Wednesday

Jan. 9, 2008

Sonnet for Mary

by Ralph Edwards

The old lady who's walking along Concourse A
Rather slowly in front of you, is making her way
To get on a plane to fly to Denver
Though she is in pain, she won't complain ever.
She walks all bent over. She's 91.
But her sister died and there's work to be done.
She must bury her sister and clean out the condo
And see to her niece who's retarded, sweet Rhonda.
There's a funeral to arrange, words to be said,
And her brother is useless, he's gone in the head.
Stuff to be cleaned out, a condo to sell,
And a 50-year-old child who can't care for herself.
She's an old lady who's needed out there.
She's heading for Denver on a wing and a prayer

"Sonnet for Mary" by Ralph Edwards. Reprinted with permission of the author.

It's the birthday of novelist Judith Krantz, (books by this author) born in New York City, New York (1927). Before she achieved her phenomenal success as an author, Krantz was a fashion editor for Good Housekeeping magazine, then a freelance journalist. It wasn't until she was 51, and her children were grown, that she wrote her first book. She began working on a novel, writing six and a half hours a day, five days a week. After nine months, her book, Scruples, was completed. It was published in March of 1978. Four months later it became number one on The New York Times best-seller list and remained there for almost one year. Her other works include Princess Daisy (1980), Mistral's Daughter, and her autobiography, Sex and Shopping: Confessions of a Nice Jewish Girl (2000). She said: "I have only one reader — me. I'm the average reader. If I like it, that's all I worry about."

It's the birthday of cartoonist Murat Bernard "Chic" Young, born in Chicago, Illinois (1901). He originally created the comic strip "Blondie" about a Jazz Age flapper who marries a playboy from a prominent family. But the strip soon changed direction: Two children and a dog were added to the cast, the family became middle-class, and Dagwood became a regular working stiff.

It's the birthday of adventurer and travel writer Richard Halliburton, (books by this author) born in Memphis, Tennessee (1900). The only child of a well-to-do family, he left home to embark on a career of dare-devil deeds, including riding an elephant over the Alps, flying a crimson red biplane upside down over the Taj Mahal, swimming the length of the Panama Canal, and laughing in the face of danger for more than 20 years. He wrote about his adventures in books like The Royal Road to Romance (1925), The Flying Carpet (1932), and Seven League Boots (1935). By the mid-1930s, his books were so popular that his publishers gave him a blank check to travel wherever he wanted and do whatever he pleased — as long as he promised to write about it afterward. In 1939, he was attempting to sail a Chinese junk from Hong Kong to San Francisco when he sent this message: "Southerly gales, squalls, lee rail under water, wet bunks, hard tack, bully beef, wish you were here instead of me." He was never heard from again.

It's the birthday of novelist, short-story writer, and playwright Karel Capek, (books by this author) born in Bohemia, now part of the Czech Republic (1890). A writer of novels, visionary romances, travel books, stories, and essays, Karel is best known for his plays, especially R.U.R. (1921), which introduced the word "robot" to the world. He got the idea when he was reading while riding in an automobile. He looked up from his reading and suddenly the crowds looked to him like artificial beings. At the premiere of R.U.R., audiences and critics were both fascinated and terrified by its vision of a technically advanced society unable to control its ultimate labor-saving creation, the robot.

It's the birthday of playwright Brian Friel, (books by this author) born Bernard Patrick Friel, near Omagh, Country Tyrone, Northern Ireland (1929). In 1959, his short stories began to appear in The New Yorker magazine, which gave him the courage to give up his teaching and start writing full time. His first major play was Philadelphia, Here I Come!, produced on Broadway in 1966. Other major works include Translations (1980) and Dancing at Lughnasa (1990).

It's the birthday of writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir, (books by this author) born in Paris, France (1908). She is best known for her influential study of women in society, The Second Sex, published in 1949. The book is considered to be the most important treatise on women's rights up until the 1980s.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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