On this day in 1923 American author Joseph Heller was born.
Heller served in the US Air Force in the Second World War, an experience that he used in his memorable first novel, Catch 22. He began to write the book by thinking up the first line: ” It was love at first sight…” and it took him eight years to finish, but was worth waiting for.
Heller never repeated the success. Perhaps he struggled with inner demons. Here is a poem, Angels, by Virginia Woolf, who knew a lot about inner demons:
Five years after their rescue
Of troops beaten back in Mons,
She danced with them on the downs,
Their forms like kites she reeled in
With clouds, their haloes askew
On waves of green escarpments
Breaking into the sea. Beech-brown
The combes she looked down upon
While the angels held up her skirts,
Rode the rhythms of her walking feet –
Their wings no longer torn.
In a host they balanced, on the alert
For ancient armies in retreat
Squatting in hunched hawthorns.
One year after the armistice
In the steep slopes of her temperament
She kept them at her side, to banish
The simpering angels of the house
At whom, with the sedge, they would hiss.
…The angels of Mons were her guides
To listen to this poem, click here –
Today I will practice honesty and face up to my inner demons.