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February 3

It's the birthday of the novelist who said: "I have only one bit of advice to beginning writers: be sure your novel is read by Rodgers and Hammerstein." That's James Michener (books by this author), born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (1907).

He never knew who his parents were — he was taken to an orphanage as an infant, and adopted by a Quaker woman in Pennsylvania. When he was 14, he took off and hitchhiked all over the country. He said: "I think the bottom line is that if you get through a childhood like mine, it's not at all bad. Obviously, you come out a pretty tough turkey, and you have had all the inoculations you need to keep you on a level keel for the rest of your life. The sad part is, most of us don't come out."

His mother read aloud all of Dickens' novels, and after a salesman convinced his aunt to buy the complete works of Balzac, she passed them on to her nephew. By the time he got to high school, he had decided he wanted to go to college, and he did — he was a good student and a good athlete, and he got a full scholarship to Swarthmore.

He was drafted into the military during World War II, and he joined the Navy even though he was a Quaker and 36 years old. He was stationed in the Solomon Islands, where he kept records of aircraft maintenance. While he was there, he wrote some stories and sketches based on life in the Navy, and he sent his manuscript anonymously to Macmillan. They accepted it, andTales of the South Pacific was published in 1947. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and Rodgers and Hammerstein adapted it into the hit musical South Pacific (1949).

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Oh boy, Julia, this says it all.

If that didn't do it maybe this will.  I am on a real nostalgia kick tonight.

Maybe one more.

Lynn

he is long and detailed but it seems you are right there in the story when you read his books

Scott

I sure did like the videos

i had seen the movies long ago and they  were facinating

FEB 4 1921 to FEB 4 2006

Betty Friedan was an author that changed the way a lot of women thought about themselves.

 Some of her writings I agreed with and some I did not. She set the modern world on fire.

It's the birthday of Betty Friedan (books by this author), born in Peoria, Illinois (1921). She's the author of The Feminine Mystique (1963), a book that The New York Times described as being "one of the most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century." Friedan wrote about what she called "the problem that has no name," found particularly among educated suburban women in the years after the end of World War II, women who were leading ostensibly idyllic domestic lives as busy housewives and mothers and yet who felt inexplicably unfulfilled, unhappy, and restless.

She wrote:

"The problem lay buried, unspoken, for many years in the minds of American women. It was a strange stirring, a sense of dissatisfaction, a yearning that women suffered in the middle of the twentieth century in the United States. Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — 'Is this all?'"

Friedan once led tens of thousands of women — and quite a few men — down New York's Fifth Avenue and over to the New York Public Library in a strike for women's equality. She held signs that said things like "Don't Cook Dinner — Starve a Rat Tonight!" and "Don't Iron While the Strike Is Hot."

She went on to write several more books, including a memoir,Life So Far (2000). She died on this day in 2006, her 85th birthday.

FEB 5

It's the birthday of the playwright John Guare (books by this author), born in New York City in 1938. One summer he was on a family vacation in Atlantic Beach with his best friend, Bobby. The boys read an article in Life about a group of 10-year-olds who made a movie out of The Adventures of Tom Sawyerduring their summer break. John and Bobby were 11 years old, and they didn't want to be outdone by some 10-year-olds, so John wrote three plays that summer, a trilogy he calledUniverse. He called up Life to inform them that an 11-year-old had written three plays, but they weren't interested. So he calledNewsday and told them that not only had an 11-year-old written three plays, but that all the proceeds from the performances were going to be donated to the orphans of Atlantic Beach. But he didn't get a response. John and Bobby performed the plays in Bobby's garage for a week, and on the last day, a fancy black car pulled into the driveway, and in it were reporters from Newsday. They wrote up a review, and even published photos. Seeing the review in the paper was so exciting for John that he decided to become a playwright.

He went to see a play each week. And once he went to college, he started writing a play each year. He's written many plays since then, including Muzeeka (1967), The House of Blue Leaves(1971), Landscape of the Body (1977), and his best-known work,Six Degrees of Separation (1991). Six Degrees of Separation is based on a news story that Guare read about a teenage hustler who pretended to be Sidney Poitier's son and conned his way into the homes of wealthy New Yorkers.

FEB 6

 Victor Hernández Cruz

It's the birthday of poet Victor Hernández Cruz (books by this author), born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico (1949). His parents moved to New York City when he was six years old, and he grew up on the Lower East Side. He started writing poetry when he was a teenager.

When he was 17, he and some friends found an old mimeograph machine and carried it up six flights of stairs to print 500 copies of Cruz's first book of poems, Papo Got His Gun (1966). He distributed the book to local bookstores and asked them to sell it for 75 cents each. An editor of a New York literary magazine happened to see the book, and he published several of the poems in the Evergreen Review.

Cruz was so excited about the publication that he dropped out of high school and joined a theater group that wrote and performed plays in the streets. He went on to become an important member of the group of writers known as the Nuyorican poets — poets from Puerto Rico who grew up in New York City and who write about the blending of the two cultures. He has published many books of poetry, including Snaps (1969), Tropicalization (1976), and most recently, The Mountain in the Sea (2006).

He said: "Exile and political upheaval have intervened with the lives of great writers and confronted them with the reality that they might have to express themselves in a language other than their mother tongue."

Airoplain

BY VICTOR HERNÁNDEZ CRUZ

To me myself them and others always then and now that day   
we was flying through above Atlantic Ocean clouds the plane   
and the plan O also plain language plano feet or face was in   
perfect harmonious bolero wavy plena to someplace a few miles   
away from heaven this gathered from the way the adults poke   
their eyes out from their natural sockets   More here in the   
United States the actual splendour of big cities disfigures   
your face even more than imagining its sweetness so much that   
you can’t   taste yourself the way you taste yourself when the   
sun shines on through your stomach   All you knew was that the   
birds fly with you in them too   All you knew was miles of green   
road eating you   One year that comes and another one that splits   
that’s the way the jingle puts it one December made a print   
in your mind   And the next December the passion and excitement   
the coconut rice and Eisenhower who was President of the   
United States used to come to our parties and sit inside the   
television set and I began to see paths in the wall by way of   
cracks how would this be interpreted Also the cracks made   
a perfect bear   this must be the Life of skidsofrenos without   
any breaks I thought I could take a small bike that I had   
and go exploring through the next apartment after I took the   
room or the road   When I told Mom she said Qué confusión so many   
questions   back in Aguas Buenas the water was clear and here   
there is no guava   They can keep Puerto Rico just give us   
the guava of independence   depending on no bodies   tortures dreams   
of the past or future within the present State no State ever of   
things She loves that fruit the best    Assemblage yourself for the rum-
ble on Avenue D against the Sportsman we gonna kick them off the   
earth yet see them floating down the East River   the street was noisy   
and full of jumping bodies moving somewhere   One quiet afternoon   
the President of one gang fought the President of another gang and   
the afternoon changed nature with voices of O man git him Roach
fought Roach fought   One of the presidents was named Roach and   
he fought and the other guy fought from the middle of the block to
the corner and another person who was not part of the tussle kept   
saying Roach fight Roach fought Roach fight Roach is in it Roach is   
the one the one is Roach It is Roach do it Roach   Roach it is   Roach   
jumped up he threw him down   heat sweating glands Roach   is out   
he came out and is into a tumbao with Look Roach   Tropical   
serenity atop hammock and eating Bacalao ala Española and if   
news of Ponce de Leon reaches here   That he is looking for the   
Fountain of Youth   say just be tranquil take a bath you smell like   
Manhattan sewers if you get drunk don’t bite your eyes   You cannot   
find a plane to go back to that plane   The fight kept moving up the   
avenue and they fought and fought till they went over the horizon   
We have learned the greatest lesson in geography as we moved along   
through space at 29 thousand feet   eating air going to the next age   
over   or under or beyond   What it could have been like   
                                                                               Sticking it   
into her like a root the idea that she can go back and once again feel   
happy that she can go to big cabaret dancing in Santurce   
Appreciate   the aroma of strangers   That is what it says in the Bible   
the one translated by the maniacs from the land where the Papaya   
grows to its full size like a basketball   
In the new landscape you can see the word escape into your roots   
when they are riding well and it feels hot like you into   the   
center   fabricating thru air motions of mountains of motional   
emotion scribbling   it takes a lot of concentration to move your   
nerves like that   Slow up within the jet   within the slow propellers   
of the 50’s   Hold up a second there has been a change of space   
but everything remains the same angles on your life   your   
destiny   You do your claves on the paper I will read you   
your secrets   Civilization smells so different within the iron   
trees   Sivilessensation   spread yourself out of it listen to   
the beat abnormalize yourself compa.

Victor Hernández Cruz, “Airoplain” from Tropicalization, copyright © 1976 by Victor Hernandez Cruz. Originally published by Reed, Cannon, Johnson & Co. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Source: Tropicalization (Reed Cannon Johnson & Co., 1976)

Dolores Street

BY VICTOR HERNÁNDEZ CRUZ

Through the Victorians
spinning a wool of music
the gang in the breeze
Boys and girls headed toward the
park
No longer in my view
Wondering now what they doing
How they divide
Hold hands
Lay on benches
Breathe

Dolores park green waving
mounds
where downtown looks like you
could stretch and scratch it
You can see the water   
smaller the other side
connected with the bay bridge
from this angle
Appears as a cowboy rope
Lasso

Back to the park
the across the street is windows
Suggest
Eyes which could have been looking
at savannahs / stretches
had it not been for transportation
The city settling
Up from planks and kerosense lamps
Rugged

Small vocabularies full of passion
Found a gold sliver on the way
to my fruits
Raise the air fair
Let the news out
Rush like Hawaiian beer

The big radio of the teenagers
comes again
looking through the curtain
Look them wasted
Clothes wrinkled
Eyes fresh like just arrived mushrooms
they move to the interior of the Mission
where they hang out / generations on the streets

Victor Hernández Cruz, “Dolores Street” from By Lingual Wholes (San Francisco: Momo's Press, 1982). Copyright © 1982 by Victor Hernández Cruz. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: By Lingual Wholes (Momo's Press, 1982)

February 7, 1867 - February 10, 1957

It's the birthday of another writer from the prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder (books by this author), born just north of Pepin, Wisconsin (1867), author of the wildly popular children's book Little House on the Prairie (1935) and several other books about growing up in the Midwest in the late 1800s. They're all part of the Little House series, which she began writing when she was in her 60s. Since her death, about a hundred different titles have appeared in the Little House series that she created. From her books have come also a television series on NBC (1974-84), a 26-episode animated Japanese cartoon series called "Laura, The Prairie Girl," a couple of made-for-TV movies, an ABC mini-series (2005), and a musical.

All of her books have remained in print continuously since the time they were first published, have been translated widely, and have sold millions of copies. Little House in the Big Woods begins, "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

That is the difference between Northerners and Southerners.  Northerners begin fairy tales, "Once upon a time...." and Southernhers say, "Y'all ain't gonna believe this shit....."

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