Since I’ve moved to the delightful city of Atlanta, I’ve discovered many fun places. The city’s made of them. But the most relevant to my writing interests HAS to be the Margaret Mitchell House, which I visited in July 2011 shortly after moving in. My fiancé (now husband) had work, and I was still getting used to living in a new city, so I decided to do some sightseeing. Of course, people told me that as an author I MUST see The Margaret Mitchell House, so I punched it in my GPS.
When I got there, a tour had already started, but it had only just begun so I didn’t miss much, and I learned so many fun stories along the way! We were taken all around her little apartment, and we saw the tiny living area where she threw parties and the chair and desk where she wrote “Gone With the Wind.” She lived here with her second husband (aka “Ashley,” her first husband being the inspiration for Rhett). He supported her writing completely, but for some reason she would hide the typewriter every time friends came over. Apparently she was embarrassed that people would see she was writing a novel. But she was working as a journalist at the time, and their living is writing. I guess there’s a cultural disconnect from the time that I don’t understand.
Probably one of my favorite stories was how her book got published. As a journalist, she and a few of her journalist friends were taking an out-of-town publisher to lunch, and one of her friends mentioned that Margaret was writing a book. Embarrassed, she insisted that she wasn’t, but later that day she threw her manuscript into two suitcases and caught the publisher at the train station. She shoved the bags at him and said something like, “There, before I change my mind!” And…the rest is history! I’m sure I’m missing parts of the story, after all it’s been a year since I went (hey, I was armpit deep in wedding planning at the time).
It was so encouraging, a young author in a new city, to find that I was in good company. Hopefully I’ll find myself a publisher while I’m here, like Margaret.