Tag Archives: Author

Hans Christian Andersen’s Motto was “Enjoy Life”

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides.  Andersen's statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone.  In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship.

Hans Christian Andersen is depicted in a bronze sculpture staring at Tivoli Gardens amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. Both Andersen (1805-1875) and Tivoli, opened in 1843, were dedicated to the joy of children with just a little fear thrown in. My husband and I stayed at a hotel near the Tivoli and heard the screams of delighted children as they rode the rides. Andersen’s statue was very popular, and I had to wait a long time to take a photo when he was alone. In his own life, Andersen had many friends and and a huge number of admirers, but never married or was in a romantic relationship. This statue sits on H.C. Andersen street, named after the author.

“Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.”

~ Hans Christian Andersen ~

Some of my favorite childhood stories were written by Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish writer, who was born in 1805. ” The Ugly Duckling,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Little Mermaid” are some of the most famous.   I also loved “The Princess and the Pea” and “Thumbelina.”  On a recent plane ride home from Copenhagen, my husband and I thought of “The Princess and the Pea” when we heard a passenger endlessly complaining to a flight attendant. And think of the many pompous and narcissistic politicians and other leaders who have been described as being like the emperor whose imaginary new clothes are fawned over by courtiers, even though the emperor was naked.

Andersen is celebrated throughout the world and is especially beloved in Copenhagen. Statues and plaques dedicated to Andersen can be found throughout Copenhagen, including the gardens of Rosenborg Castle.  April 2, Andersen’s birthday, is celebrated as International Children’s Book Day. A statue of “The Little Mermaid,” based on Andersen’s story, sits on a rock in the Copenhagen harbor.

Here are some of the colorful houses in Copenhagen’s beautiful Nyhavn, which means New Harbor. Hans Christian Andersen used to live in No. 20 in Nyhavn, where he wrote the fairy-tales “the Tinderbox,” “Little Claus and Big Claus,” and “the Princess and the Pea.” He also lived 20 years in No. 67 and two years in No. 18.
Nyhavn was originally a busy commercial port where ships from all over the world would dock. No. 9 Nyhavn is the oldest house in the area dating back to 1681 and looks very similar to its earliest days. The area is still colorful and bustling and is a shopping, dining and tourist destination. Many of the houses in Nyhavn were once the homes of prominent artists and writers.

Andersen was much loved and appreciated, but his personal relationships didn’t always go so well.  For example, he forged a friendship with the celebrated British writer Charles Dickens, although his second visit to the Dickens home didn’t end well.  Hans Christian Andersen Wasn’t the Best Houseguest.

About Hans Christian Andersen.
Hans Christian Andersen’s Nyhavn.

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson.  Here are "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The Tinderbox."

A store in the Nyhavn area of Copenhagen, Denmark, is dedicated to merchandise based on the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. Here are “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and “The Tinderbox.”

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen's City Hall.

A prominent street in Copenhagen, Denmark, is named for the author Hans Christian Andersen. The boulevard runs along Tivoli Gardens amusement park and Copenhagen’s City Hall.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark Postcard
“The Little Mermaid” Statue in Copenhagen.

 

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Authors

It’s a Chelsea Morning

Hotel Chelsea, New York City, Print print 

I was in third grade when I decided to be a novelist.  It sounded so glamorous and important.  You and your books are studied in school.  People discuss what you were thinking, what you meant when you wrote “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”  They pay money for your thoughts!  There’s a catch, though.  To be a novelist you have to finish and preferably publish a novel.

I did pursue a writing career as a journalist, but nearly all of those hundreds of thousands of words have crumbled into dust, barely remembered the day after they were read. I never achieved that third-grade hope of writing some soul-stirring, enduring piece of work, like that of Ernest Hemingway or Jane Austen.

My novels still reside in my head and on scraps of paper and in numerous files on my computer.  I’m sure there are millions just like me. My son recently forwarded me a link on how to publish a book on Kindle.  Now, I have no excuse for not finishing the work that everyone has been breathlessly waiting for! No publisher or agent stands in my way.  I am my only obstacle. (Which so far has been a HUGE obstacle.)

One good thing is that I no longer have delusions of grandeur.  The New York Times Bestseller List?  Who needs it!  The Nobel Prize for Literature? A farce!  A Pulitzer Prize?  Don’t make me laugh! I just want to finish something readable and absorbing. My goal is to have a novel finished and on Kindle by the end of 2011. You heard it here first. Hold me to it! If you want to write a novel, join me in this goal. We can download one another’s books. We can have our own book club. (Kindle link at the bottom.)

I was looking through my zillions of photographs and came upon the above photograph, which I took from the balcony of the Chelsea Hotel, a mecca for creative people. I’m going to tack up the photo as an inspiration to write.

I took the photo in 1989, when I visited my friends Jan and Richard in their apartment at the Chelsea Hotel.  Jan and Richard are both extremely talented and creative people, so it was fitting that they should live in a building that had been a home to so many writers, artists and musicians. Among the writers who have lived there are Mark Twain, O. Henry, Dylan Thomas (who died there of alcohol poisoning), Arthur C. Clarke (who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey there), William S. Burroughs (who later moved to my college town of Lawrence, Kansas), Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, Quentin Crisp, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (who wrote On the Road there), Robert Hunter, Brendan Behan, Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Wolfe, Charles Bukowski.  Among musicians who lived there were Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Patti Smith. The Grateful Dead stayed there.

The Chelsea is at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea.  The 250-unit hotel was designated a New York City landmark in 1966, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

About the Hotel Chelsea.

How to publish your book on Kindle.

4 Comments

Filed under Journalism, Life, Literature, Photography, Writing