Hey Boo: Best Movie Words

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Life was always waiting for the right moment to act.” ~ Paul Coelho

No one ever expected Harper Lee to publish another book. The writer’s destiny seemed to be an author of a sole publication that has sold over 5 million copies. She surprised the literary world when it was announced that a second novel was in the pipeline for publication. Fifty years after To Kill a Mockingbird was published Go Set a Watchman was released. If you haven’t read either publications, as far as I am concerned you are missing out on very important American literature. I believe “Watchman” will also become known as an American classic in coming years.

harperlee_flatLast week I attended the second in a series of community events at the Bud Werner Memorial Library geared around Lee’s publication Go Set a Watchman. The screening of the  documentary film Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman (previously titled Harper Lee:Hey Boo) was at the center of the evening. In the film, interviews of famous people in the literary and media world talk about what the classic To Kill a Mockingbird has meant to Americans who love this book.

marymurphy_creditchriscarroll_m8398After the screening, the filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy Skyped in to take questions from the audience at the library. I had the opportunity to ask my question. “As a filmmaker what did you learn from Harper Lee about storytelling through the production of this documentary?” Her answer included remarks that to tell the story well, it was a juggling challenge.  She had to go back and revise and edit the film to include information about the 2015 release of “Watchman” by Harper Collins. She also mentioned that more revisions to her 2015 documentary will be necessary as the full impact of “Watchman” on the literary world is made known in coming years. For more information on Murphy’s film which has also been aired on PBS, visit the filmmaker’s website.

Thursday evening, October 15, 2015 is the third event for One Book Steamboat. Charles Shields, Harper Lee’s biographer will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in person. He was one of the first persons to be aware of Lee’s manuscript for “Watchman” that had been locked up in a safe deposit box for decades. I look forward to his presentation.

I have never been so immersed in the full study of an author before and it has been an extremely fulfilling experience. Thanks to Jennie Lay at Bud Werner Memorial Library for programming all the surrounding events of One Book Steamboat for this community.

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

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Literacy arouses hopes, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfillment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. ~ Unesco

HANDOUT IMAGE - Cover of Harper Lee's new book 'Go Set A Watchman'

Wow! “Am I ever fortunate to be here tonight,” I thought as I learned of the agenda for the first in a series of gatherings which revolves around “One Book Steamboat.” Harper Lee’s newly published book Go Set a Watchman was selected for an all community read.

On Wednesday evening, a community member began the presentation by dispelling some rumors about Lee’s second novel. He knows first-hand what has transpired in the publishing of the manuscript. He is part of a team of advisors looking out for the author’s interests. What he said was very different than some of the news stories. Contrary to everyone’s belief, even though Lee is 89 years old and does not hear well, her decision making abilities are rational. All communications were written to make sure Lee fully understood all implications of the publishing process. To read more about the publishing of a long awaited second book from the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, please visit this article from the Steamboat
Today newspaper and the others listed.

Wall Street Journal – How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript

New York Times – Joe Nocera the Watchman Fraud

What Does Harper Lee Want? 

Not only has a Steamboat Springs, Colorado community member been involved with the publishing of “Watchman,” thanks to Lee’s generosity, she has donated to Partners of Routt County very special editions of her two publications for a fundraising auction to support a wonderful organization. How special is that?

The evening culminated with the screening of  the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck. I had never seen it before, and for me the characters became even more alive and their messages hit even closer to home after having seen the role playing of the characters in the movie version.

“One Book Steamboat” continues with three more events in October which will give us an opportunity to look even closer at the work of Harper Lee (aka Nelle)! I’ll keep you posted.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, Sue Batton Leonard.