Tag: maya angelou

Literary Icons We Lost in the Last Decade

The 2010’s have been a notable decade for literature lovers. Starting with big corporate bookstores going out of business and making room for the indie bookstores, we also saw the rise of audio-books, as well as platform being given to strong female protagonists with books like, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl , The Girl on the Train and so on. But in the past ten years we’ve also lost a number of prolific icons from the literary world and here are some of those authors and poets who have touched our lives with their iconic works, which will continue to influence us and the generations to come.

J D Salinger

Image Via Independent

We’ve all read his famous book in high school, The Catcher in the Rye, which is a fantastic piece of work tackling many pressing issues such as identity, loss, and sex. Salinger also exhibits relentless talent in his short stories, such as in A Perfect Day for Banana Fish. The writer lived until the long age of 91, and breathed his last on January 27, 2010.

 

 

Maurice Sendak

Image Via PBS

Even if you can’t immediately recognize this talented author by his name, I’m certain we are all familiar with his famous book, Where The Wild Things Are, which is a celebrated children’s picture book, teaching kids about imagination, independence and overcoming fear. The author/illustrator left us on the 8th of May in 2012.

 

V.s naipaul

Image Via BBC

Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner, V. S Naipaul left the world on 11th August, 2018. His book In a Free State won him the Booker Prize and he was also awarded the Trinity Cross in 1990, and was also made a Knight Bachelor in 1990.

 

 

maya angelou

Image Via Read it Forward

It was a tragic day when the world lost literary legend Maya Angelou. Not only was she a prolific, talented poet, singer and memoirist, she was also a famous civil rights activist, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Her book of poems, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie won the Pulitzer Prize and her autobiographical book, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing, garnered much critical acclaims and went on to be made into a TV movie with the same name in April 1979. Her departure was a great loss for the entire world, but her legacy will continue to live on within her works.

 

stan lee

Image Via Esquire

On November 12, 2018, we bid farewell to the creator of The Amazing Spider-man, X-Men and all the other Marvel heroes who continue to dominate our lives since we were children. This man’s legacy cannot be put in words, as movies after movies continue to wow us with the foundations Stan Lee had built during his long standing career. When he passed at the ripe age of 95, it was when we thanked our stars for being born during his era, to enjoy the fruits of his creativity.

 

 

william goldman

Image Via Consequence

This remarkable American novelist, playwright and screenwriter left us on November 16, 2018. By the end of his career, William Goldman had received his first Academy Award for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and another for All the President’s Men. He also won two Edgar Awards, and was eventually given the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1985. But perhaps his most notable work is The Princess Bride, the popular fantasy-romance novel which came out in 1973, and was adapted into a movie of the same name in 1987.

 

 

fred bass

Image Via New York Post

While not everyone recognizes Fred Bass without a quick Google search, but be sure to know that this man has changed the lives of millions with his contribution to the book industry. Bass left us on January 3, 2018, but he made sure to leave the world a little more educated and tons more curious, with his creation of The Strand Bookstore in New York City. As one of the most popular bookstores in the world, with its eighteen miles of books, Strand has not just become a common household name for New Yorkers, but has won hearts of people all from over the world, all thanks to this kind and intelligent soul.

 

anthony bourdain

Image Via Robb Report

Although we mostly know Anthony Bourdain from his popular TV shows and his celebrity chef status, but we can’t forget that he first emerged as a writer in the late 90’s when his column came out in The New Yorker, Don’t Eat Before Reading This. This later resulted in Bourdain’s first book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, followed by his second, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, which was published in 2010. His demise was certainly a tragic one, leaving his fans in utter pain and disbelief, but his perception regarding the exploration of international cuisine, culture and human conditions has taught us all a few great things about not being scared of the unknown.

 

 

harper lee

Image Via ABC

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American Classic, and Harper Lee was a legend for the creation of such an impactful book during a time of turmoil and distress in the Americas. Her revolutionary vision, through the eyes of the young protagonist of her book, is evident and speaks volumes about her life as a child growing up during the Great Depression in the South, exploring topics such as regionalism as well as racism. The book has garnered her several awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1961, as well as awarding her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007, which was very well deserved. The world lost a power-house figure on February 19, 2016.

 

 

ursala k le guin

Image Via Syfy Wire

Ursala K Le Guin had written over twenty novels and one hundred short stories, spanning a literary career for almost sixty years before her passing on January 22, 2018. She had won eight Hugo Awards and six Nebula Awards, making her one of the most influential Science Fiction writers of our time, and that too as a woman, considering that science has always been a supposed male dominated field. Legends like her give us hopes to break barriers and march on.

 

toni morrison

Image Via Newsday

The beloved Toni Morrison, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved, left a gaping hole in the literary world as she left us on August 5, 2019. She gained further recognition as she won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. She was also the first African American female editor at Random House in New York in the 1960’s. During her lifetime, she has inspired many people of all color to break free of stereotypes and to live their truth, whatever that may be. Her writing is so influential that her fan base continues to grow since her departure. Her writing has been critiqued by notable editors and writers alike and to this day, it is praised for its daring narrative. If there should be a legendary writer, Toni Morrison is deserving of that title.

 

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These Four Poets Had the Oddest Jobs and You’ll Never Guess What They Were

Famous poets. We only know them for their enchanting verse. Many late great poets didn’t start out writing in verse, or if they did, they had to do something else to support that habit, as they didn’t come from money or fame. Enter some really odd jobs you wouldn’t otherwise expect of young bards.

 

4-Maya Angelou

 

image via amazon

 

Before Maya Angelou wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings or won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she found a job as a San Francisco streetcar conductor. In fact, she sat every day for two weeks in the office enduring racial slurs from the secretaries until the hiring manager finally yielded and gave her the position. She became the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco. What’s more, she was only sixteen-years-old!

 

3-Robert Frost

 

image via amazon

 

Robert Frost, who wrote the infamous poem, The Road Not Taken, had a very dangerous job in his twenties called light trimming where he stood over active machinery on a wobbly ladder undoing arc lamps from the ceiling in order to repair them. Fortunately, he kept writing and his poetry gained so much notoriety he didn’t have to go back to light trimming ever again.

 

2- Langston Hughes

image via amazon

 

Langston Hughes was a very musical poet closely associated with jazz and the Harlem Renaissance. One of his most well-known books is Montage of a Dream Deferred. But before any of his work gained attention he was a student at Columbia University and held jobs such as busboy, cook, launderer, and even a seaman. Being a seaman inspired one of his poems, “Death of an Old Seaman Cecil Cohen.” It proves not all manual labor is meaningless if it leads to great art.

 

1- T.S. Eliot

 

image via amazon

 

Last but not least, T.S. Eliot, famous for his incredibly depressing 20th-century oeuvre, “The Waste Land.” He rocked a bowler hat for his odd job, which was not so odd but actually a nine to five clerk position at a bank called Lloyd’s in London. He even got two-weeks-a-year vacation time just like every other working stiff employed there. Not much to say about this sad man except, cool hat.

 

 

Poets get a reputation for being odd considering a lot of them, well, are. Some of them make their own jam, some are recluses, some are too obscure in their writing, meaning they are purposefully trying to be misunderstood. This group of poets, however, were pretty candid in their work as they wanted to be understood. They received high praise, too. Robert Frost was the 1958 Poet Laureate and won more than several Pulitzer Prizes, Langston Hughes won a Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, Maya Angelou earned more than 30 honorary degrees, and T.S. Eliot won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. Consider checking their work out and remember, they’re speaking from experience. Even if it was odd.

 

 

Featured Image Via HollyWood Reporter

 

 


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8 Really Strange Facts About Famous Authors

This may just be me, but when I read books I don’t usually dig deep into who the author is, like finding out their background or upbringing. But it is always fascinating to see who or what inspires great authors to write such profound pieces. So as I started to research some famous authors, I came across some odd facts about them; things I never would have expected to see. Often times, we think we know authors based on the literature they produce, but behind their names on the covers of their books lie some peculiar circumstances. These are some of the most interesting and/or unexpected ones I’ve come across!

 

1. Stephen King has triskaidekaphobia

 

king

Image Via Dread Central

 

The famed horror writer Stephen King has what is known as triskaidekaphobia, which is the irrational fear of number thirteen. In fact, he’s so terrified of it that he wouldn’t pause reading or writing if he’s on page thirteen or it’s multiples until he reaches a number deemed safe for him. Ironic, considering his fiction is known to consist of some horribly disturbing aspects, none of which are a mere number. “The number thirteen never fails to trace that old icy finger up and down my spine.” he said. “When I’m reading, I won’t stop on page 94, 193, or 382, since the sums of these three numbers add up to thirteen”.

 

2. J.R.R Tolkien loved pranks.

 

 

Image Via Time Magazine

The legendary author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy was known to be a ruthless prankster. He actually once dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon warrior and chased his neighbor. Quite a disturbing sense of humor.

Also, J.R.R. Tolkien opposed holding Catholic mass in English, to the extent that whenever the priests spoke the liturgy in English, he would loudly respond in Latin.

 

3. Dan Brown was a pop singer. 

 

Image Via ARRP

 

The author known for writing the Da Vinci Code, used to be a pop singer. He had once written a song about phone sex.

 

4. Edgar Allan Poe… where do we even start?

 

Edgar Allan Poe

Image Via Britannica

Edgar Allan Poe, king of the mystery story was also a very disturbed and conspicuous man. As a matter of fact, Poe became assistant editor of The Southern Literary Messenger in August 1835, but he was fired only within a few weeks for being drunk on the job. He returned to his home of Baltimore, where he got a license to marry his first cousin Virginia on September 22nd, 1835. He was twenty-six years old at the time, while she was only thirteen. Also, no one knows how he died, but theories abound, including suicide, murder, cholera, hypoglycemia, rabies, syphilis, and the flu.

 

5. William S. Burroughs shot his wife. 

 

 

Burroughs, the author of Naked Lunch, shot his wife in the head during a drunken attempt at playing William Tell. He had also once chopped the top part of his finger to give to his ex-boyfriend, but he instead presented it to his psychiatrist. He was then admitted to a private clinic.

 

 

6. Charles Dickens spent a lot of time in morgues.

 

Image Via The British Library

Most famous for writing A Christmas CarolOliver Twist, and David Copperfield, among many others, Dickens was so intrigued by dead bodies that he would spend a lot of his time at the Paris Morgue.

 

7. Maya Angelou was the first black woman to work as a cable car conductor in San Francisco.

 

Maya Angelou

 

As a teenager, Maya Angelou won a scholarship to study dance and drama but dropped out for a time when she was sixteen to become a cable car conductor.  She told Oprah Winfrey that she “saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts. They had caps with bibs on them and form-fitting jackets. I loved their uniforms. I said that is the job I want.” She was the first black woman to hold the position. She also spoke six languages.

 

8. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in fairies.

 

 

The legendary author of the Sherlock Holmes books was tricked by two young school girls into believing that fairies actually exist. I don’t think I need to explain how ironic this is. The Cottingley Fairies became famous, after the girls claimed to have taken photographs of themselves with fairies. Conan Doyle used the photos in an article about fairies for .The Strand Magazine. Doyle was very spiritual, and thought the photos to be undeniable evidence of the existence of fairies.

 

 

Featured Image Via The Times

Cat on books

15 Quotes About Writing from Famous Authors

Whether you’re an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or none of the above you can’t help but admit the power and influence the written word has on us all. Writing can be cathartic, informative, distracting, devastating, connecting, and everything in-between.

 

I love writing and words and all the ways in which they can effect our lives so much (seriously) that I’m at a complete and total loss for them right now. 

 

So, I’m just going to let these fifteen quotes from famous authors do the rest of the talking.

 

 

“If I waited for perfection…I would never write a word.” —Margaret Atwood

 

 


 

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou

 


 

“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” —Joan Didion

 


 

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”—Virginia Woolf

 


 

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” —Enid Bagnold

 

 


 

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” —Anaïs Nin

 


 

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”  —Sylvia Plath

 


 

“When I’m writing I know I’m doing the thing I was born to do.” —Anne Sexton

 


 

“I am writing all this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.” —Maggie Nelson

 


 

“In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today.” —Franz Kafka

 


 

“A person who writes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down.” —Edna St. Vincent Millay

 


 

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.” —William Faulkner

 


 

Who am I? I’m just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future. Sure, I sink the boat of love, but that comes later. And yes, I swallow glass, but that comes later.” —Richard Siken

 


 

“Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.” —Sarah Kay

 


 

“The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.” —Augusten Burroughs

 

 

via GIPHY

 

Featured Image Via Pinterest

Maya Angelou

Happy Birthday, Maya Angelou!

Maya Angelou was born on April 4, 1928, exactly ninety years ago. She played many roles throughout her life, including being a streetcar conductor, a singer, and a journalist.  However, while she did not begin writing in earnest until a bit later in her life, it is her role as an author and poet that allowed her to leave her greatest mark on the world.

 

Her first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings gained her mainstream attention as an author following its publication in 1969, and she went on to publish six more autobiographical works in addition to children’s books, nonfiction, and a wealth of poetry.  Through her writing, she gave a voice to issues such as civil rights and gender equality. She was awarded numerous honors throughout her life, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.

 

Doodle

Image Via Search Engine Land

 

Today, Google is celebrating this phenomenal woman’s birthday with a truly remarkable Google Doodle.  The video Doodle is an animation and recitation of Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.”  In addition to featuring her own voice reciting the poem, it also includes the voices of Alicia Keys, Oprah Winfrey, America Ferrera, Laverne Cox, Martina McBride, and Guy Johnson, Angelou’s son.  If you haven’t watched it already, do yourself a favor and watch it right now!

 

Feature Image Via Deseret News