Much has been written about Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and her domicile in Central Florida. Born Aug. 8, 1896, she lived for 25 years in Cross Creek in a Cracker-style home and farm where she wrote “The Yearling.”
A cosmopolitan woman whose ideas were ahead of their time, she found a rich source of literary inspiration in the tiny community's residents and in the beauty of the rich Florida land.
Today, Ms. Rawlings' gravesite is visited by many writers who observe a moving tradition: They leave sharpened pencils on her gravestone and are free to take one of those left behind by others. Bev Browning of the Anhinga Writers Studio Summer Workshops in Gainesville shared this insider's tip and provided the photo that vividly illustrates the custom.
Ms. Rawlings' restored Cross Creek home is today a state park. If you visit, you might also want to go to The Yearling Restaurant, which features old fashioned Cracker food including fried gator, fried okra, grits, greens and biscuits. Occasionally, legendary blues artist Willie Green drops in to play.
Florida has a long history as a haven and source of tremendous inspiration for writers. From Ernest and Hilary Hemingway to Carl Hiassen, their contributions are varied and interesting. Here's an article about the Sunshine State's authors, On Florida's Literary Trail.