January 6

Birthdays: Carl Sandburg (1878), Khalil Gibran (1883?), John Holmes (1904), Wright Morris (1910), Alan Watts (1915), E.L. Doctorow (1931)

Quote: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L.Doctorow

“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands, and goes to work.” – Carl Sandburg

Doctorow was the recipient of numerous writing awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Ragtime, National Book Critics Circle Award for Billy Bathgate, National Book Critics Circle Award for The March, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction. Former President Barack Obama called him “one of America’s greatest novelists”

Khalil Gibran is best known as the author of “The Prophet”, which was first published in the United States in 1923 and has since become one of the best-selling books of all time, having been translated into more than 100 languages.

Morris won the National Book Award for “The Field of Vision” in 1956. His final novel, “Plains Song” won the American Book Award in 1981.

Alan Watts wrote more than 25 books and articles on religion and philosophy, introducing the emerging hippie counterculture to The Way of Zen (1957), one of the first bestselling books on Buddhism. In Psychotherapy East and West (1961), he argued that Buddhism could be thought of as a form of psychotherapy. He considered Nature, Man and Woman (1958) to be, “from a literary point of view—the best book I have ever written”. He also explored human consciousness and psychedelics in works such as “The New Alchemy” (1958) and The Joyous Cosmology.

I remember reading Carl Sandburg’s books on Lincoln with my dad when I was growing up. I also read a lot of his poetry. I’ve read parts of Khalil Gibran too. The others, not so much.

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