May 13, 2005

The Perfect Day

by Alice N. Persons

FRIDAY, 13 MAY, 2005
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Poem: "The Perfect Day" by Alice N. Persons from Never Say Never © Moon Pie Press. Reprinted with permission.

The Perfect Day

You wake with
no aches
in the arms
of your beloved
to the smell of fresh coffee
you eat a giant breakfast
with no thought
of carbs
there is time to read
with a purring cat on your lap
later you walk by the ocean
with your dog
on this cut crystal day
your favorite music and the sun
fill the house
a short delicious nap
under a fleece throw
comes later
and the phone doesn't ring
at dusk you roast a chicken,
bake bread, make an exquisite
chocolate cake
for some friends
you've been missing
someone brings you an
unexpected present
and the wine is just right with the food
after a wonderful party
you sink into sleep
in a clean nightgown
in fresh sheets
your sweetheart doesn't snore
and in your dreams
and old piece of sadness
lifts away

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of the Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan, the composer Arthur Sullivan, born in London (1842).

It's the birthday of novelist Daphne du Maurier, born in London (1907). She spent most of her adult life in the coastal towns of Cornwall. And her three most famous novels Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, and Rebecca were all set there.

It's the birthday of the novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin, born in Yorkshire, England (1940). He loved to travel. He had traveled as a boy with his father and his brother to the Middle East and Spain and Italy and Greece. He'd been an archeologist, helping at digs in Africa and Afghanistan.

In 1973, when Bruce Chatwin was virtually penniless, he got an offer of a job at the London Sunday Times magazine to write about art and architecture, and he got to travel on international assignments for the magazine. For one of his articles, he went to see an architect in Paris—Eileen Gray, who was 93. He saw that she had a map of Patagonia on the wall of her apartment. He said he had always wanted to go there, and she said, "So have I. Go there for me." And he left the next day.

He spent six months in Patagonia at the southern tip of South America, which includes parts of Chile and Argentina. And he wrote his first book, In Patagonia. It came out in 1977 and became an instant classic. It was made up of about 100 short chapters about Bruce Chatwin's own adventure, also about various people he met there, little bits of history, the fact that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had hid out in Patagonia. Bruce Chatwin said about the book, "While stringing its sentences together, I thought that telling stories was the only conceivable occupation for a superfluous person such as myself." It helped to inspire a whole generation of travel writers, including Paul Theroux and Jonathan Raban, Peter Matthiessen and Bill Bryson.

And it's the birthday of the novelist and short story writer Charles Baxter, born in Minneapolis (1947). He got his Ph.D. in literature, taught for 14 years at Wayne State University in Detroit. His real ambition was to write.

He spent five years writing fiction. He wrote three experimental novels, not one of which was published. He sent off the third to his agent who said she hated it. Charles Baxter was completely devastated, and decided to give up on writing. But the experience of giving up on writing gave him an idea for a story about a musician who gives up on music, and he decided to write that one last story called "The Harmony of the World," which was selected for the Best American Short Stories anthology of 1982. It became the title story of his first collection of fiction, which he published in 1984.

Each one of his books since then has sold better than the last. The most recent, The Feast of Love and Saul and Patsy, were best sellers.

It was Charles Baxter who said, "A lack of self confidence can be turned to your own purposes if it helps you to take pains, to take care."

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




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