Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth."
— Albert Camus
— Albert Camus
— JOHN STEINBECK
— Virginia Woolf
It’s the birthday of Virginia Woolf, born Virginia Stephen in London, England (1882).
After the death of both her parents, she moved with her siblings into the unfashionable — and cheap — neighborhood of Bloomsbury, which soon became the literary and intellectual center of England.
Woolf’s brother hosted evening meetings that came to include D.H. Lawrence, T.S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, and others.
Woolf suffered most of her life from bouts of depression, and one doctor prescribed long walks as a remedy. It was on these walks that she conceived of many of her novels, including Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927). These novels employed a new brand of stream of consciousness, distinct from James Joyce and others.
You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand.
Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean.
This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be."
Anne Lamott - author of Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Grace (Eventually), Plan B, Traveling Mercies, and Operating Instructions, as well as seven novels, including Rosie and Crooked Little Heart.
— Albert Camus
Sheldon Allan “Shel” Silverstein (September 25, 1930 – May 8/9, 1999),was an American poet, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children’s books. He styled himself as “Uncle Shelby” in his children’s books. Translated into more than 30 languages, his books have sold over 20 million copies.
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer,
A wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er,
A magic bean buyer…
Cpme on in…
Tom Wolfe and Kurt Vonnegut guarding lives.
Marcel Proust playing air guitar on a tennis racket circa 1892
— Flannery O’Connor
It’s the birthday of Paul Auster, born in Newark, New Jersey (1947).
He is the author of The New York Trilogy (1985-86), a set of idiosyncratic detective stories that deal with questions of identity and existential thought. His memoir is The Invention of Solitude(1982). He has several bestselling books including Travels in the Scriptorium, The Brooklyn Follies, and Oracle Night.
I Thought My Father Was God, the NPR National Story Project anthology, which he edited, was also a national bestseller. His work has been translated into thirty languages.
He lives in Brooklyn, New York
"Becoming a writer is not a ‘career decision’ like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don’t choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you’re not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days."
Blowing out candles at the table today are Sir Francis Bacon (1561) and Lord Byron (1788).
Bacon was a philosopher, a statesman, an essayist, and a champion of modern science. Queen Elizabeth named him Lord Chancellor but he was convicted of accepting bribes in 1621, and banned from political office for the rest of his life.
He spent much of his intellectual life challenging Aristotle’s view that knowledge should begin with universal truths. He said, “If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.” In Novum Organum (1620), Bacon wrote that scholars should build their knowledge of the world from specific, observable details. His theory is now known as the scientific method, and is the basis of all experimental science
British Romantic poet Lord Byron was born George Gordon in London and was an impulsive, compulsive, and given to excesses with lovers of both sexes. He had an incestuous relationship with his half sister, Augusta, and may have been the father of one of her children. He was sexy, charismatic, witty, athletic, and bipolar.
I like the description by one of his lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, who said he was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”
He left England to live abroad, and never returned.
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
As he lay dying, he requested that his body be left undisturbed. Sadly, his wishes were disregarded; doctors cut him open almost upon his last breath, removing parts of his skull and organs for souvenirs. His remains were denied burial in Westminster Abbey for reasons of “questionable morality.” He was buried at the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Nottinghamshire.