Monday, August 27, 2012

Literary Atlanta

My little brother was in town this weekend, rounding out the list of Atlanta attractions he’s visited on previous trips. Our wanderings took us to the Oakland cemetery, where Margaret Mitchell is buried, and then to the Margaret Mitchell house downtown.

Now, the Margaret Mitchell House is a bit of a misnomer. It really should be called the Margaret Mitchell one-bedroom apartment, because that’s all the living space she took up in the grand three-story building that now bears her name. 

But hey, false advertising seems to have been a running theme in Ms. Mitchell’s life. She found herself engaged to five different men, falsified her resume to gain employment at the Atlanta Journal, and when talking about her masterpiece, Gone With the Wind,  tossed off this classic line: “In a weak moment I have written a book-” as if the muse attacked her one long weekend and she dashed the thing off on a whim. That weak moment actually lasted her a good ten years from start to finish.

Oh well, if you get caught up in Mitchell-mania, stop on in. It’s worth your time. You’ll see the apartment she referred to as “the Dump,” you’ll see the front door of the Tara movie set, and you’ll learn a thing or two you might not have known otherwise. (Fun fact, Scarlet was originally named Pansy O’Hara, and she lived not at Tara, but at Fontenoy Hall. Also, if Margaret Mitchell had her way, Rhett Butler would have been played not by Clark Gable, but… wait for it… Basil Rathbone. What a name!!)

Next up? The Ernest Hemingway museum in Oak Park, Illinois, which I’ll visit this coming weekend.

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