[lit-ideas] I'm not sure why, but I like this

  • From: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2006 07:30:31 EST

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  • From: JulieReneB@xxxxxxx
  • To: JimKandJulieB@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 5 Oct 2006 05:31:34 EDT
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  • From: "The Writer's Almanac" <newsletter@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: juliereneb@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2006 23:11:12 -0700 (PDT)
The Writer's Almanac for Wednesday, October 3, 2006


How to listen

Poem: "Oldies But Goodies" by Grace Bauer from Beholding Eye. Copyright Custom 
Words. Reprinted with permission. 

Oldies But Goodies 

Because she's had more than her share
of sad stories and Molson's Ale,
she finds herself at midnight
circling the City of Brotherly Love
singing her heart out with the girl groups
playing on the radio.

The Chiffons do One Fine Day
like it's still 1963
and all the boys she dreamed 
she'd fall in love with weren't dead
or gay or still strung out from Nam,
drinking off a rough divorce or looking 
for a wife they think will look good
on their resumes.

To the fast-talking DJ
this is just a good night's work,
but he's doing a job on her.
Her head spins like a worn-out 45,
back to when she'd bump and grind
all night to The Temptations or The Miracles,
before she realized lost love
was worse than any lyric, when she still 
wondered what the Kingsmen
really sang in Louie, Louie.

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of Edward L. Stratemeyer, 
(http://www.elabs7.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=fj6,lgr,dv,fiyx,6g10,i4hj,es1a born in 
Elizabeth, New Jersey
(1862). He created the Hardy Boys, the Bobbsey Twins, the Rover Boys, and Nancy 
Drew. After writing about 150 books of his own, he created a company
called the Stratemeyer Syndicate with a team of ghostwriters to write books 
based on his outlines. He swore everyone to secrecy and even invented
fictional biographies for the pseudonymous authors. The Stratemeyer Syndicate 
went on to publish about 700 titles under more than 65 pseudonyms.

It's the birthday of journalist Brendan Gill, born in Hartford, Connecticut 
(1914). He wrote novels, plays, and essays, and was a popular columnist
for The New Yorker for more than 50 years. 

It's the birthday of journalist and fiction writer Damon Runyon, 
(http://www.elabs7.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=fj6,lgr,dv,kpcn,ajan,i4hj,es1a born 
Damon Runyon, in Manhattan, Kansas (1884). He was only 14 when the 
Spanish-American War broke out. He couldn't get a local Army recruiter to sign 
up for service, so he went north and enlisted with the 13th Minnesota 
Volunteers. He didn't see combat, but he wrote about the experience for a
soldier's magazine.

After the war was over, he began to bounce around, writing for various papers, 
and he eventually began to focus on sports, becoming one of the early
baseball journalists. In time, he made his way to New York City, during the 
prohibition era, and he started hanging around on Broadway with the crowd
of gamblers, bookies, fight managers, theatrical agents, bootleggers, and 
gangsters. In 1929, Runyon began to write a series of stories about the
lowlife characters he'd gotten to know, and he helped popularize the evolving 
slang of the era, in which a woman was called "a doll," a gun was
called "a rod," money was called "scratch," and people didn't die, they 

His short stories were collected in books such as Blue Plate Special (1934) and 
More than Somewhat (1937), and they became enormously popular.
Sixteen movies were made from his short stories. He's best remembered today for 
the musical Guys and Dolls, based upon several of his stories and
characters he created.

It's the birthday of humorist Roy Blount Jr., 
(http://www.elabs7.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=fj6,lgr,dv,7jvc,ayjk,i4hj,es1a born in 
Indianapolis, Indiana
(1941). His English teacher in high school thought his essays reminded her of 
New Yorker writers like James Thurber and S.J. Perelman, so she
introduced him to those writers and they became his idols. But instead of 
getting a job at The New Yorker after college, he got a job at Sports
Illustrated. His first book was a humorous account of the Pittsburgh Steelers 
football team: About Three Bricks Shy of a Load (1974). The book was
successful enough that Blount quit his job at Sports Illustrated and has made 
his living ever since as a freelance writer. He has contributed
profiles, essays, sketches, verse, short stories, and reviews to more than a 
hundred different publications.

It's the birthday of the novelist Anne Rice, 
(http://www.elabs7.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=fj6,lgr,dv,4eah,74n1,i4hj,es1a born in 
New Orleans, Louisiana,
(1941). Her father was a postal worker who wrote fiction in his spare time, and 
her mother was a failed Hollywood actress who was interested in the
occult. Rice's mother would take her for long walks in old New Orleans 
neighborhoods, and she would tell Anne Rice stories about which of the various
old mansions was haunted and which had been used by covens of witches. 

After getting married and having a daughter, she struggled to become a writer. 
She began writing a short story every day as an exercise, but she
couldn't get much published. Then, her five-year-old daughter was diagnosed 
with acute leukemia and died.

Rice fell into a deep depression, and only got herself out of it by writing. 
She wrote constantly, and in five weeks, she had finished her first
novel. It was about a vampire who becomes so lonely that he decides to turn a 
five-year-old girl into a vampire to keep him company. He's horrified
when he realizes that she will never age, that she will remain a five-year-old 
forever. That novel was Interview with a Vampire (1974). It got mixed
reviews and didn't sell very well. But it developed a cult following, and 
throughout the early 1980s, it kept selling copies, slowly becoming one of
the most popular vampire novels of all time. When Rice published a sequel, The 
Vampire Lestat (1985), it was an immediate best-seller.

It's the birthday of one of the most popular novelists of all time, Jackie 
(http://www.elabs7.com/ct.html?rtr=on&s=fj6,lgr,dv,eej4,84uy,i4hj,es1a born in 
London (1941). Her first major American best seller was Hollywood
Wives (1983), which remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for 28 
weeks, and ultimately sold 15 million copies. Jackie Collins has gone on
to average about a novel a year for the last two decades. 

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch

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