Imagine

In December, last year, Letizia of reading interrupted. wrote about A Novel Gift.

She told us this:

In 1956, Harper Lee received a unique Christmas gift. Her friends, Michael and Joy Brown, offered her one year’s salary on the condition that she quit her job and dedicate herself to her writing.

The result was To Kill a Mockingbird.

It is a remarkable story of modern-day generosity; citizen to citizen. It is a remarkable story of faith in a friend’s  potential. It is a story of belief in an individual’s ability to make a difference to the outcome of another’s  creative dreams and aspirations; and, thereby, create a richer, better world for all of us.

Most of us are not in a position to be as generous as the Browns, but we all have immense power to  contribute a little to  artistic friends and communities.

We do this by buying bloggers’/friends’ books,

Fearless Fred by Maureen Sudlow

Fearless Fred by Maureen Sudlow

Spirited Ageing by Juliet Batten https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/3902/  Spirited Ageing

Spirited Ageing by  Juliet Batten

Sweet dreams and good health https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/4346/

Sweet dreams and good health; a book of hours  by Sophia Stuart

 

Nose in a Good Book

Nose in a Good Book

Wow, Bumble, what a story http://tinylessonsblog.com/2014/06/23/a-decorated-rescue-dog-stitches-galore/#comments

Wow, Bumble, what a story by Bumble and Tiny

by reviewing them,

by giving a friendly shout-out;

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzahhttps://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/in-other-news-of-caterpillars-and-kindnesses/

Kampung Memories by Sharifah Hamzah

and some of us organise  writing contests, cater for a friend’s concert, donate to crowd-sourcing; and even provide the most basic of support, in the form of very  welcome meals to ‘starving’ artists. And, in return, our lives are enriched by wonderful music and writing and art. Not every artistic endeavour will reach the dizzying heights of To Kill a Mockingbird, but that does not  mean those works we do support, and encourage, are any the less valuable to the general enrichment of humanity. Imagine, if you will, a world of people, well sponsored/cared for by each other, and, thus, all so busy with creative activities that there is neither the time nor the energy to pick up guns and warmonger; to de-create. Imagine! Imagine that with just a ‘little’ it may be  in our power to create that world.

Mmmm….not sure what would happen to the laundry and the dusting and the weeding and the planting in such a  creative scenario but, I  guess, they could be squeezed in somewhere.

Postscript

As I was completing this post, the news came through of the death of Michael Brown. Here is a  link  to the New York Times article.

© silkannthreades

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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85 thoughts on “Imagine

  1. Juliet

    Support like yours is food and drink to a writer. Thank you so much for showing ‘Spirited Ageing’ on your blog, Gallivanta, and for the many ways you support me and other writers. I’m only just catching up with your lovely blog because I’ve been busy . . . writing! (a keynote speech for a big conference that takes place next week)

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Best wishes for your conference. 🙂 Writers and creators work so incredibly hard, and don’t get nearly enough support or acknowledgement for their contribution to society; in my view.

      Reply
  2. Joanne Jamis Cain

    I’d love a year off to write! What a nice post and I love how you have featured books from other artists! When I retire in 5-10 years, it is my dream to write more. I will imagine it 😉

    Reply
  3. Virginia Duran

    Very inspiring post! It’s a very deep reflection about friendship, society and art. Oh and I didn’t know about To Kill a Mockingbird. Glad to be part of the dialogue 🙂

    Reply
  4. Letizia

    I just returned from a holiday in Switzerland where I was visiting my family and found your lovely post. I love how you connected Harper Lee’s story to the way we are exposed to and the way we share fellow bloggers’ books! One of the best parts about blogging is the generous spirit found online, isn’t it? Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Gallivanta!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lovely to hear that you have been enjoying family time in Switzerland and glad you enjoyed my post. Perhaps it helped take your mind off leaving family behind. 🙂 I have had a good weekend; have also had a short visit to family.

      Reply
  5. Sheryl

    What an amazing and inspiring story! Until I read this post, I didn’t know “the story behind the story” of To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      And I highly recommend shoreacres link in her comment. If it weren’t for the support of many, To Kill a Mockingbird may not have made it to publication.

      Reply
  6. Marylin Warner

    Wonderful tie-in between Harper Lee’s friends’ support, and our support of each other! I’ve known of this generous gift that resulted in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD for many years, but it took your nudge to make the connection between bloggers’ projects and our support! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  7. Miss Lou

    I had absolutely no idea about the history behind ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’.

    This is a beautiful post. Elevating and edifying our wonderful peers who work tirelessly on developing their craft and skill set. I’m often suprised at the low financial cost associated with their work – more than reasonable and feel blessed to obtain access to it so cheaply. I might draft a post that includes them (like this) and then post it monthly – moving it on might be another way I can help provide payment that they should get as a reflection to so many hours of hard work!

    Okay, maybe 3 monthly (considering my current level of input to the blogging world) .. lol

    Thanks for sharing.

    ML ♥

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I didn’t know the story either till I read Letizia’s post last year. It would be great if you did a similar post on books you’ve read etc. You are right to draw attention to the enormous amount of work that goes in to the creative effort. Our part, the enjoyment of it, is so easy. 🙂 And, you never know what might happen if the writers make more money than they expect…..I love this story about Margaret Sidney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sidney

      Reply
  8. Just Add Attitude

    The world without conflict that you talk about would be such a truly wonderful place. I had never heard the story of the generosity of Harper Lee’s friends: it’s wonderful. 😉

    Reply
  9. shoreacres

    I’d missed the news of Brown’s death. There’s a bit of a twist to that whole tale. During the writing process, Harper Lee became mightily discouraged. One December night, she opened up her New York apartment window and tossed the manuscript out into the snowy street. Then, whether from panic or chagrin, she called her editor, Tay Hohoff, who was smart enough to tell her to hang up the danged phone, get herself out there and PICK UP THAT MANUSCRIPT! So, she did. And then, she finished the book.

    I wrote about that episode, and the more recent kerfluffle with Lee’s literary agent here. Lee and Flannery O’Connor are two I greatly admire, partly because both exhibit the kind of generosity of spirit you write about here.

    As for the laundry and dusting and weeding, one of the funniest passages Annie Dillard ever wrote is about the inevitability of her plants dying while she writes.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Linda for your wonderful addition to the story of Harper Lee. I have had a quick look at your link and am coming back to read it through again. Briefly, though, it would seem that supportive people were there for both writers as they persevered with their writing. I do not have any great works to throw out the window, but, at times, I would willingly throw out the housework! 🙂 And no one could persuade me to go bring it back in.

      Reply
  10. Tracy Rhynas

    To Kill a Mockingbird was one of our set books at school. I loved it! I had no idea Harper Lee had been sponsored in that way, what a lovely story. You do enjoy a nice variety of books!

    Reply
  11. BEAUTYCALYPSE

    I want a ticket to that world!
    but seriously, it seems that this is the thinking that starts to get us somewhere. the mindshift is so subtle, but it has arrived. I only hope that it’s not by means of just meeting more likeminded people in my life, but also that the circles of kindness are expanding. to say it with a line from a great poet’s song:
    love’s the only engine of survival.
    (the future, leonard cohen)

    Reply
  12. Tiny

    Bumble and I thank you for your lovely post and wonderful support. We have some of these books and have enjoyed them tremendously. Support to creative endeavors (which you really master beautifully!) is very important in this community. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    Reply
  13. womanseyeview

    As someone who is not very artistically talented I agree completely that one way of expressing my artistic side is to support those who are talented! Great post.

    Reply
  14. Alexander Lautsyus

    Thank you for sharing this interesting fact about Harper Lee’s famous book “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I did not know that. It would be nice if humans did not spend so much money for the destructing things like weapon and war and invest them in creative things like books, art, music, education and so on.

    Reply
  15. Steve Schwartzman

    I’m grateful for your link to the obituary of Michael Brown, whom I’ll confess to not having heard of (or if I have, I’ve forgotten). I see he was born in the northeast Texas town of Mexia (which locals [mis]pronounce as Muh-háy-uh, or worse, with an r at the end). I also see that Michael Brown entered the University of Texas when he was only 15. He must’ve been a smart kid. Bankrolling Harper Lee later bears that out.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, a very interesting man. I am very curious about the industrial musicals he wrote. I must check if any of them are on youtube. Your mention of the pronunciation of Mexia reminds me that I recently heard a radio talk on the development of the American accent and the “r” (rhotic/non-rhotic) . Something along the lines of what was discussed is covered in this link http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/comments/1sayfu/eli5_how_did_the_american_accent_develop_after/ The KU version of Shakespeare, youtube clip, is particularly interesting. NZ English has its roots in 19th Century British accents.

      Reply
      1. Steve Schwartzman

        People are usually surprised to hear that Shakespearean English was closer in sound to modern American English than to modern British English.

        In addition to pronouncing or not pronouncing an r that was historically in a word, some people develop what’s called an intrusive r, meaning that those people pronounce an r that wasn’t originally in a word. One well-known example is President Kennedy’s pronunciation of Cuba as if it were Cuber.

        Given the history of settlement, I can understand why NZ English has its roots in the British English of the 19th century.

        Reply
      2. shoreacres

        One last, amusing little detail about Mexia. The woman who introduced me to the town’s name and taught me how to pronounce it did so in Liberia. She was from Mexia, and was in Liberia to teach at the nursing school attached to the hospital where I worked. Eventually, we both landed back in Texas and she took me on a quite memorable tour of popular Austin dance halls.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          Oh, that is a lovely detail. If I ever get back to the USA we will have to have a trip to Mexia just to celebrate this conversation!

      3. Steve Schwartzman

        In the spelling and pronunciation that existed at the time when Spaniards conquered large parts of the Americas, the letters x and j were often pronounced alike, something you can confirm by noting that Don Quixote is also spelled Don Quijote, and Texas has been spelled Tejas. Back then the j was pronounced the same as sh in English, but the modern sound of j in Spanish is the same as the ch in the German name Bach, a sound that English doesn’t have.

        The town of Mexia was named after José Antonio Mexía, a Texican general. He would have pronounced his name the same as the Mejía that is still a common Spanish surname: meh-chee-ah (with ch representing the throaty sound at the end of Bach). I looked online for the origin of the family name Mejía and found several sites claiming the name originated in Galicia, the region north of Portugal that is now part of Spain. I found one site claiming that Mejía originated as a Judeo-Spanish name based on Hebrew mashiach, meaning messiah. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s at least plausible.

        Reply
        1. Gallivanta Post author

          It does seem plausible. I like the sound of meh-chee-ah even though I am probably not getting the ch, exactly right. Wonderful information. Thank you.

    2. shoreacres

      Well, shoot. How DO you pronounce the name? I learned (and still use) Muh-HAY-uh, but I’ve found about sixteen different pronunciations in assorted online articles. Not only that, I found the city’s motto is, “A great place, no matter how you pronounce it.” This is a funny piece about the issue. I love that even people who live there aren’t certain how to pronounce it. Houston has a few, too, like the street named San Felipe.

      Reply
      1. Poetsmith

        I appreciate the opportunity to share my poetry in all its simplicity. Readers’ comments delight me when they express how they capture and connect to the poems. Thank you for your interest.

        Reply
  16. KerryCan

    I saw the information about Brown’s death before I saw your post and am so pleased to see you focusing on the connection! And your ideas about supporting the creative and the handmade have so many applications–buying at farmers markets and craft sales, helping those who doing the making, and making/creating for ourselves so we, at very least, recognize how difficult and detailed and rewarding the processes can be.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, I mentioned books, music and painting but, of course, art and creativity extend further than that. My vision, my ideas, are not new but it doesn’t hurt to restate how we all benefit from supporting creativity. Particularly in educational settings, arts, crafts, music, etc are always in danger of being slashed by ignorant, short-sighted budgeting.

      Reply
  17. Britt Skrabanek

    I remember Letizia’s post! By the way, I’ll happily imagine that creative-driven world you mentioned above. I think of how much lovelier my life has been over the past few years, since I began dedicating my energy to writing. My world is much more colorful and peaceful now.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am glad you can confirm the benefits of creativity. I know you have also enjoyed the loving gift, (from your special man), of time to devote yourself to writing. Supportive people, supportive partners, wonderful creators….brilliant, isn’t it? 🙂

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am sure you have a wonderful collection of bloggers’ work. because you are such a good friend, Ute. Add some to the comments if you would like to. 🙂 Jack likes a good story. 😉

      Reply
  18. Mrs. P

    What a wonderful thing to do…not many will take the time to back up those they have met in the blogging world. How interesting to learn about Harper lee. I enjoyed the addendum article on Michael Brown. His actions fit quite well in this post. May he rest peacefully…fly free.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I thought the Michael Brown article was fascinating and I came upon it quite by chance as I was wrapping up my post. Sad he has passed on. I wonder if there were others who benefited from his generosity.

      Reply
  19. diannegray

    It’s wonderful having support as a writer. All the books I currently have on my TBR list are from fellow bloggers – one day I’ll get through them all, but I must say the ones I’ve read so far are excellent stories! 😀

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I know what you mean; I have so many bloggers’ books that I have yet to read eg yours! However, until I get to them, I will just enjoy the fact that I am surrounded by wonderful creators.

      Reply
  20. YellowCable

    The picture of Jack makes me smile. He is reading “A confession of a rescue dog” . That is funny and so cute!

    (the directory is quite creative 🙂 )

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I would love to have seen one of his industrial musicals; sound like a lot of fun. How is your latest book coming along? Any updates?

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Lavinia, I always love seeing this message at the end of your posts ” In your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.” http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/ You are a wonderful supporter and member of the artistic community.

      Reply
  21. thecontentedcrafter

    I knew Harper Lee had been supported to write her novel, but nothing about those who had offered her this opportunity. It is always a grand thing to start my day with a little education. I followed your link and found out more about Michael Brown. I absolutely agree with your world vision too – what a wonderful world it would be!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you, TCC, for your support for my world vision! I don’t remember being told anything at all about Harper Lee when we read To Kill a Mockingbird at school. In fact, I don’t remember being told much about any of the authors on our school reading list. Knowing more about the authors would have made the books so much more interesting, for me.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thanks to you, too, for all the wonderful inspiration and help you give to the community, especially in the area of encouraging us to explore our artistic abilities.

      Reply

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