Friday, January 25, 2008

This isn't what I'd planned to post about today

I'd planned on writing about me today, and my kids, then adding a relevant poem. Duh. But first I checked my e-mail, as is my custom, and read The Writer's Almanac, as is also my custom, and I was struck by this piece about William Somerset Maugham.

Who would have thought.

And I quote:
"It's the birthday of William Somerset Maugham, (books by this author) born to English parents in Paris, France
(1874). His early childhood was comfortable and happy, but his mother died when he was eight and he never got over the loss. He kept three pictures of her next to his bedside for the rest of his life. His father died a few years later, and he had to go live with an unaffectionate uncle. He developed a terrible stutter
and became incredibly shy. He later said, "Had I not stammered I would probably ... have gone to Cambridge ... become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature." Instead, he read voraciously and eventually began to write fiction. Maugham decided to study medicine,
because he knew his uncle would disown him if he admitted that he wanted to be a writer. After medical school, he became an obstetrician, and got a job making
house calls to deliver babies in the worst slums of London. He stayed up for hours every night to work on his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), which was about the extreme poverty he had witnessed as a doctor. The book was successful enough to allow him to quit his job and devote his life to writing. He went on to become one of the most popular authors of his lifetime, writing many plays, essays, short stories, and memoirs. He's best known for his novel Of Human Bondage (1915), based on his own childhood. He once read the book on the radio, and when he came to the passage describing the death of the main character's mother, he broke down weeping and was barely able tocontinue.
Maugham said, "Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequences than to have a really affectionate mother."
And, "Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.""

1 comment:

sharryb said...

Thanks for sharing this. It is a good reminder to resubscribe to Writier's almanac, which I dropped when I last went traveling.