Part of the legacy that writer James Michener left behind (other than more than 40 books) is the writing program at the University of Texas. The program that Michener helped start is now known as The James A. Michener Center for Writers and according to their website is “An interdisciplinary Masters of Fine Arts program in fiction, poetry, playwriting, and screenwriting of the University of Texas at Austin.”
But Michener did not start out with a grand plan.
“I didn’t say, ‘I’m going to be a writer.’ All I knew was, that I was able to write better than a lot of the stuff I was reading, and I was going to take a shot at it. That it turned out the way it did was accidental — purely accidental. Not a matter of design at all. I had a great start. Everything hit me favorably at the beginning. It was five years before I had the courage to become a freelance with all that start because I knew what the facts were. I had been an editor myself, and I knew that people do not make a living writing books. “
Author of more than 40 books
Pulitzer Prize in fiction for Tales of the South Pacific
Read Full Post »
Posted in Screenwriting Quotes, tagged Centeennial, Eckerd College, Hawaii, james michener, South Pacific, St Pete, St. Pete Beach. Rodgers and Hammerstein, Tales of the South Pacific, Woody's on May 6, 2009 |
2 Comments »
Last weekend I was shooting in St. Pete Beach where I’ve had the good fortune to spend a little time there over the years. I always think of two things when I head that way — Woody’s (a cafe) and writer James Michener. Woody’s is a former bait shop built in 1945 and is now a waterfront dive with good food and great waterfront views.
The Pulitzer Prize winning Michener taught creative writing back in the 90s at Eckerd College in St. Pete. Michener didn’t have his first book published until he was 40 but it was a memorable one, Tales of the South Pacific. It was based somewhat on his experience in the Navy serving in the South Pacific during World War II. The book would go on the become the popular Rodgers and Hammerstein stage and film musical South Pacific.
His books, including Centennial and Hawaii, have sold an estimated 75 million copies. His movie and TV credits span six decades and he continues to have his work produced even though he died back in 1997.
Loren Pope wrote this in the book Colleges That Change Lives, “On a writing class, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener critiqued students’ efforts and had a reputation for always finding something good to say about every paper, no matter how bad. Michener also left the college (Eckerd) $1 million.”
“I believe throughout history, through all of history, way back to the most early days of the human race, when people gathered around the fireplace at night, they wanted to remember what had happened and reflect upon the big events of that day and reassess values and maybe get new dedication to the next day. Well, I’m one of the guys who sat around the fireplace and did the talking.”
Academy of Achievement website
Scott W. Smith
Read Full Post »