I’ve decided to restore my Mitzi Monday, Writer Wednesday, and Freaky Friday themes at times. So today is Mitzi Monday.
Today is Martin Luther King Day, to honor a man who inspired millions…and who inspired this white girl..
It’s also the birthday of an iconic American writer. Since I was raised in a very prejudiced atmosphere, I was not “allowed” to listen to or to comment on Rev. King’s speeches or his marches. Because I had nightmares as a child, I was told I could not read this writer. However, I side-stepped both parental orders. I read news stories about King and watched his marches when my father wasn’t home. I would secretly read this writer’s short stories. Yes, I was a rebel (said sarcastically).
When asked who, living or dead, I would like to meet, I usually say Poe and John Lennon.
I have an odd connection with Poe who was never what his foster/adoptive father wanted him to be. On a small level I understand that.
I also understand the need to write out your demons, a process Stephen King (another favorite) has talked about.
Poe’s life and his death have always fascinated me, along with his works. There is usually one book by or about Poe that’s in my “reading now” pile. I even used one of his stories as a basis for a short story of my own that appeared in an anthology: Tales from the Mist .
His death is a still a mystery after more than one hundred years. He was found delirious in a Baltimore gutter on an election day in October, 1849. He was taken to a hospital but because of his alcoholic history, it was thought that he was suffering from alcohol poisoning. Recently there have been other suggestions, such as rabies. But a cause of death is difficult to prove after such a long time. Why was he not wearing his own clothes, but dirty clothes that didn’t fit? And why was Poe calling the name “Reynolds” before he died? There’s no record that he knew anyone by that name.
The mystery continued after his death with the Poe Toaster, a stranger in a hat and cloak who would go to Poe’s grave in a Baltimore cemetery with red roses and brandy, to toast the writer. The Toaster has not appeared in the last few years, leading people to believe he was elderly and has passed. Hopefully, he’s now talking to his friend, Edgar.
And here is another favorite of mine (whose movies I was not allowed to see as a child), reciting Poe’s most famous poem.
Happy Birthday, Edgar. Thank you.
Thank you, Rev. King. Your words helped to make a teenage white girl understand.