Jun. 3, 1998

Four Limericks

by Anonymous

Four Limericks

by Edward Lear

Four Limericks

by Ogden Nash


Today's Reading: Four Limericks by Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and anonymous authors.

It's LARRY MCMURTRY's birthday, born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1936, author of books set in hard-scrabble Texas towns: The Last Picture Show (1966), Terms of Endearment (1975); and Lonesome Dove (1985), about the adventures of Gus, Call, Jake, and the rest, driving 2,000 head of cattle up to Montana, the book that won McMurtry the Pulitzer Prize in 1986.

It's the birthday in Albany, New York, 1930, of the science fiction novelist, MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY, author of the Darkover Series - books about a planet inhabited by the Terrans, who believe in the use of advanced technology; and the Darkovers, who oppose them. She broke from the series in 1983 with her best-seller The Mists of Avalon - the legend of King Arthur and the Round Table told from the perspective of Viviane, Gueniviere, and Morgaine.

It's the birthday in Newark, New Jersey, 1926, of poet ALLEN GINSBERG, who grew up in Paterson and said of his parents, "My father would go around the house reciting Emily Dickinson and Longfellow, or attacking T.S. Eliot for ruining poetry, and my mother made up bedtime stories that went something like, 'The good king rode from his castle, saw the suffering workers and healed them.' I grew suspicious of both sides." At Columbia University in the 1940s he fell in with Jack Kerouac, Lucien Carr and William Burroughs, and formed the nucleus of the Beat writers - "Beat" short for "beatific," a term given them by Kerouac. After working at New York ad agency he moved to San Francisco and began work on his poem, "Howl," published in 1956, "Kaddish" followed a few years later. He died a year ago in April, 70 years old.

It's the birthday in Washington, D.C., 1904, of the surgeon CHARLES RICHARD DREW, who developed new ways to refrigerate and store blood plasma. During WWII he headed a team of doctors who worked to deliver healthy, sanitary blood products to the battlefield - a controversial position, because Drew was black, and officially U.S. armed forces did not accept the blood of African Americans for transfusion.

CASEY AT THE BAT was printed on this day in 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner, written by Ernest L. Thayer, but published anonymously.

It's the anniversary in 1864 of the SECOND BATTLE OF COLD HARBOR, 10 miles northeast of Richmond, Virginia - one of the worst Northern defeats in the war. The Union general, George McClellan, lost the first battle two years earlier trying to capture Richmond, the Confederate capitol. In 1864, Ulysses S. Grant and 100,000 men went after Richmond again. The Confederates dug in at Cold Harbor and inflicted over 7,000 casualties on the North compared to 1,500 on their own side. When Union soldiers saw how secure the Confederates' position was in Cold Harbor, many knew it would turn out badly. One Massachusetts soldier who died there made a final entry in his diary: "June 3, 1864, Cold Harbor, Virginia. I was killed."

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  • “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
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
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  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
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