Jan. 2, 2000
Chapter 44 of the Book of Ecclesiastes, from
Poem: from Chapter 44 of the Book of Ecclesiastes.
It's the birthday in Janesville, Wisconsin, 1914, of writer WILLIAM SCOTT, author of the novels The Plowhand (1957), and Red Sunrise (1958), and the poetry collection On My Knees in the Field (1977) all books that Scott wrote after ending his day on a small, 80-acre farm he worked in southern Wisconsin. He was raised in Minneapolis, but moved as a teenager to the prairie of western North Dakota when his banker-father acquired some dirt-cheap land during the Depression. He said, "I'd take my notepad and pencil out to the windmill at dusk during summer. That sound of the wind in the rusted mill paddles, the water burbling up from Lord knows how deep, and the improbable sunsets trying to get all those things down right on paper was not only a challenge, but the only recreation open to me."
It's the birthday of JANICE SLEPIAN (SLEP-ee-an), born in 1921, New York City, who didn't get her start until she was done raising her kids and working for years as a speech therapist. She began writing a newspaper column on child psychology, called "Parents Ask," which led to a series of picture books on children with disabilities. After 10 years she enrolled in her first English class and then, at 57, wrote her first novel, The Alfred Summer (1980), which was the beginning of a string of young-adult books, all dealing with handicapped kids and inspired by Slepian's own brother who is retarded. Others: Lester's Turn (1981), The Night of the Bozos, (1983).
It's the birthday of short story writer and novelist LEONARD MICHAELS, born in New York City, 1933. He grew up in the Lower East Side, the son of immigrant Polish Jews, and spoke only Yiddish until he was about five or six years old. His mother introduced him to English when she bought a complete set of Charles Dickens. He said, "If you can imagine a little boy listening to his mother, who can hardly speak English, reading Dickens hour after hour in the most extraordinary accent, it might help to account for my peculiar ear." He's the author of Going Places (1969), and I Would Have Saved Them If I Could (1975).
It's the birthday in Bremerhaven, Germany, 1948 of war novelist LEONARD B. SCOTT author of Charlie Mike (1985), The Last Run (1987), and The Hill (1989).
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®