Sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, an opportunity arises that you just can’t pass up. The opportunity in this instance was a visit from Margaret Atwood, award-winning author of bestsellers such as The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, and many others to date.
I personally have not read any of Ms. Atwood’s work, nor have I watched the Hulu production of The Handmaid’s Tale. The reason is because my blood pressure can’t handle it under the current political climate — I’ll just leave it at that. I have, however, admired her work for a long time.
So, imagine my shock when I heard that she would be coming to Tuscaloosa as part of the University of Alabama’s Distinguished Writer’s Series! Little did I know, Margaret Atwood was the writer in residence at the University of Alabama in the mid-80’s. She actually finished her manuscript for The Handmaid’s Tale while she was living in Tuscaloosa. With all honesty, I would not have believed that if I had not heard it straight from her mouth last night.
We were all treated to readings from The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace, and Hagseed. She gave us the background of each, how each came to be, the inspiration behind the works, and insight into the process of writing each. She kept us all laughing with a dry wit and optimistic view of the future. Many a cheer from many a Doug Jones supporter were heard from the audience last night — myself included.
She also shared precious few details about a secret manuscript she completed for Norway’s Future Library Project, which will remain unread for a century. As a participant of the project (which you can read more about right here), she was sworn to secrecy about the details of the manuscript.
However, she did give us the name: Scribbler Moon. When she explained the premise of the project, she commented that she felt compelled to do it because, basically, there are two types of kids in the world: 1) the kinds who bury bottles in their back yards and hope that someone, one day, will read the message inside and 2) the kinds who don’t.
I like to believe that I’d fall into the first category. What about you?
Thank you all for reading!