Well, I’ve not updated my blog for some considerable time – but I thought I’d better do it on my birthday at least (…alongside the annual bath ho ho!).
And what theme could I choose other than to share with those celebrating a birthday with me on July 10th?! (Happy Birthday to ALL of you amigos!)
I already know about a few of the folk who share my birthday – a mix of tennis players (Arthur Ashe, Ginny Wade), artists (Camille Pissarro, De Chirico), composers (Carl Orff), opera stars (Jonas Kaufmann), rock stars (Ronnie James Dio) and actors (John Simm, Gina Bellman); by and large creative sporty types – sounds about right!
However, as my own main interest (having already looooong dabbled in cartooning, drumming, guitar and….er…..tennis!) is in being a writer, I thought I’d see if any well-known writers were fellow July 10th-ers. And, thanks to good old Wikipedia (…NB please donate to keep them going – and independent, if you can afford it!), I have discovered there are two of them – one of whom, was somewhat successful. Here they are:
The author of A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu was a fellow July 10th-er. Effectively, the epitome of a ‘writer’s writer’ the reclusive Proust wrote lengthy and profound treatises on the human condition, largely from his sick bed. Depressed and disillusioned with humanity (and I can understand that, given our present era of conflict and austerity – although one must stay positive…especially on one’s birthday!), Proust looked inwards to produce philosophical works that have echoed down the generations. ‘Recherche’ is one of those modern classics (along with Moby Dick) that all writers probably should have read. It’s on my list one day. Literary snobs often say it should be read in its native French to get the best from its nuances and inflections and, annoyingly, they are probably right in this case. However, unless I rapidly improve my schoolboy Francais, it’ll be a translated version for yours truly!
The author of Day Of The Triffids, The Kraken Wakes and The Midwich Cuckoos (all 1950s sci-fi classics) was a fellow July 10th-er. I read the Triffids a loooong time ago as a kid and it is a very well constructed example of genre writing. Wyndham’s work these days seems a little dated – even quaint – but he knew what he was doing – as an example of how to craft (and pace) a genre book, his better-known works are right up there. Wyndham set out to produce genre books that captured the public imagination – and paid his own bills! – and Sci Fi was the ‘du jour’ topic in the 1950s. Sci Fi does not have a massive appeal to yours truly tbh (I much prefer Gothic Horror by a country mile) and I doubt I shall ever write within the Sci Fi genre myself but…never say never, I guess!
And finally, there is one more fellow July 10th-er who, although not a fellow writer, I feel I really MUST mention: boxer Jake La Motta – the original ‘Raging Bull’ (on whom Scorsese’s excellent movie starring Robert De Niro is based). La Motta is still with us – and is 92 years young today! Happy Birthday Jake! I like to think there’s a little bit of Raging Bull inside me too! Certainly, he’s been an inspiration in personifying the stance that you need to fight, fight, fight and keep on fighting and never give in. That’s how I like to think I approach my writing my writing…and maybe one day I’ll also deliver a knockout punch! Anyway, here’s a pic of Jake in his prime/ciao amici: