Jun. 1, 1998

A Day in June

by James Russell Lowell


Today's Reading: "Growing Older I Note That Soon" by Marianne MacCuish from INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY, published by Fithian Press (1990). (Poem read at the beginning of program is titled "A Day in June" by James Russell Lowell.)

It's the birthday in Omaha, 1932, of CHRISTOPHER LASCH, author of books of history and social criticism, nine of them in all, the best-known of which is The Culture of Narcissism. It came out in 1979 and described Americans as self-absorbed, fearful, and easily manipulated by those in power. Other Christopher Lasch books: "The Minimal Self" (1984), "The Agony of the American Left" (1969).

It's the birthday in Los Angeles, 1926, of Norma Jean Mortenson, who in 1946 began working for Fox Films as an actress and changed her first name to MARILYN and took her mother's maiden name of MONROE. Marilyn Monroe's first movie was in 1948, "Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay!", followed by "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "The Seven Year Itch," and others. She said, "People feel fame gives them some kind of privilege to walk up to you and say anything to you, of any kind of nature - and it won't hurt your feelings - like it's happening to your clothing."

It's the anniversary of the NAACP's founding - in Charity Organization Hall, New York City, 1909. The organization was set up in reaction to the policies of "accommodation" that Booker T. Washington and other prominent blacks preached at the time, which basically said that blacks would eventually earn equality through hard work and patience. The sociologist and protest leader W.E.B. DuBois helped create the NAACP and was the editor from 1910 to 1934 of its monthly magazine, The Crisis. He took it within a decade from a few issues printed each month to 100,000, and it was where a lot of the 1920's Harlem Renaissance writers first got published.

It's the birthday in London, 1901, of playwright and novelist, JOHN VAN DRUTEN, who started off as a lawyer, writing plays for several years on the side, gradually working out of the law into writing full-time. He's best known for I Remember Mama, (1948), and I am a Camera (1954).

It's the birthday in Herefordshire, England, 1878, of JOHN MASEFIELD, the author of novels and plays, military and nautical histories, but better known for his poems. Before he ever wrote anything, he worked as a baker, a bartender, a carpetmaker - mostly in New York. He was also a sailor and one of his first published poems (in 1902) was "Sea Fever." I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail shaking, And a gray mist on the sea's face and a gray dawn breaking. I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow rover, And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

It's the birthday in Whitingham, Vermont, 1801, of BRIGHAM YOUNG, the early leader of the Mormon Church. He grew up in western New York state, became a carpenter, and in his late 20s came across a copy of the Book of Mormon. He was completely taken with it and devoted the rest of his life to Mormonism. When Joseph Smith, the church's founder, was assassinated in Nauvoo, Illinois, 1844, Young took over and two years later led a mass exodus of Mormons out of the Midwest to the Great Basin in Utah, and set up the church's headquarters in Salt Lake City.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
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  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
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