Friday June 16, 2017

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Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
     Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea;
I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate,
     For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays—
     For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways
     And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
     The friends I seek are seeking me,
No wind can drive my bark astray
     Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
     I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it has sown,
     And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own, and draw
     The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
     Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
     The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
     Can keep my own away from me.

“Waiting” by John Burroughs. Public domain.  (buy now)

It was on this day 50 years ago, one of the first big rock festivals, the Monterey International Pop Music Festival, was held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in California. About 90 thousand people paid between $3 and $6.50 to see The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Otis Redding. The Woodstock festival was held two years later in 1969.

It’s the birthday of American novelist and short-story writer Joyce Carol Oates (books by this author), born in Lockport, New York (1938). Oates has written more than 70 books and been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize five times. She’s often been criticized for being so prolific, and once replied, “Each book is a world unto itself and must stand alone, and it should not matter whether a book is a writer’s first, or tenth, or fiftieth.”

Oates was raised Catholic in Millersport, New York, where her father was a tool and die designer. She led a typical working-class life, though she once called her childhood “a daily scramble for existence.” Her grandmother encouraged her obsessive reading habits and gave Oates Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which Oates referred to as “the most profound literary influence of my life.” In her teens, she tore through the works of Charlotte Brontë, William Faulkner, and Dostoyevsky. Her grandmother gave her a typewriter when she was 14, and she began writing stories immediately. By the time she graduated Syracuse University as valedictorian, she’d already completed several novels, though she found them shoddy and threw them away. Her first novel, With Shuddering Fall, was published in 1969.

Oates writes about class and violence, and also writes in genres like romance and mystery. She once submitted a novel to her agent under a pseudonym, Rosamond Smith, and it was accepted for publication without her agent even guessing. When the ruse was discovered, Oates was unrepentant. She said, “I wanted to escape from my own identity.” She’s written about boxing in the book On Boxing (1987) and a fictionalized account of actress Marilyn Monroe’s life, called Blonde (1999). Her other books include We Were the Mulvaneys (1996) and A Fair Maiden (2010).

The Apache leader Geronimo was born on this day in Sonora, Mexico (1829). Geronimo is celebrated for his resistance to American and Mexican military encroachment into American Indian territory.

In 1851, while Geronimo was away from home, members of the Mexican militia raided his camp and slaughtered its inhabitants — Geronimo’s mother, wife, and three children among the dead. The event inspired an intense desire for revenge in Geronimo, who spent much of his life at war with Mexican and American soldiers.

He was captured several times, but became known for his ability to escape. One story poses that after Geronimo led his followers into a cave in Arizona, U.S. troops waited at the entrance for the group to emerge. They never did, presumably because Geronimo had found another exit. Today it is known as Geronimo’s Cave.

Eventually, however, Geronimo was caught and held as a prisoner of war. He was prevented from returning to his homeland for the rest of his life. Occasionally, he made public appearances, such as when he rode a Ferris wheel at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

He died as a prisoner of war in a military hospital in Oklahoma City, and he was buried with other Apache prisoners of war on the grounds.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®