Made around the year 1000, most likely during the reign of King Æthelred the Unready (978-1016), this manuscript committed to parchment a tale that (in some modern scholars’ opinions) had been passed down for centuries, between generations of storytellers.
In its present state, the poem, named after its hero Beowulf, contains more than 3,000 lines, and divides conventionally into three comparatively equal sections: Beowulf’s struggle with the monster, Grendel; the revenge of Grendel’s mother; and Beowulf’s final contest with a dragon, which was guarding a hoard of treasure. What marks out Beowulf is the gripping and highly developed story, and the richness of its language.
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro put all his ideas for `Pan’s Labyrinth’ in a notebook — then lost it.
The heavyset man ran down the London street, panting, chasing the taxi. When it didn’t stop, he hopped into another cab. “Follow that cab!” he yelled. Guillermo del Toro wasn’t directing this movie. He was living it. And it was turning into a horror tale.
The Mexican filmmaker keeps all of his ideas in leather notebooks. And Del Toro had just left four years of work in the back seat of a British cab. Unlike in the movies, though, Del Toro couldn’t catch the taxi. Visits to the police and the taxi company proved equally fruitless.
Del Toro’s films — “Chronos,” “The Devil’s Backbone,” “Blade II,” “Hellboy” — typically feature magical realism. Fate was about to return the storytelling favor.
The cabbie spotted the misplaced journal. Working from a scrap of stationery that didn’t even have the name of Del Toro’s hotel (just its logo), the driver returned the book two days later. An overwhelmed Del Toro promptly gave him an approximately $900 tip.
The sketches and the ideas in that misplaced journal — four years of notes on character design, ruminations about plot — were the foundation of “Pan’s Labyrinth,” a child’s fantasy set in the wake of the Spanish Civil War.
The director, who at the time wasn’t even sure he’d actually make “Pan’s Labyrinth,” took the cabbie’s act as a sign, and plunged himself into the movie.
1. Mark Twain - “He had his leather bound notebooks custom made according to his own design idea. Each page had a tab; once a page had been used, he would tear off its tab, allowing him to easily find the next blank page for his jottings”
2 & 3. Charles Darwin - “The notebooks were filled with memorandum to himself on things to look further into, questions he wanted to answer, scientific speculations, notes on the many books he was currently reading, natural observations, sketches, and lists of the books he had read and wanted to read. But the progression is far from orderly: the entries are chaotically arranged and wide-ranging; they jump from one scientific subject to the next and are interspersed with notes on correspondences and conversations. He would rest the notebook on his desk and write horizontally down the page with a pen, and, like Isaac Newton, he would sometimes start in from both ends of the notebook at once and work towards the middle.
4. Jack Kerouac - The notebook entry reads:
“Ginsberg — intelligent enuf, interested in the outward appearance & pose of great things, intelligent enuf to know where to find them, but once there he acts like Jerry Newman, the photographer anxious to be photographed photographing —— Ginsberg wants to run his hand up the backs of people, for this he gives and seldom takes — He is also a mental screwball
*(Tape recorder anxious to be tape recorded tape recording) (like Seymour Barab anxious to have his name in larger letters than Robert Louis Stevenson, like Steinberg & Verlaine Rimbaud Baudelaire”
5. Ernest Hemingway - The notebook entry reads:
“My name is Ernest Miller Hemingway
I was born on July 21, 1899
My favorite authors are Kipling, O. Henry and Steuart Edward White.
My favorite flower is lady slipper and tiger lily.
My favorite sports are trout fishing, hiking, shooting, football and boxing.
My favorite studies are English, zoology and chemistry.