Men really do need sea-monsters in their personal oceans
On December 5, 1941, John Steinbeck’s nonfiction book, The Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research, was published. Co-authored by Steinbeck and marine biologist Ed Ricketts, the work was written shortly after the pair’s voyage to the Gulf of California to study aquatic life. In 1951 it was republished as The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Ricketts was the inspiration for the character Doc in Steinbeck’s Cannery Row.
I’m fascinated with the stories that we tell. Real histories become fantasies and fairy tales, morality tales and fables.
Kara Walker (born November 26, 1969) is a MacArthur “genius grant” winner and artist who’s become internationally known for using black cut-paper silhouettes to portray the African American experience in the antebellum South. Among the books containing her work and comments are Kara Walker: Pictures from Another Time, Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress, and After the Deluge.
Why be so bloody miserable when you can pick up a good book or watch a great television drama?
Michael Dobbs (born November 14, 1948) not only wrote the political thriller House of Cards, which has been adapted into an award-winning Netflix series, but he has long been involved in British politics. He was an adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and he became a member of the House of Lords in 2010.
Happy birthday, Whoopi Goldberg! The Oscar-winning actress/comedian (born November 13, 1955) laces her writing with the same witty humor and buoyant spirit that resonate through her TV, film, and theater work. She writes honestly about life (Is It Just Me?: Or Is It Nuts Out There?) and navigating relationships (If Someone Says “You Complete Me,” Run!), and she’s done a children’s book series called Sugar Plum Ballerinas.
Let’s take a moment to Remember, Appreciate, and Thank All of our Men and Women who have Served in the Armed Forces so We can Have and Hold Dear the Freedoms we Enjoy.
The nicest veterans…the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.
It’s Veterans Day and Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday. The bestselling author of Slaughterhouse-Five (born November 11, 1922) drew on his experiences during World War II to craft his satirical antiwar novel. He had been captured by the Germans and survived the firebombing of Dresden—an event that appears in the book. Among his other popular works are Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
If your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it won’t keep anyone else up either
James M. Cain
James M. Cain (born July 1, 1892) stopped thinking about a singing career and instead turned to writing hard-boiled American crime fiction. Lucky for us! He is best known for The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce, each of which were adapted into hugely successful Hollywood films.
Heaven would never be heaven without you.
Love reading about worldwide apocalypses and infectious diseases? Then thank Richard Matheson. The science fiction and horror writer (born February 20, 1926) is credited with popularizing the concept with the publication of his influential—and repeatedly adapted—novel, I Am Legend.
Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
Harlem Renaissance icon Langston Hughes (born February 1, 1902) was elected class poet at his grammar school in Lincoln, Illinois. Though largely ambivalent about the “appointment” at the time, he began seriously writing short stories and poems a few years later.
The dead can survive as part of the lives of those that still live.
Happy birthday, Kenzaburō Ōe! The Nobel Prize winner owes his love of stories to his mother, who bought him The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Wonderful Adventures of Nils when he was a young boy. Ōe has said he “will carry to the grave” the impact of these books on his life.