Dear Reader, I am selecting to close out the month of February with a collection of facts about the topics I chose to write about since I started the blog about six or seven weeks ago plus the topics that people suggested which I have not blogged about yet. However, before I begin on that adventure, I want to share a collection of interesting facts I gathered about known and semi-known writers alive and dead.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald as a young man did not excel as an academic. His first success in writing was a tale of horror he had published in the school newspaper entitled The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts. His ancestors were involved in the persecution of witches. It was this legacy of Puritanism that was responsible for the underlying themes of guilt and confusion in his literary works.
- Stephen King’s mother worked in a mental institution. He is a child of divorce.
- Ernest Hemingway’s mother dressed him as a girl when he was young. His father made sure he knew how to fish and use a gun.
- J.R.R. Tolkien’s full name is John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. As a child, he received a bite from a tarantula. Although he claimed to have no particular fear of spiders afterwards, monstrous spiders figured in his many short stories.
- Anais Nin began writing at age 11. She produced a monthly magazine of her stories, poems, and drawings at age 13.
- Joseph Conrad, found himself in a duel with J. M. K. Blunt over a woman he fell in love with who also happened to be a supporter of Pretender to the Spanish throne, Don Carlos. His literary career began in 1895 with the publication of his novel Almayer’s Folly.
- Edgar Allan Poe died at age 40. During his life he elevated the Horror genre to a much more acceptable form. He advocated for higher wages for writers. Though he ended in poverty, he was the first writer in American literary history to attempt to make a living as an author. He is considered a pioneer in the industry. He holds the title of Father of the Detective Story. He is acclaimed throughout the world as a Master of the Macabre.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky completed his first novel titled Poor Folk in 1843 and one of his best works titled The Double in 1846. Twenty years passed until he wrote again. In 1866 he published Crime and Punishment. It became his most popular novel. He remained an author till his death.
- Charles Dickens was 12 years ago when he started to work. His first job was in a shoe factory. His parents sent his sister to the Royal Academy of Music but they did not allow young Charles to attend school after the age of 10.
- Mary Shelley met the Poet who became her husband at her mother’s grave. They were secret meetings because the poet Shelley was married. He would threaten to commit suicide if she refused.
- Pearl S. Buck’s first published work was in magazines. Her first novel titled East Wind West Wind was rejected by a number of publishers before the John Day Publishing company saw great promise in her as a writer. A few years later, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for The Good Earth and in 1938 she was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature.
So far, we learn from the above list, that the circumstances of birth, schooling, health or status never stopped a writer from writing, but instead was often the inspiration, the impetus, the stimulus that prompted his/her desire to put on paper their thoughts, dreams, feelings.
I am sure some of my readers are equally as talented as those listed.