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Thread: Literary Notes

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    FOR JAN 2ND....................
    It was on this day in 1897 that the author Stephen Crane (books by this author) (1871) survived the sinking of a boat headed for Cuba and he wrote about the experience in his short story "The Open Boat" (189, which was one of the first works of fiction based on actual reportage.

    ~

    It's the birthday of Isaac Asimov, (books by this author) born in Petrovichi, Russia (1920), who started a book whenever he wanted to learn about a topic that he didn't fully understand, and so he published books about outer space, nuclear physics, organic chemistry, history, astronomy, Greek mythology, and religion.

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    It's the birthday of war novelist Leonard B. Scott, (books by this author) born in Bremerhaven, Germany (194, who was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star in Vietnam. He was working a desk job at the Pentagon in Washington in the early '80s, when he heard the opening ceremonies of the Vietnam Memorial on the Mall, and said, "The dam just broke. Seeing my old comrades squelched my fears of attempting to write; I had to tell our story of the war and how it really was." His books include Charlie Mike (1985), The Last Run (1987), and The Hill (1989).

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    It's the birthday of writer William Scott, (books by this author) born in Janesville, Wisconsin (1914) author of The Plowhand (1957), Red Sunrise (195, and the poetry collection On My Knees in the Field (1977), who wrote late at night after working all day on his small, 80-acre farm in southern Wisconsin.

    ~~~

    FOR JAN 3RD...............
    It was on this day in 1521 that Pope Leo X excommunicated Martin Luther for condemning the Catholic Church in his 95 theses. Luther was a professor of biblical interpretation at the time in Germany, and he could find no text in scripture that permitted the church to make money by selling indulgences for the forgiveness of sins.

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    On this day in 1841, the whaler Acushnet sailed from New Bedford with Herman Melville (books by this author) on board. His father had lost his fortune, and Melville had no money to continue his schooling. A year of farming proved unsatisfactory, and he decided to go to sea. He wrote, "A whale ship was my Yale College and my Harvard."

    ~

    It's the birthday of Father Damien, born Joseph de Veuster in Belgium (1840), the priest who served the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Kaluapapa. At that time, victims were dumped off the boat in the shallows because the captains were terrified to go ashore. Doctors left medicine on the beach and fled. Damien, however, dressed the wounds of his patients himself, ate with them, and buried them when they died. Eventually he developed the illness himself, and he died on the island, having roofed its buildings and made its hospital beds with his own hands. He said, "I would not be cured if the price of the cure was that I must leave the island and give up my work... I am perfectly resigned to my lot. Do not feel sorry for me."

    ~

    It's the birthday of J.R.R. (John Ronald Reuel) Tolkien, (books by this author) born in South Africa (1892). In addition to The Lord of the Rings (1954) trilogy, Tolkien also wrote and illustrated children's stories.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of one of the Grimm brothers, Jacob Grimm, (books by this author) born in Hanau, Germany (1785), who, with his younger brother Wilhelm, collected over 200 German folk tales of the early 19th century and published them as Grimm's Fairy Tales (1812), including "Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Riding Hood," and "Snow White."

    ~

    It's the birthday of Chinese writer Gao Xingjian, (books by this author) born in Ganzhou, China (1940), who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2000. He was educated in Chinese schools before the revolution, and was once forced to burn a suitcase full of manuscripts when he was sent to a re-education camp. He started writing again after his release, but his plays and stories still aroused concern from party officials. In 1986, his play The Other Shore was banned. He fled the country and settled in Paris, where he still lives today. In addition to his plays, Gao Xingjian has authored the books Soul Mountain (1999) and One Man's Bible (2002), and he also exhibits his ink paintings around the world.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of Umberto Eco, born in the Piedmont region of Italy (1932). He became one of the most renowned scholars in his field in part because he was so productive. He taught himself to walk faster, eat faster, and shave faster, all in an effort to get more work done. He once said, "I could work in the shower if I had plastic paper."
    Then, one day, an Italian fiction publisher called him up and asked him if he'd like to contribute to a collection of detective fiction written by academics. Eco had never written any fiction, but the idea intrigued him, so he told the publisher that he would work on something. He got the idea of a murder mystery set in the Middle Ages, and he wrote about a Franciscan friar who stumbles upon a series of interrelated deaths in the Italian abbey he is visiting. He filled the book with the history of the 14th century, as well as philosophy and theology. He also used every trick he'd ever learned from studying detective novels and spy movies to create his protagonist, William of Baskerville.
    When Eco finished the novel, titled The Name of the Rose, he thought that his publishers were being way too optimistic when they ordered 30,000 copies to be printed. But when it came out in 1980, The Name of the Rose sold 2 million copies. He has continued writing novels since then, including Foucault's Pendulum (198 and The Island of the Day Before (1995).
    Umberto Eco once wrote, "The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else."

    ~


    It was on this day in 1825 that the writerAlexandre Dumas fought his first duel at the age of 23. He lost the battle and a bit of dignity as well — his pants fell down as he stood opposite his opponent. Later in his career, Dumas wrote stories of duels and the adventures of headstrong heroes in his books The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Man in the Iron Mask.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of French book illustrator Gustave Doré, born in Strasbourg, France, in 1832, the most prolific and famous illustrator in Europe in the 19th century. Doré was a child prodigy; his drawings were noticed by the time he was five. He never took art lessons, but by the age of 16 he'd moved to Paris and become the highest paid illustrator in France. His most famous illustrations adorned the pages of Dante's Divine Comedy, Don Quixote, and Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. Doré's and Poe's names are given equal billing on the cover of the earliest editions of Poe's poem. The Raven was Doré's only U.S. commission, and he died as he was finishing the engravings for it, in 1883.

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    It's the birthday of journalist, poet, and biographer Carl Sandburg born in Galesburg, Illinois (187. He started traveling as a hobo in 1897 and collected nearly 300 folk songs, which were published in The American Songbag (1927). In 1922, he came out with the children's book Rootabaga Stories, and his publisher suggested that he try writing a biography of Abraham Lincoln for children. Instead, he wrote a six-volume chronicle of Lincoln's life for adults, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for its volumes on Lincoln during the Civil War. In 1945, Sandburg moved with his wife and her herd of prize-winning goats to Flat Rock, North Carolina, where he wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Complete Poems (1951).

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    It's the birthday of author and philosopher Alan Watts, born in Chislehurst, England (1915), who interpreted Eastern philosophy for the Western world. His most well-known books include The Meaning of Happiness (1940), The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for the Age of Anxiety (1950), and The Way of Zen (1957). He once said, "To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the anniversary of the first motion picture that was made, in 1894, when Thomas Edison Studios filmed a comedian named Fred Ott sneezing.

    ~


    It's the birthday of landscape painter Albert Bierstadt, born in Solingen, Germany (1830), who joined a survey team in the American western frontier in 1859 and sketched the magnificent scenery he witnessed, including the Rocky Mountains, the Yosemite Valley, and the Merced River.

    ~


    It's the birthday of cartoonist and illustrator Charles Addams, born in Westfield, New Jersey (1912). Addams, the only child of a well-to-do family, began drawing in high school, copying his favorite comic strips, such as Krazy Kat. He attended three different colleges, each for only one year, and then took a job lettering, drawing, and retouching photos for Macfadden magazines for fifteen dollars a week. By 1935, he had a contract with The New Yorker to draw cartoons for them; he also sold cartoons to Life, Collier's, and Cosmopolitan. The cartoon that first made him famous appeared in the January 14th issue of The New Yorker. It was a drawing of a woman skier whose tracks pass on either side of the tree behind her; an observer stares back in disbelief while the woman glides nonchalantly on. He eventually drew more than 1300 cartoons for the magazine. 1937 marked the first appearance of a cartoon that featured several members of a rather macabre group of people known as the Addams Family. At first, Addams drew only Morticia and Lurch, the family butler, who vaguely resembled Boris Karloff. Soon, he introduced other family members, including Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandmama, and Thing. The first book of his cartoons, Drawn and Quartered, was published in 1942, which was followed by other titles including Addams and Evil (1947) and Monster Rally (1950). In the early 1960s, a television producer approached Addams about doing a situation comedy based on his characters. The Addams Family television series was broadcast on ABC from September 1964 through September 1966, and the Charles Addams fan base expanded from thousands to millions.

    ~


    It's the birthday of novelist, folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, (books by this author) born in Notasulga, Alabama (1891). When she was two years old, her family moved to Eatonville, Florida, America's first incorporated all-black town. Her father was a carpenter and preacher who was several times elected mayor of their town. In 1920, she enrolled in Howard University and then to Barnard College in New York City. While in New York, Hurston published the "Eatonville Anthology," a series of fourteen brief sketches, some only two paragraphs long, including glimpses of a woman beggar, an incorrigible dog, a backwards farmer, the greatest liar in the village, and a cheating husband. Her best work, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was written in just seven weeks and published in 1937. She wrote her autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road, in 1942. Although for a time she was the most prolific and most famous black woman writer in America, interest in her work faded away in the 1950s, and so did her money. She worked at odd jobs for the next ten years, writing a few magazine articles every now and again. Her death in 1960 in a welfare home went largely unnoticed and she was buried in an unmarked grave.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of novelist Alexandra Ripley, (books by this author) born in Charleston, South Carolina (1934). She wrote several books, including Who's That Lady in the President's Bed (1972) and New Orleans Legacy (1987), before finding fame (or infamy) in 1991 as the author, chosen by Margaret Mitchell's estate, of the sequel to Gone with the Wind, called Scarlett.

    ~


    It's the birthday of legendary "King of Rock and Roll" Elvis Aaron Presley, born in Tupelo, Mississippi (1935).

    ~


    It's the birthday of writer and poet Charles Tomlinson, (books by this author) born in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England (1927).

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    It's the birthday of writer and educator Evelyn Wood, born in Ogden, Utah (1909), who founded the Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics Institute in 1959, to teach high-speed reading.

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    It's the birthday of novelist Dennis Wheatley, (books by this author) born in London, England (1897). He was one of the twentieth century's most prolific and best-selling authors, and was called by the Times Literary Supplement "The Prince of Thriller Writers."

    ~


    It's the birthday of novelist (Margaret) Storm Jameson, (books by this author) born in Whitby, England (1891). Her first novel, The Pot Boils, was published in 1919. This was followed by many other works of fiction, including a trilogy about a family of Yorkshire shipbuilders: The Lovely Ship (1927), The Voyage Home (193), and A Richer Dust (1931).

    ~


    It's the birthday of poet and novelist John Neihardt, (books by this author) born near Sharpsburg, Illinois (1881). He moved to Nebraska in 1901, where he became fascinated with the Native Americans he met. His book of five epic poems, A Cycle of the West, begun in 1912 and published in 1942, was an account of the death of Crazy Horse and the Battle of Little Big Horn. His most famous work, based on interviews, is Black Elk Speaks (1931).

    ~


    It's the birthday of writer Wilkie Collins, (books by this author) born in London, England (1924). In his time, Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and best paid Victorian fiction writers. He wrote twenty-five novels, more than fifty short stories, fifteen plays, and more than one hundred non-fiction pieces. He wrote Antonina (1850), Mr Wray's Cash-Box (1852), and Basil: A Story of Modern Life (1952). He was a close friend of Charles ++++++++++++++++++++ens for more than twenty years, and, although they were both loved authors in their time, ++++++++++++++++++++ens' work survives and Collins' does not.

    ~


    It's the birthday of physicist Stephen Hawking, (books by this author) born in Oxford, England (1942). After the publication of his 1988 best-seller, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes, he became a celebrity as well as a scientist.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of cartoonist Murat Bernard "Chic" Young, born in Chicago, Illinois (1901). He originally created the comic strip "Blondie" about a Jazz Age flapper who marries a playboy from a prominent family. But the strip soon changed direction: Two children and a dog were added to the cast, the family became middle-class, and Dagwood became a regular working stiff.

    ~


    It's the birthday of adventurer and travel writer Richard Halliburton, (books by this author) born in Memphis, Tennessee (1900). The only child of a well-to-do family, he left home to embark on a career of dare-devil deeds, including riding an elephant over the Alps, flying a crimson red biplane upside down over the Taj Mahal, swimming the length of the Panama Canal, and laughing in the face of danger for more than 20 years. He wrote about his adventures in books like The Royal Road to Romance (1925), The Flying Carpet (1932), and Seven League Boots (1935). By the mid-1930s, his books were so popular that his publishers gave him a blank check to travel wherever he wanted and do whatever he pleased — as long as he promised to write about it afterward. In 1939, he was attempting to sail a Chinese junk from Hong Kong to San Francisco when he sent this message: "Southerly gales, squalls, lee rail under water, wet bunks, hard tack, bully beef, wish you were here instead of me." He was never heard from again.

    ~


    It's the birthday of novelist, short story writer, and playwright Karel Capek, (books by this author) born in Bohemia, now part of Czechoslovakia (1890). A writer of novels, visionary romances, travel books, stories, and essays, Karel is best known for his plays, especially R.U.R. (1921), which introduced the word "robot" to the world. He got the idea when he was reading while riding in an automobile. He looked up from his reading and suddenly the crowds looked to him like artificial beings. At the premiere of R.U.R., audiences and critics were both fascinated and terrified by its vision of a technically advanced society unable to control its ultimate labor-saving creation, the robot.

    ~


    It's the birthday of playwright Brian Friel, (books by this author) born Bernard Patrick Friel, near Omagh, Country Tyrone, Northern Ireland (1929). In 1959, his short stories began to appear in The New Yorker magazine, which gave him the courage to give up his teaching and start writing full time. His first major play was Philadelphia, Here I Come!, produced on Broadway in 1966. Other major works include Translations (1980) and Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).

    ~


    It's the birthday of writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir, (books by this author) born in Paris, France (190. She is best known for her influential study of women in society, The Second Sex, published in 1949. The book is considered to be the most important treatise on women's rights up until the 1980s.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of the poet Philip Levine, (books by this author) born in Detroit (192. He's the author of many collections of poetry, including What Work Is (1991), The Simple Truth (1994), and The Mercy (1999). He discovered writing before he really knew what it was. He said, "As a boy of fourteen, I took long walks and talked to the moon and stars, and night after night I would reshape and polish these talks, but the moon and stars never answered."
    After college, he tried getting a job in advertising, but he couldn't stand it, so he supported himself working in various auto factories around Detroit. Looking around at the other men in the factories, he realized none of them had a voice. Nobody was speaking for them or writing for them. He said, "As young people will... I took this foolish vow that I would speak for them, and that's what my life would be. And sure enough I've gone and done it. Or I've tried anyway."
    Philip Levine said, "In a curious way, I'm not much interested in language. In my ideal poem, no words are noticed. You look through them into a vision of... just see the people, the place."

    ~



    It was on this day in 1776 thatThomas Paine published his political pamphlet Common Sensearguing for American independence from Great Britain. At the time of the publication, Paine had been living in America only two years. He'd grown up in England, where he'd struggled to earn a living as a tax collector. He saw firsthand the corruption of the British government, and had recently been fired from his job when he met Benjamin Franklin in London, and Franklin encouraged him to move to America.
    He arrived just in time to see the colonies rebelling against problems in the British tax system, similar to what he had experienced back in England. He got a job as a journalist, and he immediately began to write about the political situation. After the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April of 1775, he decided that the only solution to the conflict would be total independence for the American colonies. But when he expressed those ideas in his newspaper, he lost his job.
    He spent the next several months traveling around Pennsylvania, going to various bars and taverns and talking to ordinary people about their opinions on American independence. He used these conversations to develop a writing style that an ordinary person could easily understand, and he used that style to write his pamphlet "Common Sense," published on this day in 1776.
    The pamphlet sold more than 500,000 copies, more copies than any other publication had ever sold at that time in America. It helped persuade many Americans to support revolution, and seven months later, the colonies officially declared independence.

    ~


    It's the birthday of the poet Robinson Jeffers, (books by this author) born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (1887). His father was an Old Testament scholar who taught him Greek and Latin, but from an early age he was also interested in science. He spent his free time either writing poetry or constructing homemade wings with which he attempted to fly. In college, he studied medicine, anatomy, astronomy, and forestry. He was still trying to figure out what to do for a living when he inherited enough money to support himself writing poetry, so he moved to the coast of California and built himself an observation tower so that he could observe the natural world and write about it.

    His scientific studies had persuaded him that human beings were just one animal species whose time on earth would be brief, and he explored this idea in his poetry. He wrote,
    "[Nature] knows the people are a tide That swells and in time will ebb, and all Their works dissolve ... As for us: We must uncenter our minds from ourselves; We must unhumanize our views a little, and become confident As the rock and ocean that we were made from."
    He was living in his tower, without electricity or plumbing, publishing his books of poetry at his own expense, when an editor chose one of his poems for an anthology of California verse. Jeffers sent the editor his new collection, Tamar and Other Poems (1924), as a thank you gift, and the editor liked it so much that he sent it around to various magazines, where it got great reviews. Jeffers sent all the copies of the book he had to New York, and they immediately sold out.
    Within a year, Jeffers was hailed as a genius, compared to Sophocles and Shakespeare and Walt Whitman. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Real estate agents started using his name to sell land in Carmel, California, where he lived.
    But after his initial success, he began to write long narrative poems that no one could categorize. They told stories of sex and violence, more like the novels of Faulkner than any poetry being written at the time. Critics didn't know what to make of these poems, and so by the 1940s, Jeffers had sunk back into obscurity. He's been reassessed in the last two decades as possibly one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century. A new collection of his work, The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, came out in 2001.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of the psychologist and philosopher William James, (books by this author) born in New York City (1842). He was the older brother of the novelist Henry James, and one of the most prominent thinkers of his era. He was a man who started out studying medicine and went on to become one of the founders of modern psychology, and finished his life as a prominent philosopher.

    He was a professor of physiology at Harvard when he was hired to write a textbook about the new field of psychology, which was challenging the idea that the body and the mind were separate. He could have just written a summary of all the current ideas in the field but instead decided to explore the issues of psychology he found most interesting and perplexing. He took twelve years to finish the book called, The Principles of Psychology (1890). It was used as a textbook in college classrooms, but was also translated into a dozen different languages, and people read it all over the world.

    One of the ideas he developed in the book was a theory of the human mind which he called "a stream of consciousness." Before him the common view was that a person's thoughts have a clear beginning and end, and that the thinker is in control of his or her thoughts. But William James wrote, "Consciousness ... does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. Such words as 'chain' or 'train' do not describe it fitly as it presents itself in the first instance. It is nothing jointed; it flows."

    James's ideas about consciousness were especially influential on writers, and novelists from James Joyce to William Faulkner began to portray streams of consciousness through language, letting characters think at length and at random on the page. Consciousness itself became one of the most important subjects of modern literature.

    He also helped invent the technique of automatic writing, in which a person writes as quickly as possible whatever comes into one's head. He encouraged audiences to take up the practice as a form of self-analysis, and one person who took his advice was a student named Gertrude Stein, who went on to use it as the basis for her writing style.

    William James wrote, "The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures."

    He also wrote, "Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing."

    ~


    It's the birthday of novelist Alan Paton, (books by this author) born in the province of Natal, South Africa (1903). He's best known for his novel Cry of the Beloved Country (194, which he wrote after working for twenty-five years as a public servant and educator.

    He was the son of English settlers in South Africa. After graduating from college, he took a job as a teacher in a Zulu school. He had long wanted to be a writer, and wrote two failed novels about his experiences in the Zulu community before deciding he needed to put writing on hold and get involved in the fight against apartheid.

    He went to Johannesburg and got a job transforming a reformatory from a prison into an educational institution. He became known among the residents of the reformatory as the man who pulled out the barbed wire and planted geraniums. He became one of the foremost authorities on penal systems in South Africa, and he began giving talks on the subject. After World War II, he decided to go on a world tour of penal institutions, to learn as much as he could about improving those in his own country.

    It was only after he'd left South Africa that he realized he could no longer put off writing fiction. One evening in Norway, sitting in front of a cathedral at twilight, he found himself longing for home, and when he got back to his hotel room he started writing his novel Cry of the Beloved Country, about a Zulu pastor in search of his son who has murdered a white man. He finished the novel in three months, writing in a series of hotel rooms. When it was published in 1948, it became an international best-seller. It's the best-selling novel in South African history. It still sells about 100,000 copies a year.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    FOR SATURDAY 1/12

    It's the birthday of the novelist Jack London, (books by this author) born in San Francisco (1876). He is best known as the author of over fifty books, including The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906). His best known short story is "To Build a Fire."
    London was mostly self-educated. He read Ouida's Signa in 1883, a book about a poor Italian child who eventually earns fame as an opera composer. London credited reading this book as the beginning of his literary aspirations.
    After graduating from grammar school in 1889, London began working long hours at a cannery, sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. Desperate for a different life, he borrowed money from his foster mother and bought a sloop named Razzle-Dazzle from French Frank, an oyster pirate, and then Jack London became an oyster pirate himself. When his sloop became too damaged to sail, London became a member of the California Fish Patrol.
    London worked on a sealing schooner off the coast of Japan in 1893, and when he returned to America there were no jobs and he became a vagrant. In his memoir The Road (1907), London wrote about those days, including the tricks he used to evade train crews when he stowed away, and how he convinced strangers to buy meals for him. He even spent thirty days in jail in Buffalo, New York, before returning to California. Then he met a librarian named Ina Coolbrith at the Oakland Public Library. London called her his "literary mother."
    London graduated from high school in Oakland and then spent a year at the University of California before poverty forced him again to seek his living through adventure. He sailed to Alaska to join the Klondike Gold Rush, and when this did not make him rich, London turned to writing and began seriously to seek publication for his stories.
    He came close to abandoning a career in writing when The Overland Monthly was slow to pay for a story they had accepted. But he was saved, both "literally and literarily," when The Black Cat accepted his story "A Thousand Deaths" and paid him forty dollars to publish it. London's short story "An Odyssey of the North" appeared in the first issue of The Atlantic Monthly.
    Around this time, London also became vocal as a socialist. In 1896, the San Francisco Chronicle printed a story about London, giving speeches on socialism in Oakland's City Hall Park. He was arrested for this practice in 1897. He ran for mayor of Oakland as a socialist in 1901 and 1905, and published several essays on socialism, including Revolution, and Other Essays (1910).
    Jack London said, "The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

    ~


    It's the birthday of the novelist Haruki Murakami, (books by this author) born in Kyoto, Japan (1949). He is best known in America as the author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1995).
    Murakami is the child of Japanese literature teachers, but he was more interested in American literature as a boy. He studied literature and drama at Waseda University and Tokyo, and after graduation Murakami operated a jazz bar called "Peter Cat" in Tokyo for eight years. During this time Murakami became familiar with Western music, and that is why so many of his novels have musical themes.
    Murakami did not write at all until after age thirty. He claims that he was inspired to write his first novel Hear the Wind Sing (1979) while watching a baseball game. He worked on the novel for many months, usually after finishing his workdays at the jazz club, and the finished book had short chapters and a fragmented style. Murakami sent the novel to a writing contest and won first prize.
    In 1987, Murakami published Norwegian Wood and became popular in his home country, so he left Japan and traveled through Europe before coming to America. He taught at Princeton University and Tufts University and published two more novels. After a gas attack on a Tokyo subway in 1995, Murakami returned to Japan and his writing became less comedic and more serious.
    Haruki Murakami said, "I have drawers in my mind, so many drawers. I have hundreds of materials in these drawers. I take out the images and memories that I need."

    ~


    It's the birthday of the man who has given us the novels of Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones, Walter Mosley, (books by this author) born in Los Angeles (1952). He is the author of Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), the first mystery novel featuring Easy Rawlins, which was also made into a movie. Mosley worked for several years as a computer programmer before becoming a writer. He said, "I took up writing to escape the drudgery of that every day cubicle kind of war."
    Mosley became well known when Bill Clinton said in 1992 that Mosley was one of his favorite writers. Since that time, Mosley has earned national acclaim, and his work has been translated into twenty-one languages.
    Walter Mosley said, "I don't see writers as teachers because books are kind of shared items [...] when writers write them, they are hardly anything and when people start to read them, they begin to change and to grow."

    ~
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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