ON THIS DAY . . .
- . . . in 1737, Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk, the son of a Quaker corset maker.
- . . . in 1845, Edgar Allan Poe's, "The Raven" first appeared in the New York Evening Mirror. It will win him fame as a poet both in the United States and abroad.
- . . . in 1956, H.L.Mencken dies at 75 in his hometown, Baltimore. In Prejudices he had written: "The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom."
FAREWELL . . .
. . . Paul Kantner, founder of Jefferson Airplane, who died yesterday at age 74 after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week. He once said: "If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there."
THE LIGHTHEARTED BALLOON . . .
"I believe in movement. I believe in that lighthearted balloon, the world. I believe in midnight and the hour of noon. But what else do I believe in? Sometimes everything. Sometimes nothing. It fluctuates like light flitting over a pond. I believe in life, which one day each of us shall lose. When we are young we think we won’t, that we are different. As a child I thought I would never grow up, that I could will it so. And then I realized, quite recently, that I had crossed some line, unconsciously cloaked in the truth of my chronology. How did we get so damn old? I say to my joints, my iron-colored hair. Now I am older than my love, my departed friends. Perhaps I will live so long that the New York Public Library will be obliged to hand over the walking stick of Virginia Woolf. I would cherish it for her, and the stones in her pocket. But I would also keep on living, refusing to surrender my pen."
A Patti Smith photograph of Virginia Woolf's walking stick.
TODAY'S GOAL . . .