Category Archives: writers

Happy Birthday, Wystan Hugh Auden: “The enlightenment driven away / The habit-forming pain”

W.H. Auden was born on this day in York, England, 1907. Two pieces of advice for writers from Mr. Auden: To keep his errors down to a minimum, the internal Censor to whom a poet submits his work in progress … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance, any day in the week, if there is anything to … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Beloved American author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, was born on February 7, 1867. Her books are so much a part of my childhood that they don’t even feel like books anymore, they feel like actual memories. I was 7, 8, 9 … Continue reading

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Happy birthday, Langston Hughes

The Blues always impressed me as being very sad, sadder even than the Spirituals, because their sadness is not softened with tears, but hardened with laughter … of a sadness where there is no god to appeal to. — Langston … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday to “the Ploughman Poet” of Scotland

In other words: Robert Burns. Or perhaps I should say “Rahbbie Barrrrrrrrns.” Right now in Scotland, and around the world, wherever Scottish people gather, people are standing up and proclaiming his verses into crowded pubs, everybody chanting along in unison. … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Patricia Highsmith

It’s Patricia Highsmith’s birthday today. I wrote a gigantic piece about her here. He wouldn’t have killed someone just to save Derwatt Ltd. or even Bernard, Tom supposed. Tom had killed Murchison because Murchison had realized, in the cellar, that … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Jack London

Jack London was born on this day, January 12, 1876. Happy birthday to the man who wrote: The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday, Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was born in Bombay, India on December 30, 1865. “I woshipped Kipling at 13, loathed him at 17, enjoyed him at 20, despised him at 25, and now again rather admire him.” – George Orwell, 1936 Michael Schmidt, … Continue reading

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“I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” Happy Birthday, Rebecca West

Dame Rebecca West is the grand dame on my very short list of “intellectual idols”. It is her birthday today. It is hard to talk about her without referencing the generations of writers she inspired, all of whom admit their … Continue reading

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Happy Birthday to the Belle of Amherst

Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830. It is not known why she withdrew from society so completely. Theories abound, the latest being that she was epileptic. Books have been written. The mystery remains. What we have are … Continue reading

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