Jul. 7, 2002

279 Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,

by Emily Dickinson

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Poem: "Then I am ready to go!" by Emily Dickinson.

Then I am ready to go!

Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,
Then, I am ready to go!
Just a look at the Horses -
Rapid! That will do!

Put me in on the firmest side -
So I shall never fall -
For we must ride to the Judgment -
And it's partly, down Hill -

But never I mind the steepest -
And never I mind the Sea -
Held fast in Everlasting Race -
By my own Choice, and Thee -

Goodbye to the Life I used to live -
And the World I used to know -
And kiss the Hills, for me, just once -
Then - I am ready to go!

On this day in 1934, F. Scott Fitzgerald gave Thomas Wolfe a piece of advice he did not take. Wolfe and his editor, Maxwell Perkins, were struggling with revisions to the manuscript of his second novel, Of Time and the River, and Perkins had just convinced Wolfe that they should send the book to the printer. Wolfe was still full of agony about the changes Perkins had made. Perkins invited him out to lunch with Fitzgerald, and Fitzgerald leaned across the table and told Wolfe, "You never cut anything out of a book you regret later."

It's the birthday of Robert Heinlein, born in Butler, Missouri (1907). After World War Two he started to write full-time, and wrote a number of science fiction works for young adults, which were just like the novels he later wrote for adults, only with the steamy scenes edited out. It wasn't until the remarkable success of Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) that he came to the attention of a wider readership. After that, his editors stopped cutting out the steamy scenes.

On this day in 1930, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died. On the day of his death, a society of mediums of his acquaintance held their weekly séance, but for the first time in several years, Walter, the spirit guide with whom they were accustomed to speak, was silent. They all agreed that he must be busy greeting the Master, Doyle, as he passed into the Spirit World.

It's the birthday of Jean Cocteau, born in Maisons-Lafitte (1889). One of the great French surrealists, he wrote novels, plays, made films, and painted murals. When he filmed Beauty and the Beast in 1946, even ordinary supplies were hard to get because of war shortages, and accidents on the set were frequent.

On this day in 1757, Ben Franklin published an "improved" Poor Richard's Almanack on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first Poor Richard. Franklin coined many famous aphorisms, including "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." He wrote, "for tho' I have been, if I may say it without Vanity, an eminent Author of Almanacks annually now a full Quarter of a Century, my Brother Authors, for what Reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their Applauses; and no other Author has taken the least Notice of me, so that did not my Writings produce me some solid Pudding, the great Deficiency of Praise would have quite discouraged me."

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




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