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It is night, in my study.

The deepest solitude; I hear the steady

shudder in my breast

– for it feels all alone,

and blanched by my mind –

and I hear my blood

with even murmur

fill up the silence.

You might say the thin stream

falls in the waterclock and fills the bottom.

Here, in the night, all alone, this is my study;

the books don’t speak;

my oil lamp

bathes these pages in a light of peace,

light of a chapel.

The books don’t speak;

of the poets, the meditators, the learned,

the spirits drowse;

and it is as if around me circled

cautious death.

 

~ From “It is Night, in My Study” by Miguel de Unamuno

 

"Reading Woman" by Albert Edelfelt, 1885

“Reading Woman” by Albert Edelfelt, 1885

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past,

I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,

And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,

For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,

And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,

And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight;

Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,

And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er

The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,

Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.

 

~ William Shakespeare, died on this day in 1616

 

"Meditation" by Wilhelm Amberg, circa 1880

“Meditation” by Wilhelm Amberg, circa 1880

Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Contest is currently accepting fiction submissions up to 3,000 words until midnight (PDT) on April 30.  This opportunity is open to all writers and all themes.  As always, submissions must be original, unpublished fiction.  Glimmer Train does not publish poetry, fiction for children, or novel excerpts unless they read like complete stories.  Multiple submissions are accepted.

The first place winner will receive $2,000, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and ten copies of that issue.  The second and third place winners will receive $500 and $300, respectively.  Results will be announced in the July 1 bulletin.  For more information or to submit your work, visit the website at http://www.glimmertrain.org/pages/guidelines/very_short_fiction_guidelines.php.

Good luck!

 

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Old forms and phrases began to have a sense that frightened her.  She had a new feeling, the feeling of danger; on which a new remedy rose to meet it, the idea of an inner self or, in other words, of concealment.  She puzzled out with imperfect signs, but with a prodigious spirit, that she had been a centre of hatred and a messenger of insult, and that everything was bad because she had been employed to make it so.  Her parted lips locked themselves with the determination to be employed no longer.  She would forget everything, she would repeat nothing, and when, as a tribute to the successful application of her system, she began to be called a little idiot, she tasted a pleasure new and keen.  When therefore, as she grew older, [they] in turn announced before her that she had grown shockingly dull, it was not from any real contraction of her little stream of life.  She spoiled their fun, but she practically added to her own.  She saw more and more; she saw too much.

 

~ From What Maisie Knew by Henry James, born on this day in 1843

 

James_What_Maisie_Knew_cover

Every issue of the paper presents an opportunity and a duty to say something courageous and true; to rise above the mediocre and conventional; to say something that will command the respect of the intelligent, the educated, the independent part of the community; to rise above fear of partisanship and fear of popular prejudice.  I would rather have one article a day of this sort; and these ten or twenty lines might readily represent a whole day’s hard work in the way of concentrated, intense thinking and revision, polish of style, weighing of words.

 

~ Joseph Pulitzer, born on this day in 1847

 

Joseph Pulitzer, 1918

Joseph Pulitzer, 1918

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,

But at every gust the dead leaves fall,

And the day is dark and dreary.

 

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;

It rains, and the wind is never weary;

My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,

But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,

And the days are dark and dreary.

 

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

 

                          ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

Charles Edward Perugini, circa 1888

Charles Edward Perugini, circa 1888

 

The 2016 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books begins Saturday, April 9, at 10:00 a.m. and continues through Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at the University of Southern California.

The Festival is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with hundreds of authors, attend panel discussions with bestselling novelists and industry experts on writing and the publishing business, and enjoy live music, visual art, and cultural entertainment by some of the world’s most creative and celebrated artists.

For a full list of authors and panels featured at this year’s event and to review the program schedule, visit the website at http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks.

See you there!

 

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