Aug. 22, 1999
Cutting Loose on an August Night
Poem: "Cutting Loose on an August Night," by Jonathan Holden, from The Names of the Rapids (by permission of author).
It's the birthday in Dublin, 1955, of writer COLM TOIBIN, who wrote The South (1990), and The Heather Blazing (1993). His latest book came out two years ago, the novel, The Story of the Night.
It's the birthday in 1935, Norwich, Connecticut, of novelist E. ANNIE PROULX. She said, "In 1975, facing the lack of teaching jobs in my field, I abandoned my doctoral thesis and lived in a shack in rural Vermont, up on the Canadian border, in brutally poor circumstances. Compensations were silence and decent fishing." Till the late '80s she survived by writing "how-to" books on everything from the making of hard cider to building a fence; her last book of that type was The Fine Art of Salad Gardening. She said, "After 19 years of writing tedious non- fiction, stories were just bottled up inside me, waiting to get out. Writing fiction is sheer play." The idea for her novel, The Shipping News, came about when she was looking for a place to canoe. She said: "I unfolded an old map of Newfoundland. Each place-name had a story Dead Man's Cove, Seldom Come Bay and Bay of Despair, Exploits River, Plunder Beach. I knew I had to go there, and within 10 minutes of arriving I'd fallen in love with the harshness of the weather, the strength of the landscape, the sense of a land holding its own against people." Her short story collection, Close Range, came out this spring.
Writer DOROTHY PARKER was born on this day in 1893, West End, New Jersey. After getting out of school when she was 18 years old, she moved to New York and supported herself playing piano, composing a few humorous poems for Vogue magazine and writing theater reviews for Vanity Fair before she moved to California to write screenplays.
Today is the birthday of the Science Fiction writer, RAY BRADBURY, 1920, born in the Illinois town of Waukegen. He wrote The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, and Whispers from Beyond.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®