i hope you don’t mind, Writer’s Almanac, for my re-posting this on my website, but although i find Joyce incredible, Beckett mesmerizes me when i read his stuff, and in this excerpt from your daily email today, i found Beckett’s thoughts (in green lettering below) personal, as though he had written those words for me.
It’s the birthday of Samuel Beckett (books by this author), born in Foxrock, Ireland, a Dublin suburb (1906). He studied French literature in college and then went to Paris, where he met James Joyce, who by that time was almost blind and working on Finnegans Wake. Beckett became his assistant. He read books to Joyce, took dictation, and walked with him around Paris. He idolized Joyce so much that he began to smoke like Joyce and walk like Joyce. He tried to write in Joyce’s meandering style, but Beckett said, “I realized that my own way was in taking away, in subtracting rather than in adding.”
Beckett eventually found his own voice and wrote many novels and plays, including his most famous, Waiting for Godot (1952). In 1969, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
He wrote, “Where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”
Beckett wrote, “My mistakes are my life.”
And, “We are all born mad. Some remain so.”
And, “Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order.”
He also said, “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”