Category Archives: Yeats

Thought of the Day 9.1.12 Edgar Rice Burroughs

“I write to escape…to escape poverty.”

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Русский: Эдгар Райс Берроуз

Edgar Rice Burroughs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edgar Rice Burroughs was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois in 1875. Today is the 137th anniversary of his birth.

He was the middle child Major George Burroughs and his wife Mary Evaline. His younger siblings died of childhood diseases, leaving him the baby of the family. He bounced around several different local schools. Whenever there was an outbreak of a disease his parents took him out of one school and put him in another.  Since schools taught Latin and Greek as well as English he later …

“his erratic schooling… resulted in his … learning little English while taking the same Greek and Latin courses over and over again. Despite his claims to the contrary, this early exposure to Classical literature and mythology would serve Burroughs well in his future writing career.” [The Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Mini-Bio]

When a flu epidemic swept through Chicago his parents sent a teenaged Edgar to his brothers’ cattle ranch in Idaho. He love the rough and tumble “wild west”  with its range wars and saloon shoot outs and he lived there for six months before his parents realized the danger of  frontier life was on par with the danger of getting influenza. They called him home and enrolled him in Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He didn’t last long there and was soon transferred to the more structured  Michigan Military Academy. He failed the West Point entrance exam  and signed up for the Army  as a private where he served with the 7th US Cavalry at Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. He was discharged from the Army for a heart condition in 1897.

In 1899 he was back in Chicago working for his father ‘s company, and the next year he married his childhood sweetheart, Emma Hulbert. After a few years he and Emma travelled west to Idaho so he could try his luck with his brothers again, this time at gold mining. But that venture soon went bust and Burroughs went through a number of jobs from railway policeman to peddler for quack medicine.

One of his jobs was as a pencil sharpener wholesaler. He placed ads for the pencil sharpeners in pulp fiction magazines and he would read through the magazines to check the placement of the ads.

“After reading several thousand words of breathless pulp fiction Burroughs determined … that ‘if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.'” [The Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Mini-Bio]

Cover of "Under the Moons of Mars: A Prin...

Cover via Amazon

In fact he had already written stories, but his introduction into the pulp fiction market with Under the Moons of Mars,  for which he received a whopping $400 from All-Story magazine, was a turning point in his career. The story was serialized  in the magazine and produced as a novel under its original name of A Princess of Mars. By the time the last installment was published in July of 1912 Burroughs had completed two more novels. The Outlaw of Torn and Tarzan of the Apes. Outlaw was not picked up by the publisher, but Tarzan was an immediate hit. Burroughs got $700 for the book. He wrote a number of sequels for both Mars (11, including John Carter of Mars) and Tarzan (26).

Dustjacket by Armstrong Sperry for the first e...

Dustjacket by Armstrong Sperry for the first edition of Tarzan and the Lost Empire by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other book series by Burroughs includes:

  • The Pellucidar series, which takes place in the hollow shell of the Earth (7 books, including one featuring a cross over appearance from Tarzan).
  • The Venus series, where Carson Napier, who is attempting a solo flight to Mars, crash lands instead on the watery planet of Venus. — look for a film made from the series coming out next year. (5 books)
  • The Caspak series, a prehistoric series, including The Land That Time Forgot (3 books)

He crossed writing genres at will penning social realism, horror stories, and westerns (and more).

Burroughs was living in Honolulu,  Hawaii when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He volunteered  to serve the war effort as a war correspondent  (the oldest in the Pacific theatre).

He died on March 19, 1950.

English: Bookplate of American writer Edgar Ri...

English: Bookplate of American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) showing Tarzan holding the planet Mars, surrounded by other characters from Burroughs’ stories and symbols relating to the author’s personal interests and career. Associated media: File:Letter from Edgar Rice Burroughs to Ruthven Deane 1922.jpg explaining the design of his bookplate. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thought of the Day 8.28.12 Shania Twain

Man! I Feel Like a Woman!

–Shania Twain

Greatest Hits (Shania Twain album)

Greatest Hits (Shania Twain album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eilleen Regina Edwards was born on this day in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in 1965. She is 47 years old.

She is the eldest of five siblings and grew up about 500 miles north of Toronto with her mother Sharon and her adoptive father Jerry Twain.

According to the biography on her official web site she …

“grew up listening to Waylon, Willie, Dolly, Tammy, all of them…But we also listened to the Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters, The Supremes and Stevie Wonder. The many different styles of music I was exposed to as a child not only influenced my vocal style, but even more so, my writing style.” [ShaniaTwain.com]

Impressed by the girl’s singing, guitar playing and song writing skills, her mother became her defacto agent and  began to book the 8-year-old Twain at local venues and radio and TV spots. Twain says she would be awaken after midnight and taken to local clubs to sing with house bands — bar stopped selling alcohol at midnight.

The “b” side of Twain’s rural Canadian upbringing was summers spent on reforestation crews with her stepfather where she “learned to wield” a different kind of axe (and “handle a chain saw as well as any man.”)

An automobile accident took the lives of  both Sharon and Jerry Twain, and 21-year-old Eilleen took over raising her little brothers. She got a job at the Deerhurst Resort in Ontario which not only allowed her to pay the bills but also introduced her to musical theatre.

At 24 Twain recorded a demo of original music and changed her first name to Shania (Ojibway Indian for “I’m on my way” in honor of Jerry Twain’s Ojibway’s ancestry.) She signed on with Mercury Records and put out Shania Twain in 1993. The CD included the hits “Dance With The One That Brought You” and “What Made You Say That.”

She joined forces with rock producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange  (both professionally and personally — the two married  in 1993.) Her single Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under came out in 1995 and went to #11 on the  country charts. Woman In Me, her second album made “Twain the best-selling country female artist of all time. “ “Any Man of Mine,” “(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here!” “You Win My Love and “No One Needs to Know” all went to number 1, and the project won Country Album of the Year at the Grammies.

She released Come On Over in 1997 and listeners from pop and rock stations took her invitation seriously. She became a crossover artist with “You’re Still the One”  (which was #1 in Country and #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart) and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” The album sold over 11 million copies.

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In 2002 she continued in a more pop vain with the release of  UP.  In the music video  for the single I’m Gonna Getcha Good she leaves behind her trademark bare midriff and  jeans and opts for a futuristic Tron style leather get up as she takes a motorcycle ride through a dystopian landscape.

In 2011 she did a six part documentary on the OWN network and released her memoirs. To date she has sold over 75 million cds and has earned the moniker “The Queen of Country Pop.”


Thought of the Day 6.13.12

“When you are old and gray and full of sleep, and nodding by the fire, take down this book and slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep.”

William Butler Yeats

W.B. Yeats was born this day in Sandymount, County Dublin, Ireland, in 1865. He would have been 147 years old.

Yeats is one of Ireland’s greatest writers. A Symbolist poet, he used imagery to enhance the meaning of his verse. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. And when Ireland achieved statehood Yeats was appointed as Senator.

He died in Menton, France on January 28, 1939. The epitaph on his headstone is from one of his poems:

Cast a cold Eye
On Life, on Death.
Horseman, pass by!

John Singer Sargent’s 1908 pencil sketch of W. B. Yeats.

Public domain
This media file is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired, often because its first publication occurred prior to January 1, 1923

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