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“Love! Love until the night collapses!”: Celebrating Cancer Writers

Posted by Sarah Bofenkamp on

If heaven were full of little zodiac-zoned villages, then Helen Keller and George Sand would be neighbors on the same crab-shaped island and Octavia Butler and Lucille Clifton would share one abundant garden plot. William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White would teach night classes to all of their fellow Cancers and every evening of the week there’d be a different dinner party: Ernest Hemingway with the catch of the day, George Orwell with his Bachelor Griller, Jean Stafford and her spare ribs, Oliver Sacks with the sushi, and M.F.K. Fisher and Anthony Bourdain with some endless array of culinary delights. Family and friends would paddle in from other places and Nathaniel Hawthorne would read aloud by moonlight the work of other Cancerian legends: Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, The Little Prince, Siddhartha.

Instead of street addresses, each house would be labeled by birthday - the village mapped from June 21 to July 22 - with every road ending at the water. The waves would be warm but tempestuous, much like the bathers wading in them, and the dawn would be lit by the flickering candles of countless authors at work.

Here is where Charlotte Perkins Gilman lives, plucking lemons fresh from June Jordan's front-yard tree. Here is where Hunter S. Thompson, Franz Kafka, and the other Cancers live: where they dance and weep and write under the moon they are ruled by, where words wax and wane with their million moods.

Sarah J. Bofenkamp is a reader, writer, and librarian living in Palouse, Washington.

Famous Cancer Authors
Jean-Paul Sartre - June 21, 1905
Octavia E. Butler - June 22, 1947
Jean Anouilh - June 23, 1910
Ambrose Bierce - June 24, 1842
Anita Desai - June 24, 1937
George Orwell - June 25, 1903
Anthony Bourdain - June 25, 1956
Pearl S. Buck - June 26, 1892
Lafcadio Hearn - June 27, 1850
Paul Laurence Dunbar - June 27, 1872
Helen Keller - June 27, 1880
Lucille Clifton - June 27, 1936
Jean-Jacques Rousseau - June 28, 1712
Breece D’J Pancake - June 29, 1952
Czesław Miłosz - June 30, 1911
George Sand - July 1, 1804
William Strunk Jr. - July 1, 1869
Jean Stafford - July 1, 1915
Herman Hesse - July 2, 1877
Franz Kafka - July 3, 1883
M.F.K. Fisher - July 3, 1908
Tom Stoppard - July 3, 1937
Carmen Maria Machado - July 3, 1986
Nathaniel Hawthorne - July 4, 1804
Jean Cocteau - July 5, 1889
Bessie Head - July 6, 1937
Robert A. Heinlein - July 7, 1907
Margaret Walker - July 7, 1915
V. E. Schwab - July 7, 1987
Ann Radcliffe - July 9, 1764
Oliver Sacks - July 9, 1933
June Jordan - July 9, 1936
Marcel Proust - July 10, 1871
Alice Munro - July 10, 1931
E. B. White - July 11, 1899
Jhumpa Lahiri - July 11, 1967
Henry David Thoreau - July 12, 1817
Pablo Neruda - July 12, 1904
Wole Soyinka - July 13, 1934
Iris Murdoch - July 15, 1919
Hunter S. Thompson - July 18, 1937
Frantz Fanon - July 20, 1925
Cormac McCarthy - July 20, 1933
Henry Dumas - July 20, 1934
Ernest Hemingway - July 21, 1899
Marshall McLuhan - July 21, 1911
John Gardner - July 21, 1933
Tom Robbins - July 22, 1932 

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