Passing the Baton


Saddened hearts in the writing world, losing two greats in one day. Harper Lee and Umberto Eco. Both had such a passion for writing, and yet neither of them published most of their works.

Umbero Eco, author of The Name of the Rose, published many of his masterpieces. He was a beloved college professor, intellectual and prolific writer. His photographs reflect a man happy with his life. Yet, a large number of his books remain unpublished because he either grew bored with them, or just did not complete them. His published works were successful. One wonders if we will yet see the others in print now that he is gone. This has been the year for finding lost books and poetry.

Harper Lee has two published works to her credit. To Kill a Mockingbird  published  with her blessing. The other, Go Set A Watchman, remained hidden, for reasons we will never know. The work was recently discovered clipped to the back of the copy of her first book. It remains a mystery whether she consented to its publication. That is a question for historians to ponder now.

What I find more interesting was the friendship between Lee and Truman Capote. The story goes that she helped him research and edit In Cold Blood. It was published after Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  They were childhood friends, most likely drawn to one another because of proximity.  During the summers, he visited his aunt who lived on her street. They each had a passion for writing.  It is well known that they parted ways shortly after Ms. Lee’s first novel became a success.  Some suspect that he sought the spotlight, she solitude, and they lost contact.  He died in 1984. I have my own theories about what might have happened.

Both Eco and Lee were reticent about their work, despite their great success. I share that trait. Not saying my work compares to either Ms. Harper or Mr. Eco’s in any respect. But I want my work to be that good. So I press on. I write because it feels good to write. I feel the same passion for telling a story, putting words down on paper. I am moved to write again and again, to try to tell the story with the same eloquence as Lee or Eco. Not for fame or fortune but to touch another’s heart and to connect on a deeper level, just as they did.

Thank you Harper Lee and Umberto Eco for sharing your passion with us.  You leave such a precious legacy.



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