No doubt I shall go on writing, stumbling across tundras of unmeaning, planting words like bloody flags in my wake….
Scottish novelist Alexander Trocchi (born July 30, 1925) edited the literary magazine Merlin in the early 1950s, which published the work of Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Pablo Neruda, and Jean-Paul Sartre, among others. Trocchi’s own writing chronicled heroin addiction (Cain’s Book), which plagued him for most of his life. He is also best known for his dark novella (Young Adam) and pornography classic (Helen and Desire) as well as for his involvement in avant-garde movements of the mid-20th century.
The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies.
André Maurois (born July 26, 1885) is remembered for his eloquent biographies of literary giants, including Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, George Sand, Honoré de Balzac, and Marcel Proust. The French writer (real name Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog) had a colorful life himself: He served in both world wars and was elected to the prestigious Académie Française.
Take a good book to bed with you—books do not snore.
Happy birthday, Thea Dorn! The award-winning German writer (real name Christiane Scherer) focused on philosophy and theater studies in school, and she chose her pseudonym to allude to philosopher Theodor Adorno. She is largely known for her crime fiction, though she has also felt at home with theatrical pieces and as a TV host for a literary program.
To give your positive or negative attention to something is a way of giving energy. The most damaging form of behavior is withholding your attention.
Japanese author Masaru Emoto (born July 22, 1943) was a doctor of alternative medicine who devoted more than 20 years of his life to studying water, determining that in its frozen crystal form, water can reveal the healing power of music, prayer, and positive thinking. He is remembered for his beautiful water-crystal photographs as well as books such as The Hidden Messages in Water and The True Power of Water.
Happy birthday, Michael Connelly! The award-winning novelist created this personal credo for his best-known fictional character, LAPD detective Harry Bosch. While in college, Connelly decided to study journalism after discovering Raymond Chandler’s detective stories. Working the crime beat in Florida and Los Angeles provided rich fodder for his later books—more than two dozen to date, with 60 million copies sold worldwide.
No matter how nice the place is where you live, you need to experience life and the world.
Happy birthday, Terri Irwin! The Australia-based naturalist has kept the legacy of her late husband, Steve Irwin (aka “The Crocodile Hunter”), alive in her memoirs Steve & Me and My Steve. She’s also continuing to operate Steve’s Australia Zoo in Queensland—far from her native Oregon, where in her early twenties she was rehabilitating wild animals like cougars, bears, and bobcats.
Polls are certainly useful devices for plumbing the depths of the vox populi. – James D. Williams, “Detroit News Poll Not Quite What It Seems,” The Crisis, June–July 1992
Because of the recent silencing of most European democracies, in the choice of Willkie that night there was, even to many cynical or Democratic ears, an exciting, stirring sound, as of vox populi. – “From Life’s Correspondents: Flanner on Willkie,” Life, October 28, 1940
Vox populi is of Latin origin, and is often found in the maxim vox populi, vox Dei meaning “the voice of the people is the voice of God.” It entered English in the mid-1500s.
I was thinking that if what distinguishes us as humans is our stupidity, what may redeem us is our grace.
Happy birthday, Earl Lovelace! The novelist, short story writer, journalist, and playwright has long focused on his native Trinidad and descriptions of West Indian culture. But with his daughter Asha he wrote the screenplay for Joebell and America, a TV movie (based on his short story of the same name) about a gambler and his dream of going to the United States.
At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.
Celebrated Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (born July 6, 1907) contracted polio as a child, suffered a bus accident in her teens that left her severely injured, and found herself in a tumultuous marriage to artist Diego Rivera. Yet she had a vivacious spirit—to such an extent that she gave her birthdate as July 7, 1910, to coincide with the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. Her highs and lows are captured in her published diary entries and letters to friends, family, and lovers.
1. the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling.
2. the part of language study concerned with letters and spelling.
3. a method of spelling, as by the use of an alphabet or other system of symbols; spelling.
4. a system of such symbols: Missionaries provided the first orthography for the language.
5. an orthographic projection, or an elevation drawn by means of it.
… at bottom I disrespect our orthography most heartily, and as heartily disrespect everything that has been said by anybody in defence of it. Nothing professing to be a defence of our ludicrous spellings has had any basis, so far as my observation goes, except sentimentality. – Mark Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography,” North American Review, Volume CLXXXV, 1907
“Pardon me, sir. An urgent message just come on the despatch cart.” “‘Came,’ Constable.” The inspector examined the note. “Extraordinary. It seems, Constable Thackeray, that someone is asking me to release you from my class. I shall not refuse. Since the finer points of orthography have eluded you for so long, I am sure that they can wait another week. – Peter Lovesey, Abracadaver, 1972
Orthography stems from the Greek word orthós meaning “straight, upright, correct.” It entered English in the early 1400s.