My mum was born on October 15th, back many years ago— in 1904. It’s difficult to think in terms of over 100 years ago. Once someone asked her what the thing was that stood out above all else through the years she had lived. She replied that it was the moon landing. She shook her head and said it was just unbelievable. Think of it, she said. Walking on the moon. Yes indeed.
The other October 15th birthday for today is our pal Freddie’s. Nietzsche was born in 1844 and died just three years before my mother, little Frances E Hansen was born. That’s another thing to ponder, how things move on so very quickly, but only in retrospect.
And still we move on ourselves, contemplating or not, counting the days or not. One day, one birth at a time. In our own way, as only we can.
It is interesting to note that Mark Twain was not only born on July 4, but also died on July 4.
And, the most fascinating of all is that Haley’s Comet, the periodic comet that returns to Earth’s vicinity about every 75 years, give or take a bit due to the gravitational pull of the planets it passes, also passed by. At both the birth and death of Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) Haley’s Comet made an appearance. Of further note, it was just as Twain predicted.
William Butler Yeats was born on June 13, 1865, and died on January 28, 1939. Another of our favorites has a June birthday: Egon Schiele, born June 12, 1890, and died October 31, 1918. Egon died from the flu pandemic just two days after his wife and baby. Willy died in a small attic room with both his wife and mistress at his side. Could there be more of a contrast in life and times?
And then of course one an artist (Schiele) and the other a poet and writer. Yet who knows what heights Schiele might have reached had he lived. He too wrote a bit of poetry and letters. Both consider what it is that makes an artist, and what it is that is in the special makings of things that make some reach for the Heavens (whatever that means) and others content to be earthbound.
Egon Schiele: Self Portrait with Physalis, 1912
Both saw Beauty and Terror in everything in the world. The gift to us is that they tried so valiantly to share it with us, sometimes succeeding, if we but eyes to see. Imagine.
Brain Pickings BY MARIA POPOVA has another fine article about Edward Gorey’s work. He was born on this date (February 22, 1925–April 15, 2000). I’ve just ordered The Gashly Crumb Tinies from Amazon. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I can’t believe I don’t own it. It’s an alphabet book of manic and magical proportions, unbelievably anti-normal.
As my birthday is now gone, I can say it was. I’m not fond of saying that it is. I’ve not been interested in birthdays since the milestone days: 18, 21, and 30. After that it has seemed mostly inconsequential, especially to celebrate. Not avoidance, more like a no matter. A shrug of the shoulders.
But today I did see this poem posted, a lovely toast to the days as we mark them gone.
Poem and photo posted by Mauri Fox & Kathy Gallo
I Am Not Old I am not old…she said I am rare. I am the standing ovation At the end of the play. I am the retrospective Of my life as art I am the hours Connected like dots Into good sense I am the fullness Of existing. You think I am waiting to die… But I am waiting to be found I am a treasure. I am a map. And these wrinkles are Imprints of my journey Ask me anything. ~ Samantha Reynolds
And this coat has special significance for me as it’s a coat that reoccurs in my life. It is the coat that was first found on Billy the priest as we were kid-adults together in Michigan. He was quite heavyset then, and the coat looked fabulous on him. (He was not a priest at the time.) One of the first novels I wrote, “Last House” has a character in it who has such a coat. He is a character of some merit and all of the people who read the MS loved him. He is also heavyset and a very proud and kind man. When I think of the coat I can feel it, so warm and wonderful, and furry.