Saturday, November 13, 2010

Time to Re-Read Treasure Island..and Ultrarunning

Image credit Wikipedia.

I continue to love me some Writer’s Almanac, a daily email I get that dealing with highlights of this day in history, always with a delightful literary bent.

I saved this one from the archives from 13 November 2007, and I’m featuring it here on the anniversary of the author's birth. It’s relevant because Treasure Island was one of my favorite books as a kid, and I just read it again at the beach this summer. Guess what?--loved it again!  Moreover, I found the biographical info about the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, to be SO compelling. What a love story!

It's the birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (1850), who was a sickly, moderately successful essayist and travel writer, living in France, when one evening he walked to a friend's house, looked in through the window, and fell instantly in love with a woman sitting there at the table. To make a grand entrance, he opened the window, leapt inside, and took a bow. The woman was Fanny Osbourne and she was both American and unhappily married. She had come to Europe to get away from her husband, but after spending months getting to know Stevenson, she decided to go back to California.

Stevenson got a telegram from her a few weeks after she'd returned to the United States, and he decided on the spot to drop everything and go persuade her to divorce her husband and marry him. His health, as always, was terrible, and the trip to the United States almost killed him. He collapsed on Fanny Osbourne's doorstep, but she nursed him back to health. She did divorce her husband, and they got married in San Francisco and spent their honeymoon in a cabin near an abandoned silver mine.

They moved back to Scotland with her son from her previous marriage, and one rainy afternoon the following summer Stevenson painted a map of an imaginary island to entertain his new stepson. The map gave him and idea for a story and in a single month he had written his first great novel, Treasure Island (1883), about the young Jim Hawkins, who finds a treasure map and goes on a journey to find the treasure. He meets pirates, survives a mutiny, and gets to know a one-legged cook named Long John Silver. The book has been in print for 124 years now.

Go to the link to read the rest. 

Robert Louis Stevenson, said, "Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits."

Sorta like Ultrarunning, when the run or the race is not going so still is fun (mostly!).


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