Writers Laughing: Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

These two have haunted me for years. So beautiful. So doomed.

Ah well, it’s good to see them laughing:


And this – well, this is just fantastic:


More blogging carnage tomorrow. Enjoy the writers laughing…until the twilight sets in… (How’s that for an onward and upward? Onward and upward…into the dying sun and the dark night of fate…!? I’m blaming Scott and Zelda! Poor, poor Scott and Zelda…)

Image Credits: Princeton University, listal.com


Writers Laughing: Leo Tolstoy

Okay, so it’s not the barbaric yawp of a Seamus Heaney, or the dazzling beauty of Zora Neale Hurston, or the transformative shot of Flannery O’Connor taking in the Amana Colonies. But this is Leo Tolstoy! Born in 1828! We’re lucky to have what we have.

And it is mesmerizing. The laughter – you’ll need to look carefully – is around five and a half minutes in. I’d recommend starting at the beginning, but if you’re pressed for time, start there and watch for a minute or so. You’ll get the spirit of the man.

Did you see the part where he drinks the little glass of water? I love that part.

This short video from the BBC is another must-watch:

What a great man. I could watch these all day. Happy Birthday, Big Fella.

Writers Laughing: Ray Bradbury

Okay, we’ll start with the one I like the most. Ray Bradbury, sci-fi legend, just looking like a classic fifties dad. Full of warmth, full of mirth.



Fast forward a couple of decades. The hair’s longer, the face a little older. But it’s still the same laugh. You get the sense he laughed like this many times in his life – always the same, always the same.


There’s something steady about this, right? Something reassuring. Maybe even something a little bland – as if he reached his limits as a laugher and could go no further. But that’s okay! He’s a successful author now! Why wouldn’t he be somewhat guarded? Be happy, be polite, give a nice chuckle, with a genuine twinkle in the eye. It’s enough! He’s giving all he can!

Except… this!


Wow. We all have it in us, people! Let it out sometimes!

Image Credits: Fantastical Andrew Fox; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images (ht today.com); Kimberly Butler

Writers Laughing: Anita Desai and Kiran Desai

Has there been a more successful mother-daughter writing duo than the Desais? I can’t think of one! And here they are, laughing together!


Look, this photo is just extraordinary. Quick quiz. Which of the following relationships is most likely to be fraught with tension?

A. Father-daughter

B. Mother-son

C. Father-son

D. Mother-daughter

Second quiz. Which pair is most likely to be competitive with one another and jealous of each other’s success?

A. Two doctors

B. Two computer programmers

C. Two accountants

D. Two writers

Did you say D for both? And yet here we have two writers, a mother and a daughter, obviously taking delight in one another.

Oh sure, like all relatives, they probably have their moments. But they also had this moment, the one in the photo, which is enough to make my day.

Photo Credit: Graziano Arici (eyevine), courtesy of theguardian.com

Writers Laughing: Pablo Neruda

Some big projects in the works, people. But in the meantime, let’s enjoy the great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. Laughing. As anyone would, if a bird should happen to land on your head:


And this one. Handsome, gallant, brilliant poet…what a great man. And of course, he’s one of the patron saints of the writers laughing series, for no other reason than the marvelous line, “Laughter is the language of the soul.”



Indeed it is, Pablo. Indeed it is.

Writers Laughing: Georges Simenon

Simenon! The creator of Maigret! (How I love those little books.)  And…perhaps the most dedicated pipe-smoker of all time. Here’s the problem with pipe smoking for the Writers Laughing series. There are millions of pictures of Simenon posing for the camera thoughtfully with his pipe. And even when the pose is natural, it tends to be of other people laughing, and Simenon merely chuckles so his pipe doesn’t fall out of his mouth. You know he’s laughing. But he’s not really laughing.

So what to do? How about finding him with a baby? That’s always good! Babies make people laugh!


D’oh! There’s that pipe again. Baby smoking a pipe? Sure, it’s a little funny, if we go back a half-century. But it’s not exactly right for our series. Let’s try another baby:


There we go! Of course! And if the baby failed, there’s always the superstar to help us out:


Yes, that’s Josephine Baker. Simply awesome.

Image Credits: L’Illustré via trussel.com (first three); happyphoton.de (Baker)

Writers Laughing: Stephen King

Stephen King! We’ve praised his book on writing and pointed out that he’s probably a great guy. We’ve written a story or two he’d probably like. And now it’s time to take a look at what he looks like laughing.


Pretty good! He seems like he’d be such a good neighbor….


…as long as you didn’t build your house over an old forgotten cemetery or something.

Image Credits: Eamonn McCabe via The Guardian; NYTimes

Writers Laughing: W.E.B. DuBois

Happy Labor Day! This one’s a bit of a head-scratcher. But I’ll take a writer laughing no matter the circumstances.


Maybe “historical curiosities” needs to be another subcategory. I guess Mao counts as a writer, too – I was once on cruise ship that had a library with Marx, Engels, volumes of Mao’s poetry, and no other books.


Writers Laughing: Sandra Cisneros

I know, I know. I hear you! Where’s the content, Jacke? Give us some thoughts about studying abroad. Or your argument for a new translation of Dante. Or tell us all about your dream bookstore. Remember when you pitted two classic novellas against one another in a literary death match? Those were heady days!

Or what about some Objects? You have 75 to go! Get cracking, buddy!

You’re right, you’re right. I’ve spent too much time digging up pictures of writers laughing. Enough is enough! I’ll stop now. Except…



…these are just too much fun!

Image Credit: Deborah Miranda

Writers Laughing: Carson McCullers

Not all cafes are sad, apparently!