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S A I N T S &
B I R T H D A Y P A G E
Thornton Wilder. Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Thornton Wilder, one of the most eminent novelists and playwrights of the early 20th century. He had a fine education. He graduated from Yale in 1920, studied at the American Academy in Rome, and won his MA at Princeton in 1926. While teaching French at a prep school in Massachusetts, he published his first novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, which won a Pulitzer Prize. He taught literature at the University of Chicago from 1930 to 1936, and then saw his first play, "Our Town," win a Pulitzer Prize. "Our Town" is an inspired allegory of human life, beautiful, merciful and touching. "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?" asks one of the characters. "No," replies the play's commentator, a stage hand. "The saints and the poets maybe. They do, some." In 1942, Wilder won a third Pulitzer for another play, "The Skin of Our Teeth" and, in the 1960s, toward the end of his career, he wrote another big hit, "Hello, Dolly!"
MODEL: Wilder's optimism. He wrote his sunny work, "Our Town," in the middle of the depression, and his hopeful "The Skin of Our Teeth" in the middle of World War II. "The world has work to do and will do it," says the chief female character as she emerges from a bomb shelter into a world burned and blasted by another war.
Your Birthday Today:
Strong character. If you were born on April 17, you have a strong, serious personality that can't be denied or ignored, though you may keep it submerged at first. You are very confident that what you say matters. A born leader, you also have an adventuresome side. Ruled by the number 8 and the planet Saturn, you can become to accommodating to gain the acceptance you crave.
Philosophy and religion. Powerful ideas that attract powerful people are of great interest to you. You may hitch your wagon to powerful institutions or individuals. The fundamentals of your society are to be honored and defended to the death. But you despise thugs or tyrants who abuse their power.
Cerebral powers. You see your willpower and logic as the key to your success. Your shrewdness and cunning can move you into the right circles and get you out of the worst scrapes. But you may use these talents to back amoral causes that will catch up to you in time.
Saints and hedonists. More mature April seventeeners may use their talent in the service of those less fortunate or less empowered. Less mature types will follow their own greedy, selfish impulses. They may become consumed by the pleasures of mind and body.
Some advice: Beware of selfishness and learn to give up material possessions. Don't be so judgmental and don't always seek the approval of others. Lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself.
Also born on this day: J.P. Morgan (financier) Nikita Kruschev (Soviet premier) Thornton Wilder (playwright) Clare Francis (British writer, adventurer) William Holden (actor) Harry Reasoner (TV journalist) Cynthia Ozick (poet, novelist) Jan Hammer (jazz-fusion keyboardist) Buster Williams (jazz bassist) Lindsay Anderson (British film director) Don Kirshner (rock concert promoter) Robert Wood (CBS president)