to kill a momkingbird. worst pun ever.

[listening to mumford & sons as i post. i enjoy them muchly much. maybe it’s because i picture them singing in a bookstore after these videos, but i think of their music as writerly.]

So. My mom calls me yesterday, just super excited. [those of you who know her know this isn’t really news.] She could not wait to tell me she’d finished To Kill A Mockingbird. See the bookloving world has been all in a kerfuffle about T.K.A.M.’s 50th year, and while most people my age read it in high school, mom missed out. For some reason, she never picked it up. [my guess: it has something to do with the ominous title. my dear mother is an avid reader along the lines of Anne of Green Gables and Jane Austen fare. “Kill” doesn’t really enter the scene.]

It’s funny, last week she wasn’t sure she’d finish it. But when she called yesterday I could tell she was oh so excited. I asked if she liked it, “YES! I really enjoyed it…and oh my GOSH. it was worth the whole BOOK when she says that thing at the end about the mockingbird…and I just got to where I loved that little Scout girl. Very inquisitive and smart…”

She said this proves to her you have to stick with something. [that’s mom. ever the lesson-giver.]

That’s the thing about The Great Books, right? They change you, but first they challenge you. They have moments that make the whole process worth it, or even make you grateful that such a thing as reading exists.

I kind of want to revisit To Kill A Mockingbird now. Surely my capacity to appreciate it has evolved since Mrs. Hendrix’s sophomore English. No doubt I missed some depth while doodling on my notes— “very inquisitive and smart” though I was at sixteen.

epilogue:
i used to doodle in acronyms to myself. That’s weird, right? For instance, “I like a guy named Derek” would be ILAGND. I would have whole conversations with myself that way. I’d also doodle constantly. On folders, on notebook paper margins, the back of spelling tests. Didn’t matter whether I was bored or super-engaged. I doodled. Even now I’ll catch myself doodling on my notes during meetings. I haven’t written myself an acronymed note in a long, long time. If I did, it might be this: IWTGJTB.

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