Feb. 3, 2000
Poem: "Shorelines" by Howard Moss from his New and Selected Poems published by Atheneum.
It's the birthday of the French essayist and philosopher SIMONE WEIL, in Paris (1909). She fought the Fascists during the Spanish Civil War, and then, during World War Two, worked with the French Resistance. She is best known for her three volumes of Notebooks, published in 1951, 8 years after her death, and for her collection of social essays, called The Need for Roots.
It's the birthday of novelist JAMES MICHENER, born in New York City (1907). Abandoned as an infant, he was raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania by a woman named Mabel Michener. He joined the Navy during the World War Two, and wrote about it in Tales of the South Pacific (Pulitzer Prize, 1948). He followed it with over 40 novels and non-fiction works that sold millions of copies. Michener was famous for his philanthropy, giving over $117 million to charities.
It's the birthday of avant-garde writer GERTRUDE STEIN, born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (1874). She lived in Paris most of her life, a self-proclaimed literary genius, writing such books as Tender Buttons (1914) and The Making of Americans (1911) in a style partly based on Picasso's cubist paintings. Most people found them unreadable. She responded: "People are not interested in what the present generation is thinking or painting or doing if it doesn't fit the enclosure of their personal apprehension. Present day geniuses can no more help doing what they're doing than you can help not understanding it, but if you think we do it for effect and to make a sensation, you're crazy." In addition to her writing, Stein was famous for the salon evenings she held in her Paris apartment. Many young American expatriate writers hung out there, including Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Archibald MacLeish.
It's the birthday of editor and politician HORACE GREELEY, born in Amherst, New Hampshire (1811) founder of The New York Tribune (1841), which championed educational reforms and labor cooperatives, and railed against liquor, gambling, and, most of all, slavery.
On this day in 1690, the FIRST PAPER MONEY IN AMERICA was issued by the colony of Massachusetts. The currency was used to pay soldiers fighting a war against Quebec.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®