety deposit box and found [Go Set a Watchman]. I guess she then went to her friend said what it is this? Nelle said, and this is all public knowledge, that her editor at the time at Lippincott, the original publisher of To Kill a Mockingbird, said to her this isn’t what you want to write; you want to write something about Scout when she was a girl. So Nelle went back and wrote a new book: To Kill a Mockingbird.
Get Set a Watchman has been described as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. It sounds like that’s not accurate, right?
It’s actually more of a prequel. She wrote it before To Kill a Mockingbird, but the new book takes place after the events of the book that was published.
Harper is a famously private person. Does she have any ambivalence about the fact that the publication of the book is going to result in a lot of new publicity?
I don’t think so. In our press release she says, “After much thought and hesitation I shared [Go Set a Watchman] with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear they considered it worthy of publication. I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years.”
Has the book been edited? Or is what will eventually be on bookshelves untouched from what was in the safety deposit box?
If it has been edited, nobody’s told me. It’s the novel she wrote and showed to her editor at Lippincott, who didn’t think it was the book Nelle should be writing. So Nelle wrote another book. I don’t know this for a fact, but I doubt very much that anyone at Harper has edited it. My understanding is that it will be exactly what she wrote in the mid-1950s.
So what does it mean to be Harper Lee’s editor today?
I first met her about eight or nine years ago. She actually had a stroke about eight years ago, and I met her a couple of months before that at a Harper function. I’d never met her before. We had lunch and had a very good time, so she then came to dinner at our apartment in New York, with my wife, who’s also in publishing. After she recovered from the strokes, she went back to where she’s from in Monroeville, Alabama, to live, and she’s in a nursing home there now. She’s getting progressively deafer and more blind, and that’s where things stand. I don’t hear from her. There’s no reason why I should, because we don’t need to do anything. I write her notes now and then, but I haven’t heard anything back and I wouldn’t expect to. But I can give you my impression of her, if you like?
Yes, please do.
There’s this rumor about her that’s been prevalent for decades that she’s a recluse, which is absolute nonsense. She’s not a recluse. When my wife and I went to visit her in hospital after the stroke to see her, the room was filled with wonderful women friends of Nelle’s who were all caring for her and helping her and comforting her. She’s not a recluse at all. She just doesn’t like publicity.
There’s that famous Thomas Pynchon line about “recluse” being code for “doesn’t talk to reporters.”
That’s a perfect description of both him and her.
All this time, you never had the slightest inkling that Harper had written another book?
No. Never. The one thing I learned very early on was that you never asked her what she was writing or working on. She would have not reacted well to that. Nobody knows whether she was writing over the years. She may have been writing something else, but no one knows. I’m not suggesting she has been, of course.
Has there been any direct contact about the book between Harper and HarperCollins? Or is it all done through intermediaries?
Are you asking if we’ve been in touch with her directly?
Specifically about the release of this book, yes.
I don’t know, but I don’t think so, only because she’s very deaf and going blind. So it’s difficult to give her a phone call, you know? I think we do all our dealing through her lawyer, Tonja. It’s easier for the lawyer to go see her in the nursing home and say HarperCollins would like to do this and do that and get her permission. That’s the only reason nobody’s in touch with her. I’m told it’s very difficult to talk to her.
Is there any link between the book appearing and all the legal problems surrounding the To Kill a Mockingbird copyright having died down?
No. Everything is calm. All the legal issues, I believe, have all been settled. Her lawyer Tonja Carter discovered this manuscript, which nobody knew had existed and Nelle thought had disappeared. I’m sure that’s what happened. I’m told that all those legal problems are settled now. And those problems have nothing to do with this publication. I promise you that’s true.
It’s easy to be skeptical about her willingness to publish a book that had been forgotten for 55 years.
You mean was she unwilling to have it published? No, no, no, no. We would never do that. She’s too valuable an author to fool around with that way. It would never happen. We wouldn’t dare do that.
Is she still living in the nursing home?
Is she doing okay?
From what I hear, yes. Her sister, who was a lawyer in Monroeville, died last year. I should know the exact age, but she was something like 104. So there’s obviously longevity genes in the family. [Lee is 88 years old.]
Is it fair to say that Harper won’t be talking to the media now that she’s got a new book out?
I don’t think anything there’s going to be anything more revealing than what’s in the press release.
Private Writings #83
Written by Jennifer Kiley
Post Tuesday 14th October 2014
WARNING: ADULT LANGUAGE AND CONTENT
Not Suitable For Children.
ALL CHARACTERS ARE FICTITIOUS.
Anyone Resembling Anyone Living or Dead
Is Purely Coincidental.
private writings to dr. annie haskell psychoanalyst
I am the storyteller using imagination fantasy feelings & thoughts
to discover self soul eternal serenity & bliss
but to most importantly tell the best tale ever after upon a time.
see you down the rabbit hole.
Private Writings: Chapter #83 — “THE FEAST”
Letters #83 “THE FEAST” 8th April 2009
Angela, [Angie], started to describe to all the ghosts and myself, not a ghost, what she remembered of the evening she was murdered. What the motives were. What the murder weapon was. A bite too much of something good. She heard her husband Clifford Huntington, of the New Port Huntington’s, who knows for sure. He was talking to a woman in full flirt with him. He wasn’t resisting. He told her he would be free soon to marry her. Poison was the name of the game, to go into her piece of game.
It was a terrible Movable Feast. There is much to say but I don’t want to wander. Angela belonged to the underground group publicly called WUFFDE [World Union Foundation for Doctors Everywhere]. A front. There funds helped the sick & weak unwanted in countries overseas. Barely noticeable to the World. Not really to WUFFDE either. It was a cover. They really didn’t give a shit. [tha truth stated in a song: “…”…some people were born not to help people…”]
They held a Private Party each year. The buy in was $500,000. “The Movable Feast” was the fond name they used to call it because each year “The Feast” moved to another unknown location, not even to members. Fear of being discovered. Reason, they eat endangered species of animals through their feasting.
But back to the murder. Angela thought her friends were real. Not so. They were sycophants sucking up to the succubus Clifford Huntington. He was actually having an assassin kill his wife so his hands would remain pure. Reason for the sacrifice: to earn points and lots of money and Power.
Where was the poison actually hidden, her husband, Clifford told his tramp girlfriend, it was in the main course. The server would have a special exotic rare flower on Angela’s plate. No flavor existing to detect its presence. Angela ate everything that was served her through the multi-coursed menu. From exotic animals, the Turtles from the Galapagos, turned into a form of soap, Okapi & Bonobo, both endangered of being non-existent. Did these heartless group give a shit. Of course not. Not one of them. They drank their Cristal, 1988
This Year’s Menu Galore: the Theme from the film “Babette’s Feast” blended with the theme of the jungle and barbarians.
M E N U
Theme is In the Night of the Jungle
Choice of Film Feast
An Exotic Meal
Three Choices of Meat: Okapi (Giraffe Family but Smaller)
A Bongo & Saiga (Last Are Variety of Antelope)
Puffer fish (Fugu) – sushi-mi
Crystal 1988 & 2006
Caviar – Beluga
Makers Mark; Glen Fiddich ; Aquavit ; Welsh whiskey
Grey goose ; Cognac ; Absinthe
The menu responsible for their pleasure features
“Blini Demidoff au Caviar”
(buckwheat cakes with caviar and sour cream);
“Potage la Tortue” (turtle soup); “
Caille en Sarcophage avec Sauce Perigourdine”
(quail in puff pastry shell with foie gras and truffle sauce);
[replaced with the choice of Okapi or Bonobo & prepared accordingly]
featuring Belgian endive
and walnuts in a vinaigrette;
[altered to taste]
Les Fromages” featuring
The grand finale dessert is
“Savarin au Rhum avec des Figues et Fruit Glace”
(rum sponge cake with figs and glazed fruits).
Numerous rare wines,
including Clos de Vougeot,
various champagnes [Cristal] and spirits,
complete the menu.
Babette’s purchase of the finest china, flatware, crystal and linens with which to set the table ensures that the luxurious food and drink is served in a style worthy of Babette, who is none other than the famous former Chef of “Café Anglais”. Babette’s previous occupation has been unknown to the sisters until she confides in them after the meal.
* * * * * * *
Not to mention the decadence and carelessness of such a menu but it disguised not only the murder of the wild creatures sacrificed but Angela was one of the rare who met her demise. And now we knew part of the picture. Huntington was a mastermind sociopath. What else was he capable of doing if her could cold bloodedly murder his wife without doing a thing except hire the assassins. There had been other attempts on Angela’s life but they never were pulled off successfully. But one murder is enough. But there were more and will be more if Huntington is not stopped.
Sylvia told me she figured out he killed her father Sidney Vincent, the film director. His people did. Her father was going to expose them in a film he was in the process of making during his off time from playing doctor. A bit bipolar was her father. It is what gave him his energy and his madness. Catherine couldn’t deal with his behavior. She turned to CH, Clifford. Yes, she had Sidney infected with the AIDS virus in a strong strain. He was dead in due course.
Sylvia had to be shut up because she found these things out after she died. Her father told her when they met up as ghosts. Those who were murdered were all coming forward. Their deaths were either deemed suicide or accidental deaths.
Madison felt she had to communicate this to the police as quickly as possible before so someone charted for death could be prevented.
What do you make of this Maria? A secret organization which arranges high profile deaths & they cover them up so deeply no one who speaks against the cause of death is believed. They are judged to be the crazy ones imagining the bizarre & weird. Everyone laughs and moves on continually.
Well, I plan on making a run at this one. Even though being in Redcliff might prejudice my case. I will have to have Scottie’s help. First by getting me out of Redcliff. It must be done. It is the only way the ghosts I have met will be set free. Released to go home or reincarnate. They may have had enough of life but maybe not.
That is enough for now. This one’s a whooper.
Ps. I am not crazy nor am I making this whole thing up. Ghosts told me the whole story. As much as they have been able to sort out on their own.
© Madison Taylor 2008
“I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person. That is, if you write what you need to write, as opposed to what will make money, or what will make fame.“ — Alice Walker
Schubert – “Serenade
The beginning always starts out
With a dream.
It is all a dream
In our own nightmares”
— Madison Taylor
“So You Want To Be A Writer“
Written by Charles Bukowski
Post Sunday 12th October 2014
Created by Jennifer Kiley
“so you want to be a writer”
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.
don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.
Charles Bukowski on Writing