"This thing called failure is not the falling down but the staying down."
- Mary Pickford (Gladys Marie Smith)
This Outlaw Trail leads me into a personal past:
On this date in 1892, Mary Pickford, the Canadian silent film actress was born.
One magic afternoon, she was very kind to my mother, fresh from the orphanage at a time,
when Ms. Picford's husband was very harsh with the actress.
To be physically struck by your husband in defense of an unknown young girl and to respond as a calm lady, making the blow seem a badge of honor ...
Mother never forgot. A lesson in how to live a beautiful life born from an ugliness.
Mary Pickford's lesson to we struggling writers:
On April 19, 1909, the Biograph Company director D. W. Griffith screen-tested her. Pickford said of her success at Biograph:
"I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities...
I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I'd become known, and there would be a demand for my work."
Pickford appeared in 51 films in 1909 – almost one a week.
She also introduced her friend Florence La Badie to D. W. Griffith, which launched La Badie's successful film acting career.
Write as much as you can in as many genres and forms as you can ... and always help out friends along the way.
I wrote of ugliness earlier. And there is nothing quite as ugly as war:
The Battle of Shiloh ended in 1862 on this date.
This was a major battle in the Civil War, and though it looked promising for the Confederates in the beginning, they were eventually routed by the Union troops.
The battle was extremely costly for both sides, and was one of the first indicators that the war wasn't going to end any time soon.
F stands for my ghost friend, FAULKNER:
On this day in 1932 William Faulkner reluctantly arrived in Hollywood to begin work as a screenwriter, a labor that would last, on and off, for twenty years.
Faulkner was thirty-four years old at the time, and had already published four of his Yoknapatawpha County novels
(including The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying).
“The past is never dead. It's not even past.” ― William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun.
Talking about the outlaw trail and crime --
On this day in 1977, the pulp-noir writer Jim Thompson died.
"Just you wait," Thompson told his wife shortly before his death, "I'll become famous after I'm dead about ten years."
Thirteen years later, The Grifters received four Oscar nominations,
and then a handful of other books were turned into films, and today nearly all of Thompson's books are back in print.
Who says friction is all bad?
1827 on this day --
The first friction matches were sold.
The matches known as "friction lights" were sold by a chemist, John Walker, who had invented them the previous year.
He had discovered the formula for making friction-ignitable matches accidentally when mixing chemicals.
No accident this:
John Wayne won his first and only Oscar on this date in 1970.
Although Wayne was a major Hollywood star for decades, he only won one Oscar — Best Actor for his role in True Grit.