Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Melly and Scarlett

Academic journal article The Mailer Review

Melly and Scarlett

Article excerpt

IT WAS A BOAST I HAD MADE TO COUNTLESS INTERVIEW SUBJECTS in my twenty-five years as an entertainment scribe, but Norris was the first and only one to ever challenge me on it. We met in 2000 when I interviewed her for People Magazine about her first novel, Windchill Summer, a yarn about a beautiful, plucky, Southern gal much like herself.

Sitting in their Provincetown living room, surrounded by Norris's paintings and Norman's tomes, I tried to think up an intriguing icebreaker. Though born and bred in the great white north of Canada, I knew all about feisty Southern girls.

"You know" I bragged, as she handed me a sweet tea, "when I was thirteen I memorized all four hours of Gone with the Wind...."

She was immediately fascinated. She wanted to know, did I still remember any of it? Oh, sure, I told her. Gimme a scene, any scene, and I can do it.

We laughed at my bravado and went on with our interview, zigzagging our way through her childhood, her love life, her dreams. Three hours later when I packed up my tape recorder, I assumed that my GWTW reference was long forgotten.

"I thought of what scene I want you to do!" she piped up. "My first choice was the 'God is my witness' bit ... but that's too easy." She really wanted to test me, so had settled on the scene when Scarlett meets Melanie at the barbecue at Twelve Oaks. And fiddle-dee-dee if that wasn't one of my faves.

"Melanie Hamilton," I began, "what a surprissssse to run into you here ...!"

I intended to take on both parts--wimpy Ashley, too, natch. …

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