Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work.
December 12, 1821: French writer Gustave Flaubert was dedicated to his work—and required the same from his friends. After finishing a draft of The Temptation of Saint Anthony, he read the 500+ page manuscript aloud to two friends. It took four full days. They hated it, but he persevered and published it decades later. Flaubert was born 192 years ago today.
Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.
December 10, 1909: Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, 104 years ago today.
Biology. the now discredited theory that living organisms can arise spontaneously from inanimate matter; spontaneous generation.
“Aristotle would have loved that.” Nancy was standing behind him. “Why Aristotle?” she asked. “He believed in abiogenesis , the idea that living creatures can arise from nonliving matter.”
– Tom Clancy , Games of State , 1996
Oberth, who accurately predicted rocket development on earth, suspects that the prerequisites for abiogenesis exist on other planets in the solar system.
– Erich von Daniken, translated by Michael Heron , Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past , 1968
Coined by T. H. Huxley in 1870, abiogenesis comes from the Latin words meaning “birth” and “origin.”
One day in the country
Is worth a month in town
December 5, 1830: Pre-Raphaelite poet Christina Rossetti enjoyed literary success in her lifetime—she was seen as a successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning—and her work is still influential today. A line in her poem, A Dirge, provided the title of J.K. Rowling’s novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Rossetti was born in London, 183 years ago today.
a stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes, etc.
a beverage made weak or thin, as watery tea, coffee, or the like.
the refuse from processing whale carcasses.
a reddish, muddy deposit in mining sluices.
“…d’yever eat good old fashioned slumgullion boy, ‘taint nothin but scrambled eggs and potatoes all scrambled up together.”
– Jack Kerouac , The Dharma Bums , 1958
We could not eat the bread or the meat, nor drink the ” slumgullion. “
– Mark Twain , Roughing It , 1872
Slumgullion is an Americanism dating back to the 1840s. It is perhaps related to the word cullion , which comes from the Latin term meaning “bag” or “testicle.”
I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.
Rainer Maria Rilke
December 4, 1875: Poet Rainer Maria Rilke may be best known for his Letters to a Young Poet, published after his death. When Rilke himself was a young writer living in Paris, he worked briefly as a secretary for the sculptor Auguste Rodin. Rilke was born 138 years ago today.
It’s only those who do nothing that make no mistakes, I suppose.
December 3, 1857: Born in Ukraine and raised in Switzerland, Joseph Conrad didn’t become fully fluent in English until his twenties, when he began working as a sailor on British ships. His novels, including Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, draw from the people and places he encountered on his expeditions.