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Friday, November 13, 2015

Growing a long-lasting legacy


“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Today is the birth date of Stevenson, who in his short life (he lived to just age 44) became one of the world’s most versatile and “translated” authors.   This Scottish-born writer left us everything from Treasure Island to Kidnapped to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and a host of great characters like the pirate Long John Silver, and Jekyll and Hyde (also a lasting descriptive phrase).   

Stevenson’s creativity also included essays, short stories and poetry for both adults and children (A Child’s Garden of Verses – with lasting poems like My Shadow:  “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me, And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.”), and music.   An accomplished pianist, he wrote or arranged more than 120 original pieces for various combinations of flageolet, flute, clarinet, violin, guitar, mandolin, and piano, including ten songs written to his own poetry. 
 
Robert Louis Stevenson
Stevenson’s many travels led to his connection with American Fanny Osbourne – their love story becoming one for the ages.  For a great read, check out my good friend Mark Wiederanders’ novel Stevenson’s Treasure – a truly wonderful tale.

Stevenson always seemed to be able to connect with readers from all walks of life and when asked why, he simply said, “The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.”  He wrote clearly what he meant, and the world clearly understood.

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