Literary Birthday: Maya Angelou

Today is my birthday, and I have always been happy to share it with one of my absolute favorite people growing up– Marguerite Annie Johnson… AKA Maya Angelou.

Angelou_at_Clinton_inauguration

By Clinton Library – William J. Clinton Presidential Library, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47410239

Angelou was an amazing writer, poet, actress, dancer– a jack of all trades, really– who published many inspirational pieces that span the generations. Most readers know her for the painfully truthful autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings where she exposes the racism and traumas of her youth and tracks her ascension into a strong young woman capable of taking on the world through her works. Others can quote “I’m a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, /That’s me” or “still I rise” with great fluidity. It is no secret that Maya has given something special to the written world, and I greatly encourage you guys to check her out if you haven’t already. Continue reading

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Literary Birthday: Langston Hughes

Our first literary birthday for the week (and the month of February) is… Langston Hughes!

Hughes was a wonderful poet who constructed “musical” poetry dealing with many prevalent issues in the black community during the time, including (but not limited to) racism and poverty. Most people can quote “What happens to a dream deferred?” a phrase coined by Hughes in his poem “Harlem.” However, Hughes is responsible for so much more and should definitely be visited at least once in your lifetime. Continue reading

Literary Birthday: Edgar Allan Poe

First and foremost,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EDGAR ALLAN POE!

I know we just celebrated A.A. Milne’s birthday yesterday, but I have no control over the birth of my faves. So, let’s get this show on the road!Literary Birthday: Edgar Allan Poe

“Born January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. Widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American literature as a whole, he was one of the country’s earliest practitioners of the short story.
Poe is generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre and is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.” (via Wikipedia)

 

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t give this man his props. It’s no secret that Edgar Allan Poe ranks supreme when it comes to presenting the macabre with eloquence and grace. He also ranks supreme in my heart (seriously, I’m obsessed with the man). I admit that I was never really much of a poetry fanatic, and that will probably never change. However, I instantly fell in love with the dark writings of Poe in my junior high years.

I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.

Like many others when first discovering the Father of Mystery, I got snagged by pieces such as The Tell-Tale Heart (the first thing I recall reading), The Raven (oh, come on, “Nevermore” is just fun to “quoth” every once in a while), and Annabel Lee. The obsession was grossly exaggerated from the first moment, leading me to The Fall of the House of Usher and The Cask of Amontillado. Hell, I even performed The Masque of the Red Death multiple times for a speech competition (I didn’t win, but I like to think I struck some fear into the hearts of my fellow competitors).

Literary Birthday: Edgar Allan Poe

Now, I get super excited when kids do their reports on him in school and fangirl scream whenever a current work of fiction gives a subtle nod to him or his works. Like… There was an epigraph of The Raven at the beginning of Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, and I’m half-convinced that’s the main reason I loved that book as much as I do. Anywhos…

Join me in celebrating this glorious day by grabbing up your favorite EAP work (or discovering something new)!

Literary Birthday: A.A. Milne

On this, A.A. Milne’s Birthday (and the official “Winnie the Pooh Day”), I figured what better way to honor a childhood fave than to shout to the world what Winnie-the-Pooh means to me. Before I get into that, though. Here’s a little something about the genius behind the bear…

On this Day: A.A. Milne's Birthday

“Born January 18 1882, Alan Alexander “A. A.” Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne served in both World Wars, joining the British Army in World War I, and was a captain of the British Home Guard in World War II. Milne is most famous for his two Pooh (Winnie-The-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner) books about a boy named Christopher Robin after his son, Christopher Robin Milne, and various characters inspired by his son’s stuffed animals, most notably the bear named Winnie-the-Pooh.” (via Wikipedia)

Literary Birthday: A.A. Milne

What Winnie-the-Pooh means to me: Bliss

That’s it. I should end the post right there… But I will try to go on.

In an attempt to get over the heaviness of A Game of Thrones, I checked out the Winnie-the-Pooh collection’s audiobook from my library and listened to it for a straight week at work. It took me right down memory lane to be submersed in a world I hadn’t visited in years.

** Now, I must make a confession: I was never introduced to the books as a child, so I have no clue where the obsession with the original work came from. In fact, my first memory of loving these characters is from the Disney adaption (such a poser, right?) **

Anywhos, it got me thinking how my love for the characters and the stories as a whole evolved as I did. One thing you have to understand is that I was something of a wild child in my younger years. So, it came as no surprise to anyone that I loved Tigger the most. I refused to let anyone compare me to anyone other than Tigger because he was a fun– a nuisance at times but still fun. I had an energy as a child that couldn’t be stopped. From Tigger, I learned to have fun.

Then I got older…

And as I continued to watch the reruns on the Disney channel Eeyore’s character really clicked for me. From Eeyore, I learned that depression wasn’t a damning life sentence; and you won’t be alone forever because of it. Eeyore still had friends, and he was still invited to all of the parties even thought everyone knew he would never be the happiest guy in the room. And that was really something I clung to as I evolved into a sad, faux-adult.

Something can be learned from each character which is a rarity even with other genres. Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, Winnie-the-Pooh has some pretty great bits of wisdom throughout that not only makes you smile while reading but also encourages you in your every day life. Which is why I have a part of this one tattooed on my arm:

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.

So, if you’ve got the time in your day/week/month/year, I would definitely recommend you check out this wonderful collection. It’s one that knows no age group. I promise you won’t regret it. Who knows? You may even discover something you missed before.

Happy Winnie-the-Pooh Day!

Literary Birthday: Haruki Murakami

This week’s literary birthday has finally been revealed (and I just know you’ve been waiting with bated breath). It’s none other than the unstoppable Haruki Murakami. So… Happy Birthday, Fellow Shy Guy!

Murakami is an excellent craftsman of words, drawing from them more meaning than you’d ever hoped to find. Seriously, his writing makes my soul oh so very happy (funny because the stories I love from him aren’t exactly the happiest things on earth) Also, he’s a preciously shy writer who must be protected at all costs. [/shields him from the world] Continue reading

Literary Birthday: Zora Neale Hurston

On this lovely freezing January morning, it is only right that I pay my respects to the fabulous author, Zora Neale Hurston. Happy Birthday, Queen!

Most recognized for her work, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston was an influential African American writer who inspired many and will never be forgotten. To honor her today, I’ve chosen to highlight my favorite quote from the aforementioned book:

There are years that ask questions and years that answer - Zora Neale Hurston

This was originally meant to be a reflective post about my life and how I’ve been faring this past year, but I figured no one would really enjoy watching me blather about all of that.

So… for you, my fellow monsters, I hope that you live your next best year in 2016. May you finally receive the answers you’ve been looking for and accept the questions this year brings with ease. The answers will come. They always do. I promise.