1. Aaron Grunberg of the Words Without Borders blog profiles a modern Russian writer I don't hear enough about, Isaak Babel
(I thought we were calling him Isaac, but I'll go with the flow). A writing teacher turned me on to this 20th Century descendant of Gogol, Chekhov and, of course, the big guy
. My favorite Babel short story is Odessa
, a minimalist spin about a young hustler on the town with the gangsters and the businessmen and the ladies in pearls.
2. Today is the 100th birthday of playwright Samuel Beckett
, and yesterday was the 90th birthday of Beverly Cleary
. Hmm ... Samuel Beckett, Beverly Cleary ... I wonder which has influenced me more as a writer and a person? Close, but ... got it.
3. Writer/podcaster Ed Champion endured ridiculous and humiliating treatment
by the San Francisco Police Department late last night. The reason? None (appropriate on Beckett's birthday). Ed's considering filing a complaint
, but I think he's already filed his complaint with these well-written postings.