I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, but I’m working on book chapters for a nonfiction assignment. Specifically, I’m providing the chapters on nutrition and fitness for a new book on self care. Cool, eh? So I hope you’ll forgive me if I point you toward an interesting blog post today instead of attempting to write one myself. Today’s best bet: Read Janet Reid’s post on making mistakes by defying conventional wisdom, HERE. Then come on back and tell us what you thought.
I liked this, too, from this week’s Writer’s Almanac:
It’s the birthday of the woman who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen, born Karen Dinesen on a rural estate called Rungsted near Copenhagen, Denmark (1885). Her grandfather was a friend of Hans Christian Andersen. Her father committed suicide when she was 10 years old, and she spent the rest of her childhood in a house full of women: her mother, her grandmother, and all her aunts. As a girl, she loved listening to stories about Danish mythology, ghosts, or the magical powers of women.
As a young woman, she and her husband moved to Africa to try being colonial farmers. In order to pass the time there she wrote her first collection of short stories, Seven Gothic Tales (1934). The book was full of wild, magical tales. One story is about a group of people telling jokes while trying to survive a flood. Another is about a woman who exchanges her soul with an ape. Dinesen said, “Truth is for tailors and shoemakers. … I, on the contrary, have always held that the Lord has a penchant for masquerades.”
Dinesen had written Seven Gothic Tales in English, and the book made her famous in the United States and England. But when she translated it into Danish, the critics in Denmark attacked it as shallow fantasy. She kept copies of the negative reviews for the rest of her life.
Her American publisher wanted her to write a new book as soon as possible, to capitalize on her success, so she decided to write about her experiences in Africa. Instead of writing an ordinary memoir, she wrote about her time in Africa as though it was a half-remembered dream in her book Out of Africa (1937).
She wrote, “Looking back on a sojourn in the African high-lands, you are struck by your feeling of having lived for a time up in the air.
And, “[I watched] elephants … pacing along as if they had an appointment at the end of the world … [and I once saw a] lion … crossing the grey plain on his way home from the kill, drawing a dark wake in the silvery grass, his face still red up to the ears.”
Don’t forget to check in with the WU Google Notebook when you can. (Ignore the screwy mis-dating at the top; everything’s recent.)
Write on, all!