Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking book Silent Spring was published on this date in 1962 (books by this author). Carson was a marine biologist, but she was also a crafter of lyrical prose who contributed to magazines like The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly, and who had already published three popular lyrical books about the sea. One of these — The Sea Around Us (1951) — had won the National Book Award. In the course of her work, Carson became aware of the ways that chemical pesticides were harming plants and wildlife. She felt it was important to make the public aware of this, but she was not an investigative journalist and didn’t feel confident enough to write what she called the “poison book.” She began trying to interest magazines in the subject as early as 1945. In 1958, Carson’s friend mentioned that she was finding a lot of dead birds in her Massachusetts bird sanctuary. Carson, in turn, wrote to E.B. White, who was an editor at The New Yorker. She suggested that White write an article about pesticides. He said the magazine would be keen to publish such an article, but he encouraged her to write it herself. The article became a multiyear project that Carson pursued through personal tragedies like the death of her mother, and her own diagnosis with breast cancer in 1960.
I was strolling in the gardens of an insane asylum when I met a young man who was reading a philosophy book.
His behavior and his evident good health made him stand out from the other inmates.
I sat down beside him and asked:
‘What are you doing here?’
He looked at me, surprised. But seeing that I was not one of the doctors, he replied:
‘It’s very simple. My father, a brilliant lawyer, wanted me to be like him. My uncle, who owns a large emporium, hoped I would follow his example. My mother …. And the story continues. … read the ending here: 30 SEC READ: A story by Kahlil Gibran
Over the weekend, Pulitzer Prize winning poet John Ashbery passed away at the age of 90. “Part of what makes Ashbery so absurdly good is his faith in the essential goodness of the absurd,” wrote Matthew Bevis in the June 2017 issue of Harper’s Magazine. “He’s one of our most truly encouraging poets on account of his willingness to let himself go, to let the social self (call it ‘character’ or ‘personality’) deliquesce into the anarchic, labile, inner chemistry of selfhood.” Below is a selection of Ashbery’s work, which began appearing in Harper’s in 1969.
“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favours such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.” ~ Daniel Berrigan
Today, Aug. 28, is also the day in 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, now known as the March on Washington. It is also the day the world first heard Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which was delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. In the speech he called for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. If only we could be proud of how far we have come.
I’ve decided to include quotations that I like and that I receive from Pace e Bene here on my blog. This is another one of those.
If only people watched, sung about, and worshiped the Sun and Moon and the Earth and the rest of Nature and the universe everyday as much as they do on days when they happen to align for a couple of minutes like they did yesterday, Aug. 21, 2017. A cosmic testament to the ancient short attention span of the human race.
An anomaly is defined as “something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.” An eclipse is to be expected. Even surprising things are to be expected from Mother Nature, Earth Mother.
“Writing is lonely. […] But most of the time you are in a room by yourself, you know. Writers spend more time in rooms, staying awake in quiet rooms, than they do hunting lions in Africa. So, it’s a bad life for a person because it’s so lonely and because it consists of such highs and lows, and there’s not always anywhere to take these emotional states. […] It’s a life that’s tough to sustain without falling prey to some kind of beguiling diversion that’s not good for you.”