Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tidbit Tuesday--Was She Anything Like Scarlett?

Jodie here.  I know, it's typical for me to talk about the Outer Banks, but I've been reading up on something (well, someone) else lately, so why not share about that?  I share an agent with the lovely Julie Cannon, who passed suddenly in October 2012, leaving many friends stunned and saddened.  The "book of her heart," Scarlett Says, released this past October and it's been on my TBR pile.  Now that school's out, I've been able to dig in.  And it has me wondering about Margaret Mitchell, who (as pretty much all of us know) wrote Gone with the Wind.

I always knew Mitchell was killed when she was struck by a car. She was writing the sequel when she died.  That always made me sad.  And believe you me, I was not a fan of the 1991 sequel.  I believe it's the only book I ever threw at a wall.  :-)

What I did not know was that Margaret Mitchell declared she was more like Melanie Wilkes than Scarlett O'Hara.  After reading up on her a bit though, I wonder how well she knew herself.  Apparently, she was quite the flirt--and proud of it--and was a woman who had no problem standing up for herself or the things she believed in.  I think I'd have liked to have known her… and I think she was more Scarlett than she realized.

But it's her childhood years that fascinate me.  When you read her biography, you see where the characters from Gone with the Wind were born.  The family plantation in Wilkes County.  Great-grandparents who immigrated from Ireland to settle on a plantation near Jonesboro, where they proceeded to have a multitude of daughters.  A paternal grandfather who made his fortune running a lumber mill near post-war Atlanta.  Fearful nights hiding during race riots near her family home. Sundays with her aunts, uncles, and grandparents, who told story after story about the Old South and the ravages of the Civil War.

It's that passion, that drive in her blood, that made Gone with the Wind resonate for so many.  It's not the story itself, it's the people who populate the pages, people woven together from Margaret Mitchell's life and the lives of those she loved.  I agree with Steven James, who said, "Don't write what you know.  Write what you feel." Wouldn't all of our books be incredible if we took that one to heart?

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Jodie Bailey was in Atlanta, GA visiting Agnes Scott College the day Scarlett was released.  The bookstores were insane.  She was also there the night the Braves won the World Series.  All of Atlanta was insane.  Her latest novel, Crossfire, is set an hour away from Atlanta and has absolutely nothing to do with Scarlett O'Hara or the Atlanta Braves.


  1. Love Gone with the Wind and enjoyed researching Mrs. Mitchell when I led a discussion of a classic book club. Did you know Scarlett was originally named "Pansy"? Makes you see the importance of naming our characters. As for a sequel, the one recognized by the Mitchell estate is Rhett Butler's People and it's mainly set in Charleston. I loved this book, especially since I read it on a weekend in Charleston. Thanks for the insight, Jodie, into one of my favorite books. Oh, to write such stories!

  2. I know, right? I have Rhett Butler's People in my TBR pile too. I want to re-read GWTW first! And as for Pansy… wow. I had heard that before and I can't imagine how she ever thought that one fit. :-)

  3. Thank you for sharing a great post, Jodie! I love Gone with the Wind, but have not read Rhett Butler's People. Will have to add it to the TBR list. I just ordered Scarlett Says and look forward to reading it this summer.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  4. Great post. I love GWTW, too and will have to get Rhett Butler's People!