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Margaret Mitchell almost failed: Gone with the wind


Here is a story that typifies why in my book I try very hard to motivate children to understand that they have to believe in themselves and the work they do. I also remind them that work is important and that failure should not be feared – in fact, it should be used as an opportunity to learn and improve. Take for instance the almost didn’t happen – success of “Gone with the Wind”.

margaret mitchell gone with the wind
March 3rd marks the day in 1937 that Margaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for “Gone with the Wind”.

For nine years, Mitchell, a journalist in Atlanta, Georgia, had secretly struggled to pen the epic, stashing pages in closets, drawers, and bookshelves. One evening, a friend introduced her to publisher Harlold Latham of Macmillan. He said he had heard rumor through a friend that she had a longer project in mind, but Mitchell denied it, embarrassed of what she perceived to be the novel’s poor quality. Only after hearing the catty remark of a frenemy later that evening, “Imagine anyone as silly as Margaret writing a book!” did she track down Latham and send him the manuscript. Seventy-three years later, its sales are second only to the Bible.

“If the novel has a theme, it is that of survival. What makes some people able to come through catastrophes, and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval…. I only know that the survivors used to call that quality ‘gumption.’ So I wrote about the people who had gumption, and the people who didn’t.” – Margaret Mitchell

Imagine if you will, if she would have continued to fear criticism or if she would have heard the criticism of that so called friend and would have hid her book, her work away never to be seen? The world would have lost a great master piece. And Margaret Mitchell would have wasted nine years of her life and would have never realized a dream or experienced such success.

Just a personal note: I don’t like the ending of the movie when you see her standing there looking over her home – I hate open ended stories where you have to guess what happens. Me, I like to know for sure.
margaret mitchell


The above quote is from: Who the Hell is Pansy O’Hara: The Fascinating Stories behind 50 of the World’s Best Loved Books by Jenny Bond and Chris Sheedy.

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