Jun. 10, 1999
He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water
It's the birthday of journalist and novelist Philip Caputo, born in Chicago (1941)best known for A Rumor of War (1977), an account of his time as a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam in the mid-sixties. Other novels: Horn of Africa (1980), Indian Country (1987), Equation for Evil (1996).
It's the birthday of children's book writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, born in Brooklyn (1928). A sickly child, he suffered measles and pneumonia at 2, scarlet fever at 4, and spent much of his childhood drawing pictures of life he saw outside his window. He wrote and illustrated Where the Wild Things Are (1963), In the Night Kitchen (1970), and illustrated scores of books by other writers. "I seem to have been blessedor cursedwith a vivid memory of childhood. This is not supposed to happen. According to Freud, there's a valve that shuts off the horrors of childhood to make room for the horrors of adolescence. I must have a leaky valve, because I have these torrential memories."
It's the birthday of novelist James Salter, born in New York City (1925). Known as a "writer's writer," he won the 1988 PEN/Faulkner Award for his story collection Dusk: And Other Stories. His novels include The Hunters (1957), A Sport and a Pastime (1967), and Light Years (1976). His recent memoir is called Burning the Days (1998).
Today is the birthday of Judy Garland (Frances Ethel Gumm), born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (1922). She became a teen film star in Broadway Melody of 1938, followed by The Wizard of Oz (1939), then Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
It's the birthday of novelist Saul Bellow, born in Lachine, near Montreal (1915), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976. His parents had emigrated from Russia to Canada; they moved to Chicago when he was 9. His novels include Henderson the Rain King (1959), Herzog (1964), Humboldt's Gift (1975), The Dean's December (1982), More Die of Heartbreak (1987).
It's the birthday of playwright Sir Terence Rattigan, born in London (1911)master of what is called the "well-made play," including French Without Tears (1936), The Winslow Boy (1948recently remade as a movie, by David Mamet), The Yellow Rolls Royce (1965), and Goodbye Mr. Chips (1968).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®