Spanista » Self Care Rituals, Reflections & Resources for Joyful Living by Ginny Shiverdecker

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee Stirs Questions


Dear Wellness Seekers,

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee Stirs Questions causing reflection about where we have been, where we are and where we are going as a society. I have been obsessed with Harper Lee since I read To Kill A Mockingbird. My journey to Harper Lee came about through reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Both brilliant in the tone of their own unique talented voices. Lyrical in the special way only Southern Authors express their narratives. It is another validation of both these authors abilities is how the stories so beautifully translated to the larger than life movie screen as both have been heralded with many honors. Not to mention achieved status as one of the Essential Classic Movies to experience by movie historian Robert Osborne of TCM.

One of my favorite movie performances ever was by Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing Truman Capote in latest edition of In Cold Blood who was paired with Catherine Keener playing Harper Lee. I loved their relationship as somewhat tortured creatives souls with southern roots that only they could share and understand. Harper stepped into Truman’s world in rural Kansas when he went their to research the story of the bazaar, heinous crime committed by two, troubled young men. Watching her character unfold in both movies stirred a connection to her. There is haunting music that opens the movie from here forward I identify with Phillip and his sudden tragic death. It is ‘Any Other Name’ on the album Cafe Del Mar – a haunting, haunting composition. When I hear this music I think of him immediately and tears come as I wonder why he this man took his own life?  Yesterday July 23 was Phillip’s birthday – he would have been 49 – ever so young to leave us for this that loved him.

Harper’s, To Kill A Mockingbird won her a Pulitzer Prize. When it was reported that an unpublished manuscript by Harper was being brought to the public for publication I immediately reserved a first edition. This was a literary event that could not be missed. As life has it, I got extremely busy so reading was delayed. But as Spanista has learned over the years everything happens when it is supposed to. And just the right time arrived when I could breathe in the each word to imagine and absorb the time and place of Harper’s setting in 1950’s in this small southern town.

With a treasure like this manuscript – hearing  Harper’s voice come to life after years of absence – well to have the pleasure of engaging with the spirit of her voice requires captured my heart, mind and soul. Over the last couple of weeks I immersed myself in the world of Go Set A Watchman. I took my time to embrace each word, each page, each chapter to imagine myself truly there.  Before diving in, one has to stop and recognize it was written at a time in history when major race issues were being highlighted and brought to life and our country’s conscience was moving toward recognizing this. The South was righting the wrongs of discrimination. So to go deep into that time from the vantage point of girl who comes of age and becomes a young adult is eye-opening. Her personal view of the situation is so clearly portrayed you can feel yourself brought back in time to her hometown of Macomb, Alabama. You can feel The South coming to grips with the changing times of the black movement toward full equality so painful to them. But so clear to Jean Louise Finch the main character.

Upon reflection, what shocks me was the sentiments about the human condition back in the 1950’s is in so many ways similar to what we are experiencing today post Millennium. How can one not be disturbed but the incidents between our Police Forces and the Black America? It seems our society has made progress toward equality but yet we find disturbing forces reminiscent of the past at play in 2016? Will our next election bring us clarity through new leadership or mire us in further human conflict? I do not know the answer but I do know if ever there was a time to exercise your vote as an American Citizen, it is in November’s Election. Spanista believes a real form of Self Care it to speak your voice by voting.

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee Stirs Questions Spanista believes Self Care for Creative Souls like these authors can be expressed through action – having the drive and courage to express what is in their hearts is not an easy thing. In many cases it originates from a place within of deep pain that needs to find its voice in story. I admire Harper Lee. May her voice inspire new writers to do the same.

To Your Self Care Journey To Joy,


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