Month of Letters, Day 2

February 2 was a Sunday, but I sent two postcards anyway. These went out from a mailbox in Boston, Massachusetts, while I was there with my son over the weekend for one of his college interviews.

These were both Postcrossing cards:

  • To Rocca San Casciano, Italy, a card with a vintage beer ad.
  • To Palencia, Spain, a card showing Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

February 2 Writer Birthdays

1745 – Hannah More, popular English novelist, religious writer, poet, and playwright.

1882 – James Joyce, Irish modernist author, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and critic, known for his command of the English language and his provocatively complex works of fiction; he is considered one of the most important and influential authors of his era.

1883 – Johnston McCulley, American author who created the character Zorro.

1886 – William Rose Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

1895 – Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr., American poet and playwright best known for Caleb, the Degenerate, one of the earliest dramas by an African-American writer.

1905 – Ayn Rand, Russian-American novelist, philosopher, and Conservative/Libertarian political activist; she is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing the philosophical system Objectivism.

1916 – Ngô Xuân Diệu, prominent Vietnamese poet more commonly known by the pen name Xuân Diệu.

1923 – James Dickey, Poet Laureate of the United States and author of the novel Deliverance, which was made into the 1972 film.

1940 – Susan Wittig Albert, American mystery writer.

1940 – Thomas Disch, American poet and Hugo Award-winning science-fiction author.

1921 – Jan Slepian, American author of books for children and young adults.

1923 – Liz Smith (Mary Elizabeth Smith), American gossip columnist for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and Newsday, and was known as “The Grand Dame of Dish.”

1931 – Judith Viorst, American journalist, psychoanalysis researcher, and author of popular children’s books, including the beloved picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

1948 – Ina Rosenberg Garten, American cookbook author, food columnist, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and a former staff member of the White House Office of Management & Budget.

1969 – Dambisa Felicia Moyo, Zambian economist and author who analyzes the macroeconomy and global affairs.

1970 – Santa Montefiore (Santa Palmer-Tomkinson), British novelist and socialite of Argentinian background; her father, Charles Anthony Palmer-Tomkinson, represented Britain on the Olympic ski team and is a close friend of Prince Charles.

1883 – Johnston McCulley, American author who created the character Zorro.

1886 – William Rose Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

Month of Letters, Day 1

February is the Month of Letters, also known as “LetterMo.” Every day this month, those of us who’ve taken the challenge aim to send at least one piece of mail by good, old-fashioned snail mail, and to respond to anyone who writes to us. Bills, junk mail, and other non-personal forms of mail don’t count. And we’re not required to send mail on days when there is no mail delivery (in the U.S., that would be Sundays and holidays).

I have been traveling over the weekend, so I was mailing from several locations. But I did mail something each of the first few days of the month. On Saturday, February 1, it was three postcard, all of them to other Postcrossers:

  • To Glendale, Arizona, here in the U.S., a vintage-style “Greetings From Virginia” card.
  • To St. Petersburg, Russia, a postcard with a shot of Kansas sunflowers.
  • To Eno, Finland, an atmospheric photo of a New Orleans street in the rain.

All three of these were mailed from Moosic, Pennsylvania, while we were en route to Boston.

Photo Friday: TC Williams Reflections Winners

Last week, T.C. Williams High School Reflections winners were honored in an awards ceremony at school. Ten students won awards for Dance Choreography, Literature, Music Composition, Photography, and Visual Arts. It’s the only high school in Alexandria that participates in the PTA Reflections contest, so our 1st Place winners are also the 1st Place winners for the city, which means that they advanced to compete in the Northern Virginia District contest. More good news: three of our TCW students won 1st Place in the Northern Virginia competition and are now competing in the statewide contest!

Here is a photo from last Wednesday morning’s event in the TCW front office. These are eight of our ten winning students; two others could not make it to the ceremony.

Here are the winning students who were present for the school awards program. Also pictured, TCW Reflections Chair Luisa Tio (left) and TCW Principal Peter Balas (lower right). Our Northern Virginia 1st Place winners are Jonathan (tall one in the back row) for Music Composition, Nathaniel (next to him, in the baseball cap) for Photography, and Molly (front row, with colored highlights in her hair) for Dance Choreography. Now I’m taking off my Northern Virginia Reflections Chair hat and putting on my Proud Mom hat, to say that Music Composition phenom Jonathan is my son. State results will be out in March.

For more information on the PTA Reflections program, see my earlier post about it:

https://petrinipage.com/2019/12/07/let-the-judging-begin/

February 1 Writer Birthdays

1884 – Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin, Russian essayist, novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and science-fiction author.

1887 – Charles Nordhoff, English-born American novelist, nonfiction writer, journalist, and travel writer best known for the book, Mutiny on the Bounty, part of a trilogy written with co-author James Norman Hall.

1902 – Langston Hughes, African-American poet, novelist, playwright, columnist, and social activist who was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

1903 – Maryse Choisy, French philosophical writer, journalist, essayist, novelist, critic, and founder of the journal Psyché; she was brought up by her rich aunts in a historical castle in the Basque country and once received psychoanalytical treatment from Sigmund Freud.

1918 – Muriel Spark, Scottish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist whose best-known work is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

1924 – Richard Hooker, American writer and surgeon who drew on his military service in the Korean War to write the book MASH, which was later turned into a film and long-running television series.

1925 – Lucille Eichengreen (born as Cecelia Landau), German-born, American-based survivor of the Lódz Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz, Neuengamme, and Bergen-Belsen; she published a memoir From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust and is a frequent lecturer on the Holocaust.

1927 – Galway Kinnell, Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning American poet who served as Poet Laureate for the state of Vermont.

1930 – María Elena Walsh, Argentine poet, novelist, children’s writer, musician, playwright, and composer who is considered in her home country to be a “living legend, cultural hero (and) crest of nearly every childhood.”

1941 – Jerry Spinelli, Newbery Medal-winning American author of popular books for children and young adults.

1942 – Terry Jones, screenwriter, actor, writer, composer, comedian, television presenter, film director, children’s writer, Medieval historian, and member of the Monty Python comedy team; he passed away in January 2020.

1952 – Anissa Helou, Lebanese chef, cookbook author, television presenter, and teacher who specializes in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa.

1963 – Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and nonfiction author.

1967 – Meg Cabot, American author of romantic and paranormal fiction; best known for her popular young-adult series The Princess Diaries.

1984 – Risa Wataya, bestselling Japanese novelist.

Book Challenge, Day 4

I have accepted a challenge from Lisa Mills Walters to post seven books that I love, one book per day, no exceptions, no reviews, just covers. (This is a Facebook thing, and I’m posting them there, but it couldn’t hurt to get the word out on this site too.)

Each day I will ask a friend to take up the challenge. Let’s promote literacy and a book list! Today, I nominated Allison Stein.

January 31 Writer Birthdays

1624 – Arnold Geulincx, controversial Belgian author and philosopher who tried to work out more detailed versions of a generally Cartesian philosophy.

1735 – J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur), French-American essayist famous for his book Letters from an American Farmer, which drew on his experience farming in Orange County, N.Y.

1872 – Zane Grey, American author of western novels and short stories, known for his idealized depiction of the American West; many of his works have been made into films. He was also a dentist.

1879 – Helena Ivanovna Roerich (born Shaposhnikova), Russian writer, translator, philosopher, theosophist, and explorer who created, in cooperation with the Teachers of the East, a philosophic teaching of Living Ethics (“Agni Yoga”) and took part in expeditions to remote regions of Central Asia; she was also Honorary President-Founder of the Institute of Himalayan Studies “Urusvati” in India.

1893 – Dame Freya Madeline Stark, French-born Anglo-Italian explorer, essayist, and travel writer who wrote more than two dozen books on her travels in the Middle East and Afghanistan as well as several autobiographical works and essays; she was one of the first non-Arabs to travel through the southern Arabian Desert.

1902 – Alva Myrdal, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish writer, politician, diplomat, and sociologist who was a prominent leader of the disarmament movement.

1905 – John O’Hara, American writer who started in short stories, continued into novels, and dabbled in screenplays.

1915 – Thomas Merton, Anglo-American Catholic writer, monk, poet, and social activist whose autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, became a bestseller.

1923 – Norman Mailer, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, actor, cultural commentator, critic, and liberal political activist; he is considered a key figure in creative nonfiction, a genre sometimes called New Journalism, which uses the style and devices of literary fiction in fact-based journalism.

1935 – Kenzaburō Ōe, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author who “with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today.”

1941 – Gerald McDermott, American children’s author known for colorful treatments of mythological subjects.

1950 – Denise Fleming, American author of children’s picture books.

1959 – Laura Lippman, bestselling American author of detective fiction.

1979 – Daniel Tammet, British writer whose memoir Born on a Blue Day describes his life as an autistic savant.

Book Challenge, Day 3

I have accepted a challenge from Lisa Mills Walters to post seven books that I love, one book per day, no exceptions, no reviews, just covers. (This is a Facebook thing, and I’m posting them there, but it couldn’t hurt to get the word out on this site too.)

Each day I will ask a friend to take up the challenge. Let’s promote literacy and a book list! Today, I nominated Reba Smith Winstead.

January 30 Writer Birthdays

  • 1590 – Lady Anne Clifford, English diarist, patron of the arts, women’s rights activist, and High Sheriff
  • 1866 – Frank Gelett Burgess, artist, art critic, poet, author, and humorist; coined the term “blurb” for a quote about a book, printed on the cover to spur sales.
  • 1878 – A.H. Tammsaare, writer whose work is among the most important in Estonian literature.
  • 1912 – Barbara Tuchman, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author.
  • 1924 – Lloyd Alexander, Newbery-winning American author of children’s and young-adult fantasy.
  • 1925 – Jack Spicer, Beat poet of the San Francisco Renaissance movement.
  • 1931 – Allan W. Eckert, Newbery-winning American naturalist and writer.
  • 1931 – Shirley Hazzard, National Book Award-winning Australian/British/American novelist, essayist, and short-story writer.
  • 1935 – Richard Brautigan, author of parody and black comedy.
  • 1941 – Gregory Benford, Campbell Award and two-time Nebula Award-winning astrophysicist, professor, editor, and science-fiction author.
  • 1945 – Michael Dorris, professor and author of Native American-themed literature; he was married to novelist Louise Erdrich.
  • 1955 – Judith Tarr, fantasy author who also writes as Caitlin Brennen and Kathleen Bryan.
  • 1974 – Jemima Khan, writer, editor, heiress, and human-rights activist.

Book Challenge, Day 2

I have accepted a challenge from Lisa Mills Walters to post seven books that I love, one book per day, no exceptions, no reviews, just covers. (This is a Facebook thing, and I’m posting them there, but it couldn’t hurt to get the word out on this site too.)

Each day I will ask a friend to take up the challenge. Let’s promote literacy and a book list! Today, I nominated Ami Cwalina Schroder.

(Actually, I inadvertently skipped a day. Sorry about that. So this really should have been Day 3, but instead it’s Day 2.

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937