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Famous Writers and a Few of their favorite things

Updated on June 12, 2012

Here's the skinny on your favorite authors - what they value, where they chill, and whom they adore

If you ran into J.K. Rowling or Woody Allen tomorrow, would you steal another minute of their time? Sure, you could wave and hold out something for them to sign like all the other annoying fans - or You could use some inside information to tap into what makes them tick when they're off the clock. Run into Stephen King? Get a catcher's mitt. Isaac Asimov? Maybe a Dr. Spock figurine.

Mark Twain and his kitten named Beelzebub


Mark Twain once estimated that he went through three hundred cheap strong cigars every month. His peers actually believed that was an understatement. If he is on vacation and needed to get some work done, he would allow himself fifteen cigars every five hours. As he smoked, he would play billiards for hours on end. His billiard room was a true man's sanctuary, decorated with pool cues, wine bottles, and pipes. When he first married ,he promised his wife that he would cut back and light up only once a week. The resolution didn't last long. The combination of writer's block and publisher deadlines drove him back to his old habits. Ignorant of the damage, he was doing to his lungs. Twain thought it was a harmless pastime.


  • Mark Twain loved the grace and independence of cats. He named his pet kittens Sin,Sourmash, Satan, Blatherskite and Beelzebub. In Puddn'head Wilson, he wrote, " A house without a cat- a well-fed , petted and properly revered cat - may be a home, but how can it prove its title?".
  • In1907, Mark Twain said that after several decades he had spent only three months writing each year. He spent the rest of his time on vacation.

Dr. Seuss and Cat in the Hat plush


In his home in La Jolla, California, Dr. Seuss kept a rather unusual memento on display for years - a plaster cast of a huge dinosaur track found in his hometown, Springfield, Massachusetts. It didn't ass much to the decor of the home, but the footprint was a gift from his father. It reminded that even after death, anyone could leave a mark on the world, something he strove to do for the rest of his life.


  • Dr. Seuss and his wife Helen, never had children. When asked about his empty nest, he often replied, " You have 'em, I'll amuse 'em".

Woody Allen and his clarinet


The King of all things creative and quirky, writer Woody Allen has played the clarinet since he was a teenager. Born Allen Stewart Konigsberg, he even came up with his own stage name at age sixteen as a tribute to famous clarinetist Woody Herman. Allen has performed multiple times since the 1960s. He even tooted his woodwind with the Preservation Hall Jazz Ban on the Sleepers soundtrack. His band, Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band, plays every Monday at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.


  • Woody Allen was only nineteen years old when he started writing for The Ed Sullivan Show and the Tonight Show.


Although injuries often serve as devastating, career ending moments for athletes, a track -and-field injury prompted author Nicholas Parks to write. He first picked a pen while benched from the University of Notre Dame track team, and he hasn't put it down since.

Books by Nicholas Parks


Stephen King loves the Boston Red Sox and often includes the team in his writing. One of his books, The Gilr Who Loved Tim Gordon (1999), features the team's famous pitcher as the main character. He also wrote Faithful: Two Die Hard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season after the team won the 2004 American League Championship Series and World Series. King frequently attends both home and away games.


  • Stephen King coached his son's team to the Little League championship game in 1989.


Known for his reclusiveness and his manicured white beard, Walt Whitman had a bit of a man-crush on the tall ,top-hatted sixteenth President Abraham Lincoln. During the Civil War, Whitman took a job taking care of wounded soldiers in Washington D.C., and often saw the president around the city. One of his most famous poems, "O Captain! My Captain!" - made famous by the film Dead Poets Society - was Whitman's way of expressing his gried after Lincoln's assasination in 1865.


Best known for his poem " The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," which he wrote at just twenty-two years old, American born poet T. S. Eliot had one true love late in life - Groucho Marx. Eliot exchanged friendly letters with the comedian and even hung Marx's portrait in his home next to the likes of writers William Yeats and Paul Valery.


  • Simon and Garfunkel's song " The Dangling Conversation" ( made famous by Joan Baez) was written as a parallel to the poem.
  • Musicians the Crash Test Dummies released a single called " Afternoons and Coffee Spoons". in the 1990s that mentioned in the poem.
  • In the movie Apocalypse Now, Dennis Hopper plays a photojournalist who quotes the poem.


John Steinbeck,author of Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath , took to boating and fishing on San Francisco Bay, which helped trim down the grocery bill on his $25-a-month budget. He had always wanted to hunt quail for dinner but told the reporter from the New York Telegraph in 1937 " every time i see one around the house i dash in and get a gun and get it to my shoulder; and then I can't shoot". The birds just looked so cute that he couldn't pull the trigger. Embarrassed that he just had told such a silly story about himself, Steinbeck admitted to the reporter that it was the first time he had ever been interviewed - "And be damned sure that it's the last," he said . It wasn't.


  • Steinbeck was terrible with punctuation, but his wife proofread all of his writing and caught the errors before they went to his editor.
  • When Steinbeck had friends over to his California home, he would keep the beer cold by putting it on the bottom of his pool.

Books by John Steinbeck


Submit a Comment
  • jolinabetts profile imageAUTHOR

    Sunshine Diaz 

    6 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

    @Barbara Kay: Thank you for reading! I really appreciate it.

    @Daniella Lopez : Thank you very much! I'm glad you like it.

    @ PDXkaraokeguy : Thank you for reading! I very much appreciate your comment!

  • Barbara Kay profile image

    Barbara Badder 

    6 years ago from USA

    This was interesting. Thanks for digging up the facts and sharing.

  • Daniella Lopez profile image

    Danielle Lopez 

    6 years ago from Spain

    Very cute hub. I never knew some of the things you listed. Voted up. :D

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 

    6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    Another interesting installment. I love Stephen King's baseball stories... he has several. Very interesting on the rest, though odds are I won't be meeting any of the other writers-- at least not on this plane.


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