On this day in 1616, the Spanish novelist, playwright and poet Miguel de Cervantes died of unspecified causes. On the same day of the SAME year…. William Shakespeare also died.
Undoubtedly, most of our readers will know a great deal about both of these writers so we’ll not bore you with a bunch of historical information. What we will do is provide you with two excellent resources.
This is not the first time we have been asked this question. The answer is no. We do not accept submissions. However here is a list of places we all contribute to on a regular basis. Perhaps you will have luck at some of these places.
We also encourage writers to check out your local bookstores and libraries for publication/ spoken word opportunities. Also… do not be afraid to self publish. Some artists today are getting a healthy amount of business and exposure by self publishing and self promotion. BE BOLD! AIM HIGH!
That’s right… on this day in 1910, our beloved Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) died of heart failure at the age of 74.
Twain is, of course, best known for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Prince and the Pauper, but he actually began his illustrious career in travel journalism. His body of work is extensive and includes everything from essays to memoirs and everything in between! Some of our favorite, though perhaps lesser known, works by Twain include Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc (a novel published in 1896), Life on the Mississippi (1883) and Is Shakespeare Dead?, which was published in 1909.
Twain died in Redding, Connecticut. At his memorial, William Dean Howells said:
"We may confess that he had faults, while we deny that he tried to make them pass for merits. He disowned his errors by owning them; in the very defects of his qualities he triumphed, and he could make us glad with him at his escape from them."
We can safely say that no other American writer has shown us ourselves so vividly and so enduringly. Twain spoke often of the importance of literacy, so we hope you will join us in an honor of silent reading in honor of this titan of American Literature.
On April 20th in 1912, renowned Irish author, Bram Stoker died from exhaustion at the age of 64. He had suffered a number of strokes prior to his death, which may have been a result of tertiary syphilis.
Naturally, Mr. Stoker is best remembered for his gothic masterpiece, Dracula. However, we really must recommend that if you haven’t already, you sprint out to your local library and poke around for his first novel, The Primrose Path, published in 1875; twenty two years before Dracula! While this particular novel is nowhere near supernatural, we feel it is remarkably well written for a premier novel and his descriptions of setting are just so beautifully precise. It’s always fun to read a now renowned author’s work when they were but a fledgling.
Among his other works, you will find he wrote quite a few novels- none of which ever became as popular as Dracula, a plethora of short stories ( some published posthumously) and quite a few nonfiction works such as A Glimpse of America in 1886 and Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving , published in 1906.
Dracula is generally regarded as the culmination of the Gothic (style of the twelfth to fifteenth centuries) vampire story, preceded earlier in the nineteenth century by William Polidori’s The Vampyre, Thomas Prest’s Varney the Vampyre, J. S. Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and Guy de Maupassant’s Le Horla. The narrative, comprising journal entries, letters, newspaper clippings, a ship’s log, and phonograph recordings, allowed Stoker to contrast his character’s actions with their own analysis of their acts.
Some critics today, attempt to criticize Stoker’s Dracula as being tediously grotesque or purposely “overtly shocking”, but we do not think any of these critics could deny the immense impact it has had on popular culture. Even today, Dracula remains a very ominous name in our media, literature, and collective subconscious.
Today- we want you to SHOCK your readers! Stoker was willing to SHOCK his prim and proper audience… so, why not you? Throw your characters into the most shocking set of circumstances your wicked minds can conjure up!
On this day in 2000, the most well recognized American author of macabre children’s literature and renowned illustrator , Edward Gorey died of heart failure. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered in the Barnstable Harbor in Massachusetts.
Although Gorey was mostly self-taught, he did attend the Art Institute of Chicago briefly in 1943. From 1946 through 1950, he attended Harvard University where he studied French and even roomed with poet Frank O’Hara.
In addition to publishing his own books, Mr. Gorey illustrated several high profile book covers. Some of which included The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. He took on a wide variety of art projects in the course of his career. In fact, he was awarded a Tony in 1978 for his costume designs for Dracula. Also in 1978, Gorey received the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award, which honors outstanding authors in the mystery genre, including true crime and detective fiction.
Some of our very favorite works by Gorey include his first children’s publication The Doubtful Guest (1957), The Hapless Child (1961) and The Haunted Tea-Cosy: A Distasteful Diversion for Christmas , which was published in 1997.
We urge those of you who have yet to discover Mr. Gorey’s work to check out Edward Gorey House. Truly, there are all manner of goodies and gems to be discovered therein!
Today, get in touch with your inner “social misfit” child and take them out for a walk in this dreary weather… to play some drôle game…or, whatever…
I've recently created an online book club in the tumblr community with the affectionate moniker: 1BaM (one book a month). I'm hoping to garner interest in my little project which encourages people - particularly college students - to rediscover their love of recreational reading. Please feel free to stop by, and if you're so inclined, vote on the first book we'll be reading!
We love this! Anything that encourages people to read and to appreciate the words they find there, is OKAY by us!! Literacy should be a top priority here in America and so often, it isn’t. A few of us here at DWC are professors, some are students… so, yes, we completely endorse this sort of thing! Good luck to you! It is a noble endeavor, to be sure.
In April of 2007, American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, took a fall in his Manhattan home and died on April 11th from serious brain injuries endured during the fall. He lived to be 84 years old.
Kurt Vonnegut created some of the most outrageously memorable novels of our time, such as Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast Of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five. His work is a mesh of contradictions: both science fiction and literary, dark and funny, classic and counter-culture, warm-blooded and very cool. And it’s all completely unique.
If you’ve not read any of his work, we recommend you start with his very first short story “Report on the Barnhouse Effect”. And if you’re interested in a great article about Mr. Vonnegut check out “Kurt Vonnegut’s Final Interview(s)” on observer.com
May the muses be with you all today, and every day this month! We encourage you all to get out there start submitting. Take chances! Submit your work to places you wouldn’t normally. Share your art this month. Do a spontaneous reading… be bold.