Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Mitchell house, reflections and people watching

- This is the Margaret Mitchell House, now part of the Atlanta History Center.  Margaret Mitchell wrote her famous novel, "Gone with the Wind" in one of the apartments on the lower floor.  The house sure looks spiffy today - Mitchell referred to it as "The Dump" when it was located on nearby Crescent Avenue.  It was moved to its present location on Peachtree Street several years ago.

- I was there on Monday evening for a lecture from crime writer (and friend) Karin Slaughter, who has just published her 13th novel, "Unseen."  She walked in with a copy of "Gone with the Wind" and started off by reading a passage from it, the one in which Scarlett has killed a man who invaded and threatened she and her household, and ends with Melanie saying they need to bury the body.  She says that "Good writers know that crime is an entre into telling a greater story about character."  And this passage demonstrates that.  She went on to say that in every single book signing she has been to in countries outside the US, someone always asks about Atlanta and Gone with the Wind.  Fitting then, that this lecture and book signing was inside the very home in which GWTW was written.

- Karin spends a lot of time on the road and says that she ends up with tidbits for her books from just people watching in airports.  She put a bit in one of her books about a man clipping his nails in public and says she sees that all the time, and suggests that she hopes to not see that again.  :)

It was good to see my friend, who I just see about once a year at book signings now.  I read Unseen this past weekend - a great rainy day (or sunny day) read.


Joanne said...

I feel like I've seen someone clipping their nails on the subway...gross!

Ileana said...

I loved "Gone With the Wind" when I read it in the 90s. I couldn't get the characters out of my mind and I really wanted the story to continue and felt sad when the book ended. Sounds crazy, but I really felt a sense of loss.

How exciting to be a part of your friend's lecture and in the very house where Margaret Mitchell wrote her famous novel. So cool!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I'm not familiar with your friend's writing...But I love that she had a Book Signing in the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote GWTW!!!
I LOVED the book, and have read it several times over my lifetime---the first time---when I was about 11 or 12 years old. I remember when the film was first released in 1939---I was 8 years old and it was a HUGE event! HUGE HUGE HUGE!!!
(It was the first time a movie was seen with an intermission and "reserved" seating.)
I think it's a GREAT book, by the way, and I love that your friend read a passage from it to illustrate a very important writing point.
How fantastic that your friend has written 13 books! I need to check them out, now...!

Sara said...

Oh my goodness. I envy you. I love Karin Slaughter. I haven't gotten the new book yet for my kindle because of my birthday. It was definitely on my list, however. I've read all of her books, except the one dealing with what happens to Jeffery. I read them in no particular order, which is impressive for a writer to be able to do with two different series.

The picture of Margaret Mitchell's house is lovely:~)

Happy day to you, Lynn. Hope the weather is better where you are than me. We keep more and more thunderstorms.

Lynn said...

Joanne -

I am appalled that anyone thinks that's OK. :) It is gross!

Ily -

It was exciting. I had taken a tour of the house once before, but it was fun to see it again. I always feel a little like a celebrity when she gives me a special wave.

Naomi -

She writes crime fiction. These books are a series, beginning with the book Blindsighted. She had written the book already when I first met her - she ran a sign shop around the corner from my office at BellSouth. I used to order stadium banners from her. She continued to work there even after her first book was published - and then it got to be too much.

I have always loved seeing the photos and newsreel films of the film premiere. I read the book the first time when I was about 8th grade, I think. I loved it, too.

Let me know if you read any of them - they are riveting, but a bit violent.

Sara -

She is very funny at her book signing lectures - such a gift. The first time I read one of her books, I couldn't believe that kind of writing came out of her. Not that I didn't think she would be a capable writer - I just wasn't expecting the violence.

I'll be in your area this weekend visiting my sister - hopefully it won't be hotter than here. :)

Jannie Funster said...

Airports are great people-watching places indeed. But clipping your nails..... yuck, that would be like flossing your teeth in public.

Must've been some undertaking to move that big house! I wonder if they split it in 2 for the move.


Riot Kitty said...

They certainly did a nice job with the restoration. Such history! I lived at an address at my first NYC apartment that was used in Little Women. That felt neat :)

Lynn said...

Jannie -

I don't know, but here is a link to the building through the years. It did indeed look like a "dump" when Mitchell lived there:


Riot Kitty -

I'll bet that was a neat building.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lynn .. interesting that they felt the need to move the house, and then give it a makeover .. a dump should be a dump ... especially when it's relative to Margaret Mitchell and her book .. sounds a little strange ..

How wonderful to be able to spend time with Karin .. and hear her give her talk ..

Clipping toenails - foul!! Yugh ..

Cheers Hilary

Sparkling Red said...

I can't get used to the idea that buildings are portable. I have always thought that a house should stay where it's built. On the other hand, I suppose moving a historical building is the best option if it can't stay where it was born.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Sounds like a lot of fun seeing where writers come from.

Lynn said...

Hilary -

Moving the house was the only solution to saving it. The street in which it was formerly on has been heavily developed and it would have been torn down. See link above to the saga of this house and how it looked when it was, indeed, a "dump."

Cheers to you!

Sparkling Red -

It was attacked by arsonists two different times - people are unbelievable sometimes. Even when it was supposed to open soon at its current location, someone torched it again. The apartment where Mitchell wrote GWTW was relatively unscathed though. It's safe for now and heavily guarded.

Snaggle -

It was. Hope you are well!

LL Cool Joe said...

It's amazing what some people will do in public especially at airports. Brushing their teeth, doing makeup etc. I can understand people doing that in a restroom, but not waiting to get on the plane with everyone watching them.

There again I was brought up by a mother who thinks it's inappropriate for people to drink water from a bottle in public.

Lee said...

What a beautiful building! And how wonderful that it's been preserved. If only the walls could talk...or perhaps write, even! ;)

A fabulous equally fabulous movie...still, on both counts.