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WRITERS - ALL-AMERICANS

PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SOUTHERN STORYTELLER:
Storyline: The prodigal son of the South lives as a house divided and tries to reconcile his dualities through his fictions and confessionals, as a living embodiment of an internal civil war that has yet to see its clear-cut Appomattox.

William Styron (1925-2006) - American writer. Outer: Grandson of slave owners, with his paternal grandfather in the Confederate army, and grandmother from a wealthy planter family. Father was a shipyard engineer from an old southern family, whose mother had owned 2 slaves as a child, while he felt miscast with his dull office job, when his real love was for language and culture. Mother was from a wealthy Pennsylvania family and had wanted to be a professional singer, studying in Europe to that affect along with a sister, before becoming a high school music teacher, prior to her marriage. Had a cultured childhood, and was doted upon by his parents, learning how to read early on, and showing a lifelong fascination with the English language. His mother was continually sick and died of cancer when her only child was 13. Deeply affected by her death, he became very unruly at his father’s remarriage, and was finally sent to a threadbare Episcopalian boarding school. Went to Davidson College, a conservative Christian institutions, but was unhappy there and transferred to Duke Univ, where he had his first short stories published in the college’s literary magazine. 6’, 170 lbs. As a V-12 officer in the Marines reserve, he was mobilized as a lieutenant at the end of WW II, only to be discharged at year’s end, to return to Duke to graduate. Went to NYC, got a job as an editor at a trade book house. Irritated his supervisors by his individuality, and was eventually fired for dropping a balloon into an executive’s office. Wrote “Lie Down in Darkness,” about a suicidal young woman in a loveless marriage in his native Tidewater, Virginia, over a 3 year period, then was called back into the marines for Korea, but pleaded an eye defect and was discharged. Won a Prix de Rome for the novel, and went to Paris, where he was involved in the founding of “The Paris Review.” In his late 20s, in Rome, he married Rose Burgunder, the daughter of a wealthy department store owner, and a poet in her own write, 3 daughters and a son from the union, which was marked by his wife’s wild spending, and his inability to dominate her. Showed his true querulous, isolated nature to his family, particularly when drunk. Returned to settle permanently in Roxbury, Connecticut, but his subsequent book was ill-received, and he went into a period of literary silence, brooding upon his next project. His following work, “The Confessions of Nat Turner,” a first person account of a pre-Civil War slave revolt, received a sensational reception and cemented his reputation, as a skillful writer willing to take chances with his fictions, despite much subsequent carping by black readers for his presumption, which prevented a film being made of the work. Won the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1968. Achieved wide acclaim for his next novel, “Sophie’s Choice,” a tale of the Shoa, based on a Polish woman he had earlier met in a NYC boardinghouse, which did make it to the big screen, as well as garnered him another host of awards. Traveled abroad frequently, and was much lionized in France. After a long and successful career, he made his own confession in print, “Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness” in 1990, of a continuing suicidal depression, which did not lift until he was hospitalized in the mid-1980s, after forty years of alcohol abuse. After suffering several years of ill health, he finally succumbed to pneumonia in his second home in Martha’s Vineyard. Inner: Social, easy-going, gregarious and a creature of routines to the outside world, but with a totally hidden angry side to his affable, outgoing nature, which his family was forced to bear. Painstakingly slow writer, often completing no more than a page and a half a day. Fascinated by the catastrophic nature of humanity. Divided persona lifetime of confessionals, both fictional and real, about his own unintegrated character, and his use of story to try to bind some of his double-edged wounds. William Simms (1806-1870) - American writer. Outer: Son of a poor shopkeeper who went bankrupt. After his mother died, he was reared by his maternal grandmother. Had scant schooling, then was apprenticed to a druggist. Wrote verse as a child. At 18, he visited his father, who had become a pioneer farmer, giving him a taste of frontier life, which he would later write about. His sire and grandmother subsequently contested for his guardianship, with the latter prevailing. Read the law, but never practiced. At 20, he married, but his wife died 6 years later, leaving a daughter. Became a journalist for 2 years, then a partner in a paper, before moving to NYC for a literary career. Published his first novel, but got homesick and returned permanently to South Carolina. At 30, he married the daughter of a wealthy plante, the daughter of wealthy planter and lived with her in her ancestral home. 9 of their 14 children died. Despite the losses, he lived comfortably and wrote and acted as a benefactor of young writers. In the North, his works were well-received, but in the South, his lower-class origins outweighed his talents and he was snubbed. Served in the state legislature, and missed being lieutenant governor by one vote. The Civil War ruined him and the last part of his life was nothing but lying down in darkness. His wife died in the middle of it, his house was burned, he rebuilt it and then saw it sacked. Died of overwork, trying to support his remaining children. Wrote hastily with a penchant for blood and thunder, and also destroyed the fictive rhythms of his books with factual material. Inner: Born storyteller. Kind, patriotic and noble. Loss-addled lifetime of continual frustrations, despite a talent for literary invention and an equal magnet for misfortune, in the belief, perhaps, that suffering makes for art. William Byrd (1674-1744) - American writer and politician. Outer: Father was a Virginia planter of English aristocratic background, and one of the most powerful and venerated men of his time in America. Mother was also from a wealthy background. Educated in England, read law at Middle Temple, traveled in Holland and France, then became involved in American politics on his return. Served as a member of House of Burgesses, held several colonial posts and was also a colonial agent in England. From 1709 until his death, he was a member of the Virginia Council, and its president his last year. Inherited a great estate from his father, ultimately owning nearly 180,000 acres. Had the later city of Richmond laid out on one of his holdings. As one of the commissioners to survey the Virginia-North Carolina border, he gathered much material for his writings. Based several books on his diaries, using a ready wit and a polished writing style as one of the foremost recorders of his time. Constantly in debt, never extricating himself, despite his prominence, wealth and power. Married twice, the first time in his early 30s to Lucy Parke, the daughter of a general, but his wife died a decade later, 2 daughters from union. His 2nd marriage produced two sons. Saw writing more as an avocation, and left a library of over 4000 volumes at his death. Inner: Observant, clever. Well-built, haughty. Bibliophile and art-lover. Divided lifetime of difficulties with the material world despite great wealth, while recording a wealth of material about his times and place, not yet seeing his avocation was his true vocation.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SHORT-LIVED TRUTH-SAYER:
Storyline: The incandescent candle takes on the struggles of Africa in America, and, despite an extraordinary gift for finding the right poetic and theatrical metaphor for her views, has great difficulty in not allowing herself to be consumed by the dis-ease of minorities in a rigid majority-oriented social system.

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) - American playwright. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father was a successful real estate broker, mother was a schoolteacher. Both parents were politically active, her sire ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress and was a U.S. marshal. Family moved into an all-white neighborhood when daughter was in the 3rd grade. Taunted, harassed and finally forced to leave by a lower court ruling that upheld closed agreements. her father challenged it all the way up to the Supreme Court and won, abolishing restrictive covenants. The scenario later became the basis for Raisin in the Sun, her best-remembered drama, about black dreams and white realities. Developed an interest in the theater while in high school. Attended the Univ. of Wisconsin, but left after 2 years, then studied painting at several schools, before coming to NYC, and working as a reporter for actor/activist Paul Robeson’s newspaper, Freedom. Studied at the New School for Social Research, and developed a global view of black struggle. In 1953, she married Robert Nemiroff, a writer, composer and Communist activist, and started penning essays and plays. The duo were divorced 11 years later. Raised funds to have Raisin in the Sun produced, and after successful tryouts elsewhere, it opened on Broadway in 1959, the first play ever produced there by an African-American woman. It won the NY Drama Critics’ Circle award, and ultimately was made into a film. Continued playwrighting until her early death from cancer. Had a huge attendance at her Harlem funeral, for her extremely well-respected figure. Inner: Highly political, pro-lesbian spokesperson, with a strong identification with those oppressed by the unthinking majority. Self-consuming lifetime of internalizing the great struggle of Africa integrating itself into the Americas, and allowing herself to be eaten alive by it. Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) - American writer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Father had been born a slave, but escaped to Canada, where he learned to read, then returned to the US, fought in the Civil War and became a plasterer in Ohio. Mother was a widow who had also been born a slave, and taught herself to read and write as well. Only child, in frail health since childhood, father died when son was 12. Sole African-American in his high school, publicly active and popular, and editor of his school newspaper. Wanted to be a lawyer, but the only position open to him on graduation, was as an elevator operator. Published a book of poems, paying for his printing bill by selling them on his elevator. Worked for Frederick Douglass (Jesse Jackson) at the World Columbia Exposition in Chicago. Returned to Ohio, feeling quite discouraged in his literary career. Then got help in publishing his 2nd book of poems. His 3rd collection was his best known, Lyrics of Lowly Life, after he had compromised himself by writing dialect poems. Came into vogue, and wrote 4 novels as well as verse. His first 3 novels were about white characters, but his fourth and best, The Sport of Gods, was about an uprooted black family in the urban North. Wrote mostly for a white readership, while suffering from bipolar disorder. Lectured, traveled to England, and entertained thoughts of becoming a minister. Made an assistant in the Library of Congress in 1897. Secretly married Alice Moore, a teacher and writer in 1898, after earlier raping her, while her parents disapproved of him because his skin was too dark and he had worked in minstrel shows. Prone to ranting and embarrassing himself, thanks to his inability to handle alcohol with his delicate mental state. His wife left him in 1902, after he savagely beat her, and never saw him again, despite his constant entreaties that she return. His health soon weakened through overwork, alcoholism and mental stress and he died. Well-loved for his lyrical talents, with numerous societies named for him, despite his crippled personality. Inner: Insecure, angry, great desire to be publicly loved. Combined sentimentality and melancholia with violent outbursts. At war with himself lifetime of trying to be a voice for the voiceless, without the emotional stability to change things, only to record them, thanks to his thoroughly unintegrated male and female sides. Phyllis Wheatley (1753?-1784) - African/American writer. Outer: Captured as a young Senegal girl, and sold from a slave ship, the Phillis, from which she got her name, to an American merchant family, the Wheatleys. Despite her frailty, she was immediately recognized as unusually precocious, and was given the opportunity to learn to read and write and study Latin, mythology, ancient his/story, English poetry and the Bible, a virtually unheard of privilege of the time. Began to write poems in her early teens, mostly of a religious nature, from the perspective of her newfound Christianity. Became the only one in the house who had a light in her room at night, in case she awakened and wished to write. Could not get her poems published until she submitted to an exam by a jury of 18 eminent Bostonians, including the governor. After deliberation, they officially proclaimed her genuinely capable of civilized expression, despite being non-caucasian. Won acclaim for her work, which was deeply Christian and spiritually uplifting, without addressing her political state. In 1773, she sailed for London in her master’s ship, accompanied by his son, and she was treated like a daughter. After the death of her master, she married a freed African-American, who proved uncongenial to either business or fatherhood, leaving her to work as a servant, and to ultimately die at a young age in poverty. Inner: Conventional in expression, unconventional in the human channel she chose to be for it. Enchained lifetime of gaining recognition for her powers of expression while totally submitting to the dual oppression of being black and female in a white male world, an issue she would continue to explore from all perspectives.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS CULTURAL CHRONICLER:
Storyline: The talk story teacher gradually immerses herself in more difficult circumstances, testing her independence and will, while proving herself a masterly mistress of mythos and fictive fact in her ongoing evolution as an educator of uncommon experience.

wMaxine Hong Kingston (1940) - Chinese/American writer. Outer: Father was raised to be a scholar in China, came to NYC, changed his name to Tom after inventor Thomas Edison, and became a laundryman, although he was a frustrated poet at heart, who later told his daughter she was living the life he wished for himself. Her mother joined him 15 years later after medical training in China. Her sire was subsequently swindled out of his share of a laundry, and moved with his wife to Stockton to work in a gambling house, then bought another laundry. Her mother lived to 100, while her father made it to his 90s. 2 children died in China, and she was the first American-born member of the family. Small, under 5 feet. The laundry required the labor of all 3 daughters and 3 sons of the eventual family. The first language for her was Say Up, a Cantonese dialect. Silent in school her first few years because English was not spoken at home, although the talk-story traditions practiced in her household would serve as a literary basis for her. Shy, but was writing poems in English at 9, with a pronounced gift for story-telling. Won a scholarship to UC, Berkeley, where she studied engineering, then English literature, despite her family’s indifference. Got a teaching certificate 3 years after her B.A., when she couldn’t support herself writing. Married Earll Kingston, a fellow student and actor, in 1962, one son from the union. Taught in Hayward, then Hawaii for a decade, financing her writing through high school teaching. The success of her first book in 1976, the autobiographical, Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts, which focused on self-expression among deliberately silenced Chinese women, enabled her to give up teaching and devote fulltime to writing, although she accepted selective professorships afterwards. In her 2nd memoir, China Men, she catalogued the violence of the male immigrant experience in America. Named by a Buddhist sect as a “Living Treasure of Hawai’i,” the first Chinese-American to be so honored. Visited China, then returned to America, settling in Oakland in the mid-1980s, and later losing her house in a fire, as well as the mss. she was working on, which she painstakingly restored as The Fifth Book of Peace. Continued her exploration of Chinese/American culture in further works, including poetry, essays and short stories, as well as more books, serving as a literary teacher for the nation about the vast differences twixt the two worlds she came to inhabit. Prematurely white-haired. Inner: Gentle, soft-spoken. Transpacific lifetime of acting as a bridge figure between alien cultures, and using her teacherly skills to illuminate the exotica of her heritage for western eyes. wKate Wiggin (1856-1923) - American writer. Outer: Daughter of a lawyer. The family on both sides descended from distinguished New Englanders. Father died when she was young, mother remarried a distant relative. Had a happy childhood spent in Maine with sister and half-brother. Studied at home and had a spotty education at several secondary schools. The family habit of reading aloud encouraged her love for books. The family moved to Southern California for her stepfather’s health, but he died when she was 20, putting them in financial straits. Wrote a story that was accepted, although soon turned to kindergarten teaching, after her family mortgaged its last home to support her schooling in Los Angeles for that endeavor. After graduating, she began working in San Francisco, heading the first free kindergarten in the U.S. Despite an impoverished environment and wild kids, she was able to exert her strong influence on her charge. Augmented her education, added a teacher training program and worked in partnership with her sister, who took over the kindergarten when she married Samuel Wiggin, a young Boston lawyer and childhood friend in 1881. Afterwards, she worked at the training school, and lectured at the kindergarten, while writing to raise money for her enterprises, and visiting other kindergarten training schools in the East. Her husband died in 1889, which impelled a change of direction in her life, that she had been contemplating. Continued writing children’s stories, visited Europe with friends, and divided her time between writing and giving public readings of her works, for the benefit of children’s charities. Suffered the rest of her life periodically from illness and exhaustion, often taking rest cures or traveling in order to replenish herself. In 1895, she married George Riggs a NY manufacturer and importer who was extremely supportive of her undertakings. Wrote several books in collaboration with her sister, and was extremely prolific the last 3 decades of her life. Best known for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, written in 1903, the story of a fatherless little girl, which was an immediate success, and was later turned into a play. Went to England at life’s near end as delegate to the Dickens Fellowship, but was ill and forced to enter a nursing home, where she died of bronchial pneumonia. Her autobiography, My Garden of Memory was published posthumously. Inner: Warm personality, intense love for children. Transition lifetime of driving herself to open her imagination, as well as serve the interests of children and her own child within, in her ongoing self-appointed role as teacher/storyteller. Sarah K. Knight (1666-1727) - American teacher and diarist. Outer: Father was an American merchant, engaged in selling prisoners of war for English Commonwealth leader Oliver Cromwell (Robert Kennedy). Her sire was put in the stocks for publicly kissing his wife in greeting on the Sabbath after an absence of 3 years. Received a good education and married Richard Knight, a much older shipmaster who had been widowed, one daughter from union. Succeeded her father as head of the household in 1689, and was matriarch over a number of relatives living with her. Recorded public documents and ran a writing school that young Benjamin Franklin (R. Buckminster Fuller) attended. Known as Madam Knight. Managed a considerable amount of business transactions, and became very knowledgeable about the law. Kept a diary of her activities, although it wasn’t published until a century after her death. Speculated in Amerindian lands, kept a shop and a house of entertainment. Indicted and fined for selling alcohol to the Amerindians, although she said a servant had done that deed. Left a sizable estate. Inner: Independent, tolerant, highly energetic, good-humored. Scrivening lifetime of financial and social independence, while learning how to chronicle through the simple record of her life’s activities, in preparation for moving on into the realm of fiction in her continuing series of teacherly, writerly lives.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SHEER WRITING MACHINE:
Storyline: The penultimate penman pours out his fears and horrors in a torrent of imaginative excess to compensate for his own odd disconnections, while creating whole libraries in his wake down through time, as the most fecund scribe who ever touched morbid and mysterious finger to typewriter.

Stephen King (1947) - American writer. Outer: Mother was always working to support 2 sons. Father was a merchant seaman who walked out for pack of cigarettes when he was 2, and never returned. Discovered later that his sire had written several horror stories that were never published. Lonely and introverted as a child, finding succor in his own imagination. Invented a heroic alter ego named Cannonball Cannon to counterbalance his fears. Grew to 6’3”, 225 lbs., although later on became gaunt and skeletal-looking, a creature out of his own perfervid imagination. His father’s fantasy-horror collection inspired him to pursue a similar creative outlet. Began sending out stories at 12, although was unable to publish them. Went to the Univ. of Maine on a scholarship, and remained in his native state. Worked as a janitor, a laborer in an industrial laundry and a knitting mill, as well as being an English teacher at a private secondary school. Sold his first paperback for $400,000. In his mid-20s, he married Tabitha Spruce, an eventual novelist, 3 children, 2 of whom, Joe and Owen, became writers. Extraordinarily prolific, and a self-professed writing addict, he has created a whole horror library of his own, which has easily translated into film, beginning with Carrie, written when he was 24. Despite his self-deprecating characterization of being the MacDonald’s of literature, he has had the continuing ability to frighten and entertain people with his unending imagination, through stories, novels, teleplays and screenplays, under both his own name and Richard Bachman. Achieved great wealth from his works, buying up media outlets and spending a million dollars on a little league ballpark, known as “the Field of Screams.” Also has had an uncontrollable appetite for drugs and alcohol which his wife helped him past in 1985, and which he finally revealed after a near fatal auto accident in 1999, that pulverized his right leg. Able to bounce back, with an electronic novella that failed to find a proper audience, as well as a tome on craft, On Writing. Almost a billion of his books are between covers, and despite reports of his retiring, continues to crank it out for various media, while spending part of the year in Florida, which would afford him more geographical fodder for his nonstop need to re-render his prodigious imagination into print. Added comicbooks to his oeuvre by adopted his “Dark Tower” series, then, in 2010, did an original series of comic scripts for “American Vampire,” a wild west take on a very popular genre well within his sphere of imaginative expertise. In 2015, he received the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor for artists given by the U.S. government. Inner: Affable, easy-going, reluctant celebrity. Retinal problem, can’t see well straight ahead, only peripherally, as symbol of his own peripheral view of life’s terrors. Obsessively oral in his intakes and output, writing 7 days a week. Extremely focused, maximizing his time, whether it be reading, writing or listening to music. Page-a-minute lifetime of expanding on his prolific storytelling skills without losing his audience, by focusing on the universal element of fear, rather than mystery, as in his previous go-round in this series. Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930) - American writer. Outer: His father emigrated from Germany for the California gold rush, then went to New Jersey to settle a deceased brother’s affairs, before marrying his sibling’s widow and becoming a tobacconist. Youngest son of 6 children, and an avid reader of popular fiction while growing up. Graduated from high school, then had some private tutoring. Worked as a clerk in a tobacco store owned by his step-brother, and tried to write inspirational short stories for boys, like Horatio Alger (Truman Capote) did. Bought his own little printing press and distributed his tales to family and friends, while harboring an early ambition to sell a million copies of one of his books. Sold his first story in 1888 to a popular children’s journal for $75, and became a self-supporting writer afterwards. Moved to Newark, New Jersey two years later, where he owned and managed a stationary store, while continuing to churn out stories in a host of genres, ranging from detective tales to westerns to serials under a variety of names. In 1891, he married Magdalene van Camp, 2 daughters from the union, Edna and Harriet. Began his “Bound to Succeed” series in 1894, aping Alger’s earlier formula of rags-to-riches heroes. Became editor of a weekly magazine for boys in his early 30s, edited other magazines, and then did his own periodical, Bright Days. Originally wrote under the name of Arthur Winfield. By his mid-30s, he was a fulltime writer, grinding out a score of titles that fed the literary appetites of several generations of children. Alger, in ill health at century’s nearend, had him finish one of his own manuscripts, then he did several more of his works after his death. Founded Stratemayer Literary Syndicate in 1906 in NYC, and as such, added Tom Swift, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Dana Girls and the Bobbsey Twins to his already successful Rover Boys. Spent a lot of time collecting data for his books and employed a factory’s worth of writers to crank and flesh out his plots, which were all surface and action with little characterization. A clever businessman, he introduced 50¢ novels, and virtually cornered the market with his type of inspirationally escapist entertainment. Wrote under numerous names, including Ralph Bonehill and Carolyn Keene. Died of pneumonia twelve days after the first trio of Nancy Drew books were published. Daughters Edna and Harriet carried on his syndicate after his death, with the latter ultimately running it until her demise in 1982. Inner: Methodical, ambitious and highly industrious. Machinegun of the imagination lifetime of grounding his desire to be supported by his storytelling skills, and proving himself to be an immensely prolific channel for popular tastes, which he would narrow down into one genre the next time around in this series. Charles Brockden Brown (1771-1810) - American writer. Outer: Descended from Quakers, who had come to America with William Penn (Saul Williams). Son of a merchant. Frail and studious as a child. An avid reader, he loved to gather information, with a particular fascination with geography. Sickly his entire life. Tall, thin and pale, with black hair and a permanently melancholy countenance. Apprenticed to a lawyer, but gave up the law to pursue a career in literature in his early 20s, despite objections from his family. Drifted between Philadelphia and NYC, acting as a teacher. Continued reading, and dreamt of writing a masterpiece. A radical Jeffersonian, he hung out with writers, and wrote on rights of women. Did all his noteworthy work in a brief 2 year period at the end of the 18th century, including a sensational Gothic novel. Married Elizabeth Linn in his early 30s, 4 children from the union. Led a quiet life save for fleeing 2 yellow fever epidemics. Earned little from his novels. Returned to Philadelphia in 1801 and became a partner with 2 brothers in a mercantile firm, which was dissolved 5 years later. At the same time he founded a literary magazine, while lasted for about 5 years. Traded independently until his death from consumption and did hack work. Became the first American who tried to live by his pen, through editing, pamphleteering and information-gathering. Inner: Extremely industrious, with a somber intensity, and an eager intellectual curiosity. Interested in limning tormented states of mind. Fountain of pens lifetime of developing the itch to write, although not the scratch to pump out endless titles to relieve it.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE STORYTELLER:
Storyline: The last name first named scribe serially struggles with a strong propensity for self-distancing and self-denial, until he is finally forced to confront himself in a body that no longer works, and ultimately finds some sense of peace with who he is after many a century of severe disconnection.

Heywood Broun (1950-1987) - American writer. Known as ‘Hob.’ Outer: Grandson of Heywood Broun (Keith Olbermann), a well-known novelist and journalist, and son of an actor and TV commentator of the same name. Mother was a stage actress. Had an active childhood, surrounded by creative people, and emulated and revered his father. A voracious reader, and from early on an equally voracious writer, constantly reworking material, producing short stories and 2 novels, showing a dark comic overview of life. Highly social, but after surgery for a large tumor on his spine, in his early 30s, he became paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without a respirator, so that he spent his last 4 years as a quadriplegic. Tumors are usually indicative of deep anger, in this case, support and secret father issues. At first deeply depressed and bitter, he eventually reconciled himself, and learned how to write by blowing air through a tube hooked up to the keyboard of a computer. Ultimately died of asphyxiation in his sleep. Inner: Humorous, witty, with a great enthusiasm for life. Burnt candle lifetime of radically dealing with his continuing propensity for physical self-destruction, while continuing to develop his writerly skills, this time in the bosom of a famous family. gDamon Runyon (Damon Runyan) (1880-1946) - American writer. Outer: Born in Manhattan, Kansas, and later created a singular career in Manhattan, N.Y. Father was a newspaper publisher and printer, who was a flashy dresser, heavy drinker and poor provider. 2nd of 4 children. His family moved to Colorado for his mother’s health, although she soon died, which caused the household to break up and gave him a free-spirited youth there. Enlisted in the army at the age of 14, was sent to the Philippines in the Spanish-American War, and became a reporter afterwards. Aped his father in drink and dress, and became a star reporter on the Rocky Mountain News. Through a printer’s error, his name was slightly misspelled, and he retained it. Gave up drinking for his future wife, Ellen Egan, a society writer, whom he married in his early 30s, 2 children from union. His spouse ironically died an alcoholic after they separated. Promoted boxing matches and managed a semi-pro team in Colorado. Because of his interest in sports, he moved to NYC to write fiction. Covered sports for the New York American, and became the highest salaried sportswriter of his time, working for the Hearst organization. Gradually evolved a unique style, focusing on human characters rather than chronicling events. Wrote about Broadway eccentrics, in such works as Guys and Dolls, collecting a wide readership. In his early 50s, he married Patrice Amati del Grande, a Spanish dancer, but the duo divorced several months before his death, after she left him for a younger man. A familiar social figure in NY nightspots, he eventually had a syndicated column, which made him both rich and famous. Went to Hollywood for 2 years in the early 1940s and was well-paid for his efforts. Made mute by cancer surgery at life’s near end and died of cancer of the larynx. Inner: Adventurous, highly social, keen ear, but vituperative. Slim, nervous, drank 40 cups of coffee a day. Short and dapper, introvert, hid his feelings behind a tough guy front. His children found him emotionally withdrawn. Guys’n’dolls lifetime colorfully limning society from his own colorful perspective, while staying wired to the gills on caffeine and deliberately removed from the world around him. gWashington Irving (1783-1859) - American writer. Outer: Son of a wealthy British merchant, who had emigrated to America two decades before he was born. Mother was beautiful and genial, father was austere and a strict disciplinarian, but being the last of 11 children, of whom 8 survived, he was indulged. Frail as a child, he attended private schools, showed himself to be a mischiefmaker, and read voraciously. Studied law, which did not particularly interest him, then traveled for his health to Paris, London and Holland, after the century’s turning, thanks to pulmonary trouble. Returned to NY in 1806, and became a lawyer, but showed an early talent for satire, as well as limning his social milieu. Slightly below average height, with delicate, handsome features. Wrote a comic his/story of New York, then was devastated by the death of his childhood sweetheart and fiancee in his mid-20s. Moved to Washington D.C. as a lobbyist for his brothers’ hardware business, after being made a partner in 1810, but remained unfocused for several years. Went to Liverpool in 1815, but failed to stave off family bankruptcy. However, in London, he made literary connections that finally gave him purpose again. Wrote under the pseudonym of Geoffrey Crayon. The success of his short stories, particularly “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” insured him a living by his pen. Credited with being the first modern short storyteller, as well as the first American man of letters. Traveled widely, then became diplomatic attaché in Spain. Returned to New York in 1832 after a nearly 2 decade absence, journeyed in the American West, and settled in upstate New York for the rest of his life, with a 4 year break as minister to Spain, beginning in 1842. Became the first American writer to achieve international fame. Although his output was fairly prodigious, it rarely challenged his readership. Preferred being an entertainer to an enlightener, and yet in the process, had the ability to expand the mythos of America. Died of heart failure. Inner: Modest, good-humored, and highly social. Gradually softened his lusty and iconoclastic wit to accommodate a wider readership, and in the process, sacrificed the artist for the entertainer. Self-entertaining lifetime of experiencing deep loss, and transmuting it into delightful, if not quite personally honest, literature.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SATIRICAL CHRONICLER:
Storyline: The sardonic sportsman discards his detached pen to become directly engaged with his astute cultural observations via the role of independent filmmaker, creating a unique oeuvre that manages to celebrate both sports and social justice as the defining games of life.

jJohn Sayles (1950) - American writer, filmmaker and actor. Outer: Son of a schoolteacher, and an early and eager reader. Graduated from Williams College with a degree in psychology, although opted for blue collar work, rather than a middle-class career, in order to give himself more of an expository view of his contemporary world. Held a series of odd jobs, including nursing-home attendant and meat packer, while writing short stories. 6’4” and angular. His first novel was about baseball players in drag. In the late 1970s, he began writing screenplays for B-meister Roger Corman, then made his directorial debut with a well-received, low budget film, Return of the Secaucus Seven in 1980, which he shot in less than a month. Continued to write quickies for others in order to finance his own films, which were also helped by a MacArthur “genius” grant, which he received in 1983. His oeuvre closely examined many facets of American life, while he often appeared in small roles in them, as well as in the works of others. Among his noted films have been Matewan, a tale of union organizing in the West Virginia coal-mines and a fey take on race in The Brother From Another Planet. Continued his affinity for baseball in Eight Men Out, the story of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox who threw the World Series, while playing Ring Lardner, unconsciously reprising an earlier life of his. Lives on both a farm in upstate NY and in Hoboken, NJ, with Maggie Renzi, an actress who has helped produce several of his films, and whom he met in college. Also created several TV shows and has written a number of novels, while focusing on different areas of the country in his films in his desire to explore American myths and realities. Mirror lookalike of his previous go-round in this series. Inner: Fiercely independent, with a strong sense of political and cultural America. Engaged lifetime of directly entwining his mordant view with the world around him, after many go-rounds of operating at a decided remove. jRing Lardner (Ringgold Lardner) (1885-1933) - American writer and humorist. Outer: Youngest of 9 children. From a well-to-do well-educated family. Taught at home along with 2 siblings until high school, then all 3 failed their entrance exams, but were accepted anyway. His family lost its financial moorings when he finished high school. Indulged by his parents, who wanted him to be an engineer, he briefly flirted with it as a student at the Armour Institute in Chicago, despite having little interest in the profession, then became a freight agent and a bookkeeper for a gas company before settling into a journalistic life as a reporter at 20. Established himself as a sports writer on the South Bend Times, in place of a brother, with a particular emphasis on baseball. Became baseball correspondent for the Chicago Examiner in 1908, then a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Married Ellis Abbott in his mid-20s, 4 sons from union, two of whom, John and Ring, Jr. became well-known writers. The other two died early in war-related incidents. Happily married, and devoted to family. His short stories for the Saturday Evening Post satirizing baseball players made him immensely popular, thanks to his innovative use of slang, and his invention of an imaginary pitcher for the NY Giants named Al, as his English-mangling narrator. His satires extended to American culture, although his vision became increasingly sardonic. In 1919, he moved to NY and became a weekly columnist for the Bell Syndicate, and 2 years later moved with his family to Long Island. Came to the theater later in life, despite a lifetime interest in it, and collaborated on 2 successful plays, then returned to journalism for the money. Wrote a mock autobiography, The Story of A Wonder Man, in 1927. Suffered from tuberculosis, which was exacerbated by his fondness for drink. Also had a weak heart, which ultimately confined him to bed. Spent most of his last 7 years in hospitals, before succumbing to a heart ailment in his sleep. Inner: Conventional, restrained, keenly observant, with a biting eye for commonality, and an extreme distaste for hypocrisy. Supreme game chronicler. Sportsman lifetime of struggling to integrate his natural sense of distance with a world that demanded his direct participation. jRobert Surtees (1803-1864) - English satirist. Outer: From an upperclass family. 2nd son of 9 children. Over 6’ and lean with high cheekbones and a cleft chin. Educated for the law, but his passion for hunting and writing about it, soon turned him into a devastating satirist of the sporting world, creating several memorable buffoonish characters, including Cockney grocer, Mr. Jornocks. In 1831, he co-founded and edited for 5 years the New Sporting Magazine. His writings covered the provincial world of riding, hunting and scheming around them, with little sympathy for anyone. Elected to Parliament, but retired to his father’s country estate, Hamsterley Hall, in his early 30s, where he lived out the life of a country gentleman, after inheriting it in 1838. Married Elizabeth Fenwick in his mid-30s, one son and two daughters from the union. Continued writing until the end of his life, as an insular observer of the life around him, and in doing so, became the first to limn the sport of hunting and its social ethos. Had a good sense of language and a deadly eye for archetypes. Wrote all his novels anonymously, having absolutely no desire to see his name in print. Died of a heart attack in a hotel. Inner: Mordant satirist with a deadly view of the English sporting world. Proud and reticent, he was quick to take umbrage at perceived slights, and never forgot them. At-a-remove lifetime of emerging from privilege into a world ripe for mocking, which he could afford to do without recrimination, thanks to an economic status that allowed him the anonymity of his wit, without having to depend upon his fortune for it.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS LITERARY SHAMAN:
Storyline: The tragedy-prone medicine woman continually loses her family to the vicissitudes of fate, as a test of her own courage and a spur to self-resurrection through assimilating and transcending her trials.

mLouise Erdrich (1954) - American writer. Outer: Grandfather was tribal chair of the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Mother was Chippewa, father was German-American. The latter taught with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, while the former was also affiliated with the same organization. Oldest of 7. Raised in Wahpeton, North Dakota, where she had a very active and athletic childhood. Her parents worked at a boarding school, and she was imbued with indigenous story-telling traditions all the while she was growing up. Married Amerindian writer Michael Norris, 3 daughters and 2 adopted sons and an adopted daughter by her husband when he was single. Won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1984 for her first novel, Love Medicine, while claiming she had written it along with him. He later won the same award in 1989 for chronicling his trials with his adopted son, Abel, who had been born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which also probably afflicted his other 2 adoptees. Duo became a literary force, as best-selling chroniclers of the modern Amerindian experience during the 1980s, and were viewed as a poster couple of articulate multiculturalism. Her husband, however, suffered from chronic depression, the result, perhaps, of his own father having committed suicide on returning from WW II. The 3 adopted children were also a constant trial, in and out of institutions. Their storybook marriage began to unravel in 1991, when Abel was killed in an automobile accident, then further damaged when their 2nd son threatened them with physical harm and extortion, causing them to move from her spouse’s teaching job at Dartmouth to Montana and then her native Minnesota. Following further literary success the duo wrote a panned novel, after a huge advance. Continued with their intertwining to the point of finishing one another’s sentences, but his emotional imbalance finally caused her to move out in 1996. A year later, after MN was under investigation of sexually abusing 2 of their daughters, he downed sleeping pills and vodka, wrapped his head in a plastic bag and took his life in a motel room. Tried to work out the tragedy via her novel The Antelope Wife, about a husband left by his wife who descends into alcoholism and suicide, which was written before the particulars of her mate’s similar downfall and demise. Inner: Quiet, contemplative. Antelope wife lifetime of being tested in the domestic extreme to see if she has the power of resurrection after the failure of her own love medicine to counterbalance the weight of physical, mental and cultural devastation. mHelen Hunt Jackson (Helen Maria Fiske) (1830-1885) - American writer. Outer: Father was a professor of classics at Amherst College, mother was the daughter of a wealthy capitalist and had lost her own mother at 2. From an early age, a close friend of closet poet Emily Dickinson. Educated in a series of private academies, although she proved far too lively for them, and after her father’s death in 1847, she went to the progressive Abbot Institute. In 1852, she married Edward Bissell Hunt, an army officer, 2 sons from the union. One son died 2 years later, while her husband was killed in an accident testing a torpedo-launching device he had invented in 1863. In 1865, she lost her 2nd child, leaving her alone and in absolute despair, as well as without resources. Published some poems, then moved into a literary boarding house in Newport, Rhode Island, and began contributing both poetry and prose sketches to various periodicals. Despite her early success, she preferred not using her own name, signing her works “Saxe Holm” or using her initials. Her first series of novels were all popular, although minor in content. In 1875, she married William Jackson, a banker, and settled in Colorado Springs, where she developed a deep empathy for the plight of the Amerindians she witnessed. In her next 2 books, A Century of Dishonor and the novel Ramona, she brought her views to public attention, although the latter also gained its lasting success because of the picturesque romance she created around old California. It had 300 printings and also was later made into film 3 times. Through the previous tome, she was appointed in 1882 by the Department of the Interior to report on the condition of the Mission tribe of California, although her findings had no subsequent effect on governmental policy. Died of cancer. Inner: Exotic, witty, radiant, with a great joy of life. Lively, socially aware and extremely sensitive to the sufferings of others. Tragedy-prone lifetime of losing loved ones, but not her own fierce determination, allowing her to be an enduring voice for the voiceless, which would occasion a later return in this series even more deeply immersed in the ongoing sorrows of the Amerindians. Sacagawea (c1788-1812?) - American indigene guide. Outer: Father was a Shoshone chief. When she was around 12, she was captured by an enemy tribe, and then sold to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian trapper, to be one of his two wives. Subsequently lived in the North Dakota territory, near her captors. In 1804, she was invited to join the Meriwether Lewis (William O. Douglas) and George Rogers Clark expedition to find a route to the Pacific Northwest. Her husband was hired as an interpreter, and, even though she was pregnant, she accompanied them, since a woman with child in their company signaled they were on a peaceful mission. Gave birth to a son on the trail, and carried her newborn with her, while more than proving her worth, with her knowledge of edible plants and ability to react to unforeseen situations. Discovered her brother was now leader of the Shoshones, which enabled the expedition to buy horses from them. Continued on afterwards, spent the winter with the explorers, and finally came back to her village, proving even more pivotal on the return trip since she had intimate knowledge of the areas through which they journeyed. Records of her existence afterwards are sketchy. May have traveled with her husband and son to visit Clark in St. Louis. After giving birth to a daughter, she reportedly died several months later of a long-standing ailment that was aggravated by her conception. Clark ultimately took custody of her son, while no records mention her daughter, indicating she may have perished in infancy. Never paid for any of services, although she was recognized and honored posthumously for her contribution to the expedition. She has also been the subject of myths and legends seeing her live to great age. Inner: Indispensable lifetime of providing the perfect feminine complement to a strongly masculine endeavor, giving her an immortality that belied her brief quarter of a century or so of actual existence.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS HARDCORE ADVENTURER:
Storyline: The daredevil geographer steadily builds on his skills, to weave more and more complex lives for himself, in his pursuit of a profound knowledge of how this planet operates, on both a visceral animal level, and a political human one, as well.

Robert Young Pelton (1955) - Canadian/American journalist, filmmaker, explorer and entrepreneur. Outer: Father was a salesman for an oil drilling supply company. Mother was adopted and of English descent. Older of two brothers. At 10, he became the youngest ever to attend a Canadian survival school in Manitoba, which was eventually closed down following the deaths of several students. After high school, he did a variety of physical jobs, including lumberjack, tunneler and driller, before become a copywriter in Toronto. Moved to the US afterwards and worked for a variety of multimedia companies that specialized in product launches. Settled in Southern California, and in 1973, he married Linda Pelton. Twin daughters from the close union, with his wife working with him, although never accompanying him on his dangerous journeys, in a curious mix for him of homespun domesticity and danger-is-my-middle-name escape from it. Began traveling to precipitous places as a journalist willing to risk both limb and life to report from war zones, giving him a unique firsthand perspective on the planet’s trouble spots, and the ability to see patterns both large and small missed entirely by the conventional media. In addition to his reportage, he licensed various products to megacompanies, before selling his businesses to devote full time to covering world conflicts in the mid-90s. Showing an extraordinary instinct for survival, he just missed being assassinated by a bomb in Uganda by an Islamic group, then was kidnapped in Columbia after a firefight, and held for ten days in the jungle before being released. Became a contributing editor to “National Geographic Adventure” after the turn of the century, for whom he wrote an exposé on Blackwater Worldwide, and has been involved in all sorts of hazardous assignments, including researching both pirates and anti-piracy crews, while providing eyewitness accounts of a host of battle scenes in Asia, Africa and South America. Provided insight, access and advice on Afghanistan and Pakistan via a subscription website, and has also spent considerable time in the Middle East. His “The World’s Most Dangerous Places” is a must read for everyone working and traveling in high risk areas. A regular commentator on TV, he has also produced documentaries, and, along with Babel Travel, sponsors adventure/tours to forbidden arenas, while also getting into murky, grey areas with his various enterprises. Penned his autobiography, “The Adventurist: My Life in Dangerous Places,” in 2001. Inner: Matter-of-fact, with a well-honed skill for survival, coupled with an endless curiosity over the inner workings of the political and geographical world. Turned his previous life’s mantra of “Bring ‘em Back Alive,” to “Come Back Alive,” the name of his website. Hairbreadth Harry lifetime of continually testing the limits of both his luck and skill, while trying to balance off an endless thirst for adventure and derring-do, with the conventionality of being a family man. Frank Buck (1881?-1950) - American writer, producer, actor and entrepreneur. Outer: May have later fudged his age to make him seem three years younger. Related to the Studebaker family, of subsequent automobile manufacturing fame. Father ran a wagon-yard. One of four children, with a younger and older brother and a sister. At the age of 5, his family moved to Dallas, where his sire worked for a local agency of the Studebaker carriage and wagon company. Collected birds and small animals as a child, then worked as a farmer and cowboy. Left home at 18 along with an older brother to work the local ranches, before taking a job handling a trainload of cattle, heading for the Chicago stockyards, then became a bellhop in a local hotel. Fell in with a scam artist, and almost became a safe cracker, while enjoying getting into fistfights, per his father’s similar inclination, before straightening himself out. In 1901, he married light opera star, Lillie West, who was over two decades his senior. As drama critic for the Chicago Daily News, she wrote under the name of Amy Leslie, and helped launch his own newspaper writing career through her contacts. After winning $3500 in a poker game, he made his first expedition to Brazil in 1911, buying wild birds from native trappers. Further expeditions followed to Asia and Africa as he continued bringing back exotic birds and animals, which he sold to both zoos and circuses at a huge profit, earning the sobriquet, “Bring ‘Em Back Alive.” Built traps and snares so as to insure the species he caught would not be injured, and made it a practice to accompany his various cargoes aboard ship to insure they would be well cared for, while refusing to sell to anyone who did not have a clean reputation around their handling of displayed birds and beasts. Continued traveling the world, and, after amicably divorcing in 1913, he married Nina Boardman, a stenographer, the following year, and she wound up accompanying him on his expeditions, although later wished never to see an animal wilder than a kitten. Despite his adventuresome nature, he had a deep-seated fear of flying, as well as closed spaces, after being locked in a steamship refrigerator. Served as a temporary director of the San Diego Zoo, although clashes prevented him from taking a similar position with the Bronx Zoo. Divorced in 1927, and the following year he married Muriel Reilly, one daughter from the union. Left penniless by the stock market crash, friends helped him rebound and he settled in NYC. In 1930, he cowrote “Bring ‘Em Back Alive,” which became a bestseller, and insured worldwide fame for him. Cowrote several other books, including his autobiography, “All in a Lifetime,” in 1941. Also a contributor to various magazines, and, for a while, he had his own radio program in the 1930s. In 1938, he hooked up with Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus, as one of their main attractions, although refused to join the actor’s union to do so. Exhibited at the 1939 NY World’s Fair, then developed a forty-acre park on Long Island called Jungle Camp/Park. Served as president of Frank Buck Enterprises, and Jungleland, while producing a host of motion pictures, beginning with Bring ‘Em Back Alive in 1932, which featured a spectacular battle between a tiger and 30 foot python that concluded with a draw. His final film was an Abbott and Costello comedy, Africa Screams in 1949, in which he played himself. A habitual smoker of, appropriately, Camel cigarettes, he eventually died with his boots off in a hospital bed of lung cancer. Had himself cremated afterwards and his ashes scattered around Texas. Inner: Strongly principled, and a stickler for doing things his way. Educator at heart, viewing himself as both a teacher and scientist. Wing, fang and claw lifetime of further developing his communication skills, while building on his trapping expertise and explorations from his previous go-round in this series, to take himself up to the next level as a world-class educator in the ways of the wild. Jedediah Smith (Jedediah Strong Smith) (1799-1831) - American explorer, trapper and geographer. Outer: Of English, French and Basque descent. Raised in the Methodist faith, with strong religious beliefs. Father owned a general store, although was caught using counterfeit currency around 1810, which caused him to move the family west to Erie, Pa. After the family moved again to Ohio, he left home in 1821 and wound up in the far frontier of St. Louis, having earlier been inspired by the journals of the Lewis & Clark expedition. Answered an ad in 1822 to be one of 100 men to become trappers and fur collectors. His party was subsequently attacked by Arikara, suffering a dozen fatalities, before he rode for reinforcements. Led his own party two years later into territory unexplored by those of European descent, making finding new American vistas his subsequent life’s vocation. Badly mauled by a bear in Wyoming territory, he was left with a huge scalp scar that he would hide by combing his hair over it. His Methodist upbringing would stay with him, so that his rifle and Bible were his two mainstays, while he abstained from smoke and drink, unlike his fellow mountain men. Proved to be an expert trapper, while holding onto the prejudices of the day against the indigenes of the west, seeing them as inferior to Christian civilization, although he always tried to deal with them first through trade, rather than the immediate exchange of gunfire. Became partners with his original employer, Gen. William Ashley, and helped pioneer the Oregon Trail, before buying out the latter with two others. Trapped in the Utah territory’s Wasatch Mountains, he began keeping record of his travels in his journals. Able to withstand hardships and hunger, and through dint and determination, became part of the first European-descended crew to penetrate southern California from the east, in 1826. Arrested there by Mexican authorities, he was released, and continued his explorations across the Sierra Nevada mountains, which took two attempts to cross, in yet another first for him. Formed a larger expedition later that year, including two women, but were attacked by Mojaves, who captured the women, and killed over half the men as they were crossing the Colorado River. On reaching California, he was arrested again, and forced to forswear returning to southern California. Moved up northward to the Oregon territory, only to have most of his party killed by Kelawatsets. The survivors eventually reached Ft. Vancouver in Canada, although his three year trek saw him lose twenty-six out of thirty-three men to indigene attacks. His explorations, however, opened up the Far West to entrepreneurial interests. Along with his partners, they sold their business, and he returned to St. Louis in 1830, with the desire of making maps of the territories he had explored, since he found settled life to be an anathema to his need for constant movement and discovery. Contracted to guide 22 wagons to Santa Fe on a trading expedition, although when he traveled ahead of them to search for water, he was attacked by a quartet of Comanches and stabbed to death with their lances. Inner: Outspoken, opinionated and courageous. Also reserved and extremely pious, given to both meditation and prayer. Never got the opportunity to publish his findings, despite a great desire to do so. Recorded his observations on nature systematically, as an amateur geographer, cartographer and topographer. Methodical Methodist lifetime of slaking his ongoing thirst for adventure with a host of American firsts, as a true legend of the early wild West, in preparation for a similar desire to see the larger world totally on his terms.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS CRITICAL VOICE OF THE SOUTH:
Storyline: The cerebral expositor cannot open his heart to the same level of expression as his head, and winds up as a master of the impersonal, despite a deep-felt love for both language and the region with which he thoroughly identifies.

John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974) - American poet and critic. Outer: From a highly literate family, with an impressive library. Father was a Methodist minister, who actively engaged his son in intellectual discussion, although he would be an inveterate skeptic from early life onward. Spent his boyhood in small central Tenn. towns, feeling the pressure to prove himself as a minister’s progeny. Home schooled until 10, he entered Vanderbilt Univ. and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and first in his class, after interrupting his studies for 2 years to teach junior high school students in Mississippi and Tennessee. Studied at Christ Church College, Oxford as a Rhodes scholar from 1910 to 1913. Served as an artillery officer in France during WW I. Married Rob Reavill in 1920, 3 children from the union. Returned to Vanderbilt to teach for nearly a quarter of a century, where he became part of the Fugitive literary movement along with Robert Penn Warren and Allen Tate, a group dedicated to expressing the agrarian soul of the South. Wrote elegant and impersonal verse about the breakdown of traditional order in the modern world. His first volume of verse was published in his early 30s. Won a Guggenheim fellowship in 1931, as well as numerous prestigious awards later on. Considered one of the great stylists of 20th century poetry, although his emotional content did not match his gift of language. One of the so-called new critics, who emphasized close textual analysis of poetry. Taught at Kenyon College for the last 20 years of his working life, editing the highly respected Kenyon Review. Inner: Highly intellectual, with his emotions always veiled. Serious, witty, focused aesthete. Cerebral lifetime of pursuing a purely intellectual pathway based on viewing the hidden emotion from the past through the distance of a different present. Henry Timrod (1828-1867) - American poet. Outer: Father was a bookbinder of uncommon intellect and character who died through consequences suffered in the Seminole War when his son was 10. His subsequent poetic temperament and impracticality came from his sire, while his mother passed along a deep love of nature to him. Close friend of Paul Hamilton Hayne (Allen Tate) from schooldays onward. Educated at Franklyn College (later the Univ. of Georgia). Withdrew because of ill health after 2 years and went to work for a law firm. Disliked the profession and renewed his classical studies, but couldn’t get a job as a professor. Became a private tutor instead on a variety of plantations, and lived in cloistered fashion for a decade and a half. Contributed to Southern magazines and had a small volume of poetry published in 1860. The Civil War prompted his emotional outpouring of war poems. Declared unfit for service, he enlisted anyway in the 2nd year of the war, becoming a clerk, then a correspondent. Unsuited for military life, he was discharged suffering from incipient tuberculosis. Moved to Columbia, S.C. in 1864 to become part owner and editor of the South Carolinian. Married Kate Goodwin, the sister of the man who had married his own sister. Columbia burned a year later, and he was reduced to abject poverty. A son from the marriage died, and he never recovered from grief. His health fell rapidly, his enterprises failed, he sold his possessions, and was supported by neighbors. Suffered hemorrhages, had a dangerous operation, hemorrhaged and died. Had a crystal-clear writing style, straightforward rather than profound. Inner: Wholesome, spiritual. Modest, diffident, slow of speech, shy and abstracted. Arduous lifetime of suffering slings and arrows of misfortune in order to open up his abilities at expression through adversity.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS CRITICAL VOICE OF THE SOUTH:
Storyline: The cerebral extoller takes it upon himself to raise the poetic sensibilities of the nation through his dedicated regionalism and teaching skills, while never quite elevating his own talent to the same level.

Allen Tate (1899-1979) - American poet, teacher and critic. Outer: Descendant of 3 officers of the American revolution. Had a big head as a child, parents thought he had water on the brain. Father would have him shake his hand after evening meals in gratitude for the repast. Family moved 2 or 3 times a year because of his mother’s dislikes. His sire withdrew early from social and economic activity, and his brother took over supporting the family. Had an erratic early education from constant moving, attending some 20 schools, including the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Educated at Vanderbilt, where he became part of the Fugitive literary movement along with Robert Penn Warren and John Crowe Ransom. Formed a lasting alliance with the agrarian group of Southern writers from this period. Lived in West Virginia, NY, Paris and Tennessee, writing biographies of Civil War figures. Spent the bulk of his career connected to various universities. A prolific author, as well as critic and poetry magazine editor. His first marriage in his mid-20s to Caroline Gordon, a novelist and critic, was troubled but stimulating, and lasted two decades, before the duo had enough, only to divorce and remarry and then have it annulled. In 1959 he wed poet Isabella Gardiner, only to divorce her and in 1966 marry Helen Heinz, a former nun, and one of her students. Had 3 sons, one dying in childhood from choking on a toy, from his final union. Compulsively promiscuous from his late 30s onward. Converted to Roman Catholicism in his 50s, using Christianity as a religio-moral text for his views of the South. Far more the poet’s poet, as a writer of elevated erudite verse. Better teacher of writers than a writer himself. Inner: Highly social, strong voice of literary sensibility. Cerebral, nonphysical, incisive, pugnacious, erudite, but also a philanderer. Intellectual lifetime of learning through teaching, in an ongoing succession of existences trying to elevate mass sensibilities through communication, while suffering difficulties in the same realm in his intimate life. Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830-1886) - American poet. Outer: Father was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, who died when his son was young. His mother gave him his sense of poesy. Grew up in an uncle’s home, who was a senator and governor of South Carolina. Lifelong friend of poet Henry Timrod (John Crowe Ransom). Slight build. Graduated Charleston College and became a lawyer, before turning to his real love, that of writing and extolling poetry. In his early 20s, he married Mary Middleton Michel, the daughter of a French surgeon, one son from union. His wife would go on to serve as an adviser and amanuensis for him. Alternated between journalism and poetry over the next decade, and held editorial positions with several periodicals. Imitative, but had a deeply rooted love of nature, and helped make Charleston a literary center of the South. Unfit for duty during Civil War, he became an aide to the governor, but his frailty caused him to retire. Became a voice of the South, writing patriotic verse. His home and library were burned down in the course of the war, and his family fortune was lost. Moved to Augusta, Georgia, where he lived out his life in poverty, while his ideals and courage never dimmed. Encouraged by poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Robert Penn Warren) as well as English poets, as he continued to try to live off his poetry, which was strong in dignity, although lacking in depth. Exhibited a sensuous, feminine delicacy to his work. Inner: Delightful raconteur, high-hearted, naive, charming. Frail-bodied lifetime of identifying poetically and physically with the lost civil war cause, while attempting to be a troubadour of the region, despite all his reversals.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS VOICE OF THE WEST:
Storyline: The wayfaring warrior transliterates his love for adventure into an extremely well-received career as an adventure-writer, finding himself far more clearly on the printed page than in his search for glory and immortality in other people’s realities.

Louis L’Amour (1908-1988) - American writer. Outer: Father was a veterinarian and part-time farm machinery salesman. Fascinated by tales of pioneering forebears, and always felt he was going to be a writer. 10th generation American, with 33 relatives from the 19th century onward, who earned their living by their pens. His family lost its holdings during the agricultural depression of the 1920s, and he left home and school at 15 and wandered. Worked as a longshoreman and lumberjack as well as other odd jobs, including elephant handler, to support himself. During the 1930s, he traveled to the Orient and was an able-bodied seaman on an East African schooner. Also lived with bandits in western China. Became a boxer, and as a light heavyweight, won 34 of 59 fights by knockouts, with 51 wins all told. Burly and rough/hewn, he eventually reached 6’2”, 220 lbs. Worked out daily with a punching bag for most of his adult life. Served with the US Tank Destroyer Corps and Transportation Corps, rising to the rank of 1st lieutenant in the army, spending 4 years in it. Started writing in his early 20s, and his first published work was a collection of poems in 1939. Settled in Los Angles after military service, married Katherine Adams, a TV actress, son and daughter from the union. Wrote over 400 short stories as well as filmscripts and telescripts, although initially felt his name didn’t resonate with his westerns and wrote under the nom de bullwhip of Tex Burns. Rewrote the Hopalong Cassidy stories according to the TV character, rather than the hard-drinking original. Extremely prolific, he composed 3 new novels a year, ultimately penning 86, to go along with his 14 collections of short stories and one nonfiction work, to break the century mark in his total oeuvre. Skilled at self-promotion, he drove around the country in a motor home, appearing on radio as an expert on western lore. In the 1960s, he began following 3 families in his fiction. His writing was always fast-paced with action sequences every 800 words or so. Kept at it 7 days a week, and rarely rewrote, shaping his stories in his head, and then pounding them out with 2 fingers on his typewriter. Became the first novelist to be awarded a Congressional gold medal. Still editing in his last hours, he died at home of lung cancer, despite being a nonsmoker. Inner: Voracious reader, ultimately amassing a 20,000 volume library. Very physical with an innate storyteller sense of the world, and a warrior’s sensibilities. Meat-and-potatoes stylist often concerned with loners finding love, while always making sure he got his details right. Felt he operated in a longtime oral tradition, where stories were told round campfires. On the move lifetime of physical adventures and macho expertise, in order to be a writerly channel for masculine worlds where a strong heart supersedes all other concerns. Lew Wallace (1827-1905) - American writer and military figure. Outer: Son of a lawyer, stepmother became a prominent temperance activist. and suffragette. Moved to Indianapolis at 10 when his father was elected governor of Indiana. Received little formal schooling, although wrote as a teenager. Began working for the Indianapolis Daily Journal at 17, before reading law for his father’s firm. Wrote throughout his life whenever the opportunity presented itself. Enlisted in the army during the Mexican War and served as a 2nd lieutenant. Returned to Indiana and began practicing law, then was twice elected prosecuting attorney in Covington, Indiana. In 1852, he married Susan Elston, a writer with musical gifts, as well, one son from the union, who ultimately took care of all his father’s business concerns. Later elected to the state senate. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he became an adjutant general of Indiana and then colonel of a volunteer regiment, rising to the rank of major general of volunteers, the youngest of that rank in the union army. Fought at Shiloh, but was removed from command by U.S. Grant (Omar Bradley) for alleged dilatoriness there. Member of the court that tried the assassins of Abraham Lincoln, and was president of the court-martial that tried the commandant of the Andersonville Prison. Left the army at the end of the Civil War and then spent 7 months in Mexico helping Benito Juarez (Lazaro Cardenas) raise an army to defeat the French, before returning to his law practice. After an unsuccessful candidacy for Congress, he turned to literature, with an his/storical romance about Mexico. Appointed governor of the New Mexico territory, where he wrote the book that would give him lasting fame, Ben Hur, when he was in his early 50s. It was later translated into 10 languages, and had a whole other life as 2 movies in the following century, as well as serving as the first work of fiction blessed by a pope. Finished his career as minister to Turkey, which produced another his/storical romance. Wrote his autobiography, which was completed posthumously by his wife. Often thwarted in his dreams of adventure: searching for silver mines in Mexico, looking for glory on the battlefield, serving an inconclusive governorship in New Mexico, and fighting crime and corruption. Probably died of cancer. Inner: Great deal of personal charm coupled with dignity. Transliterated lifetime of finding his true metier in print, rather than acting out his longheld inner romance of being an inspiring military and political leader.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS VOICE OF THE DISPOSSESSED:
Storyline: The émigré outsider turns his great internal rage into poignant art, but can never purge himself of his profound alienation despite his literary acceptance and poet’s gifts for searing self-expression.

Richard Wright (1908-1960) - American writer. Outer: Grandparents had been slaves. Born on a Mississippi plantation, in a sharecropper’s cabin, and struggled through a difficult childhood to educate himself, after his illiterate father deserted the family when he was 7. Mother was a rural schoolteacher, who worked as a house-hand to raise 2 sons, and suffered 2 partially paralyzing strokes. Briefly in an orphanage, raised by maternal grandparents. His grandmother’s strictness gave him a sense of discipline, although his formal education ended in the 8th grade. The former was a 7th Day Adventist saw books as ‘the devil’s work,’ while he viewed life early as brutal and insecure. Rebelled against family religiosity and left for Memphis as a teenager,where he labored in an optical company, and read naturalists. Worked his way North and joined the Federal Writer’s Project in the 1930s in Chicago. Became a Communist Party member in 1933, holding several posts within leftist organizations. Went to NYC in his late 20s and became Harlem editor of The Daily Worker. Penned a collection of 4 novellas on race relations. Unsatisfied with the sentimental reaction to them, he wrote of pure black anger in Native Son in 1940, the story of a young black male inexorably led to murder through his victimized stance in American society. His reputation became assured through the book, which was a bestseller, play and movie. Married two different Jewish women, the first, in 1939, Dhima Meadman, a dancer, divorced shortly afterwards, and the 2nd, Ellen Poplar, a Communist Party organizer, in 1941, 2 daughters from the 2nd union, which helped him achieve a sense of domestic stability. Disillusioned with the Communist Party during WW II, he left it and wrote his autobiography, Black Boy. A 2nd part, American Hunger, was published posthumously. Moved to Paris following WW II, and ended his life as an exile. Wrote folk his/story, and several more novels and short stories. Enjoyed huge literary success and recognition, and yet never lost his sense of being an outsider, ultimately internalizing his pained view of himself. Died of a heart attack after a spell of amoebic dysentery. Inner: Idealistic, forceful and brilliant, but with strong sense of being a victim. Sensitive, shy and extremely intelligent. Suffered lifelong inner tensions, while continually exploring the urbanization of African-Americans and the fate of the individual in mass society. Outsider lifetime of fearlessly challenging the racist fears of his times, and despite great acclaim, suffering mightily for his self-view of someone apart. Victor Sejour (1817-1874) - American writer. Outer: Father was a free African-American and mother was a quadroon. His parents married when he was 8. His sire owned and operated a tailor shop, allowing his son to be given instruction at a private academy. Left for France on his 17th birthday, and lived in Paris most of the rest of his life. Best known for Le Mulatre, the tragic tale of a young mulatto. Harbored intense francophile feelings despite being an outsider. Wrote plays in verse, then switched to prose playwrighting. Achieved great success, and became a friend of Alexandre Dumas (Charlie Chaplin), who was also of mixed racial birth. Brought his parents to Paris after his successes, where they lived out their last years. Fathered 3 sons from 3 different women, all out of wedlock, despite praising the institution of marriage. His later work was panned, and he felt wounded by critics, causing his health to decline, and he began fading in his 50s. Died of tuberculosis. Inner: Sensitive, alienated, albeit accepting of his adopted country’s ways. Emigre lifetime of making new cultural attachments despite a profound sense of being an outsider, while ultimately diving into a deep sense of failure for not being able to sustain his success.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SPIRITUAL INTOXICANT:
Storyline: The suicidal seeker alternates between ascetic otherworldliness and drunken sensuality without ever finding a satisfying balance in his search for God within himself.

John Berryman (John Allyn Smith) (1914-1972) - American poet. Outer: Mother was a school mistress, father was in the banking business. The pair were totally mismatched, with the former snobbish and ambitious, and the latter quite the opposite. Eldest of 2 sons, he was brought up as a strict Roman Catholic. His father quit the bank and moved the family to Florida, but his failure made him withdrawn and depressed, particularly since his wife loved her children more than him. Shot himself when his son was 12, and the latter discovered the body, which overshadowed the poet’s entire existence. Mother, who was vain, sexual, and extremely communicative, subsequently centered her whole life around her son. She had an affair with a neighbor, and married him after her husband’s suicide, with her son taking his name. Made one suicide attempt at 17. Graduated Columbia, received a fellowship to study at Cambridge, and was also given to drink and debauchery, as well as loud verbal display, showing himself to be two entirely different people when drunk and sober. Befriended some of the most eminent poets of his time, including W. B. Yeats, W. H. Auden and Dylan Thomas. The rest of his career was involved with various college teaching posts. Married at 28, to Eileen Simpson, who was quite supportive, but he was a compulsive adulterer, so she eventually left him. Prolifically produced self-obsessed poetry all during this time. Divorced in 1956, he married Ann Levine, a 24 year old, a week later, one son from the 2nd union. Descended into alcoholism from his mid-30s onward, in a drunken search for God, while bellowing and acting out his own view of an Old Testament patriarch, as a means of flushing out his higher sense of poetics. Divorced in 1959, he spent the rest of his life being hospitalized at least once a year. Married a 3rd time, to Kate Donahue, who was 25 years his junior, 2 daughters from the final union. His wife legally changed her name from Kathleen to Kate to please him. Best known for his “Dream Songs.” Alternated between prizes and binges, and felt he had forged a more personal union with God through his inebriated spirituality. After struggling with Alcoholics Anonymous, he took a leap off a Minneapolis bridge into the frigid Mississippi River, finally fulfilling a lifelong dream of killing himself. Inner: Self-destructive, self-obsessed, deeply spiritual but without a core to hang it on. Adolescent, hid his fears in drink, morbidly self-appraising, while continually looking for sexual connection to assuage his own sense of disconnection. Through a glass darkly lifetime of searching for his spirituality via alcoholic spirits, while using his blurred perceptions of sex and death as his combined muse. Jones Very (1813-1880) - American poet. Outer: Father was a privateer. Accompanied him to Russia and New Orleans, where he was schooled. After his sire’s death, he became very grave, and was unable to continue his family’s seagoing traditions. Tall, slender and hollow-cheeked. Studied at Harvard Divinity School. Unusually mature and studious, he became aware of the voice of the Holy Ghost and started channeling religious verse. His spiritual intoxication made friends question his sanity. Popular with the New England transcendentalists, although R.W. Emerson (Reinhold Neibuhr), eventually saw him as too otherworldly. Believed in total surrender to God. Eventually his fervor faded and he became a mediocre versifier. Although licensed to preach, he was too shy to do so. Virtually retired at 45 and lived with his sisters. Thought of himself as a failure, and the last 40 years of his life were seemingly anticlimactic, doing genealogical work and thinking about the next world. Inner: Worshipper of nature, little connection to the physical sphere. Over-the-edge lifetime of a relatively brief spiritual passion and then a long period of unwinding from it, necessitating a more compelling and involving spiritual design the next time around.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS TOUGH GUY ADVENTURER:
Storyline: The hard-boiled hammerer pounds out his pitiless prose, using an extension of himself as his hard-bitten hero, to enjoy a double run-through as one of America’s favorite merchandizers of mayhem and macho posturing.

Mickey Spillane (Frank Morrison Spillane) (1918-2006) - American writer. Outer: Father was a crusty Irish Catholic bartender, who later thought his son’s work was “crud.” Mother was a Presbyterian, only child of the union. As a teenager, he used to tell other kids scary stories and delight in their frightened reactions. Sold his first tale after graduating high school. Briefly studied law at Ft. Hays State College where he was an excellent athlete. Had a brief stint as a salesman for Gimbel’s, then through a connection made there, got a job as a scripter/assistant editor for a comic book firm, churning out one story a day. Joined the army the day after Pearl Harbor. Despite a desire for combat, he was made a cadet flight instructor and spent 4 years of service in the South. Discharged as a captain, he established a free-lance comic book factory in Brooklyn with 2 partners from his earlier comic book days. Married Mary Ann Pearce in 1945 while in the army, 4 children from the union, which impelled to pen a novel in order to buy property for his family. The book was, I The Jury, whose hero, Mike Hammer, was addicted to alcohol, nicotine and mayhem. Over the next 5 years, he wrote 7 novels, all following the same formula of sex, violence, sadism and vigilante justice. The books were slow to find an audience, and in the interim he worked in a department store and as a trampoline artist for Ringling Bros. Circus, going so far as being shot out of a cannon. Also did some treasure diving, and rode with moonshiners and revenue agents in Appalachia. By the early 1950s, he began to realize money from his writing, despite universally harsh reviews. Over 100,000,000 copies of his work were ultimately in print. Converted to the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the early 1950s, going door-to-door evangelizing, and stopped writing for the rest of that decade. Claimed to have bullet and knife wounds on his body when he helped federal agents smash a narcotics ring. Moved to South Carolina after judging a beauty contest there. Divorced, he remarried an actress, Sherri Malinou, nearly a quarter century his junior, who would go on to do a Las Vegas nightclub routine on him, after their divorce. In 1983, he married Jane Rodgers Johnson, a fitness teacher nearly three decades his junior, who had been a runner-up in the Miss South Carolina beauty pageant in 1965. Continued his prolific output, as well appearing on TV and in movies, playing his alter ego detective, while becoming a well-known crewcut public character, thanks in part to doing over 100 commercials for Miller Lite Beer between 1973 and 1989. Collector of guns, souped-up autos and private planes. In 1995, he was given the Mystery Writers Association’s Grand Master for Lifetime Achievement award. Died surrounded by his family of undisclosed causes. Ultimately penned some 53 books, that sold over 200 million copies. Inner: Amiable, gregarious, easygoing, with more than a touch of braggadocio. Deeply disturbed by moral crusaders against his work, despite being a far right-winger in his politics. Two-fingered typists, and self-acclaimed writer, rather than author, viewing his readers as customers. I, the juggernaut lifetime, once again, of limning an extension of himself on paper and proving extremely popular in the guts-and-glory genre he has carved out for himself. Ned Buntline (Edward Zane Carroll Judson) (1823-1886) - American writer. Outer: Father was a schoolmaster turned lawyer who wrote on patriotic, moral and masonic themes. Ran away to sea as a cabin boy, became a naval apprentice and was given a midshipman commission for heroism when his boat capsized. Resigned from the Navy at 19, soldiered in the Seminole War, then became an employee of a fur company in the Yellowstone area. Penned fiction in his spare time. Briefly wrote Ned Buntline’s Magazine, a repository for his adventure tales, using himself as hero. Co-edited 2 more magazines, then skipped to leave his partner to pay the bills. Became a bounty hunter, capturing 2 of a trio he was hunting. Shot and fatally wounded a husband he was cuckolding, but the brother of his victim opened fire on him in the courthouse. Bolted through a window in a hail of bullets and jumped from the 3rd floor of city hall. Captured, jailed and a mob tried to hang him, but someone cut the rope and smuggled him back into jail, his neck unbroken. Failed to be indicted, went to NYC, revived his eponymous magazine and made it a rowdy, jingoistic, patriotic journal. Participated in the Mexican War, had more adventures, including being convicted of inciting the Astor Place actor’s riot in 1849, and was sentenced to a year in jail. Later indicted in St. Louis for inciting an election riot, but jumped bail. Became chief organizer of the anti-immigration Know-Nothing Party. Had great personal popularity, but because of his criminal record, he couldn’t run for office. After the collapse of the party, he bought some land, spending his time fishing. One of the first dime novelists, bringing the technique to perfection, while penning over 400 of them. Well-paid, lived affluently, had a storied steam yacht on the Hudson. Enlisted during the Civil War, but his record was discredited. Known as Col. Judson afterwards. In 1869, he met Buffalo Bill Cody (Clint Eastwood) and began a series of dime novels on him as well as a successful play. Retired to upstate New York, where he was a busy, respected citizen.Married four times, beginning in 1848 with Annie Bennett, who divorced him the following year. HIs next wife, Marie Gardiner died in 1860. Wed Catharine Myers later that year, and they were divorced the following annum. In 1863, he married Lovanche Swart, who died, and his final union was to Anna Fuller. Had four daughters and 2 sons all told. In his last years, he suffered from various wounds he had received, and succumbed to sciatica and heart troubles at the end. His wife was then forced to sell their home in order to pay all his debts. Inner: Mischievous, strong and energetic, as well as cheerful and venial. Dime novel lifetime of nonstop adventure and the ability to turn it into readable prose that supported his taste for adventure, fame, luxury, glory and inglory.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS INNOVATIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHER:
Storyline: The highly conspicuous caged bird sings her own body electric as a highly public figure celebrating the power of the spoken word, as well as her facility with a whole variety of modes of creative expression.

Maya Angelou (Marguerite Annie Johnson) (1928-2014) - American poet, dancer, actress and singer. Outer: Of African-American descent, and may have had her roots with the Mende people of West Africa. Mother was a nurse, as well as a professional gambler, bar owner and entertainer. Father was a doorman and naval dietician. One older brother, Bailey, who gave her her name, calling her “My” and “Mine”. Her parents separated when the two were three and four respectively and they were sent alone by train to live with their deeply religious, but economically solvent, paternal grandmother, in a small segregated town in Arkansas. Her father returned the children to their mother’s care in St. Louis, and while there, she was raped at 8 by her mother’s boyfriend, who was subsequently murdered by her relatives, filling her with such guilt, that she stopped speaking for five years. During that time, she became a voracious reader of both black authors and the classics of English literature, developing a great love for the spoken word, ultimately becoming fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and West African Fanti. Because of the dangers for people of color in the south, the children moved to the San Francisco Bay area with their mother as teenagers. Went to high school there, but ran away in search of her father, living in Los Angeles and Mexico, before returning to finish her high school education and take lessons in dance and drama. Gave birth to a son, the future novelist Guy Johnson, at 17, with no desire to either name or marry the father. Became the first African-American female to become a streetcar conductor in SF, while also working as a shake dancer in nightclubs and a restaurant fry cook. 6’ and physically imposing, with a deep and expressive voice, as well as a later penchant for African clothing. In 1952, she married Tosh Angelos, a former sailor and aspiring musician of Greek descent, while also training as a dancer with Martha Graham among others, and working as a nightclub singer. Divorced in 1952, while taking on a form of her husband’s surname, as reflection of her exotic public personality. Toured Europe and Africa in a production of “Porgy and Bess,” and, after moving to NYC, did an off-Broadway show, “Calypso Heat Wave,” as well as appeared in the movie of the same name, while recording a calypso album at the same time. Continued her off-Broadway work while joining the Harlem Writers Guild, which brought her into the civil rights movement. Fell in love with South African civil rights activist and lawyer Vusumzi Make, and along with her son moved with him to Cairo, where she worked as an editor of the “Arab Observer,” an English-language weekly. The trio moved Ghana later and she taught music and dance at the Univ. of Ghana while serving as a features editor of the “African Review.” Met Black Muslim leader Malcolm X, nd was deeply impressed with him. Separated from Make and left her son in Ghana to recover from a serious car accident before returning to the U.S. in 1965, intending to work with Malcolm X, only to see him assassinated. Switched her civil rights allegiance to Martin Luther King, and was devastated when he was assassinated on her 40th birthday. Turned to writing for solace and won acclaim in 1969 for her autobiographical memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” a line from Paul Laurence Dunbar (Lorraine Hansberry), limning the racial discrimination that defined her early life. Went on to publish six more volumes of novelistic memoirs, with the first considered by far the best. Continued her various creative activities and in 1973, she married Welsh-born Paul Du Feu, a carpenter and former comic strip writer, who was very briefly the husband of feminist Germaine Greer. The duo divorced in 1981, no children from either of her two official unions. The flow from her pen and musical imagination remained unceasing with a host of movie scores, scripts, articles and documentaries. In addition, she worked as an actress on both stage and TV. Became a Reynolds professor of American studies at Wake Forest Univ. in North Carolina, while disassociating herself from Anglo-American feminism, which she felt lacked both love and humor, and instead became an outspoken advocate of “womanism,” celebrating the strength, commitment and sexual fulfillment of black women as equals to men. Read her poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the inauguration of fellow Arkansan Pres. Bill Clinton in 1993, celebrating the diversity of ethnic groups in the U.S. In 1998, she became a member of the board of governors for an eponymous Institute for the Improvement of Child and Family Education at Winston-Salem State Univ. in North Carolina. Established her main residence in an 18 room house there, while entertaining grandly, showing herself to be a gourmet cook. Also maintained a 12 room townhouse in Harlem. Supported Barack Obama’s successful presidential run in 2008 and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by him 3 year later. Won a host of honors, honorary degrees and awards, including three Grammys for spoken word albums, while also publishing more than 10 volumes of poetry, as well as composing songs for musicals and films. In addition she wrote or co-wrote scripts for more than a dozen plays, films and television programs. Very active on the lecture circuit, even into her 80s. Suffered from heart problems towards life’s end, which reduced her to a wheelchair, and died at her NC home. Inner: Extraordinarily prolific in a host of spheres, acting as if she were the female embodiment of the higher black experience. Highly social and extremely charismatic with a larger-than-life personality. Critics found numerous inconsistencies in her serial life stories, categorizing them as fictions rather than factual accounts. Never earned a university degree, despite preferring being called Dr. Angelou. Her trespasses, however, would pale in comparison with her extraordinary accomplishments in a host of creative realms. Renaissance woman lifetime of serving as one of the 20th century’s premier mistresses of the spoken word while giving imaginative definition to the American black experience, through music, language and theater. Harriet E. Wilson (Hattie Adams) (1825-1900) - American writer, lecturer and trance reader. Outer: Of African-American descent on her paternal side. Born a free person of color in New England. Father was black and part-owner of a coal delivery business. Mother was a lower-class white woman, who had been seduced and abandoned by an aristo white male. Her parents married and she was the older of two mulatto sisters. Her sire died when she was young and her mother, wishing to start anew without the burden of children, ran off with another black man and abandoned her to a well-to-do white middle-class farmer. Made an indentured servant until she was 18, while suffering indignities to both mind and body as an abused child by the mother and daughter of her new home. Worked as a house servant and seamstress afterwards in a variety of New England households. In 1851, she married Thomas Wilson, a supposedly escaped slave turned lecturer, who admitted to her that he had never been a slave and used the ruse to gain the support of abolitionists. Once again she was quickly abandoned, despite being pregnant and in poor health. Sent to a ‘poor farm’ where her son was born. Reclaimed by Wilson who returned to his true vocation, as a sailor and died soon afterwards. Forced to return her son to the poor farm, where he died at the age of 7. Moved to Boston and in 1870, she married John Gallatin Robinson, a Canadian apothecary, who was nearly two decades her junior. The duo separated after seven years, during which time she wrote the autobiographical novel, “Our Nig,” which is believed by some to be the first novel penned by someone of color in the U.S. It was published anonymously in 1859, and she never wrote anything of substance afterwards. Her life afterwards is ill-recorded, as she became a spiritualist known as “the colored medium.” For her last 30 years she was a trance reader and lecturer, sometimes delivering her talks while in an altered meditative state. Used her own experiences to deliver talks on social issues, while speaking at camp meetings, and in private homes. Very active in the Spiritualist Church as a clairvoyant and healer, while also serving as a housekeeper for a boardinghouse during her last two decades. Died in a hospital. Inner: Very resilient and determined. Deeply spiritual with an innate sense of vision, allowing her to treat her own wounds, as well as others. Caged bird lifetime of continually dealing with issues of abandonment while never abandoning her own sense of worth as autobiographer, healer and voice of the dispossessed.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS ONGOING LITERARY ICON:
Storyline: The serial national treasure easily evokes the bygone worlds that still inform his ongoing sensibilities, while showing himself to be a well-loved figure no matter the language or cultural milieu in which he operates.

E. L. Doctorow (Edgar Lawrence Doctorow) (1931-2015) - American writer. Outer: Parents were the children of Russian Jewish immigrants. Grandfather, a printer, was a passionate reader and passed that trait down. Grew up in a musical household. Mother was a pianist, while his father had a store that sold musical instruments, radios and records. Younger of two brothers. Had a happy lower middle-class upbringing that was short on money, but long on love. Named after poet Edgar Alan Poe (Patti Smith), he knew he was going to be a writer from the 3rd grade onward. Went to the prestigious Bronx High School of Science, before attending Kenyon College where he majored in Philosophy, got some good mentoring around his writing and acted in the school’s theater. Graduated with honors and then spent a year at Columbia Univ. doing graduate work in English Drama, before being drafted. Spent two years in the signal corps in occupied Germany, where he married a fellow Columbia drama student, Helen Setzer in 1954, one son and two daughters from the union. Following his discharcharge, he took a job as a reader for a film company, which inspired his first novel “Welcome to Hard Times,” which was well-received and later turned into a movie. Became an editor at New American Library in 1960, and over most of the next decade, continued as such, moving on to editor-in-chjief at Dial Press. In 1969, he turned to writing fulltime, as a Visiting Writer at UC, Irvine, and began a series of extremely well-received fictions based on American his/storical events, with “The Book of Daniel,” which covered the trial and execution of alleged Soviet spies Julies and Ethel Rosenberg (Melissa Etheridge). His next tome, “Ragtime,” published in 1975, would be his signature volume, winning plaudits galore for his pastiche of early 20th century American life. An essayist and short story writer, as well as a novelist, his works saw print in over thirty languages, and he remained an icon of the latter half of the 20th century American fiction, holding a lofty place with a handful of others. An active teacher as well, he taught at the college level around the country, ultimately holding the Glucksman Chair in American Letters, and was also the recipient of the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal in 1998, as well as a host of other awards. His works have easily translated into other media, both filmic and theatrical, thanks to a finely-honed sense of drama, and an innovative mode of story-telling as well as a distinctive style of prose. Died in a NY hospital of complications from lung cancer. Inner: Wrote every day to stay in form. Gentle and good-humored, and an avid reader of poetry. Pen-firmly-in-hand lifetime of continuing his self-appointed role as chronicler of the world that both happened before him and during his own life, as a gentle penetrating eyewitness to the facts and fictions of his/story. Sholem Aleichem (Solomon Rabinowitz) (1859-1916) - Russian/American writer. Outer: Father was originally a grain and merchant dealer, mother was an Amazon archetype, and both parents managed a general store. After reverses, his parents ran an inn. His mother died when he was 15, and his sire remarried. Grew up in the Ukraine, where most of his stories and novels were set. Became a private tutor of Russian in his teens and later served as a government rabbi. Moved to Kiev and in his mid-20s married Golde Loev, the daughter of a rich provinical Jew, whom he had tutored, before being dismissed by her father for their suspected liaison, 6 children from the union, including artist Norman Raeben and writer Lili Kaufman, who in turn produced Belle Kaufman, author of the popular “Up the Down Staircase.” Initially unsuccessful writing in Russian and Hebrew, he eventually turned to Yiddish in his mid-30s, and won immediate acclaim for his work, while adopting a pseudonymous greeting as his name, because of the low repute for the language as a literary vehicle. Edited a Yiddish literary annual, which attracted all the best writers in that language. His ineptitude with finances caused him to depend entirely on writing for a living, after being forced to go abroad while his mother-in-law settled his debts. Moved to Odessa with his family in his early 40s, and then wandered around Europe, because of the pogroms in Russia. Forced to stay in spas on account of his tuberculosis, while giving recitations of his writings in both Europe and the USA. Finally settled in NYC’s Lower East Side, after an earlier disappointment in his reception there, in his mid-50s, enjoying international fame for the last decade of his life. Became the first scribe to write in Yiddish for children. Among his five novels, a score of plays and over 300 short stories, his best known work was Fiddler on the Roof. Deeply depressed over losing a son to TB in 1915, he died the following year of tuberculosis and diabetes. His funeral procession was viewed by 100,000 New Yorkers, and he would remain an honored figure in both Russian and Jewish circles forever afterwards. Inner: Ironic, modest, witty and skeptical. Good insight into pure Jewish survival, thanks to his own experiences in that arena. Active Zionist, and a well-loved figure by all who knew him. Reclamatory lifetime of acting as a chronicler for a way of life that was about to disappear, and rediscovering himself in its retelling.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS CHAMPION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE:
Storyline: The literary activist wields a mighty pen in bringing to light heretofore invisible worlds and wins world-renown for doing so, after a go-round of social and economic privilege, in which she merely had to transcend her gender and not her totality.

Toni Morrison (Chloe Wofford) (1931) - American writer. Outer: Of African/American descent. Both sides of the family were children of southern sharecroppers. 2nd child of a welder and laborer who harbored ill-feelings towards people of European descent, mother was feisty and highly protective of her Depression era family. Grew up in a racially mixed, working-class neighborhood, and a lively household where social issues were freely discussed. A deep love of black culture permeated everyone in it. Graduated Howard University, where she changed her name to Toni, and was active in the college theater group, then got a graduate degree at Cornell. Taught at the college level for 9 years, including her alma mater and in 1957 married Harold Morrison, a Jamaican architect, 2 children from the union. Found marriage stifling, divorced in 1964, left teaching and ultimately became a senior editor at Random House. Her first novel in 1970, The Bluest Eyes, was about the tragic implications of looking for black beauty through European standards, and was only modestly received. Her 3rd novel, Song of Solomon, the search for identity of a black male narrator, won the National Book Critics’ Circle award in 1977 and gave her a national reputation. In her succeeding works, she has continued to experiment and expand on her basic theme of black female experience within the oppressive community of humankind. An impulsive writer, who works out her problems in her head before committing them to paper, and uses fantasy, a sinuous sense of language and both mythos and actuality to give her works an unusual resonance. Continually takes literary risks, in trying to examine the heart of each of her characters, and, probably, her own as well in her themes of memory, community and culture. Won a Pulitzer Prize in 1987 for Beloved, in which a mother murders her daughter to spare her from slavery, then 20 years later returned to a re-examination of that theme in reverse from the perspective of an earlier time and dynamic in American his’n’herstory in A Mercy. Taught at numerous colleges and universities, and since 1989, has held a prestigious chair in humanities at Princeton Univ, where she has affected the course of black studies across America. Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993, the first African-American woman to do so. Inner: Preference for her own company to any sort of literary set. Powerful imagination, excellent sense of exposition, mischievous, good-humoured. Strong social force, and a continual literary reminder that whiteness is not a universal state of being. Powerful penwoman lifetime of rising from a background of lack of privilege, albeit considerable intellectual ferment, to limn a world largely hidden from the majority eye. Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) - American writer. Outer: Daughter of a wealthy NY banker, who was controlling and morally scrupulous. Mother occasionally wrote poems. Given an excellent education through governesses and private schools, and wrote from childhood on. In 1843, she married Samuel Gridley Howe, a reformer and teacher of the blind who was 20 years her senior, 6 children from union, 5 of whom reached adulthood, including Laura Howe Richards, a writer of children’s books. Her husband proved as much of an authoritarian as her sire, and a philanderer as well, making for an acrimonious, recriminating relationship. Spent a year in Europe after her marriage, while her social prominence gave her access to both European and American intellectuals. Had a lifelong interest in music and drama. Published her first work, a book of lyrical verse, anonymously in 1854, but had little success with her first few volumes of work. Became, along with her husband, an enthusiastic crusader for the abolitionist movement, although her spouse often disapproved of her activities, particularly her writing and her taking public roles. Edited the anti-slavery paper, Commonwealth, and wrote a poem for which she became famous, “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” symbolically written in a tent in the dark during a visit to an army camp at the beginning of the Civil War. Despite her husband’s objections, she became very involved in women’s right after the Civil War. After his death, she threw herself wholeheartedly into causes, particularly those having to do with women’s rights. A suffragette and liberal Unitarian, who spent the later part of her life delivering lectures and writing essays, as well as holding various offices within the suffrage and peace movements. Wrote throughout her life in a variety of genres, including travel, poetry, and biographies and was editor of women’s literary magazines. In 1908, she was the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Died of pneumonia in her 90s. Inner: Courageous, incisive, witty, extremely strong-willed. Dynamic lifetime of making the most of a background of privilege through activism and a sense of surety of her goals, while suffering the innate oppressiveness of highly controlling men in the close familial relationships of her life.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SUICIDAL ECCENTRIC:
Storyline: The bohemian depressive cannot sidestep his ineluctable genetic draw towards self-destruction, despite being a well-received wit with a unique style of exposition, but little feel for his own emotional underpinnings.

Richard Brautigan (1935-1984) - American poet. Outer: Grew up in poverty with his mother, a waitress, in a small shack in Eugene, Oregon. Father was a laborer who abandoned the family seven months before his son was born. His mother had two more daughters with two more men, one of whom she married, an abusive fry cook who beat him. Lived in extreme circumstances on welfare, sometimes not eating for days. His mother married a third time in 1950. 6’4”, he played high school basketball and also wrote for the school newspaper. Continued his impoverished and unbalanced ways, and in 1955, he threw a rock threw a police station window in order to be incarcerated and fed, although wound up instead in Oregon State Hospital, where he was given electro-convulsive therapy. Never went to college, although eventually became Poet-in-Residence at Cal. Institute of Technology in 1967. Moved to San Francisco in 1957, and married Virginia Adler, one daughter from the union, which effectively ended the marriage. Much of his life would remain hidden, since he refused to reveal it to interviewers. Published 3 volumes of poetry by the early 1960s, and throughout the decade, was involved with the city’s artistic scene. His work was noted for its inventiveness, with nature, life and emotion his abiding literary trio, and friendship, love and laughter as their ultimate expression, all written in the tone of innocence and naivete. Served as a bridge figure between the beats and counterculture of the 1960s. Best known for his 2nd novel, Trout Fishing in America, a commentary on the contemporary state of nature, which became the name of several communes. Married a second time in 1978 to Akiko Yoshimura, whom he had met in Japan. Divorced two years later. His poetry was considered far more inconsistent. Eventually commited suicide via a single .44-calibre gunshot wound to the head, because of a constitutional disposition towards depression. Unhappy and drinking a lot beforehand, his body was not found til 4 or 5 weeks later. Inner: Colorful character, but unable to integrate his emotions with his life, nor to really grow artistically beyond a childlike wonder with the world. Characters also disconnected, with a notable lack of passion to them, and a passivity and innocence that shields them from their actions, which was his legacy as well. Longtime fascination with Zen Buddhism. Aborted lifetime of continuing to work around his own emotional inconsistencies and trying to alleviate them via his writings, only to fall victim to his lack of sense of self. George Sterling (1869-1926) - American poet. Outer: Father was a physician but the family carried a taint of emotional instability. Eldest of 9 children. Renounced the Church in is youth and was very irreverent afterwards. Educated at private academies and St. Charles school in Maryland. Excellent athlete, football player in school, with great physical strength. Strikingly handsome with a medieval beauty about him. Said to look like poet Dante (Ezra Pound). Secretary to his uncle for 10 years. Had a close association with writer Ambrose Bierce (Hunter Thompson), who became his mentor. Moved to Carmel and an artist’s colony there. Known as the last classic bohemian. Wrote 10 volumes of verse, and his work was noted for its inventiveness. In 1896, he wed Caroline Rand. Had a happy marriage until the end, when his wife poisoned herself. Socialist and radical, although his poetry was apolitical. Hopelessly in love with socialist Upton Sinclair’s 2nd wife. Depression, alcoholism and poverty at the end of his life caused him to poison himself in his rooms at the Bohemian Club. Inner: Witty, prodigal and practical, with a host of contradictory traits. Very generous to others. Drawn to characters stronger than his own. Mild-mannered, affable. Less-than-sterling lifetime of re-inventing himself, but unable to transcend his own biological urges towards self-destruction, a continual theme of his.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS MERRY PRANKSTER:
Storyline: The self-celebrating Oregonian takes his own wild ride across the American landscape in a series of trickster go-rounds, before ultimately settling into a more conventional mode, having spent his creative coin in the process.

Ken Kesey (1935-2001) - American writer. Outer: From a family of ranchers and dairy farmers on both sides. Saw his father as a John Wayne hero, who successfully established a prosperous marketing cooperative. Inherited frontier American values from his family, who had restlessly and relentlessly migrated westward. Older of 2 sons. His family moved to Oregon when he was a child, and he had an outdoorsy upbringing there, with physicality given dominance, and virility a staunch value. Held a lifelong fascination with magic. Raised a Baptist, good athlete in high school. During college, he spent summers in Hollywood looking for film roles. Went to the Univ. of Oregon, where he was a wrestler and also acted in school plays, and graduated Stanford Univ., taking the writing program there on a Woodrow Wilson fellowship. Married Faye Haxby, a high school classmate, 3 children from union, one son later dying in 1984 in a car crash. Also had an illegitimate daughter with guitarist Jerry Garcia’s future second wife, Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Adams. A night attendant at a VA hospital, where he was a paid experimental subject, taking mind-altering drugs and reporting on their effect, which led to his masterwork in 1962, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the tale of a renegade prankster ultimately undone by unamused authority, which was also made into a highly successful play and film, although he felt the latter did not do his work justice and never saw. His 2nd novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, also examined social conflicts from the perspective of nonunion lumberjacks. Became an early icon of the 1960s and a touchstone for the acid-trippers of the San Francisco Bay area. His love of costume and pretend led to the Merry Pranksters, a hippie contingent who traveled the country in a 1939 school bus, with the destination ‘Further’ as its goal. Their entire story was chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s "Electric Kool Aid Acid Test." His adventurous flouting of convention eventually led to his fleeing to Mexico to escape marijuana charges in 1967. Served 5 months on his return, then removed himself to a farm in Oregon, and gradually weaned himself from his prankster spawn, writing sporadically, teaching, coaching wrestling, and assembling collages of works, although only wrote one more major novel, in 1992. Often criticised for having dissipated his talents, following his first 2 introductory works, although he felt everything he did, including concert performances, children’s stories, and alternative writing projects were all of the same piece. Pacifist the last decade of his life, while also suffering from diabetes and hepatitis-C. Died 2 weeks after cancer surgery to remove half his liver. Inner: Charismatic redneck conservative, with a muscular view of culture, and an ultimate desire to be his own father. Trickster lifetime of building on the themes of self-creation and self-discovery via mind-altering substances, before ultimately altering his reality into more conventional and less substantive fare. Joaquin Miller (Cincinnatus Hiner Miller) (1837-1913) - American writer. Outer: Father was a Quaker schoolteacher and preacher, as well as a farmer and merchant. His family gradually moved west, finally settling on a farm in Oregon in the Willamette Valley in 1854. Ran away to the goldmines at 17, where he became a cook, only to develop scurvy from his own food preparation. Also developed a taste for alcohol during this period, which would stay with him. Finally forced to leave after writing an unflattering poem about one of the men there, whose critical facilities were largely confined to waving a gun in his face. Tall, blonde and handsome. Lived for a year with the Digger Amerindians, where he was known as ‘Bo-Bo,’ for his absurd ways, and married a Modoc, Paquita, 2 children from union. Jailed as a horse thief, but escaped when a friend sawed the bars. Claimed to have been wounded twice in Amerindian skirmishes, including an arrow in his cheek and neck, although no proof exists that he ever engaged in any fighting, and his stories would change as his audiences did. Subsequently blamed all his injuries on his fighting days. Abandoned his family, read the law, was admitted to the bar in Oregon, although found few clients, then taught, and continued his writing. Became a pony express rider, then bought into a newspaper, the Eugene City Democratic Register, which gave him a brief forum. Married again in 1862 to Tessie Dyer, a poet who wrote under the name Minnie Myrtle, 3 children from his second union. His wife left him in 1867, although they never bothered getting a divorce, and he went back to practicing law. Got elected judge on the Democratic ticket, and used the bench upon occasion to read his own poetry aloud, much to the consternation of his court, which limited his stay to one term. Went to San Francisco, and renamed himself after the legendary bandit Joaquin Murietta, before taking off for London, with a card reading, “Joaquin Miller, Byron of the Rockies.” Published a book of verse via a vanity press, and traveled in Europe, as well as Brazil, as a colorful representative of the early American west, cutting a flamboyant figure with a long beard, velvet jackets, embroidered pantaloons, and high-heeled jackboots, topped off by a brace of Bowie knives. Far better known for his bizarre get-ups than his writing talent, he nevertheless capitalized on his appearance, while working as a journalist, although his handwriting was so bad, none of is articles were ever published. Among his numerous affairs, he had a 30 year relationship with Miriam Leslie (Katherine Graham), the wife and then widow of publisher Frank Leslie, which may or may not have been sexual, but certainly was very public. Lionized for his individuality, but far more interesting as a unique persona than a writer of skill. Bigamously married Abbie Leland, a young heiress in NYC in 1883, before returning out west in 1886. Lived with his mother, his 3rd wife and daughter from a 2nd marriage in a series of cottages, before settling in Oakland, and buying up 70 acres in a place he called, ‘the Heights’ which would be his final home, and would ultimately by bought by the city as a landmark, thanks to his great love of trees, which he planted in such abundance, he created a small forest. Went up to Alaska in the 1890s for the gold-rush there, only to lose part of a toe and a ear to frostbite. Died from unspecified causes. His works were often derided for their exaggeration and bombast. Inner: Very theatrical, with a grand sense of self, a romantic figure to many, ludicrous to others. Florid lifetime of using himself as his own best invention, while learning the skills of exposition to make him doubly unique, although put far more energy into the creation of himself than his 2nd-rate works.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS SOUTHWESTERN CHRONICLER:
Storyline: The transplanted New Mexican takes a double-life magical journey into Spanish-American culture and winds up as one of its primary limners from the perspective of a fascinated outsider.

John Nichols (1940) - American writer. Outer: Son of a psychologist, mother, who was French and partially raised in Barcelona, died when he was 2. His father remarried 3 more times. At first, he lived with cousins, one of whom became governor of Mass. Later moved around the East Coast, attending Hamilton College, where he was a 3-sport athlete. Traveled after graduation, settled in New York, published his first novel, then went to Guatemala, where the exploitation and impoverishment he found there, totally changed his outlook. Married Ruby Harding in his mid-20s, son and daughter from the union, which ended in divorce. Moved to Taos, New Mexico as his marriage fell apart, and became an unpaid investigative reporter for an alternative New Mexican newspaper, that provided raw material for best-known work, The Milagro Beanfield War, which was later made into a movie. Became a chronicler of the New Mexican way of life in a trilogy which followed, including The Magic Journey and settled in Taos as a longtime resident. Married Elizabeth Pyle in 1975. His second union produced a son, and ended in 1995. Married and divorced one more time. Suffers from tachycardia and other heart ailments, which undermine his health, despite his youthful appearance. Underwent open heart surgery in 1994. A prolific author, with some 12 novels and 8 non-fiction works to his credit, as well as several screenplays. Inner: High social awareness, deep sense of social injustice. Physically active sportsman. Continuation lifetime of pursuing his fascination with Spanish-American culture as an outsider, to become an iconized chronicler of saidsame. Charles Lummis (1859-1928) - American writer. Outer: Son of a minister and teacher. His mother died when he was 2, and he later claimed he had a vivid deathbed memory of her. Received an early education at home from his father, showing himself to be an academic adept. Studied at Harvard for 4 years, where he was a classmate of Theodore Roosevelt (Kathleen Kennedy), but did not receive a degree until 25 years later, having dropped out his very last semester. Fathered a daughter while there, and also worked as a printer during the summers, which led to his first slim volume of verse. Married Mary Roads in 1880 and moved to his wife’s home town, where he acted as the editor of an Ohio paper for 2 years, then walked 3507 miles across America from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in 1884, writing newspaper dispatches about his “tramp,” while dressed in knickerbockers and a duck coat. Broke his arm in Arizona on the trip, but set it and continued on his magic journey, covering the distance in 143 days. On his arrival, he became city editor of the LA Times for two years, but because of overwork and lack of sleep, he had a stroke and wound up paralyzed on his left side. Decided to return to New Mexico to get his health back, and stayed on a ranch to recuperate, breaking wild horses, while taking wintery ice plunges in a pond and having gunny sack rubdowns as part of his therapy. Continued his writing, including exposing criminal activity among local bosses, which forced him to move in among the Pueblo Amerindians. Got sprayed with buckshot for his expose, but survived, and wound up divorcing his first wife and in 1891, marrying Eva Douglas, the sister-in-law of an English trader who lived at the pueblo. Subsequently sent her to live with his first wife in Los Angeles, until their divorce went through. Got into a contretemps with the U.S. government over the forced removal of Amerindian children to government schools, and won it, liberating three dozen of them. Collected folklore data, only to suffer another major stroke that left him unable to speak or walk. Sent to a hospital, where he lay abed immobilized save for his right arm. Through his considerable will, he would crawl via his right elbow to a nearby river and fish for trout, which proved miraculous therapy. Slowly began to walk again in halting manner, while regaining his power of speech. Returned to the Pueblo to continue his amateur ethnography, and after recovering further, took part in a 10 month ethnological trip to Peru in 1893 and 1894. Returned to Los Angeles, and assumed the editorship of a western magazine, which was ultimately named Out West. Wound up writing some 500 pieces for it, including a monthly column of commentary called “In the Lion’s Den.” In 1904, he became head librarian of the LA public library, where he would place ‘poison’ stickers on overwrought his/storical romances, and would also brand books to halt their theft. Finally fired for spending too much money, despite playing a crucial role in that library’s growth. His second wife accused him of having dozens of affairs and divorced him. His last wife, Gertrude Redit, who he wed in 1915, was his secretary. Had 4 children all told, including a son, Keith, who became an author. Built a castle/hacienda, named El Alisal, with his own hands between 1898 and 1910, which was a virtual museo of southwestern artifacts, as well as a bastion of continuous parties, where guests often sang, performed or recited. Stricken with blindness, which he claimed he got from a jungle dig in Guatemala, but once again recovered. Founded the Southwestern Museum in LA, and dedicated the rest of his life to promulgating native Americana of the Southwest, while also fighting for Amerindian rights. Published 17 books all told, with the best known, “The Land of Poco Tiempo.” Inner: Highly physical, athletic, strong sense of divergent cultures. Bragged in his diaries about his sexual prowess with his wife and others. Extremely social, with a great love for indigenous cultures, and an equal draw towards self-destruction. Hardy lifetime of testing the limits of his body, while pursuing his passion for the American southwest, as an amatuer ethnographer extraordinaire.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS QUIET STORYTELLER:
Storyline: The regional humorist limns the worlds of his ongoing childhoods to make them more complete for himself, finding his niche as an offbeat chronicler of bygone places and times in an attempt to fill in the spaces of his own past.

Garrison Keillor (Gary Edward Keillor) (1942) - American writer, radio host and humorist. Outer: Maternal grandparents were Scottish immigrants, paternal side was of English, as well as Welsh and German descent. Father was a railway mail clerk and carpenter. 3rd of 6 children. Younger brother Steven became a Minnesota his/storian and writer. His family were Plymouth Brethren, who allowed radio in the house, but were disapproving of TV and movies, unconsciously putting him on the media pathway he would ultimately pursue. Went to the Univ. of Minnesota, then became staff announcer at a radio station in Minn. for 5 years, before becoming a Public Radio producer and announcer. 6’4”, and bespectacled with brown hair. Married Mary Guntzel in his mid-20s, divorced a decade later, one son from the union. Found radio as a natural outlet for his unique brand of homespun humor with the long-running, “A Prairie Home Companion,” which he both hosted and served as principle writer for, over a period of 13 years. Based its locale, Lake Wobegon, on his growing up in semi-rural Minnesota. Combined stories, ads and music, and built up a large loyal audience for his subtle brand of humor. Eventually ended the show in 1987 because of a desire to spend more time writing, and was also disturbed by his unwanted fame. In his mid-40s, he married Ulla Skaerved, a Danish high school exchange student, and lived for a brief time in Denmark before returning to NYC 2 years later, to begin a new radio program from there. Divorced in 1990, he remarried a violinist, Jenny Lind Nilsson in 1995, one daughter from the 3rd union. In 2006, he ultimately saw “A Prairie Home Companion,” translated into film, which he both scripted and played in.A decade later, he retired the show, with a subtle bow-out at the Hollywood Bowl in front of 18,000 fans. Inner: Low key, unpretentious, gentle. Remote and removed. Wanted to write the Great American Novel, before realizing that radio and his oral skills were his true medium. Bard of bygone times lifetime of continuing to recreate the vanishing world of his youth through the intimate medium of electronic storytelling, while experiencing difficulties in maintaining his own intimate private life. Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908) - American writer. Outer: Father was an Irish laborer who deserted his mother before his son was born. The latter supported herself as a dressmaker while raising him. Worked as a printer’s devil, until an editor taught him the art of writing. Toiled for a number of newspapers, before establishing himself as a writer for the Savannah Morning News and then the Atlanta Constitution, spending nearly a quarter of a century with it. In his late 20s, he married Esther LaRose, the daughter of a steamboat captain, 8 children from the union. Began to write poems, but gained lasting fame from the plantation stories that he had learned from transplanted African-Americans. Wrote his first “Uncle Remus” story at 29 for the Constitution, replete with dialect and setting, and soon collected a number of legends, folk tales, proverbs and sayings, which he published in 2 books, later adding a third, as well as several other works and characters, including “Dadd Jake,” who spoke in the dialect of the South Carolina rice plantations. Also wrote essays and critiques of the South, attacking, in loving terms, the South’s attachment to sectionalism, religiosity, and other anachronisms of the modern world. Despite stereotyping, he also explored the darker side of the South’s past. Edited Uncle Remus’s Magazine the last year of his life. Probably had a drinking problem, died of cirrhosis of the liver. Inner: Shy, quiet, home-loving and unpretentious. Complex but extremely gentle, with a sense of tragedy that was tempered by good manners and a genuine fondness for all people, both black and white alike. Fatherless lifetime of storytelling, critiquing and essaying his world with tender amiability, love and an unflinching sense of the truth in order to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle of his life.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS VOICE OF THE VOICELESS:
Storyline: The cyclopean chronicler gives vivid literary testimony to the pain and suffering of the racially dispossessed, bearing active womanist witness to worlds rarely revealed to unseeing outside eyes.

Alice Walker (1944) - American writer. Outer: Of African/American descent. 8th and youngest child of share-croppers and dairy farmers, who supported the family on $300 a year from her mother’s salary as a part-time maid. Close relationship with her mother, who gave her support and encouragement, as well as a typewriter, excusing her from chores in order to express herself. Her father was sickly and old by the time she was born, and never understood her. Suffered permanent blindness in her right eye at 8, when one of her brothers shot her with B.B. gun. Saw herself as belittled and disfigured by the wound for the next 6 years. Became shy and introspective afterwards, allowing her creative talent to come to the fore. Began to record folk tales and to write original poetry. Read widely, and used that material to integrate her own vision of her own culture. Graduated valedictorian and senior class queen of high school. Attended all-black and female Spelman College in Atlanta, became active in the civil right’s movement, then enrolled at Sara Lawrence College. Spent one summer in Africa while there, which inspired her first book of poetry, written on her return, when she was pregnant and feeling suicidal. After graduation, she worked for the NYC welfare department, then received a writing fellowship, and used it to live in Mississippi and help voter registration. Married Mel Leventhal, a Jewish civil rights attorney in 1967, one daughter from the union, Rebecca, who was born 3 days after she finished her first novel, and became a writer herself, highlighting her own difficult relationship with her mother via her pen, because of the former’s belief that motherhood was one of the worst thigs that could happen to a true feminist. The duo became the first legally married interracial couple in the state, although the relationship threatened her authenticity as a black voice and they divorced a decade later. Continued her prolific career as a writer, publishing novels, short stories and poetry while teaching at the university level. Her best known work was The Color Purple, based loosely on the life of her great-grandmother, which was also made into a successful film, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983, making her the first of her racial background to do so. When black activists subsequently picketed the film, she crossed a civil wrongs line for the first time in her life. Considers herself a “womanist” writer, applying that neologism to African-American feminism. Her later works have been more surreal and less accessible, although she continues plumbing the same themes of struggle and spirituality from a deeper and deeper interior perspective. Stopped writing in her mid-50s to become an apprentice elder, traveling and exploring indigenous cultures and ancient wisdom, before taking pen back in hand to continue to celebrate her gift for language. Despite her wisdom stances, she remains estranged from her daughter, for the latter’s daring to question her ideological beliefs, and also challenge her maternal stance to relative strangers, while largely abandoning her own closest kin. Inner: Emerged out of shyness to become a powerful spokeswoman for the African-American womanist experience. Frank, warm, and enthusiastic, although the harboer of some very self-defeating ideas, including the concept that children enslave their mothers. Cyclopean lifetime dedicated to bringing forth her concerns as a voice of the voiceless through a penetrating eye geared towards making the invisible seen. Frances Harper (Frances Watkins) (1825-1911) - American writer. Outer: Born free of former slave parents. Her mother died when she was 2, and she was raised by an aunt and educated in a private school run by an uncle. A lonely child, she was profoundly affected by abolitionist teachings. Unable to attend school after 13, she began working as a housekeeper in a Quaker household, and was self-taught afterwards through reading and writing. Settled in Ohio at 25 and taught at Union Seminary, a black Episcopal Church, becoming the 1st female vocational teacher in the U.S. Moved to Pennsylvania, was severely depressed about slavery, but couldn’t legally return back to Maryland. Moved frequently, lived in a station of the underground railway. Became a lecturer on the horrors of slavery prior to the Civil War. Petite and dignified with a musical voice. Had a restrictive marriage to a young widower and free black man with 3 children, Fenton Harper, one daughter from the union, which ended with his death in 1864. Extremely close with her daughter. Gave daily lectures throughout the post-Civil War South calling for equal rights. Also became involved in the women’s movement and temperance. Contributed finances to causes as well. Wrote short stories and one novel. Helped found the National Association of Colored Women in 1894, and served as its vice-president until her death. Worked with churches in the black community, and taught Sunday school. Died of a heart ailment, internalizing the troubles she had seen. Largely a pedestrian writer, with her passion more in her life than her abilities with words, which she would redress in her next go-round. Inner: Extremely strong-willed with an indomitable sense of mission. Had a fascination with the biblical Moses, who she explored in her writings. Witness lifetime of actively proselytizing her beliefs as a secular and social evangelical and voice of the voiceless, a theme she would continue to explore.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS PERENNIAL BEST-SELLER:
Storyline: The well-received wordsmith utilizes his creativity to exorcise the demons of his upbringing, after earlier showing himself to be far more emotionally comfortable around dogs, than ever he was around most people, in a double go-round geared towards opening up his deep reservoir of fears and loathings.

Dean Koontz (1945) - American writer. Outer: Father was the town drunk, an extremely abusive alcoholic, who wound up holding 44 jobs in 34 years, while threatening to kill both him and his mother constantly. Also had two uncles who committed suicide, while his sire suffered from borderline schizophrenia, making him feel his bloodline was deeply tainted. His mother, a feisty diminutive woman, stood up to her husband and always tried to protect her only child in the tar paper shanty where he grew up in extreme emotional and economic poverty. Practiced a ritual of self-protection when his father passed out, feeling a great need to save himself via deliberate symbolic acts. Enjoyed a lifetime fascination with dogs, as a carryover from his last go-round in this series, although he had ill-luck with them initially, and didn’t become a dog owner until his early 50s. Went to work as a grocery store clerk following his graduation from high school, before getting a degree in English from Shippenberg State College in Pa. in 1966, the same year he wed his high school inamorata, Gerda Ann Cerra. The couple would deliberately avoid raising children because of his fear of tainted genes, and ultimately would use their serial pet dogs as substitutes. Won an Atlantic Monthly fiction writing contest his senior year in college, and has been writing ever since. Also converted to Catholicism, enjoying the sense of mystery and mastery with which it is imbued. His wife worked in a shoe factory for 7 years, until his writing could support them. Worked for a year for the Appalachian Poverty Program, which proved to be a dumping ground for violent children, while writing nights and weekends, then taught high school as an English teacher, In 1968, he published his first novel, “Star Quest” and continued in the science fiction genre, before turning to suspense and horror, working under his own name, as well as several pseudonyms. Enjoyed his big breakthrough in 1980, with “Whispers,” a tale of a rapist killing women he feels possess the dark spirit of his mother. Number one bestsellers poured out of him after that, as did a full head of hair, thanks to transplants, and he ultimately became one of the richest authors ever, creating an international conglomerate out of himself which his wife runs, with a net worth of well over $100 million. Eventually settled in several homes in Southern California, as an unabashed materialist, while remaining a creative servant of his considerable imagination. Continually employs dogs, both good and evil in his works, with a great love for golden retrievers, as in one of his favorite works, “Watchers,” about a genetically altered retriever whose intelligence rises to the level of human. His father, who was in a retirement home at the time, tried to kill him with a knife when the former was 75, even though he had been supporting him for years. Managed to wrestle the weapon away from him, then found himself facing the police who repeatedly told him to drop the knife, before he finally did so. Eventually used the scene in a TV movie, “Mr. Murder.” Finally lost his sire 3 years later, without ever forgiving him. Inner: Perfectionist, needing each page perfect before he can go on with a work. Conservative politically, mild-mannered, obsessively tidy, and polite with a roiling interior that he transliterates into his works rather than his life. Creature of habits, who continually explores struggling with the past and overcoming it with his works, in the same way he did with his own existence. Feels demon-possessed, which has allowed him to explore a host of genres from horror to suspense, while pursuing the theme of the healing power of love. Curiously none of his works have translated well into film, despite doing well as TV movies. Transformative lifetime of rising from abuse and poverty to become a publishing phenomenon of his times, as an exemplar of the transcendental power of self-love. Albert Payson Terhune (1872-1942) - American writer and dog breeder. Outer: Mother was a writer of household management books and novels that took place in pre-Civil War times, under the name of Marion Harland. One of six children, with four sisters and a brother, although only two sisters reached adulthood, outliving him by two and three years respectively. His well-known farm, Sunnybank, was originally his family’s summer home, in Wayne, NJ, which he made into his permanent residence, and a showcase for the rough collies he became famous for breeding, after purchasing the property from his mother in 1909. Had some schooling in Europe, before graduating from Columbia Univ. where he received a B.A. in 1893. Strongly built and rough hewn with a lantern jaw. Traveled after college, then worked as a reporter for the Evening World, from 1894 to 1914. Extremely physical, he boxed in exhibition matches with heavyweights James J. Corbett (Walter Payton), Bob Fitzsimmons (Lee Marvin) and James J. Jeffries (Vin Diesel). His first book, “Syria from the Saddle” was published in 1896, and four years later, he co-wrote his first novel with his mother. Married Lorraine Bryson, who died at the age of 23, four days after giving birth to his only daughter, Lorraine. Unable to show any affection towards the latter, probably blaming her for his wife’s death. Had boundless love for his second wife, Anice, no children from the union. Able to leave his newspaper job in 1916 to become a full-time novelist and breeder, after enjoying success in the former pursuit with histories and thrillers. Switched to short stories in various magazines, using his collie, Lad, who died in 1918, as subject matter. “Lad: A Dog,” proved a best-seller in the post WW I era, and it was followed by over 30 dog-centered novels, which appealed to both adults and young readers, despite some initial resistance from publishers. His writings made him quite wealthy, despite their pedestrian nature. In spite of the level of his prose, he became the most successful author of dog stories ever. The year after his death, his wife penned a biography of him, then added to her oeuvre with more works before dying a little over two decades later. His property Sunnybank deteriorated after his and his wife’s deaths, with only a small chunk eventually restored and made into an historical park. Inner: Quick-tempered and crotchety, as well as far more interested in making money than producing any lasting literature. Self-confessed “scrawler of second-rate stuff.” Obsessed by a fear of dying in poverty. Racist and quite prejudiced, as well as basically solitudinous, with his wife and dogs his preferred companions. Dog-loving lifetime of largely human disconnection, save for his second wife and mother, necessitating a return into exaggerated abusive poverty in order to motivate him to get back in touch with more of his generous humanity again.
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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS BEST-SELLING PURVEYOR OF MANLY VALOR:
Storyline: The inveterate dime novelist puts his own thwarted dreams of glory into his heroic creations, feeding the fantasies of his fellow armchair warriors, with his plausible plotting and clean-cut paladins, in lieu of his own secret desire to be one of his imaginary characters

Tom Clancy (Thomas Leo Clancy, Jr.) (1947-2013) - American author and entrepreneur. Outer: Father was a postman, while his mother worked for the credit department of Montgomery Ward. Raised a Roman Catholic, he dreamt of a military career from childhood on, along with his longtime fascination with weaponry as a self-professed nerd. 6’2” and bespectacled. Graduated from Loyola College in Maryland, where he majored in English Literature. While there he failed an eye exam for the ROTC, due to myopia, which curtailed his lifelong wish for military heroics, and he wound up getting a draft deferment during the Vietnam War. Became an insurance broker afterwards, and ultimate owner of the agency for which he had earlier worked, which had been the property of his wife’s grandparents. In 1969, he wed Wanda Thomas, who managed the insurance agency, three daughters and a son from the union, which ended in separation in 1995 and bitter divorce four years later because of all the money involved. Began writing and researching in his spare time, before published his first novel, “The Hunt For Red October” in 1984, introducing Jack Ryan, a CIA operative, to the American reading public. Soon became an acknowledged master of the techno-thriller, with his subsequent bestsellers in that same vein, after getting a highly public acknowledgment from Pres. Ronald Reagan as a spinner of great yarns. Added John Clark, another CIA operative to his oeuvre, beginning with “The Cardinal of the Kremlin,” in 1988, and the two would subsequently be the main players in almost all his books. Several of his works would be adopted for film, with Ben Affleck as his preferred portrayer of Ryan. A favorite of US military and intelligence agencies,for his carefully and plausibly plotted works, he has been given access to enough unclassified information to give detailed nuance to his books, while also being invited to lecture at the Pentagon on several occasions. His success would allow him a 416-acre 15,000 sq. ft. Maryland estate he dubbed Peregrine Cliff. A conservative Republican, with undiminished admiration for Reagan, his political views have crept into his later works as a faithful purveyor of traditional American values. In addition to his own output, he has lent his name to several lines of books, including Net Force, Op-Center and Power Plays, which have all been ghostwritten by others, making him a multimedia industry unto himself. Bought into the Baltimore Orioles baseball team in 1993 along with a group of investors, then tried to buy into the football Minnesota Vikings, although his expensive divorce settlement at the time curtailed that venture. Began Red Storm Entertainment in 1996, to capitalize on computer games, so that his name appears above title on several shoot-em-up versions of his books. In 1999, he wed Alexandra Llewellyn, a TV reporter and niece of Gen. Colin Powell some two decades his junior. French video game manufacturer Ubisoft bought his name in 2008 in conjunction with their products, to put him in the $100 million + class. Has also written a number of nonfiction works about the U.S. armed forces, while at least ten of his books have reached #1 status on the NY Times bestseller list. Died of an undisclosed illness in a Baltimore hospital. Inner: Witty, friendly, with machinegun-like speech patterns. Staunchly patriotic with a strong hawkish identification with the military. Walter Mitty lifetime of turning his frustration over having his military dreams crushed into reinvented heroic realities he wished for himself through surrogate figures of fiction, while making a handsome bundle in the process, through his equal rumpelstilskin facility for spinning the dross of his tales into pure bankable gold. Gilbert Patten (William George Gilbert Patten) (1866-1945) - American author. Outer: From old Yankee stock. Father was a physical giant who worked in logging camps, as well as did carpentering, and wished his son to pursue the same field of work. Mother, who was a deeply religious Adventist, wished him to be a minister. Both parents were extreme pacifists and constantly lectured him on the evils of fighting, which made him shy away from conflicts, and gave him a strong sense of weakness and inferiority as a youth. Went to a local academy, where he showed his rebellious nature by smoking and not studying, before running away from home for six months and working nearby in a machine shop, only to be fired for asking for more than 90¢ a day. Announced on returning, he wished to be an author, and his father gave him 30 days to prove it. Quickly wrote a pair of short stories and sent them to the dime-novel department of a NY publishing house. Received a check for $6 for them, which impelled him to get a newspaper job at the Pittsfield Advertiser. Tall and animated. Returned to school and began reading the classic authors of his time, before producing his next short story, for which he got a mind-boggling $50. Having greatly impressed his sire with the money he earned from his further efforts, he married a former schoolmate, Alice Gardner, in 1886, and she proved a perfect proofreader and human spellcheck for him. One son from the union, which ended in divorce because of incompatibility. Began his 4000 to 8000 word a day outpouring of stories, before starting his own newspaper in 1888, the Corinna Owl, which he sold to his former employer in order to finance a brief trip out West, which only brought him as far as Nebraska, before he hurriedly returned home, with sufficient imagined experience to scribble out a host of dime-novel westerns, with some under the nom de saddle of Wyoming Bill, before moving to Camden, Maine to manage a professional baseball time in the lower minor leagues. Moved to NYC in 1891, although the genre of the dime-novel was beginning to peter out, and he changed publishers twice before finding an amenable fit with Street & Smith, for whom he penned serials. After a failed attempt at playwriting, he returned to Maine, where his publisher suggested a clean-cut upper crust gentlemanly, handsome, all-American hero for his next series. Thus was Frank Merriwell, Yale athlete extraordinaire, born, after making his debut in 1896 in “Tip Top Weekly,” as an American avatar of virginal virility. For the next 20 years, under the nom de spheroid of Burt L. Standish, he wrote a 20,000 word short story every week, some 20,000,000 words all told, before passing on the Merriwell franchise to others, as well as other media, including the comics and radio, contributing to the former, and supervising the latter. At one point, he hired Edward Stratemeyer (Stephen King) to work for him. The Merriwell stories would also be strung together to create books, and would continually follow the same format, with his hero always prevailing in the Big Game, despite dastardly efforts to undo him. Along with his brother Dick Merriwell, he was a multi-sport man, playing both football and baseball, while competing in track and field, as well. Frank Merriwell also had adventures traveling and hunting, while artfully avoiding marriage to one of his two alternate girlfriends, Elsie Bellwood and Inza Burrage, before finally succumbing to the latter after many a manly year of enjoying his extended bachelorhood. Produced other works under a host of names, while feeling he had made himself an indentured servant through his compulsive output, since he never realized any royalties from any of his works. Began his own magazine, “The Dime Novel,” in 1930, although it only lasted one issue. Moved to Southern California in 1941 for his health, and spent his last years there. Hailed as the last of the dime novelists at his death, while estimating he had churned out some 40,000000 words, which translated into 500,000,000 copies of his works. In keeping with his fascination with large numbers, he received some 50,000 letters for his efforts. Inner: Well-liked and well-regarded by those who knew him. Genial and outdoorsy with a love for the essays of Michel Montaigne (Raymond Arons). Churn-it-out lifetime of mastering a pay-by-the-word genre in his conjuration of an All-American hero, after having all competitive urges browbeat out of him by his parents, in his ongoing need to supplant his physical and psychological limitations with a literary imagination that would know no boundaries in its ability to inspire readers with the derring and do, that they don’t normally possess.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS NEUROMANTIC MAP-MAKER:
Storyline: The chthonic cyberscribe is given death-besotted childhoods in order to bring out his deepest and darkest imagination, as a chronicler and prophet of the invisible worlds of the human head and heart
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William Gibson (William Ford Gibson) (1948) - American/Canadian writer. Outer: Father had been a civilian contractor involved in the installation of the plumbing fixtures at the Oak Ridge facility that produced the first atomic bomb. As an only child, he enjoyed a privileged upbringing until he was 6, when his sire accidentally choked to death in a restaurant during a business trip. His Irish/Catholic mother didn’t initially tell him, giving that task to someone else, before hauling him off to her tiny backwater Virginia town, where he grew up under her extremely anxious and depressed ministrations. Withdrew into his own private world, fueled by sci-fi stories and the outpourings of the Beat writers. At 15, he was sent, at his request, to a boarding school in Arizona, where he slowly began to emerge, only to have his mother die suddenly when he was 18, and he got himself expelled from school in reaction. 6’6”, long and lean, weighing only 150 lbs. At 19, he went to Canada in protest over the Vietnam War, although his interview with the draft board and admittance to drug use, cemented his never being called up. After meeting Deborah Thompson, the two toured Europe, and he ultimately settled with her in her hometown of Vancouver, B.C. in 1972, as the two married and she supported them by teaching linguistics and English. Earned a B.A. in English from the Univ. of British Columbia, after realizing he could get generous student financial aid. The union eventually produced a son and a daughter, while he initially floundered. Resistant at first to writing in the sci-fi vein, seeing it as stodgy and old-fashioned. Changed his mind, and between 1981 and 1988 published a half dozen stories, including “Burning Chrome,” in which he introduced the term cyberspace. During this time, he also penned a trio of novels, including his seminal 1984 offering, “Neuromancer,” a tale of super hackers and virtual reality, long before virtual reality and the Internet were commonplace. The book, which inspired two follow-ups, earned numerous awards, and came to be considered the essential example of cyberpunk sci-fi. Ironically, he never even owned a computer until he had written his first two novels. More trilogies would follow, as his villains changed from international corporations to mass media intrusion on ordinary lives. His writing became more realistic as he matured, while he also did collaborations with performance artists, making him one of the most influential writers of his generation. His body of literature has been turned into film, such as Johnny Mnemonic, as well as TV episodes, while he has also contributed articles to mainstream publications. A 2001 feature film, No Maps For These Territories, showed him in the back of a limo chatting with a variety of passengers about his life as he crossed North America. After century’s turn, he set his works in contemporary time’n’space and made the conventional bestseller lists for the first time in 2003 with “Pattern Recognition,” which he had to earlier rewrite following the 9/11/2001 attacks, seeing them as an instrument of American reversion to far less sophisticated times. Inner: Knows very little about computer technology, seeing it as a temporary tool, rather than an end product. Views the Earth as an alien world, and sees the internet as the harbinger of the death of the nation-state. Able to put into language the multiverse reality shaping post-modern times, as a prophet of sorts of the profound transition the electronic sphere has visited upon our collective perceptions. Map-maker lifetime of giving verbal shape to the ever-shifting matrix of awareness informing our sense of our multi-dimensional reality, while doing far better this time around with the ordinary realities of shaping a satisfactory life for himself. H. P. Lovecraft (Howard Phillips Lovecraft) (1890-1937) American writer. Outer: Of English descent. Father, who may have suffered from syphilis, was a traveling salesman of jewelry and precious metals, and had a breakdown in Chicago when his only child was three. Spent the rest of his life confined to a mental institution, dying in 1898. Brought up by his mother, to whom he was very close, as well as two aunts and his maternal grandfather, a prominent industrialist and Mason. A prodigy, he was reciting poetry at 2, reading at 3 and composing poems at 6, while his grandfather encouraged his love of the classics and gothic tales, via his own extensive library. Suffered from nightmares from an early age, feeling he was assaulted by unnamed monsters, and was too sickly most of the time to attend school until he was 8. Lost his grandfather to a stroke when he was in his early teens, and the sudden depletion of the latter’s income, coupled with mismanagement, made the family impoverished, forcing him out of his childhood Victorian home. Indulged all during this period by his aunts, which fed into a lifetime of ill health through bad nutrition. Had somewhat of a social life in high school, although dropped out because of a nervous breakdown, which hospitalized him, allowing his naturally reclusive nature to take over. Despite his abbreviated formal education, he remained an autodidact, reading prodigiously in the fields that interested him, most especially astronomy and his/story. 5’10” with a long ovoid face. After an earlier story or two saw print, he truly launched himself in 1919 in The Vagrant with “Dagon,” the tale of a suicidal mariner beset by his own horrors. It allowed him to begin connecting up via correspondence with several fellow pulp writers, a practice he would continue as substitute for a direct social life. The same year, his mother, who suffered severe bouts of depression and hysteria, was admitted to a hospital and died two years later from complications from gall bladder surgery. Devastated at the loss, he found a substitute in Sonia Greene, a divorced Ukrainian-Jew seven years his senior, who owned a hat shop in Manhattan. The two wed in 1924 and he lived with her in her Brooklyn apartment, while she supported him, believing in his talent. Proved quite passive as a partner, while ballooning to 200 lbs. on her cooking. She, however, soon lost her business and became ill, causing her to move to Cleveland to take a job there. He did not follow and the couple divorced amicably in 1929. Worked sporadically as a low-level clerk, and, after his Brooklyn apartment was burglarized he returned to his native Providence, in 1926, to live with his aunts, while continuing to publish his horror stories in such magazines as Weird Tales, while also penning novellas and ghost-writing. Created his own fictional universe, the “Cthulhu Mythos” in which he explored his favorite theme of forbidden knowledge, while also continually referring to the Necronomicon, an 8th century collection of evil spells that he invented, which was bred by his childhood fascination with “The Arabian Nights.” His signature story, “The Call of Cthulhu,” featured a discovered manuscript writ by a ship’s captain, who had witnessed a monster rising from the sea that totally upended him. In continual ill health, he suffered from Bright’s disease and malnutrition to add to his pain-filled existence. Never able to support himself from his writings, which forced him to live in extreme poverty. Lost one of his aunts, and his modest inheritance finally spent itself out at the time of his death, leaving him virtually nothing to live on. Deeply affected by the suicide of fellow pulp writer, Robert E. Howard (Frank Miller) In 1936, he was diagnosed the same year with cancer of the intestines, which killed him the following annum in a hospital, after a five day stay there. Buried in the family plot and had “I am Providence” inscribed on his gravestone. Inner: Extremely cerebral as a means of holding any excess emotion in check. Held people of Anglo-Nordic origin, particularly of English descent, in high regard and was decidedly racist in his view of the rest of humanity. Had moderately socialist views and saw himself as a New Deal Democrat. Literally cold-bolded thanks to an affliction called polkilothermism. Extremely sensitive to criticism, and no fan of the modern world. Despite his self-imposed isolation, penned around 30,000 letters, using them as the crux of his otherwise nonexistent social life. Atheistic, with a curious antipathy towards the true power of science, seeing much potential for its constant misuse. Chthonic lifetime of serving as an enormous influence for others, while turning his own existence into an ongoing horror tale whose only ultimate resolution could possibly be death.


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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS AWARD-WINNING MULTI-MEDIA FANTASIST:
Storyline: The sci-fi aficionado creates worlds that delight and spark the imagination of his audience, while making himself highly accessible to them, as an enthroned commoner capable of singing depth-filled songs redolent of his own complex contemporary times.

George R.R. Martin (George Raymond Richard Martin) (1948) - American writer and producer. Outer: Of part Italian ancestry on his sire’s side, and part Irish on his mother’s. His larger family also was of German, English and French descent. Father was a longshoreman. Oldest of three with two younger sisters. Raised Catholic, although eventually became an atheist/agnostic. Grew up under limited circumstances in a working-class environment, which gave him the desire to travel when he got older, since the docks where his progenitor worked carried freighters and tankers bearing flags of a host of nations. Began writing stories and selling them to neighborhood children for pennies, and at 13, added Richard to his name, in honor of the Lion-heart, King Richard I (Richard Burton). While in high school, he became enamored of superhero comic-books, and actively contributed to fanzines of the era. 5’6” and rotund. Got a BS in journalism from Northwestern Univ. in 1970, graduating summa cum laude, while also selling his first sci-fi story. The following year he received an MS from the same institution, while registering as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. Served with VISTA and was attached to a legal assistance foundation, while directing chess tournaments for a while. In 1976, he became a a journalism instructor at Clarke College in Dubuque, Iowa, before becoming writer-in-residence there. The same year, he wed Gale Burnick, a future writer of ghostly tales. No children from the union which ended in divorce four years later, when he became a full-time writer, and moved to Santa Fe, NM. The failure of his fourth book sent him to Tinsel Town where he worked during the 1980s, writing and producing for “The Twilight Zone” between 1985 and 1989 and “Beauty and the Beast” from 1987 to 1990, along with other projects/ Frustration with the TV industry, sent him back to print, where he began his “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga, with the first installment, “A Game of Thrones,” published in 1996. It would be this epic, inspired by War of the Roses and ivanhoe, which would be adapted into the immensely popular cable series, “Game of Thrones,” that would cement his award-winning reputation. Served as its executive producer, while also penning one episode a season for its first five season run, beginning in 2011. Two more volumes are planned to bring the series up to 7, which has been a number one bestseller, as well as garnered praise from critics, fellow writers and fans alike. In 2013, he married his longtime partner Parris McBride. A liberal Democrat, as well as classical film enthusiast, he owns and runs the Jean Cocteau Theater in Santa Fe towards that end. In 2017, came out with the novella, “The Sons of the Dragon” giving some backstory to his “Game of Thrones,” although critics found it a mere outline rather than a full-bodied story. Has a net worth of $15 million. Inner: Unafraid to kill off major characters in his books, and writes from different points of view. Often creates melancholic characters, trying to cling to idealism in corrupted worlds, while his portraitures are multi-faceted and complex. Likes role-playing games, and lives simply and modestly despite making some $15 million a year from his creations. Highly approachable, and easy-going, as well as extremely social. Enthroned lifetime of.being both a fantasist and fan of all sorts of fantasy, allowing him to be a creative linchpin for a host of fellow whimsy-lovers in his self-appointed and anointed role as modern troubadour of ancient songs of ice and fire. Abraham Merritt (Abraham Gracee Merritt) (1884-1943) - American writer and editor. Outer: Parents were Quakers. When he was 10, his family moved to Philadelphia, where he grew up. Attended lectures at the Univ. of Penn., with the idea of becoming a lawyer, but poor family finances precluded that dream. Largely self-educated, he became a cub reporter for the Philadelphia Enquirer, where he was eyewitness to a political event, about which he refused to speak, because of its implications. Asked to leave the country by parties unknown, he spent a year in Mexico and Central America, and on his return became night editor of the Enquirer, where he showed a flair for covering executions, murders and the like. Married Eleanore Ratcliffe in the 1910s, and had one adopted daughter with her. Published his first fantasy story in 1917, and then continued with his prolific outpouring, mostly in Frank Munsey (Chris Carter) publications. Despite being one of the best paid journalists of his era, he decided to become an editor afterwards, and from 1912 to 1937, he was assistant editor of “The American Weekly,” a Sunday supplement, before becoming its editor from 1937 until his death. Wrote fiction as a sideline, with 8 complete novels and a host of short stories, all in the science fiction vein. His first full-length work, “The Moon Pool,” published in 1919, set the tone for his lost world and netherworld works, replete with monsters and a variety of horrors. In the 1930s, he wed Eleanor H. Johnson. Lived on a Long Island estate, where he maintained a collection of exotica from his travels, as well as a library of occult literature. Wrote in an ornate, florid style, with a host of adjective and adverb modifiers to his nouns and verbs. Followed conventional pulp story-lines, with heroic Irishmen and Scandinavians, while his villains were usually Germans or Russians. His heroines were standard fare virgins, often barely clad, and quite secondary to his larger tales. Extremely well-paid for his effortd, he was making $100,000 a year by life’s end. Died suddenly of a heart at his winter home, and was buried in Florida. Inner: Cultivated orchids, as well as plants linked to witchcraft and magic, many of them psychotropic, such as datura, peyote and cannabis. Constantly revising the successive editions of his works, thanks to his lush word-besotted style. Pulpmeister lifetime of giving voice and vent to his rich imaginative sense of the horrors and convolutions of the modern world, while showing his ongoing facility for being extremely well-paid for his efforts, as an expert purveyor of that which darkly lurks in the unconscious of his audience.


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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS CREATOR OF ICONIC ETHNIC SLEUTHS:
Storyline: The compulsive verbal composer decides to dip directly into the ethnicity of his best-known creation, after earlier projecting his love of story onto a prototype of a race completely alien to him, as a way of both seeing himself far more clearly, and involving himself in a world far too subject to its own fears to view him with the same honest clarity.

Walter Mosley (1952) - American writer. Outer: African American father was a supervising custodian from Louisiana in the Los Angeles school system, who had a second income purchasing and maintaining rental properties. Mother was a personnel clerk of Polish Jewish descent with a taste for classical literature. His parents had tried to marry the year before he was born, but were denied a license because they were a mixed racial couple. Their only progeny, he spent his childhood in Watts, while initially attending a private African-American day school that pioneered in teaching black his/story, giving him a sense of his racial past. Both parents actively fed him stories from their own upbringings, while he came to identify far more strongly with his sire’s side of the family. At 12, his parents moved to West Los Angeles to more comfortable surroundings. Although his household was more literary than political, he would become deeply politicized by events around him, and the constant tensions between black and white would become a strong element in his fiction, which would celebrate his African-descended background. Despite not being able to act, he joined the Afro-American Traveling Actors Association through a love of theater, then drifted around Europe and California, without any focus, before dropping out of Goddard College, and then getting a political science degree from Johnson State College. Eventually went for a doctorate in political theory, before getting into computers and moving to NYC. Worked as a computer programmer for 15 years with Mobil Oil and CCNY as his employers, while taking a writing course with the former, which led to employment in the latter. Didn’t begin writing until he was 34, and more than made up for it afterwards, penning over 30 books in a whole host of genres, including crime, politics and afrofuturist science fiction, as well as numerous essays on race. Best known for his Ezekiel ‘Easy’ Rawlins detective novels, that would take the black detective from the post-WW II era in the Watts area of Los Angeles up through the decades, beginning with “Devil in a Blue Dress,” which would find its way to film in 1995, with Denzel Washington assaying the title role, although its lack of box office success would prevent the rest of the series from being transliterated into celluloid. Married Joy Kellman, a dancer and choreographer in 1987, in a childless union that ended in separation after 10 years and divorce in 2001. His first play, “The Fall of Heaven,” a disquisition on good and evil culled from his short story collection, “Tempest Tales,” had its debut in Cincinnati in 2010, and inspired him to continue to explore the far more direct venue of dealing directly with live audiences. Inner: Affable, agnostic, thoughtful and insightful, with a chronicler’s need to bring out hidden his/story in highly entertaining fashion, by making flawed black heroes the nexus of far larger social issues. Great need to express himself on paper, with a continuous compulsion to write, and a dislike for being pigeonholed as a mystery writer. Self-sleuthing lifetime of continuing in an extremely comfortable genre for himself, the crime story, to both explore his own past, and bring it to bear on a present and future that continues to struggle with any other ‘other’ than its longheld sense of Euro-descended superiority. Earl Derr Biggers (1884-1933) - American novelist and playwright. Outer: Had a smalltown Ohio upbringing, before matriculating at Harvard Univ. Short, rotund and dark. Began his writing career penning pieces as a humor columnist for “Traveler” magazine, which eventually promoted him to drama critic. In 1912, he wed a fellow staff writer, Elinor Ladd, one son from the union. His critical acuity, however, led to his being fired for writing excessively barbed reviews. Feeling he could fashion far superior dramatic works than those he had been forced to watch, he wrote an unsuccessful play in 1912, “If You’re Only Human,” then turned to the novel as a far better medium for his wit, producing “7 Keys to Baldpate,” a farcical mystery which was subsequently adopted for both the stage and screen. Continued in the same vein with gently satirical romantic mysteries for the rest of the decade, before moving to Southern California for health reasons, and while there, he became involved with the fledgling film industry. While taking a vacation in Hawai’i in 1920, he came across the exploits of a Chinese detective, and refashioned him into Charlie Chan of the Honolulu police. The creation, beginning with “The House Without a Key,” would become an iconic figure in the mystery genre, thanks in large part to the films made of the series of six novels, along with a host of other stories, with three non-Asians tackling the aphorism-spouting sleuth, Warner Oland (Dennis Quaid), Sidney Toler (Christian Slater), and the least memorable member of the trinity, Roland Winters, in 46 films that would be given eternal life on TV for decades to come. Died in a hospital after suffering a heart attack. Inner: Witty and agreeable with twinkling eyes and a friendly manner. Simple and straightforward in both his life and writing. Good-natured lifetime of coming up with a whodunit icon from sheer projection and a desire to merely entertain, before returning to totally immerse himself in the milieu of his next creation as a means to view both himself and his/story’s larger sweep by being intimately involved in each.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS HERMETIC HUMORIST:
Storyline: The angry anchorite transforms his displeasure with the human race-at-large by venting his considerable wit on the foibles of his fellow citizens, and making an extremely well-received impersonal connection to compensate for his reclusive sensibilities.

Dave Barry (1952) - American journalist. Outer: Mother had an excellent sense of humor, father was a socially conscious clergyman, . Developed his own self-protective humor at school. Graduated from Haverford College, then worked for the Episcopal Church as a conscientious objector, before becoming a reporter and editor for a West Chester, Pa. paper. Worked for the Associated Press, but didn’t like reporting. Taught business seminars, which loosened him up and allowed his natural humor free reign. Married 3 times, beginning in 1975. Hs second union produced a son, and ended in 1993. Began a humor column for a Pennsylvania paper, then became a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, after moving to that city in 1983. His mother committed suicide in the mid-1980s. Enjoyed great popularity for his mixture of sophomoric humor and good insight into the commonality of life. His books and columns were eventually translated into a popular TV sit-com called “Dave’s World.” Won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988, and continues to use his own life and its various passages as grist for his satiric mill, limning over 20 works of nonfiction, as well as several novels. In addition plays guitar in an all-writer band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, and has been a write-in candidate for president since the 1980s. Wed a third tie in 1996, to Herald sportswriter Michelle Kauffman, one daughter from the union. Announced in late 2004, he was taking a break from writing to spend more time with his family, and then ended his column the following year to become a blogger. Inner: Angry and sensitive, with a redeeming ability to turn his distaste for the follies of the modern world into good copy. Transformative lifetime of learning how to integrate his unusual perspective with the world-at-large, after numerous hermit-like existences away from the madding crowd. Will Cuppy (1884-1949) - American writer. Outer: Of Huguenot and Pennsylvania Dutch extract. Grandfather was an Indiana state senator. Father sold sewing machinery and worked as a cobbler. Mother ran a small shop selling embroidery and also had been a schoolteacher. 2nd of 3. Had a happy childhood, spending his summers out in nature on the family farm. Educated at the Univ. of Chicago, where he received an MA in English, while also working for various Chicago newspapers. Went to NYC afterwards to pursue a career in journalism. Published his first collection of stories in 1910, which he had written while in school. During WW I, he served as a 2nd lieutenant in the Motor Transport Corps, before working as a book reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune, where he reviewed over 4000 tomes in a near quarter century. Wrote his first book of humor in 1929, How to Be A Hermit, and followed it up with a number of other off-the-wall ‘How tos’. Lived in a cabin off of Jones Island on Long Island, as well as a NY apartment, which was stacked with books from floor to ceiling, as well as every other available surface, including his stove and refrigerator, since he preferred ordering out for food. Never married, and lived like a hermit, writing humor as a bookish recluse. Satirized pedantry, his/story and culture in a good-natured manner. Best remembered for The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody, which appeared the year after his death. His health failed in later years, and he was ultimately discovered unconscious and died of coronary arteriosclerosis, as well as barbiturate poisoning. Inner: Strong inferiority complex. Despite a proclivity for being alone, had an unusual capacity for friendship. Inveterate information-gatherer, and pre-figurer of black humor. Would often work weeks on end without any human contact. I vant to be alone lifetime of good-humored friendship with literature, giving his agile mind a wide scope in which to release its pent-up frustrations.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS HIGHLY SOCIAL SYBARITE:
Storyline: The buoyant bon vivant feels living well is the best revenge, as he tries to elevate his gift to entertain and be entertained, with more serious literary ambitions.

Jay McInerney (1955) - American writer. Outer: Father was a corporate vice president for a paper company, who was transferred once a year or more. Spent his childhood in Canada, Europe and the U.S., until the family settled in Pittsfield, Mass. when he was in his teens. Went to 18 schools all told, and found solace for his initial sense of alienation in the library. Two younger brothers. Philosophy major at William College, where he discovered himself as a writer, as well as a social animal. Made a cross-country trip afterwards, which cemented his desire to be a novelist. Went to Japan on a Princeton fellowship, where he was a textbook editor for Time-Life and then came to NYC, married Merry Redmond, a student, in 1984, and wound up as a fact checker at the New Yorker magazine. With the help of writer Raymond Carver, he got a graduate fellowship at Syracuse Univ., and turned his NY experience of clubbing and cocaine into his literary debut in 1984 with Bright Lights, Big City, which catapulted him to fame, and he became an overexposed literary celebrity, the subject of paparazzi and tabloids. Divorced and married a second time, while churning out more novels, although they were not received with the same acclaim as the first. Enjoyed his fame, and as his second union deteriorated, became a NY club fixture with a particular fascination for models. Close friends with Bret Easton Ellis, a role model and cautionary tale of sorts for himself. Won critical plaudits for Brightness Falls, in 1992, and married for a third time to a Nashville jewelry designer and socialite, Helen Bransford, spending half his time in the latter city and half in New York. Twins from union, couple separated in 2000, then divorced, after an interview with Julia Roberts turned him into such an obsessive fan, that he had eyes for no one else. Added a magazine wine column to his epicurean resume, while muting his bright lights, big city presence to insure a better sense of longevity than his previous go-round in this series. Still subject to snarking by the critical press, which has always taken his lifestyle into account in their assessment of his work, and still rankled by it. Inner: Hedonistic, but with a desire to shine on paper. Great fear of being a caretaker for celebrity, rather than a genuine literary talent, although a boulevardier at heart. Someone’s got to do it lifetime of taking a gift to entertain, and doing battle between a low desire for pleasure and gratification and high literary ambitions, to see which will ultimately prevail. Thorne Smith (James Thorne Smith, Jr.) (1892-1934) - American writer. Outer: Father was a naval commodore and supervisor of the Port of NY during WW I. Mother was the granddaughters of Don Jose Maxwell, of coffee fortune and fame. Born at the U.S. Naval Academy. His brother was older by 8 years. When he was 4, his mother died, and he spent his childhood in the care of aunts, mostly in North Carolina, while their father was serving in the Spanish-American War. Spent a solitary childhood, sharing a bed with a cousin and a large dog, while periodically suffering pneumonia, a condition that would last the rest of his life. Attended private schools, although didn’t care much for scholastics, or the schools, and went to Dartmouth, where he ran track, and was fairly social, before dropping out in 1912, to begin his career as a NY advertising copywriter. His early life high points centered around the times his father would take him aboard vessels, where he could hang with his sea-faring friends. Loosely resembled actor John Barrymore (Johnny Depp) and had a similar taste for the grape. Enlisted in the Navy during WW I, and edited the service paper, “Broadside,” while achieving his first success, “Oswald,” a series of comic stories about a hapless recruit, which were born in its back pages. Returned to copy-writing to support himself, and was hit with the global flu epidemic in 1919, taking months to recover, while churning out poetry, his true literary love of the moment. Fell in love with Celia Sullivan, a fellow Greenwich Villager and his muse, but because of her parent’s disapproval, they had to elope in 1919, 2 daughters from the union. Continued writing copy, despite a distaste for the corporate world, until his father’s death in 1920. Inherited his estate, and proved a poor manager of money, traveling and buying a summer home, so that he had to go back to work, as soon as his daughters began to appear, much as he despised the daily grind, which he would offset by drinking. Finally realized his dream of supporting himself as a writer with, “Topper”, published in 1926, which chronicled two bon vivant ghosts and a middle-class banker, and was made into a series of motion pictures, as well as a popular TV show after his death. Continued in the humorous fantasy vein, penning, among other works, “The Passionate Witch,” which also ultimately found its way to TV as the long-running series, “Bewitched.” Also wrote for the screen. All his works celebrated hedonism and alcohol, as an antidote for the Prohibition era in which they were written. Despite a loving home, his health habits did little to enhance his proclivity towards illness, which now included a weak heart to go along with his vulnerable lungs. Died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family in Florida. Inner: Hedonist and boon companion. Mischievous skewer of middle-class morals, with a strong sense of fun and a desire to evoke laughter rather than high literary praise, ultimately relegated him to relatively obscurity after his times had passed. Blithe spirit lifetime of turning a mild talent to amuse into a successful literary career geared far more for his times than the ages.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS BEST-SELLING BARRISTER:
Storyline: The popular potboiler finds a winning formula for astonishing sales success, while dreaming of the literary legitimacy that he had once so briefly attained, as a career coda to his ease around the good fortunes of fame.

John Grisham (1955) - American lawyer and writer. Outer: Father was a construction worker. One of 5 children. Spent most of his childhood moving around the South while his sire searched for work. His family settled in Mississippi when he was 12, and he picked cotton on his grandfather’s farm. A good athlete in high school, he studied accounting at Mississippi State, then got his law degree from Mississippi Univ., initially wanting to be a tax attorney, then switched to criminal defense. Began private practice in 1981, and the same year, married Renee Jones, a childhood friend, son and daughter from the union. Switched to civil law and his practice grew. In 1983, he was elected to the Miss. state legislature as a Democrat, but after 7 years, he resigned because he felt it was impossible to make societal changes as a legislator. Despite a 70 hour work week, he would rise at 5 and write, spending 3 years on his first novel. That book, A Time to Kill, which was based on a case he had read about, had a lot of difficulty in finding a publisher, then sold only modestly when it finally did. Beginning with his second novel, The Firm in 1991, his subsequent tomes averaged some 3 million in sales, despite the accusation that he wrote the same book over and over about the little guy besting the big guys. Went on to become the best-selling author of the decade thanks to the easy translation his stories have made onto the silver screen. After the turn of the century, he began expanding his subject matter, including a nonfiction account of a crime, The Innocent Man, in an attempt to broaden his own skills of exposition, as well as return to his initial interest in improving society-at-large, via his not inconsiderable storytelling skills. Forced to apologize in 2014 for comments made during an interview on ‘accidental child porn downloaders,’ while also adding an inadvertent racist component to it, by calling them innocent older white men. Inner: Modest, friendly and open. Generous and determined. Disciplined writer with an ultimate desire to be taken seriously as a regional master. Grisham’s law lifetime of finding a suitable genre that matched his experience and yarn-spinning expertise and riding it for all it was worth. Edgar Lee Masters (1869-1950) - American lawyer and writer. Outer: Father was a lawyer, raised in Illinois on his grandfather’s farm. One brother died young of diphtheria. Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1891, after earlier having published a volume of verse and a play. In 1898, he married Helen Jenkins, the daughter of a wealthy transportation manager, 3 children from union. Went into law partnership with famed counsellor Clarence Darrow (Morris Dees) in 1903, although the two acrimoniously parted company in 1911. After doing a study of epigrams from ancient Greece, he was inspired to write his best-known work, Spoon River Anthology in 1915, a series of epigrammatic statements from the grave that chronicled the inner lives of a small-town community, filled with unfulfilled bitterness. The same year, he began an adulterous affair with the beautiful cultured widow of an Indiana banker, after nearly dying from a bout with pneumonia. She, however, wound up marrying someone else, and in the subsequent messy and highly publicized divorce proceedings, his wife, who was represented by Darrow, sullied his reputation and ruined his practice. Gave up the law in 1920 and moved to NYC, but never approached the level of his first semi-classical work, despite further additions to it. Married a 2nd time in 1926 to Ellen Coyne, a 26 year old teacher, although the 2 often lived apart. Wrote several biographies, including one of his close friend poet Vachel Lindsay (Tom Waits) as well as his own autobiography, Across Spoon River. In addition, penned more verse and plays, putting out a yearly edition of the former, and several novels. His last 7 years, saw him increasingly laid low by a debility, and he died in a nursing home. Inner: Had a habit of blaming others for his failings. Legal eagle lifetime of putting most of his creative coin into one extremely well-received work, then never rising again to the same overflowing level of that one creative river, while exhibiting increasing bitterness over the course of his life. Jeremiah Clemens (1814-1865) - American politician, novelist, and soldier. Outer: Father was a well-to-do merchant. Enjoyed an affluent cultured upbringing in northern Alabama. Second cousin to author Samuel Clemens, better known as Mark Twain (Kurt Vonnegut). Initially went to La Grange College, before transferring to the newly opened Univ. of Alabama, graduating in 1833. Spent a year studying law at Transylvania Univ. in Kentucky and in 1834, he married Mary Read, one daughter from the union. Practiced law in Huntsville, Alabama for several years, before receiving a presidential appointment as U.S. Attorney for Northern Alabama, which led to his entering the state legislature in 1839. Crusaded against corruption, only to lose interest and drop the issue. In 1842, he formed a company of volunteers to help Texas in its war against Mexico, although wound up having a falling out with Texas leader Sam Houston (Sam Rayburn) and came back home. Returned briefly to the legislature, then joined the army to fight in the Mexican War, rising to the rank of colonel. Entered the U.S. Senate in 1848 as a Democrat under a cloud of suspicion of deal-making, as its youngest member at the time. Worked to uphold the institution of slavery and states rights, while opposing the admission of California to the union as a free state. A hardcore conservative, he nevertheless was absent during many key votes, and ultimately became pro-Union, much to the displeasure of his constituents, who voted him out of office in 1852. In 1856, he formally broke with the Democrats, and joined the nativist anti-immigrant “Know Nothing Party,” which quickly collapsed. Left politics entirely and began penning his/storical fiction, with his first two efforts drawing on his experiences in the Texas War of independence and his third covering the murderous rivalry between Alexander Hamilton (JFK) and Aaron Burr (Jacqueline Kennedy). All received some critical acclaim outside the state, although were never reprinted. Edited a newspaper in Memphis in 1858, and two years later, with the threat of secession, he re-entered politics, and was elected to the state’s secession convention as a cooperationist. Despite feeling disunion was treasonous, he signed the state’s ordinance of secession as a gesture of unity with the majority who favored it, and in 1861, was appointed major general of Alabama. The following year, however, after failing to receive a Confederate commission, he led Alabama Unionists in opposition to the Confederacy, which branded him an arch-traitor. Spent the war traveling between Huntsville and Philadelphia, producing both anti-Confederate propaganda and one Unionist novel, “Tobias Wilson,” on partisan warfare in Alabama, which received the most critical acclaim of his works. Exhausted by his efforts, he died of natural causes weeks after the Civil War’s end. At the time, he was working on a his/story of the conflict in northern Alabama, but it remained unfinished at his death. Inner: Highly restless and erratic with a deep distrust of centralized authority, which led him to take many of his controversial stances. Seemingly short attention span lifetime of serving as a political gadfly during a time of great upheaval, before returning to focus on his adept story-telling skills, rather than continuing to capriciously tilt at powerful windmills in his next set of go-rounds in his series.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS VERY PUBLIC PRIVATE EYE:
Storyline: The noir memoirist sculpts his penchant for pulp into a continued fascination with the darker side of life, turning himself into a prolific and prodigious recorder of both himself and his larger surroundings, in his constant need to get at the heart of the mystery of all things.

William Vollmann (1959) - American novelist and journalist. Outer: Father was a graduate student at the time of his birth, and eventually became a teacher. Moved around a lot as child, and began writing at 6. Oldest of 4. When he was 9, his 6 year old sister drowned while he was watching over her, which would permanently scar his psyche and inform his subsequent dark vision of the world. Had nightmares virtually every night of her skeleton chasing and punishing him throughout high school. In addition, he suffered bullying to add to his discomfort with himself. Went to Deep Springs College in eastern California, before getting a B.A. in Comp. Lit. at Cornell Univ., where he graduated summa cum laude. Four-eyed and nondescript looking. Won a fellowship to UC Berkeley in their doctoral program, but dropped out after a year, deciding to use the world as his classroom, instead. Worked a variety of jobs, before going to Afghanistan in 1983, which became the subject of his first book, subtitled, “How I Saved the World,” although it was not published until 1992. Became a computer programmer afterwards in Silicon Valley, despite having no experience with the machines, while contributing to a variety of magazines. During this time, he came down with carpal-tunnel syndrome from his obsessive work habits, and eventually had to restrict his time on computers, and rely instead on notebooks. His first collection of short fiction, “The Rainbow Stories,” came out in 1989. Went on to do multi-volume histories of various epochal periods that fascinate him, while also literally trying to replicate some of the experiences he writes about, including a stay at the magnetic North Pole. A metafictionist, who combines fact and fantasy, he has proved to be remarkably prolific, publishing three fat books a year once he began hitting his stride, while employing a host of publishers to keep up with his astonishing output. Married a radiation oncologist, one daughter from the union. Despite his extremely fecund pen, his writing reflects high standards, while continually exploring dark territory, both in the U.S. and abroad. Has shown a particular fascination with women of the night, in his ongoing fascination with his own darkness. Almost always places himself in his work, either actively or as an observer, with an embarrassing candor to many of his self-revelations. Unafraid of war zones, with an understanding spouse, who allows him to act out his own self-view of ‘danger is my middle name.’ In 2008, he was awarded a five year fellowship/grant of $50,000 a year, tax free from the Straus Living Award. Later discovered he was under surveillance by the FBI as a possible domestic terrorist because of his writings, while his outpouring has never slowed down, nor has his need to continually chronicle worlds and epochs that fascinate him. Inner: Likes laying his life on the line, with a semi-suicidal sense of adventure, repeatedly putting himself at absurd risk. Completely and obsessively open about his failures, with a willingness to sink numerous years into each of his works. Obsessive lifetime of losing himself inside his subjects in order to rediscover himself, as a metaphysical detective quite worthy of his previous creation, Philip Marlowe. Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) - American writer. Outer: Mother was Irish-born and moved with him to the U.K. in 1895, after his father, an alcoholic civil engineer who worked for the railroad, abandoned the family. Supported by an uncle who was a successful lawyer. Went to Dulwich College in London, a public school, but did not go on to college, living in Paris and Munich instead. 6’1”, 180 lbs., with the appearance of an Oxford don. Became a naturalized British citizen in 1907, and worked for the Admiralty as a civil servant for a year, before resigning. Became a reporter instead, while writing poetry, before returning to the U.S. in 1912, to continue to search for himself, before a bookkeeping course led to steady work. In 1917, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, saw trench combat, and was training for the RAF as a pilot, when the war ended. Returned to America afterward with his mother, and fell in love with Cissy Pascal, a married woman nearly two decades his senior. Had to wait until she divorced and his disapproving mother died before wedding her in 1924. Subsequently rose to vice-president of the Dabney Oil Syndicate in 1932, but was fired a year later for much absenteeism, as well a threatened suicide and an ongoing battle with the bottle. Turned to pulp fiction as his mainstay, beginning with a short story in “Black Mask” magazine, and found his true métier. His first novel, “The Big Sleep,” was published in 1939. Quickly evinced a rare ability to mix page-turning plots with acute observation, and a gift for hard-boiled simile, which made him a master of the genre of the detective novel, with his creation Philip Marlowe, one for the literary and pop ages. Turned his expertise with dialogue and plot into a solid screenwriting career as well, with several of his works becoming movie classics. Lost his wife in 1954 after a long illness, and wrote “The Long Goodbye,” as an antidote to his profound sense of deprivation. Slipped into both depression and continued alcoholism, with another suicide attempt, while his writing no longer offered him a palliative for his life. Briefly returned to England, before regaining his U.S. citizenship in 1956. Friendships with a variety of women marked his last decade, and he planned at the end to settle in London and marry his literary agent, Helga Greene. Drank himself to death instead, and died of pneumonial peripheral vascular shock and prerenal uremia. His reputation would soar after his death, while film would keep his name alive to generations that followed, with makes and remakes of his various novels and short stories. Inner: Remote and removed, preferring his own company. Called California the department store state, with the most of everything and the best of nothing. Quite self-destructive, and needy, despite his surface reserve. Mystery to himself lifetime of producing some classic genre-specific literature, while failing to understand his own deep needs for constant nurturance and love.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS MIDWESTERN LITERARY MAESTRO:
Storyline: The belletristic puppetmaster would like to shake the world with the detail and design of his creations, in his ongoing fascination with re-rendering the worlds he inhabits in acute and astute detail so as to be a critical and pivotal, as well as extremely self-involved, aesthetic voice of his times.
Jonathan Franzen (1959) - American writer. Outer: Of Scandinavian descent. Father was a civil engineer whose hyperserious and fun-loathing sense of self eventually led to Alzheimer’s. Mother was a highly judgmental striver. Later dissected both his parents mercilessly in his works. Youngest of three sons. Grew up in middle-class splendor in a suburb of St. Louis, and was a self-proclaimed nerd and outcast with his bespectacled intellectuality, although he eventually found a place for himself in the larger social network that defined his upbringing. Graduated from Swarthmore College in 1981, where he majored in German, before studying at the Freie Universitat in Berlin on a Fulbright scholarship. Worked part-time in a seismology lab at Harvard Univ.’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences from 1983 to 1987 as an earthquake tracker, while using the rest of his time to write. In 1982, he married Valerie Cornell, a fiction writer. No children from the union, which ended in divorce after a decade. His first novel, “The 27th City,” a six year effort, was well-received, although did not sell well, as did his next, “Strong Notion.” Nevertheless, they allowed him to become a writer full-time, despite making him feel culturally irrelevant, with the blame on the culture rather than himself. The less than magnificence of the Ambersons of the 19th century of his previous go-round, would be reduced to the anxieties, depressions and dysfunction of the Lamberts, in “The Corrections,” which won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2001, and then elevated him to gossip status, when he was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, before declining to profit from the bestseller blessing of her logo on his work’s cover in protest over the lowering of his self-perceived Olympian work as fodder for ordinary TV-dulled minds. Had his invitation to appear on her show rescinded, which garnered him twice as much publicity as if he had appeared. Published collections of essays afterwards, as well as an extremely loose memoir, “The Discomfort Zone,” while contributing to the New Yorker. His fourth novel, “Freedom,” also chronicled in great detail a midwestern family, this one culled from his own marriage, and appeared in 2010, to once again find itself an Oprah book club pick. Has willingly taken on the role of public crank, decrying any number of affronts to his traditional sensibilities, in his ongoing desire to not only be read, but to be listened to, as well. His next effort, 2015’s “Purity” took on the internet as his bête noire, in its dumbing down of the world, while eschewing strict realism to enter the realm of fable, as he continues to explore his love of big themes and cultural identity and non-identity. Written in a deliberate non-style, he continues to explore himself through his fictions, this time emphasizing story over technique. Inner: Alienated, acerbic and cantankerous with a heroic self-view as champion of art with a capital ‘A’. Totally dedicated to his craft, with an ongoing personal sense of displacement in a world which much prefers the easy digestibility of film and TV to thought-provoking literature. Has gone to the extreme of desensitizing himself with earplugs and a blindfold while writing to truly get inside himself. Always uses his creations as a means of transforming his own interior. Discomfort zone lifetime of failing to truly view himself beyond bespectacled self-involvement, and turning that myopia into a curious high art unleavened by any sympathetic sense of the fallible humanity behind it. Booth Tarkington (Newton Booth Tarkington) (1869-1946) - American writer. Outer: Named after his mother’s brother, Newton Booth, who became governor of California. Father was a lawyer. Had one older sister, and grew up in prosperous happy environs, with doting parents. Evinced an early interest in writing, and produced plays in the family hayloft. Because of mediocre grades, he went from public to private school, Philips Exeter Academy, only to see the family suffer financial reverses, forcing him to briefly attend a local business college, before spending two years at Purdue Univ. to study art, in hopes of becoming a professional illustrator. When the reverses once again reversed themselves, his mother insisted he transfer to Princeton, although he failed to graduate because of a missing course in the classics, despite being voted the most popular member of his class in 1893. At Princeton, he acted in amateur performances, and also co-authored his first play, while serving as president of the drama club, in addition to belonging to eating clubs at both schools. Following his formal schooling, he wrote for the next five years, before getting a serialized story, “The Gentleman from Indiana,” serialized in McClure’s Magazine in 1899, which finally insured his chosen career. In 1902, he married Laurel Fletcher, the daughter of a prominent Indianapolis banker, and then served a term in the Indiana legislature as a conservative Republican. One daughter who died in her teens, from the union, which ended in 1911. The year after his divorce, he happily wed a widow, Susanah Keifer Robinson. No children from the second union. Began traveling regularly to Europe during his first marriage, while also penning comedies for the stage, some of them in collaboration. Initially a prodigious drinker, he became a teetotaler during the Prohibition era. Continued playwrighting into the 19-teens, while also penning novels, including a trilogy chronicling the rise’n’fall rhythms that industrialization had on upper middle-class family fortunes. Won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Magnificent Ambersons” in 1919, and another one for what is considered his best novel, “Alice Adams” in 1922. A longtime reader favorite, the teens also saw him produce the Penrod series, based on his own childhood adventures, as well as Allied propaganda during WW I. The Penrod stories would become among the first contemporary novels to be transliterated to film. Set much of his fiction in his native Indiana, to become identified as a midwestern regionalist, while employing a gentle satirical eye to underline the foibles of the world he observed around him, with happy endings appended to them. Illustrated some of his own oeuvre as well as those of others, while also working on adaptations of some of his work for other media. His popularity peak would be the period of 1914-1924, after which his mode of magisterial narrative fell out of favor, since it became harder and harder to identify with his characters. Began losing his eyesight in the 1920s, and ultimately became blind in 1930, although continued his writing by dictating to a secretary. His sight was partially restored through operations. Spent his last 35 years dividing his time between Indianapolis and Kennebunkport, Maine, in a summer home he dubbed, ”the house that Penrod built.” Died of lung collapse following hemiplegia, a weakening of the limbs on one side of the body, causing loss of motor control. Ultimately wrote nearly 50 books and 20 plays. Inner: Strongly developed esthetic, with a wry sense of humor and a basic midwestern conservatism. Puppetmaster lifetime of manipulating his creations from far above them in his desire to play the divine creator over the limited universe of his own projections in his ongoing wish to create great literature around the failings of his fellow human beings.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS OFT-TIMES BESTSELLER:
Storyline: The mid-western tale-teller serially explores the full circle of the assertive feminine, from those aggressively claiming themselves, to those contentiously flaunting their considerable flaws

Gillian Flynn (1971) - American novelist and journalist. Outer: Of Irish descent on her paternal side. Had a happy, healthy upbringing. Both her parents were professors at a junior college, Matropolitan Community College. Father taught film and theater, and mother taught reading comprehension. Second of two children, with an older brother. Shy as a child, she loved both film and books, and thought from an early age that she would be a writer, with a special love for mysteries and horror films. Had odd jobs in high school. Studied at the Univ. of Kansas, getting a B.A. in English and journalism with the thought of becoming a crime reporter. Spent two years in California working for a trade magazine, before getting her master’s at Northwestern Univ. at its school of journalism in 1997. Came to NY, and seeing she had no aptitude for police reportage, went to work in 1998 for “Entertainment Weekly,” feeling out-of-place among all the condescending east coast Ivy Leaguers. Became a TV critic and wrote about films for the next decade, which sent her around the world visiting sets, before she was finally let go because of budget cuts in 2008. Worked on novels in her spare time during this period. Her first two books, “Sharp Objects,” published in 2006, and “Dark Places,” published in 2009, were investigative mysteries about a serial killer and a woman’s incarcerated brother, that did well, winning awards and notice, but it wasn’t until her third, "Gone Girl," published in 2012, that she entered the realm of mega-bestsellerdom, with sales of over 2 million. Also wrote the screenplay for the tale of a marriage gone horribly wrong because of the self-destructive nature of the female protagonist. Married lawyer Brett Nolan in 2007, after meeting him much earlier in college. Son and daughter from the close union, in which he serves as her closest sounding-board, as she remains a midwesterner, settling in Chicago. Inner: Uses midwestern settings in all her works, Feels she could never have become a novelist, if she hadn’t been a journalist first. Strongly feminist, while pushing against the false ideal of women being basically nurturing and kind. Enjoys strong support from her intimates, allowing her to broach highly cringe-worthy subjects. Act two lifetime of integrating her innate story-telling skills with a highly satisfactory family life, while taking her desire to elevate and support her gender to a whole new contradictory level. Edna Ferber (1885-1968) - American writer and playwright. Outer: Of Jewish descent. Father was a Hungarian-born shopkeeper, whose growing blindness caused the family to move several times, prior to his premature death. Younger of two sisters. Experienced anti-Semitism while growing up, although had a considerable amount of pride in her heritage. Cared for by farm-girls, who helped out her mother, who had to work, and was always struck by the vigor of their language. Stage-struck, she originally wanted to be an actress, before feeling she was not pretty enough. Petite and plain-featured, with a nimble acid wit. Briefly went to Lawrence Univ., in Wisconsin, before working on a couple of newspapers, only to experience a breakdown at age 22 from compulsive over-work. During her convalescence she began producing fiction, and found herself in demand as soon as she sold her first story. Her mother fished her first novel, “Dawn O’Hara,” out of the furnace, where she had tossed it after one two many rejections. The following year, in 1912, she moved to NYC and the first collection of her stories appeared, which were thought by reviewers that a man had actually written them. Had a large circle of friends in the city, including both writers and show business people, and became a member of the witty, bitchy Algonquin Round Table, where bon mots and put-downs were the order of the day. In 1924, she had her first bestseller, “So Big,” for which she won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. Always had strong female protagonists, with discriminated-against characters serving as support. Had less initial success as a playwright, until she began collaborating with George S. Kaufman (Adam McKay). Fell in love with him, although he did not reciprocate the attraction. Nevertheless, the two had a series of hits, including “Dinner at Eight” in 1932 and “Show Boat,” in 1937, which were based one her novels. Many of her works were made into successful Hollywood films and musicals. Died of stomach cancer at her home. Ultimately penned two autobiographies, including “A Peculiar Treasure,” in 1939 in which she raged against German dictator Adolf Hitler, a dozen novels, eight plays and a host of short stories. Seemingly asexual with no recorded relationships whatsoever in life. In her will, she gave her manuscripts to the U.S. in order to encourage women to become aggressive and assertive, per her continual delineations of her own gender. Inner: Her heroines were all successful through their own efforts. Great love of justice, with a sense of superiority bred by being made to feel different and set apart as a youth. Despite celebrating ordinary working people in her fiction, she was an elitist at heart, bred by her strong identification with the religion of her birth. Showboat lifetime of tuning into the tastes of her times, as a strong support of assertive womanhood, while keeping her own heart under protective wraps for fear of exposing herself to rejection. Felicia Hemans (1793-1835) - English poet. Outer: From a talented family, her mother was the daughter of a Tuscan consul and her father was a merchant. 5th of 7 children, with three older brothers and two sisters surviving infancy. Raised in Wales, after the family business collapsed when she was 7, and her mother subsequently oversaw her education, which was augmented by her family’s extensive library. Published her first work at 13, “Poems,” which elicited excitement of the negative variety from the literary world, because of her precocity. Put out 2 more works, while polishing her skills, before marrying Capt. Alfred Hemans, an Irish army officer some years her senior in 1812, 5 sons from the union. Lived with her parents, while her husband abandoned the family 6 years later, going to Italy, and the duo never saw one another again. Forced to use her writing skills to support her family, she published a volume or two each year for the rest of her life, dealing with classical themes, translations, legends, nature, love verse and children’s poetry. Lived in Dublin, Wales and Lancashire, and visited Scotland in 1829, where she was befriended by Sir Walter Scott (Jack Kerouac). Also hung with the literary lights of the day, and her writings were extremely popular in America. Best remembered for her poem, “Casablanca” with the line, “The boy stood on the burning deck.” Had a lyrical, albeit sentimental style which spoke to the tastes of the times. Ultimately went to live with a brother in Dublin, who was a literary figure, but her health failed her after she contracted scarlet fever in 1834, and she eventually lost the use of her limbs. Finally died of dropsy, which was brought on by exhaustion and disillusionment. Republished widely after her death, serving as a female voice articulating the trials of her gender, which gave her oeuvre a whole other life. Inner: Highly social, natural communicator, but forced by circumstance to scrape for a living. Had extremely negative feelings towards patriarchal authority, while writing of women taking their own lives in lieu of suffering condemnation for their reduced states. Burning deck lifetime of pursuing conventional romantic themes along with plunges into the plight of womanhood, which would ultimately sour her on intimate relationships the next time around in this series, as a continuing gender-oriented voice of her times.


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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS ELECTRONIC CRITIC OF HIS TIMES:
Storyline: The overweight evaluator uses the available media to foist his cultural opinions upon the masses, while harboring an equal sense of theatricality about himself, so as to be both audience and performer in one large body that never quite allows itself to grow up.

Harry Jay Knowles (1971) - American critic. Outer: Father sold movie collectibles. His parents divorced when he was 12, and his alcoholic mother died prematurely. Sister Dannie became an actress. Loosely related to several old film stars. An archetypal geek, he was used as tackling dummy by his high-school football coach. Found solace for his loneliness and alienation at the movies, and they became a lifelong passion. Red-haired, bespectacled, 6’, 300+ lbs. In his mid-20s, while setting up for one of his father’s show, he tripped over a hose and was run over by a dolly carrying 1200 pounds of cinema collectibles in a parking lot. While recovering in a partially paralyzed state and confined to bed over a four month period, he began a website, Ain’t It Cool News, a line taken from a John Travolta film. Published some pre-production pictures from Starship Troopers, was hit with a cease and desist order, and put that on his Web site as well, and quickly became a fan favorite among male adolescents and twenty-somethings, for his news’n’views, using insiders as his information sources. Despite his deliberate outsider status, wheedled his way into self-importance, and ultimately became courted by the studios and producers, eager for his thumb’s-up approval of their product. Flown to screenings and deliberately fawned over by them, he lost his objectivity, but not his power, and continues as a feared force by the Hollywood establishment, through his reviews of unfinished movies and his posture as the ultimate fan. Although ill-paid for his efforts, he receives many gifts and junkets from his suitors, while living in a rundown house in Austin, Texas. Harbors largely middlebrow tastes, and a gonzo writing style, but has an innate understanding of how to maximize his own influence in a quickly changing world. Since his late 20s, he has held an annual birthday party for himself called Butt-Numb-a-Thon, which celebrates old movies. Co-wrote his auto-biography, “Ain’t It Cool,” in 2002. Inner: Clever, manipulative and a genuine fan of fantasy. Glorious Geek lifetime of recreating himself as a critical critic of his times, once again advancing himself on the electronics of his age to a position of pre-eminence through his sense and sensibilities around pop culture. Alexander Woollcott (1887-1943) - American critic and actor. Outer: Father was an improvident Cockney who neglected his family, and drifted from job to job. Fifth and youngest child. Grew up impoverished in an 85 room house, that had once been a commune, but was taken over by his his maternal grandparents, while 50 to 60 people continued to live there. Because of the size of the place and profusion of people, he had a lifelong preternatural fear of being alone. Also lived in Kansas City, Mo., from 1889-1895. Weak-eyed, overweight, effeminate and a misfit. Imbued with a love of literature by his family, he went to Hamilton College in NY, thanks to the auspices of a family friend. Known as ‘Putrid,’ for his hygienic habits while there, although founded a drama group and edited the literary magazine, while proving himself popular because of his ready wit. Phi Beta Kappa as well. Extremely generous, thanks to the sub rosa communality of his upbringing. Suffered an attack of mumps in his early 20s, which left him impotent. May have been a homophile, but led a celibate life, despite forming strong attachments to people of both sexes. After graduating, and a brief stint as a bank clerk, he joined the staff of the NY Times as a cub reporter in 1909, and within 5 years became the paper’s drama critic, the position that he had coveted. During WW I, he did a stint as a medical orderly, since he was unfit for regular military duty, and reported from the front for the newly founded, “Stars and Stripes.” Afterwards, he returned to his post at the Times, and then moved over to the NY World in 1922, receiving an unprecedented salary of $2000 a month during the 8 month theater season. Later toiled for the New Yorker magazine, whose editor, Harold Ross, he had worked with on “Stars and Stripes.” The possessor of an acerbic wit, he was well-loved by the public for his skewering of shoddy performances, although he was unstinting in his encomia for those who tickled his risibilities and met his standards. Banned at one time from the Shubert theaters, he became one of the founding and leading figures of the Algonquin Round Table, a gathering of literati and bon mot-ers that met for lunch and traded barbs with one another during the 1920s and 1930s. Served as the model for the character of Sheridan Whiteside in Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman’s comedy, “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Played the role himself in touring companies. Took advantage of the burgeoning influence of radio, and began appearing on it in 1929 as a raconteur and gossip, gaining a national following in the process, despite a thin, high voice. Able to compensate for it by the theatricality of his being. Despite suffering a heart attack in 1940, he was very active during WW II as a broadcaster and lecturer. Died of a heart attack and cerebral hemorrhage suffered during his last radio appearance. The co-author of several plays, he made a number of cameo appearances in film, as well as supporting roles on the stage. In addition, penned books on the theater and theater figures, and compiled two anthologies. Inner: Flamboyant, theatrical and alternately sentimental and acerb. Self-indulgent, capricious, loyal and a romantic sentimentalist at heart, often giving up thumb’s-up reviews to mediocre fare. Front row center lifetime of remaining a large, little boy at heart, while acting out the conviction that all the world’s a stage.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS OUIJA BOARD AND DREAM CHANNEL:
Storyline: The best-selling supernaturalist rises twice from ordinary domesticity to capture the imagination of her times as a medium for worlds far beyond this one, in her ongoing desire to limn the innocent fantasies of romantics yearning for manifestations of eternal life and love.
Stephenie Meyer (Stephenie Morgan) - American writer. Outer: Father was the chief financial officer of a contracting firm. The second of six children, and called by a variation of her father Stephen’s name. Moved west with her Mormon family at age 4, and grew up in the Phoenix area, where she was an avid reader of classic female authors, while feeling out of place among her fellow privileged high school students. Attended Brigham Young Univ. on a National Merit Scholarship where she received a B.A. in English literature. 5’4”. Married childhood friend Christian ‘Pancho” Meyer in 1994, three sons from the union, which would eventually see her as the family breadwinner, and he, a former auditor, as househusband soon after her rise to pop culture fame. Settled into a conventional married life as a mother and housewife until one morning in 2003 when she awoke from a dream with a set of characters in mind. They would become the basis for the “Twilight” series, a fantastically successful set of romances featuring vampires and humans. Despite having no writing experience, she managed to pen four publishing phenomenons, making her the second bestselling author of the decade, behind only to J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, with each of her efforts reaching #1 on various publishing lists, to the tune of over 250 million copies in 37 languages sold, as testament to the tastes of the times of her mostly young female readers. All her works would eschew sex in their depictions of forbidden romance between species, while easily transliterating themselves into PG-rated film. Has managed to maintain her innocence, values and integrity despite the overwhelming response her work has received, while critics remain mixed about her stylistics, although not her storytelling skills. Has also penned other fiction, beginning with “The Host,” in 2008, which was geared towards a slightly more adult audience with the supernatural as a continual fascination of hers. Maintains an online blog to keep abreast of her fans, while staying down-to-Earth in her private life, and not allowing fame to vampire her forthright sense of self. Inner: Straitlaced teetotaler, with a strongly romantic, albeit chaste, sense of otherworldly relationships. Often writes to music, with a playlist corresponding to each of her works. Twilit lifetime of incorporating her earlier gifts for plumbing her subconscious imagination, with a more developed sense of character and story to take her literary game up to the next level, and profit spectacularly from it, both inwardly and outwardly. Pearl Curran (Pearl Lenore Pollard) (1883-1937) - American writer and channel. Outer: Only child of an itinerant railroad employee and newspaperman. Mother was high-strung and ambitious, causing the family to move often in search of better jobs, before she had a breakdown over her husband’s ongoing failures as a proper provider when her daughter was 4. Sent to live with her grandmother in St. Louis for a while. Made up for the instability in her early life, with music, singing and acting lessons, with her mother encouraging her creativity. Had her own breakdown at 13 and dropped out of school, before returning to classes, then lived briefly with a minister uncle who ran a spiritualist storefront church. Played piano there, while its members tried to contact the dead, although she was repulsed by all of it. Tall and exceptionally thin with ginger hair and blue eyes. Continued taking voice lessons while working as a shopgirl in Chicago, before marrying John Curran, a widowed immigration official and businessman a dozen years her senior with a teenaged daughter, in 1907. The following year the duo moved to St. Louis. Unhappy at being childless, her life was centered around domestic chores, singing in church, and going to films with her husband, while being plagued by imaginary ailments in response to the constraining frustrations of her life. The writer wife of one of her spouse’s friends, Emily Grant Hutchings, suggested in 1912 they use a Ouija board to try to contact her recently deceased father, and the two began playing with it to little real purpose. The following year, however, they contacted a woman named Patience Worth, a seventeenth century English spinster, who had emigrated to Nantucket Island and had been killed in an indigene raid. Quickly became a neighborhood phenomenon with her channeling, with people gathering in her home to witness her mediumistic sessions, which were straightforward affairs, and often involved giving info about their lives, although she never predicted the future. As she grew more attuned to Patience, she was able to abandon the board and channel her directly with her husband taking her mediumistic dictation in shorthand. The immediate result was a popular book writ the following year by a newspaper editor called “Patience Worth: A Psychic Mystery,” which featured a sampling of her prose and poetry. The money allowed her and her spouse to adopt a daughter in 1916, although they continued to suffer financial problems. A novel under her name, “The Sorry Tale,” featuring one of the thieves crucified with Jesus followed, before the spiritualist craze flattened out at the end of WW I. Managed to publish one story under her own name, about a spirit guide, and sold it to a film company, although it was never made into a movie. Refused to cooperate with the psychologists who wanted to study her, although allowed a case study to be written, “The Case of Patience Worth,” which lauded her powers of expression. Tried publishing a Patience Worth magazine, then lost her husband in 1922 after a long illness, before she produced a posthumous daughter six months later. Helped out for several years by a friend to the tune of $400 a month, she began traveling around the country giving demonstrations with her Ouija board for an income, to both large audiences and small gatherings, which occasionally numbered film stars. In 1926, she wed Henry Rogers, another widower and considerably older physician, only to divorce several years later. Her final marriage in 1931 was to Robert Wyman, a businessman to whom she had been engaged as a teenager, although it, too, was short-lived. Moved to Los Angeles to live with an old friend, and retained her sense of celebrityhood there. Was never deserted by Patience, who stayed with her until her death from pneumonia, which she announced just beforehand. Her life and gifts would continue to remain subjects of conjecture and mystery, with some dismissing her as a fraud, and others as some sort of savant. Inner: Exuberant and witty, once she found fame, neurasthenic beforehand. Patiently Worthwhile lifetime of literally actualizing literary fantasies through her own subconscious imagination as a means of opening herself up to the far larger possibilities of fame and fortune than she ever could have achieved by ordinary conscious display of her extremely modest talents.

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PATHWAY OF THE POET AS PROLIFIC PURVEYOR OF LIGHT FICTION:
Storyline: The former formulaic romance novelist changes genres and audiences, while continuing to explore virtues as virtuousness as her defining plot and character traits.
Veronica Roth (1988) - American writer. Outer: Of Jewish descent, with her Polish-born maternal grandparents concentration camp survivors. Father was rarely home because of work and had little connection with his youngest daughter. Parents divorced when she was five years old, and she and her two older siblings, a brother and sister, went to live with their mother, a painter, who remarried a financial consultant for landscape companies. Her mother was turned off Judaism by her parents’ experience, and her daughter, in turn, eventually became a Christian, after bible study classes in high school, which eventually saw her blogging about her new-found beliefs. A voracious reader, she began writing speculative fiction from the sixth grade on, and all she ever wanted to be afterwards, was a novelist. After a year at Carleton College, in Minnesota, she transferred to Northwestern Univ. where she majored in creative writing, and graduated in 2010. 6’, and slim with brown eyes and hair. The following year, she wed photographer Nelson Fitch. Penned her first book while on winter break from college, “Divergent,” and it would become part of a popular fantasy and sci-fi trilogy along with “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.” Its dystopia setting is a Chicago several hundred years in the future, where society is divided into the virtues its citizens choose at 16, before undergoing rigorous initiation in each. Film rights would be sold even before the first book hit the shelves in 2011, with the next two due for later release. Also used one of the characters, as narrator for a series of short stories and a novella. The works would receive their share of awards and readership, making her once more, a best-seller, no matter the genre she attempts, with the facility for tapping right into the imaginative needs of her serial audiences. Inner: Suffers from an anxiety disorder, which she finds very self-confining. Doesn’t plan her works, just lets them flow from her. When young she was obsessed with personality tests to see which category she fit in, before realizing how stultifying that was for her. Never had any other interests than writing. Divergent lifetime of being given far less stability and surety about existence in her growing up to reorient her focus towards the 21st century world and its discontents, after earlier limning a black-and-white sexless domain to an audience looking only for escape from their own humdrum depressed circumstances. Faith Baldwin (1893-1978) - American writer and TV hostess. Outer: Father was a noted trial attorney. Older of two sisters. When she was 4, the family moved to NYC and ultimately wound up in Brooklyn Heights. Able to read by the age of 3, and enjoyed a privileged upbringing. Went to several private schools, and between 1914 and 1917, lived in Dresden, Germany with a family friend, learning the language and studying at a local cooking school, even though WW I was in full swing. When the US entered the war, she returned home and worked for the War Camp Community Service. In 1920, she married Hugh Cuthrell, a former Navy pilot, who later became president of Brooklyn Union Gas Company. Four children from the union, including a son who was killed in an auto accent in 1960. The duo separated in the 1920s, and then had a reconciliation a quarter century later in 1953, shortly before his death. Published her first novel, “Mavis of Green Hill,” in 1921, and then averaged close to two novels a year for most of her prolific career. Contributed to various women-oriented magazines, and also collaborated with writer Achmed Abdullah on two occasions. Most of her characters were wealthy women with successful careers, feeding into the fantasies of her overwhelmingly female audience, with unattractive mustachioed villains always outsmarted by her highly moralistic heroines. Enjoyed her peak fame during the Depression, mirroring radio and film romances, while garnering mixed critical reviews and a huge devoted following, making her quite wealthy. Hollywood turned a number of novels into successful movies, while she also served as a hostess and narrator in 1951 for “Faith Baldwin Romance Theater, “ a weekly Saturday afternoon anthology series, as well as playing herself on “Person to Person” a TV documentary series in 1957. Eventually retired to a fourteen-room 19th century home she called “Fabled Farm” in Connecticut, where she penned a regular column for “Woman’s Day” magazine, and continued to churn out one book a year, even in failing health at life’s end. Served on the faculty of the Famous Writer’s School, a correspondence school that was gave the illusion of personal contact with its celebrated staff, when no such contact existed. Died of a heart attack at her home. Wound up publishing over 85 books, with sales in the tens of millions, as a writing phenomenon of her times. Inner: Wrote with a very specific audience in mind, housewives and working girls. Held simple beliefs, seeing the world in black-and-white terms, and never saw herself as anything but a writing machine able to churn out highly formulaic work. Voluminous volumes lifetime of feeding simple fare to a highly specific audience hungry for escape, before returning under less stable circumstances to once again match the imaginative needs of her times with a younger audience needing far darker worlds to engage their light fictive needs.


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