Saturday, September 5, 2015
Obsessions Don't Die
Those who know me well know that I've had a number of literary obsessions in my adult life. (I had boyhood ones, too: cowboy novels, biographies of mountain men, the Alamo, etc.) I spent ten years pursing the life and work of Jack London, ten more years with Mary Shelley, some years with Edgar Poe. Some with John O'Hara. I no longer have chunks of years to devote like that (I didn't then, either--just the somewhat youthful folly of thinking I did).
As London faded, Shelley brightened; as Shelley faded, Poe brightened. Since Poe I had a mild flare of John O'Hara.
And Shakespeare has maintained his bright light in my life.
All of these obsessions resulted in publication--some with traditional publishers (London), some self-published on KindleDirect (the others). I wrote here a few years ago, by the way, about why I'm publishing now on KD: The main reason ... I'm no Spring Chicken (to say the least) and am more like a Late-Winter Rooster. I don't have time to spend years (or even months) trying to convince an agent or a publisher to handle my work. Screw 'em. I'll do it myself and accept the consequences of few readers and a few typos. The work is "out there"--and that's all I care about. (Link to my author page on Amazon.)
Anyway, these early obsessions haven't really disappeared. Their invisible magnets remain in place just below my skin, and whenever anything new (or unknown to me) comes along, its metal clanks against me--and I must do something about it.
And so I'll read the newest biography of London or Poe or Shelley (or major folks associated with their stories). I'll try to keep up with Shakespeare scholarship--and with other things, like novels and/or plays based on his work. (I just finished, for example, a novel called The Secret Life of William Shakespeare (2012) by Jude Morgan, a novel I'm going to blog a little about on Sunday).
And in today's mail arrived something of interest. Just a week or so ago I read Paul Collins' recent brief biography of Poe, and I commented in a blog post that I was happy to see he'd not embraced some of the more outlandish theories about Poe's death. In the process, I decided to check Google to see if there were any more (outlandish) theories out there.
And in the process I came across a reference to an article in an issue of Smithsonian, October 2014: "The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe," by Natasha Geiling. The piece surveys nine of the theories about the cause of his death. I promptly hopped on eBay and bought a copy of the magazine: $6.21 (not all that bad).
Which came today.
And which taught me a lesson: I'm still stupid.
For if I'd looked more carefully at the link on Google, I would have seen that the article was on Smithsonian online, not in the magazine. (Link to the online article.)
So now I have this magazine--October 2014--with a cover that (as you can see) says Secrets of American History.
Well, one of those secrets is no longer a secret: Daniel Dyer is still (at times ... often? occasionally?) a Dodo.