Dec. 21, 1997

Good Thought

by William Stafford

SUNDAY 12/21

Today's Reading: "Good Thought" by William Stafford from EVEN IN QUIET PLACES, published by Confluence Press.

Winter begins today in the Northern Hemisphere with the winter solstice, at 3:07 PM EST.

Frank Capra's Christmas classic, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE starring Jimmy Stewart, opened at New York's Globe Theater in 1946.

The 44-year-old novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in Hollywood in 1940, while working on his novel THE LAST TYCOON.

Walt Disney's SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, the first full-length animated talking picture, premiered on this day in 1937, in Los Angeles.

It's the birthday of writer Edward Hoagland, born in New York City, 1932.

Novelist and playwright Heinrich Boll (GROUP PORTRAIT WITH A LADY; THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINA BLUM) was born on this day in Cologne, Germany, 1917.

The first feature-length silent film was released on this day in 1913. Mack Sennett's TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE starred Marie Dressler and Charlie Chaplin.

The first crossword puzzle was published in the NEW YORK WORLD on this day in 1913.

Baseball player Josh Gibson, known as the black Babe Ruth, was born on this day in Buena Vista, Georgia, 1911.

Samuel Slater opened the first cotton mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, on this day in 1790.

It was on this day in 1620 that the Pilgrims landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook

The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »