Mar. 3, 1998
Today's Reading: "Old Heroines" by Julia Alvarez from HOMECOMING, published by Penguin (1996).
It's the birthday of poet JAMES MERRIL, born in New York in 1926. He was the son of the founder of the brokerage house, Merrill-Lynch and grew up in wealthy circumstances. But when he was 13 his parents divorced, and that theme of splitting and of loss runs through most of his work.
The first issue of TIME magazine went on sale on this day in 1923. The editors, Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, had just gotten out of Yale and had no experience as journalists, but they were convinced that Americans had no time to find out what was going on around them.
It's the birthday of ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL, in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847. He came from a long line of teachers who specialized in working with the deaf and his most famous invention was the telephone, intended more at first as an aid for the deaf.
Two great pieces of music appeared on this day: Beethoven's "MOONLIGHT SONATA" was published in Vienna in 1802; and Bizet's opera CARMEN, in Paris, 1875. Beethoven wrote the Sonata when he was 27 and head-over-heels in love with a 17-year old countess. It became his most popular piece and Beethoven was pretty unhappy about it. He said, "Surely I've written better things."
Bizet's story of the gypsy Carmen and the torŽador and Don José was trounced by the critics. Bizet was crushed and died three months later at 35.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®