Dec. 19, 1999
Poem: "Sartre Misunderstood" by Gerald Locklin from Gerald Locklinís Chapbook published by The Last Roundup.
It's the birthday in Manchester, England, 1954 of writer TIMOTHY PARKS. He wrote eight unpublished novels during his twenties, then sent the manuscript of one of them, Tongues of Flame, to two-dozen publishers with no luck. As a last resort he entered the book in England's Sinclair Prize competition. He won runner-up, got the book published by a big London firm in 1985 under the title Europa, then took several British literary awards with it. It's the story of Reverend Bowen and the troubled relationship with his oldest son, Adrian, set in London during the late 1960s. Parks' other novels: Loving Roger, (1987) Home Thoughts, (1988), Family Planning, (1989).
It's the birthday of writer DAVE SMITH, 1942, whose poems and short stories that show up in the New Yorker and other magazines are often set in the Tidewater area of Virginia where he was born, near Portsmouth.
It's the birthday of the children's writer EVE BUNTING, born in 1928, in Maghera (MA-huh-ruh), Northern Ireland, and author of over a hundred books, but best known for Smoky Night which won the 1995 Caldecott Prize; the story of the Los Angeles riots as seen through a child's eyes.
CHARLES DICKENS' "A Christmas Carol" was published for the first time on this day in 1843, London. In the early going, Dickens describes Scrooge as: "A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
THOMAS PAINE published the first of his 16 AMERICAN CRISIS tracts on this day in 1776, beginning with the words, "These are the times that try men's souls." Washington ordered the pamphlet read to the troops at Valley Forge. "The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®