This week in Literature and Arts

Happy 77th birthday to John Winston Lennon, born October 9, 1946. Oddly, if he still were alive he might actually look like Wilfred Bramble now.

October 10, 1985: Orson Welles, 70, dies of heart failure while sleeping. Before going to bed he’d spent the night writing stage directions for his next project.

October 12, 1997: John Denver dies when his experimental Long-EZ aircraft crashes into Monterey Bay. Investigators blamed poor design and pilot error—although an experienced pilot, Denver was unfamiliar with this aircraft. He was 53.

Always like d JD. Strong, lyrical voice and a great songwriter (when the Beatles  cover  your song, you’re pretty damn good!). Saw him live a few times and always a great show. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years.

Happy 76th birthday to Paul Simon, born in Newark, NJ, October 13, 1941. His family moved to Queens, NY, when he was little more than a toddler, and he met Art Garfunkel when they appeared together in a sixth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland.

As a student in Forest Hills High, Simon was bombing in math (enough of a reason to like him). He knew there was a very smart girl in another class and asked her to tutor him. At his house she noticed his dad’s musical instruments and commented that she played and wrote songs, too. Unbelievable but true, Simon’s math tutor was Carole King.

What are the odds that these people, two of the century’s greatest songwriters, would be in the same school together?

October 14, 1926: A.A. Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh is published. The series has charmed four generations of readers but probably could use an update.

Here goes:

“No matter how a man alone ain’t got no bloody fucking chance.” He shut his eyes. It had taken him a long time to get it out and it had taken him all of his life to learn it.—Ernest Hemingway, To Have and Have Not, October 15, 1937.

Michael Rogers ( is a Jesse H. Neal Gold Award-winning freelance writer, editor, reviewer, and photographer. He is also former Media Editor and audiobook reviewer at Library Journal.