Monday, August 24, 2009
Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and L. Frank Baum
A shy child, L. Frank Baum grew into an adult who attempted many different jobs with varying degrees of success: chicken breeder, acting, salesman, managing theatres, newspaper work, playwright. He even began a magazine on window dressing.
He was a caring, nurturing father of his own children and would spend hours a day comforting and soothing them.
Frank wrote and published his first book when he was 41. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became one of the best-selling books for children in the 20th century.
For nearly two decades this prolific author wrote and published over 60 books and many short stories and poems. He would never write a book again with the mythical magic and sales power of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Rather than this daunting him Frank continued to write, refusing to rest on the laurels of his first book.
Librarians decreed The Wonderful Wizard of Oz a dull read and flat in style. It was kept off library shelves until 1960.
In 1911 Frank declared bankruptcy. Despite his financial woes, he remained his chirpy, determined self and continued to attempt new things.
His health began to deteriorate in 1917. He suffered from gall bladder problems and spent a lot of time bedridden where he continued to write and remained optimistic until the day he died. Just before he died, he said: "Now we can cross the Shifting Sands."
L. Frank Baum is an inspiration for the way he continued to strive for his dreams despite hardships, heartbreak and disappointments. To me he epitomises that wonderful American 'can do' spirit I've always admired.
For all of us who have thrilled to the ever eternal magic of The Wizard of Oz, for those of us who still feel a thrill when we see a pair of ruby slippers or hear the words, "There's no place like home!" – let us pay homage to the Wizard of words and magical tales, L Frank Baum, on this Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday.
"When I was young I longed to write a great novel that should win me fame. Now that I am getting old my first book is written to amuse children. For, aside from my evident inability to do anything 'great,' I have learned to regard fame as a will-o-the-wisp which when caught, is not worth the possession; but to please a child is a sweet and lovely thing that warms one's heart and brings its own reward."
L. Frank Baum
image of Frank:
image of book: