Flannery O’Connor

Famous Authors and Their Pets

There’s nothing cozier than curling up with a good book and your furry companion. People have always had a special relationship with their pets; they offer us friendship and unconditional love, after all. Both classic and modern authors have had beloved pets that inspired their works and provided them with companionship. Here are a few.

 

1. STEPHEN KING’S CORGI MOLLY, THE THING OF EVIL

Image via Toronto Star

Renowned horror writer Stephen King loves his Pembroke Welsh corgi, Molly, who he refers to as “The Thing of Evil.” On Twitter, he likes to chronicle all the devious things she likes to do, such as enjoying (tearing up) boxes of tissues and raisin bran, relaxing after committing atrocious deeds, and hunting down the Purple Dinosaur of Decency (pictured above).

 

2. CHESTER HIMES’ SIAMESE CAT GRIOT

Image via LitHub

Crime fiction author Chester Himes, the creator of the Harlem Detective series, has had many cats. Griot, a blue point Siamese, was his favorite. Griot, Himes explained, was “named after the magicians in the courts of West African kings.” Himes would take Griot with him everywhere. If he didn’t, he would come home to find Griot had destroyed everything.

3. FLANNERY O’CONNOR’S PEACOCKS

Image via PBS

Author and essayist Flannery O’Connor, known for the thrilling and chilling short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” loved birds, peacocks especially. On her estate in Georgia, she raised over 100 peafowls, who she referred to in essays as “Kings of the Birds.”  She kept ducks, emu, ostriches, and possibly toucans as well.

 

4. LORD BYRON’S actual, literal bear

Image via The Paris Review

If there’s one thing you could always count on Romantic poet Lord Byron, it’s to be flamboyantly petty. Lord Byron attended Trinity College in the early 1800’s and hoped to bring his dog Boatswain with him. When he was told that his beloved dog could not come with him, Lord Byron purchased a tamed bear and tried to bring it to school with him instead. He wrote to his friend Elizabeth Prigot, “I have got a new friend, the finest in the world, a tame bear. When I brought him here, they asked me what to do with him, and my reply was, ‘he should sit for a fellowship.'”

5. GEORGE R.R. MARTIN’S TORTOISES GAMERA AND MORLA

Image via GRRM’s Twitter

Fantasy writer George R.R. Martin has always loved turtles. As a child, they were the only pet he was allowed to keep. They lived in a castle, and Martin would pretend that they were kings and knights, fighting in battles. He cites this as where he got his inspiration for Game of Thrones, and their deaths inspired the more gruesome moments in the series. He currently has two tortoises, Morla and her “younger brother” Gamera.

 

6. KURT VONNEGUT’S DOG PUMPKIN

Image Via NYT

Pumpkin was a little shaggy dog and Sci-fi writer Kurt Vonnegut’s near-constant companion. On his affection for Pumpkin and dogs in general, Vonnegut had this to say, “I cannot distinguish between the love I have for people and the love I have for dogs.”

 

7. Charles Dickens’s Raven Grip

Image via Brain Pickings

Grip was the pet Raven of famed English author Charles Dickens. Grip apparently had a very extensive vocabulary for a bird, and Dickens wrote him into one of his lesser known works, Barnaby Rudge. When Edgar Allen Poe, still only a critic at the time, read it and was inspired by the fictional Grip to write his poem “The Raven.” Grip ate a paintchip in 1841, and passed away a few months later. A brokenhearted Charles Dickens had the bird taxidermied, and Grip now resides in the Philidelphia Free Library.

 

8. The Hemingway cats

Image via The Humane Society of Broward County

No list of author pets would be complete without mentioning Ernest Hemingway’s cats. Hemingway was gifted a little six-toed kitten named Snow White. Soon after, he began to adopt more cats, which led to even more kittens being born, around half of them having the same genetic mutation as Snow White. Now the descendants of these cats roam Hemingway’s house turned museum in Key West, Florida.

 

Take a little time to appreciate your own pet today. You never know, they might just inspire the next great work!

Featured image via Florida weekly

 

5 Authors and Their Crazy Hobbies

For some people, writing is a hobby; for others, it’s their work, their world, and they need other interests to pursue and get their mind off writing for a while. Let’s take a look at some of the coolest and craziest hobbies of five amazing authors!

 

1. Clark Thomas Carlton- Insect lover 

 

 

The author of a truly amazing fantasy series is a huge fan of all things nature-related, and his wonderful fantasy books are inspired by ants! Clark got the idea for the series “during a trip to the Yucatan when he witnessed a battle for a Spanish peanut between two different kinds of ants. That night he dreamed of armies of tiny men on the backs of red and black ants. After doing years of research on insects and human social systems, Clark says that “the plot was revealed to me like a streaming, technicolor prophecy on the sixth night of Burning Man when the effigy goes up in flames.” His books are a wonderful homage to nature as well as a brilliant feat of world-building! Check out our interview with Clark and find out more about him below!

 

 

 

2. Sylvia Plath- Beekeeper

 

Image Via For Reading Addicts and Women’s Voices For Change

 

Poet and author Sylvia Plath, best known for her only novel The Bell Jar which carved out her place as one of the greatest writers of her generation, was a woman of many interests; among them beekeeping. A love of bees ran in the family, as her father Otto was “an entomologist who specialized in bees.” Plath described the donning of the beekeepers costume as ‘thrilling,’ in a letter to her mother. Her hobby inspired a series of poems featuring bees, which she wrote in the lead up to her death in 1963.

 

3. Madeleine L’Engle- Pianist

 

Image Via TakeLessons.com and Wikipedia

 

L’Engle is best known as the author of the beloved book A Wrinkle in Time, which was recently adapted for the big screen once more, starring Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Storm Reid. L’Engle revealed that playing the piano would relieve her of writer’s block, saying:

Playing the piano is for me a way of getting unstuck. If I’m stuck in life or in what I’m writing, if I can I sit down and play the piano. What it does is break the barrier that comes between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

 

4. Vladmir Nobakov- Lepidopterist

 

Image Via 3 Quarks Daily and Nautilus | Science Connected

 

Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov’s interest in lepidoptary began when he was just seven years old, and he retained his love of insects throughout his life. The New Yorker states:

As a child, in 1909, he proposed a Latin name for a subspecies of poplar admiral that he had spotted near his family’s estate, only to be told by a famous entomologist that the subspecies had already been identified, in Bucovina, in 1897. As an adult, Nabokov had more luck. He named multiple species, most famously the Karner blue (Lycaeides melissa samuelis), which he came across in upstate New York, in 1944.

 

5. Flannery O’Connor, the aviculturist

 

Image Via wcjb.com and Georgia Humanities

 

Short story connoisseur Flannery O’Connor’s love of bird rearing started early. At five years old, she and her chicken whom she had trained to walk backwards appeared on the news! As an adult, she raised peacocks and peahens on her farm in Georgia, even penning an essay in 1961 entitled “Living With a Peacock,” in which she describes her childhood news appearance:

When I was five, I had an experience that marked me for life. Pathé News sent a photographer from New York to Savannah to take a picture of a chicken of mine. This chicken, a buff Cochin Bantam, had the distinction of being able to walk either forward or backward. Her fame has spread through the press and by the time she reached the at­tention of Pathé News, I suppose there was nowhere left for her to go—forward or backward.

 

 

Gatsby Was First Published in 1925. So What Else Was Going on?

On April 10th, 1925, Scribner published a short novel by popular author F. Scott Fitzgerald which didn’t sell many copies or receive positive reviews. Today, The Great Gatsby is one of the most widely taught works of fiction in the United States.  Safe to say, the publishing climate in the 1920s was about as unpredictable as international conflict at the time — so what other bookish things were happening in 1925?

 

1. the Argosy Book store opened

 

 

New York City’s oldest independent bookstore, Argosy Book Store, opened for the first time in 1925, although it later moved from 114 East 59th Street to 116 East 59th Street. This famous bookstore still sells rare, used, and new books to customers in its elegant townhouse setting — until 6 p.m. most evenings, anyway.

 

2. American ya author robert cormier was born

 

 

Although he didn’t write his first novel until he was thirty-five , I Am the Cheese and The Chocolate War author Robert Cormier was born on January 17th, 1925, in Massachusetts. His books, later adapted into award-winning films, continues to receive flack today for its violent depictions of mental illness and abuse.

 

3. the new yorker published its first issue

 

The New Yorker magazine, a cultural vanguard for New York City and modern culture, published its first issue on February 21st, 1925 — and has hardly stopped releasing world-famous covers, cartoons, and commentary since then.

 

4. Flannery O’connor died

 

 

On March 25th, approximately a month before the publication of a book that would change the world, literature lost a legend when short-story writer and proponent of the Southern Gothic literary style Flannery O’Connor died from lupus at the age of thirty-nine.

5. T.s. eliot published the hollow men

 

 

20th Century poet T.S. Eliot officially published his haunting tribute to post-war Europe, “The Hollow Men,” on November 23rd, 1925, though there are many borrowed lines from some of Eliot’s previous works.

 

Featured Image Via Argosy Book Store.