Happy Birthday to Robert Stone

According to today’s Writer’s Almanac, Stone wrote:

“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.”

Can you relate?

Picture taken at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, Connecticut

Take care of yourself and each other. Take care of your father and your mother because they’re the only ones you’ll ever have. Take care of your brothers and sisters, they, too, are unique to you and will usually be there when you need them most, just as you should be there when they need you. Take care of your friends because they, too, are unique to you and you’ll never have any others just like them. Take care of your home, because it, too, is unique to you and you’ll never have any other just like it. ~ cjzurcher

Picture taken at Lavender Pond Farm in Killingworth, Conn.

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami

Brian Williams? Mass Media war poetry on national television?

This is f—-ed up!

What is he thinking?

Is that what people watch on their living-room-wall-size tv’s?

Brian Williams: “We see these beautiful pictures at night from the decks of these two U.S. Navy vessels in the eastern Mediterranean,” Williams said.

“I am tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, ‘I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.’ And they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making, what is for them, a brief flight over to this airfield.”

Why not quote MLK?: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” MLK, Jr. Let’s get a grip, people.

Happy Birthday John Steinbeck

It’s the birthday of John Steinbeck. See The Writer’s Almanac for Feb. 27 for more details. 

In Chapter 17 of The Grapes of Wrath, he wrote

The cars of the migrant people crawled out of the side roads onto the great cross-country highway, and they took the migrant way to the West. In the daylight they scuttled like bugs to the westward; and as the dark caught them, they clustered like bugs near to shelter and to water. And because they were lonely and perplexed, because they had all come from a place of sadness and worry and defeat, and because they were all going to a new mysterious place, they huddled together; they talked together; they shared their lives, their food, and the things they hoped for in the new country. Thus it might be that one family camped near a spring, and another camped for the spring and for company, and a third because two families had pioneered the place and found it good. And when the sun went down, perhaps twenty families and twenty cars were there.

In the evening a strange thing happened: the twenty families became one family, the children were the children of all. The loss of home became one loss, and the golden time in the West was one dream.

It’s the birthday of Judy Blume, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (1938)

From today’s Writer’s Almanac

It’s the birthday of Judy Blume, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (1938), the best-selling author of more than two dozen books for young people.

She was 27 years old, with two preschool-aged children, when she began writing seriously. For two years, she received constant rejections. Then in 1970, she had her big breakthrough, with the young adult novel Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. It’s the story of 11-year-old Margaret Simon, the daughter of a Jewish father and Christian mother, and her adolescent attempts to make sense of things like religion, boys, and menstruation. The book was banned in many schools and libraries. It’s one of the most challenged books of the last third of the 20th century. But it’s also beloved by many, and it has been a big best-seller over the years.

She lives mostly in Key West, where she writes at a desk facing a garden. In the summer, she writes in a small cabin on Martha’s Vineyard. She always writes in the morning. When she’s working on a first draft, which she says is the hardest part, she writes seven days a week, even if only for an hour or two a day.

Blume is also the author of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (1972), Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great (1972), Blubber (1974), The Pain and the Great One (1974), Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself (1977), Superfudge (1980), Here’s to You, Rachel Robinson (1993), and recently, Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain and the Great One (2008). Her books have sold more than 80 million copies.

Yusef Komunyakaa, Poetry Reading 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23

Where: Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 121 Wall St., New Haven

Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection

Celebrated for his powerful and carefully crafted poems, Komunyakaa has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Louisiana Writers Award. About his work, the poet Toi Derricotte wrote for the Kenyon Review, “[Yusef Komunyakaa] takes on the most complex moral issues, the most harrowing ugly subjects of our American life. His voice, whether it embodies the specific experiences of a black man, a soldier in Vietnam, or a child, is universal. It shows us in ever deeper ways what it is to be human.” The Beinecke Library acquired the papers of Yusef Komunyakaa in 2014.

Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Langston Hughes’ birthday today

Today is the birthday of the man known as “The O. Henry of Harlem,” American poet Langston Hughes (1902). In 1926, he was working as a busboy at a hotel in New York City when the poet Vachel Lindsay arrived for dinner. Hughes placed some poems under Lindsay’s dinner plate. Intrigued, Lindsay read them and asked who wrote them. Hughes stepped forward and said, “I did.” And that’s how he came to publish his first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues (1926), at the age of 24.

When asked what he wrote about, Langston Hughes answered, “Workers, roustabouts, and singers, and job hunters on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago — people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten, buying furniture on the installment plan, filling the house with roomers to help pay the rent, hoping to get a new suit for Easter — and pawning that suit before the Fourth of July.”

For more visit www.writersalmanac.org.

Pres. Elect Donald Trump’s actions frighten Americans. We were once a country that felt safe

Today’s New York Times reports that after the Asian nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, announced that preparations for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile were in their “final stage,” President-elect Donald J. Trump responded on Twitter, writing: “It won’t happen!”

What right does he have to say things that might provoke and enrage a world leader and incite that world leader with nuclear capabilities to use weapons of mass destruction? HE HAS NO RIGHT.

Aren’t his actions grounds for stifling him in any way we can? Grounds for taking away his presidential elect status?

Aren’t his bullying actions of a childish nature and not something of the nature we want in our White House?

Can’t we compromise in 2017? It’s only been 140 years!

 

"Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong."
A political cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicts Roscoe Conkling as a character Mephistopheles (the Devil) while Rutherford B. Hayes strolls off with the prize of the “Solid South” depicted as a woman. The caption quotes Goethe: “Unto that Power he doth belong Which only doeth Right while ever willing Wrong.”

“… The compromise involved Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowing the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the “Redeemer” Democrats took control. They already dominated most other state governments in the South. What was exactly agreed is somewhat contested as the documentation is scanty.
“Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power and were subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting. At the turn of the 20th century, most black people were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every southern state, despite being a majority in some.”

From Clarence Darrow’s The Story of My Life:

“Neither government nor political economy is an exact science. They concern the arrangement of human units. If it were possible to demonstrate what sort of an arrangement would be best for the individuals of the state, it would be of no avail. Humans cannot be controlled like inanimate objects, or even like the lower animals. Each human unit is in some regard an independent entity with his own ideas, his hopes and fears, loves and hates. These attitudes are constantly changing from day to day, and year to year. They are played upon by shrewd men, by influential newspapers, by all sorts of schemes and devices which make human government only trial and success, and trial and failure. Human organizations are simply collections of individuals always in motion and always seeking for easier and more harmonious adjustment, and never static …

 

This is a changing world, and still it must maintain a certain amount of consistency and stability or the individual units would separate, and chaos would make any co-operation impossible. “

For more information, visit The Compromise of 1877, or the Tilden/Hayes Compromise

Does the ‘U.S.’ question the worth of the U.N. because Donald Trump says something stupid? Donald Trump is not my spokesperson. What Trump says does not equate with what America thinks.

Pope Francis spoke to children dressed as Magi during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday.
Pope Francis spoke to children dressed as Magi during a Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on Sunday. Tiziana Fabitiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Antonio Guterres took the reins of the United Nations on New Year’s Day, making it clear that his top priority will be preventing crises and promoting peace, Edith M. Lederer of The Associated Press reports.

“As Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Libya and global crises from terrorism to climate change, U.S. support for the United Nations remains a question mark.”

This is something that enrages me more than anything else. When The AP equates what Donald Trump says with what America thinks!!! No, the U.S. does NOT think the U.N. is a place where people get together and talk. Continue reading “Does the ‘U.S.’ question the worth of the U.N. because Donald Trump says something stupid? Donald Trump is not my spokesperson. What Trump says does not equate with what America thinks.”

John Steinbeck’s Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer and His Nobel Prize Speech | Open Culture

Feb. 27 is the birthday of writer John Steinbeck, whose great novel of the 1930s, The Grapes of Wrath, gives an eloquent and sympathetic voice to the dispossessed. In 1962, Steinbeck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception.” You can watch him deliver his Nobel speech above.

And for insights into how Steinbeck reached that pinnacle, you can read a collection of his observations on the art of fiction from the Fall, 1975 edition of The Paris Review, including six writing tips jotted down in a letter to a friend the same year he won the Nobel Prize. “The following,” Steinbeck writes, “are some of the things I have had to do to keep from going nuts.”

For the entire list of tips and more, visit: John Steinbeck’s Six Tips for the Aspiring Writer and His Nobel Prize Speech | Open Culture

And more tips here:

Here’s one way to become a better writer. Listen to the advice of writers who earn their daily bread with their pens. During the past week, lists of writing commandments by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard (above) and William Safire have buzzed around Twitter. (Find our Twitter stream here.) So we decided to collect them and add tips from a few other veterans — namely, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman.

Source: Writing Tips by Henry Miller, Elmore Leonard, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman & George Orwell | Open Culture

And one tip from me: Don’t get too hung up on tips but write if that is what you want to do. Just write. Your style will develop. Your words will come out. Your story will come out. Try various things. Start at the end. Or start at the beginning. Try outlining if you’re comfortable with it. Or not. Do what comes naturally. If you like what you do, then you’ll find yourself trying to do more. If you don’t like what you do, then read a book and try it again when you feel you’re ready.

Photographer Spends Hours on Bridges to Capture Colorful Overhead Portraits of Street Vendors

Keen photographers have the ability to elevate the ordinary into stunning imagery and photographer Loes Heerink has done just that with her series about the street vendors of Hanoi. Waking up at 4 am, the vendors—often female migrant workers—pack their bicycles to the brim with fresh flowers and fruit, walking miles throughout the course of the day to peddle their wares.

Loes Heerink street vendor from above photo.
Loes Heerink street vendor from above photo.

Heerink lived in Vietnam for many years and became fascinated with these street vendors, so much so that she sought to capture their beauty in a unique way.

For more on this story and to see the photographs, visit http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/loes-heerink-street-vendors-hanoi

 

 

NYTimes holding Trump accountable for things he said to get elected

Reality Check: So the New York Times, one of the oldest newspapers in the world, is telling its readers that “Mr. Trump promised to dismantle parts of the government and certain legislation if elected.” They’re creating a list of things Trump said during his campaign and feeding it to their readers to ponder. Seriously? Why? Do they not know that EVERYONE LIES TO GET ELECTED??? Why are they feeding us a list of lies to ponder? Why are they wasting their time and ours on this Bullsh#$%???? So we can hold him accountable? Please.

Shakespeare and Company, Paris’s famous bookstore where wandering writers are welcome | The Washington Post

By James McAuley, September 27, 2016

This week, the bookstore will release a comprehensive history of the shop which includes 400 pages of text, testimonies, and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive. (James McAuley, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
This week, the bookstore will release a comprehensive history of the shop which includes 400 pages of text, testimonies, and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive. (James McAuley, Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)

PARIS — Shakespeare and Company, the small, crumbling bookshop on Paris’s Left Bank, may be the most famous bookstore in the world.

It was the first place to publish the entirety of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” when no one else would, and for decades it has been an informal living room — and sometimes a bedroom — for many of the most revered figures in modern literature: ­Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jack Kerouac and ­Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Durrell and Anaïs Nin.

This week, the staff of the multicolored storefront at 37 Rue de la Bucherie released a comprehensive history of the shop that originally opened at another location in 1919. The book was years in the making, nearly 400 pages of text, testimonies and photographs from the store’s sprawling archive, crammed in mismatched boxes in a closet three floors up an uneven staircase. Conceived as a “memoir” instead of a history, the project is essentially a rigorous attempt to explain what, ­exactly, Shakespeare and Company is.

Read the whole story and watch a video here: Shakespeare and Company, Paris’s famous bookstore where wandering writers are welcome – The Washington Post

Light | cjzurcher

(photo: cjzurcher)
(photo: cjzurcher)

From a spark to a flame.
Was it a spark that caused all this?
The Sun? The suns beyond our own?
Or two sticks being rubbed together
By two gods somewhere out there, or two worshipers —
Beyond our solar system, beyond our galaxy,
Beyond what we call the universe — somewhere
some say it was but a particle, a “God particle” —
“A particle?” you ask? Yes and it’s in a 17-mile long
subterranean vacuum tube somewhere in Switzerland.
If there were a god, I’d like him to be Swiss, carrying
a knife with a toothpick and tweezers.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑