Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Creator of Jekyll and Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson celebrates a birthday today--he was born in 1850. I still marvel at the story of the creation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; the fact that Stevenson was awakened by his wife from a fever dream and then cross with her for waking him from "a fine bogey tale." He wrote half the story and read it to his wife and houseguests, then ran into his room to write more, still feverish and mumbling to himself.

I sometimes envy both the creative spark and the speed with which he wrote his tales, but RLS was, in fact, a man with a very short time to live, and I certainly don't envy him that, nor do I relish having a lifelong illness, as did this fine Scottish writer.

But any writer today would envy the fact that, 150 years later, his books are still on the shelves.

One of my favorite Stevenson quotes expresses his basic optimism and appreciation of life:

"The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life's plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life."

--Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Birthday, Robert! Posted by Picasa


Martin Edwards said...

I didn't know that RLS quote, but it's a good one.

Julia Buckley said...

It is--such a great reminder of what to appreciate in the present.