Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Contest & A Mockingbird....

They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 11, spoken by the character Atticus

A steep, treacherous cliff shoots down on the right side of the car. Inhaling I grip the seatbelt and lean towards the middle of the seat. I do not want to see the depth of the sheer dropoff if the car were to swerve ever so slightly, I do not want to think of the danger below. The curves wind as we journey towards Monroeville, as we head to shop at the Vanity Fair factory store and spend the day at the Pecan Festival. My tiny fingers grip the book in my lap, my eyes closed tight until we reach an area of flat road. I release the breath I did not realize I was holding and turn the page.

I continue reading, my nine year old brain accepting the words but bookmarking phrases to ask my mother. She drives carefully as the 45 minute drive to Monroeville comes to a close. I am excited to wander the vendors at the festival. I have new wicker furniture in my room and I want a few things to match the unicorn blanket on my daybed. The words "footwashing" Baptists brings me pause. This is a phrase I cannot just bookmark. My mind sees what a child would consider the definition to be and in my gut I know I am mistaken. That this will be a question for discussion at lunch. We plan to go to Radley's Deli - I LOVE their grilled cheese and root beer. The idea of a day with just me and my mother makes me grin.

The minutes fly by and we are soon at our destination. The festival wraps around the courthouse. The streets smell of kettle corn, hot dogs and cotton candy. Vendors talented with woodwork, paint brushes, quilting surround the brick building. Across the street at the light murals depicting scenes of Scout & Boo peeking around a tree and the subject of the book now laying on the seat of the car watch over the residents and visitors. The temperature is cool, an Alabama fall is magical and here where characters live and breath there is no comparison...

We window shop, we purchase, we laugh, we argue over the worth of a small pillow in the shape of a unicorn and whether or not I will finish the red candied apple that has stained my lips. Lunch comes quickly and with it the reminder of the phrase in the book. I ask my mother and she sighs. I read things well beyond my years she says and it becomes harder and harder for her to explain things to me. I tell her that I am a big girl, that I want to read everything! She laughs and begins to tell me not just what the phrase means but of the author, of the book and how there are pages yet to come when I may ask more questions.

She touches my hand and asks me a very important question: "Courtney, are you any more important than the waitress?" Standing near the cashier is a young woman. She appears to be much older (meaning in her late teens). At first I think how I am a princess (seriously I took this title pretty highly as a kid - not like I do now *wink*) but then I shake my head. She asks me what I see when I look at the young woman. I describe her clothes, her hair, even her smile, my mother grins when I remember the chocolate of her eyes, and how she's very nice because she gave me extra cherries for my root beer. I never once mentioned the dark brown of her skin.

My mother nods and does not speak at first. Then she tells me she loves me, that she is proud of me and that yes I am big now and that I will enjoy the book even more after I finish it. I blush forgetting the quiz only enjoying the praise. I do not realize yet what she is getting at and to be honest it is years later when the memory slams me in the gut.

She was in many ways testing me. Trying to see if I had somewhere in my few years learned of a horrible judgment, whether or not the story would be something I would cherish and love or something that I would find fault with its ending. She knew then how Atticus, Jem, Boo, & Scout lived amongst the pages, she knew of the themes threaded amidst the setting; how they could be construed - how some might think Atticus wrong or that things should have turned out differently for the characters. She was merely trying to settle her own mind about the way her daughter was being raised, about whether or not the lessons on loving people had seeped into my young heart and if I had let them take root.

For those of us in South Alabama, the story is as famous as any. Nelle Harper Lee wove a tale that speaks of the way things happened and how many people should have handled situations, how parents should talk with their children, listen to their children, have faith in their children and how the color of your skin does not tell the color of your heart. 50 years ago she wrote a story that still stands the test of time, that still resonates in any town, in any state, in any country. For me it is a story of great love, of courage, of conviction and of understanding. I often looked for Atticus in my own father & was ever more pleased to find even more traces of that wonderful character in the living breathing version who kissed me goodnight.

I love this book and have read it many times, each time discovering some snippet that I must tuck away, some dialogue that I must etch into memory. Nelle gave us a gift and every year the tiny town that neighbors my own celebrates it, even if she feels all the hub bub is a bit silly, I hope that Nelle realizes how much she molded my life and so many others...

So when I journey down there for the celebratory festival this year ( July 8 - 11, 2010 ) I will walk the square. remember the story, the day I made my mother smile and the lessons I have learned even since...

I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.
~Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 23, spoken by the character Scout


So folks in honor of this marvelous novel I would like to give away a prize package...

You Must Comment on THIS Post

New Followers: +4
Old Followers: +6
Bonus Entries:
Tweet +3 (@southrnprincess)
Blog Post +3
Sidebar +3
For every new follower you send my way +5
Tally your points +1

Leave your email in this format clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com

50th Anniversary

One copy of To Kill A Mockingbird (50th Anniversary edition)
by Nelle Harper Lee

Product Details

The DVD version of To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck

Sur-prize from the Monroeville County Heritage Museum

Open to US & Canada only...sorry Internationals ;o)

I will announce the winner on August 1st
(Harper Lee's birthday is April 28, so why not choose that numeric ;o)

Have a Fabulous Friday!


  1. Beautiful memory, Princess. I haven't read TKAMB since 9th grade; I should really rectify that.

  2. I love To Kill a Mockingbird. My favorite book that we got to read in english class.
    +6 Old Follower
    +1 Tallying
    Total: 7


  3. What a great reason to have a contest. Love your story. And I love your mom (even though I don't know her personally).

    So, *blushes* I haven't read this book. I've listened to parts (when my mom read it to my older siblings), and I've seen the movie, but I need to read it, too.

    Your contest is on my sidebar (+3), and I'm an old follower (+6), and I'm tallying (+1).

    Total: +10

  4. Awesome contest. Love the book and the movie. I have both so i don't need to enter the contest.

  5. Good morning, Princess! Great contest idea. Who doesn't love TKM?! I will do a post in my sidebar and try to send you as many followers as I can. I'm all about the Princess, ya know! :-)

  6. This is a great book and a fun contest! Have a great weekend!

    7 points total fairwayfiction at gmail dot com

  7. Aww, yay! I tweeted about the TKAM anniversary too. :) I love that Nelle hates being famous and turns away interviews and reporters.
    If you go to my blog post there's a link to the Southern Living article. It's a great read.
    10 points for loving you before you were hugely famous, tweeting, and tallying.

  8. This is one of my all-time favourite books. It blew me away when I read it in high school - and I've read it multiple times since. So many layers to this story - so much depth. It's so well written!

    Great contest! Thanks for the chance :)

    10 points (old follower, tweet, total)


  9. My sister would love this.
    6 old follower
    1 tallying

    7 total entries

    rivkarno1(at)hotmail(dot)com. But I won't have access to a computer in August, so if you do a 48hour contact thing, you won't get a response. If I win, you can try my sister's e-mail toobsie1(at)hotmail(dot)com, and tell her that Riv Re won. If it's not too much work, on the offchance that I win...

  10. Thanks for the giveaway! Believe it or not, I still have not read this book or seen the movie adaptation. So I would love to read/watch it!

    Old follower. +6
    Tweet: +3
    Right sidebar: +3

    Total: 13

    krae991 at yahoo dot com

  11. I'm an old follower +6 and I love love love this book! It's just so sad that she only wrote the one.

  12. Amazing post! This is such a passionate dedication to a remarkable novel. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books!!! I re-read it every couple years. :)

    Thanks for this fabulous contest!

  13. I love the book and your story about it... Man ihave felt the exact same way on that road!! ESpecially with dad driving or coach Martin on the bus!!! OH MY!! nina(dot)watson1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  14. Old Followers: +6

    +3 I tweeted:

    +1 Tally

    Total: 10

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  15. *Hangs head in shame*

    I have never read the book...or seen the movie.

    Old Follower +6
    Tweet +3
    Tally +1
    = 10 points :)

  16. That is a beautiful (non-fiction) story. And poignant in my case b/c just the other day, my son made a statement about a black boy in his class. My son's words were not filled with hate, just simple observation (which is Asperger's way). But it stung me b/c my boy was viewing the other boy based on his color. And I dug deep into my heart to see where I'd gone wrong. Then I realized (after listening to my son talk more) that he was basing his attitude on the words of his classmates. My son is VERY impressionable, and I took that to heart realizing that I can only do my part as his mother. As for the rest of the world, I have no control.

  17. That was a lovely childhood story. Sounds like you were an awesome kid. Of course, now you're an awesome adult, so that fits :)

  18. wow, what a wonderful story. I hope when I have kids they see things in the same way. and such a great quote by Scout at the end there. I do agree.

    +6 old follower
    +1 tally

    total: 7

    Lauren51990 (at) aol (dot) com

  19. This is wonderful! I am a new follower; Shannon O'Donnell sent me:)

    New follower +4
    Tally +1
    Total 5

    Thank you!
    Have a wonderful weekend:

  20. I love this book, have since I was a kid. Thanks for this!

    New Follower (+4)
    Blog Post (+3)
    Tweet (+3)
    Tally (+1)

    Total = 11


  21. I live in India, so can't apply, but I came over from Shannon 'O Donnal's blog.

    TKAM is one of my all time favourite books. Few books even come close.

  22. I've never actually read TKAMB. I should fix that. By winning your contest. Maybe you should just send me the book out of pity. Yes.

    Comment, old follower: +6
    Tweet: +3

    TOTAL: +9

    Extra points out of pity: +65

    FAKE TOTAL: +74


  23. Hi, Princess Courtney!

    I "bow" to your magnificence. ;o)
    This contest that you're having is AWESOME. My husband and I totally LOVE "To Kill A Mockingbird".

    Here are my points:

    New follower +4
    Tweet +3 (@acushla712)-I tweeted 2 times!
    Blog Post +3
    Sidebar +3
    Tally my pts. +1

    To check out my blog post and sidebar, go to:

    Also, the person that referred me to your blog was: Shannon O'Donnell of Book Dreaming, so you owe her +5 points, right?

    My email address is: cyndelouwho22(at)gmail(dot)com.

    I think that's about it, right?
    WOW...that was a lot of work! (hahahaha! just kidding.)

    Have a blessed and safe 4th of July weekend.

    Cynde (Cynde's Got The Write Stuff)

  24. Great giveaway—To Kill a Mockingbird is my absolute favorite book! Please enter me to win!


  25. I hate to admit, I've never read this book. So please enter me in your contest.

    +4 New follower
    +1 Add up total

    5 total entries

    seriousreader at live dot com

  26. Yeah! More Contests! I love this book :)

    Old follower +6
    Tweet +3
    Sidebar +3
    Tally +1


    Also Shannon O'Donnell sent me over here :)

  27. Oops, forgot my e-mail... sonshinemusic (at) gmail (dot) com

  28. New follower +4
    Tweet +3
    Tally +1
    Total= 8

    Shannon O'Donnell sent me here as well!

    englishmajorjunkfood AT yahoo DOT com

  29. Wonderful contest! We watched this movie back in grade school, though never read the book until later in life. Would love to snag a copy for my own reading pleasure...count me in!

    +3 - sidebar under contests -
    WAS SENT BY Book Dreaming - Shannon

    Points total: 5 (initial comment, sidebar and tally)

    Thanks for the chance....and happy reading!


  30. SUCH a great book!!! Definitely one of my favorites!

  31. I heart you.

    Just wanted to tell you that.

  32. I heart you.

    Just wanted to tell you that.

  33. How did I miss this last of my all time favorite books? So, old follower...6 little points for me. I won't win, but may get out my yellowing, thumb-eared copy and give it another read. Thanks for reminding me that it is time.

  34. I have read and re-read this book throughout my life. And I love the movie. Not many movies capture the book the way this one does. Thanks for your post that reminds me I'd like to read and see it again!

  35. New Followers: +4
    Tweet +3
    Sidebar +3
    Tally your points +1

    TOTAL: 11 points :)

    I read TKAM the first time in 9th grade, I think it was. It was one of the only texts I had to study that I genuinely enjoyed. Thanks for the contest!


  36. New Followers: +4

    Total: 5



The Princess is what's up?