Thursday

Feb. 19, 1998

Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

by Adrienne Rich

THURSDAY 2/19

Today's Reading: "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" by Adrienne Rich from THE FACT OF A DOORFRAME: POEMS SELECTED AND NEW, published by W.W. Norton & Company.

It's the birthday of AMY TAN, who wrote The Joy Luck Club in 1989, and The Kitchen God's Wife in 1991 - born in Oakland, California on this date in 1952, and raised in San Francisco.

Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of the BATTLE OF IWO JIMA in 1945. The island lies 700 miles south of Tokyo and its airfield was deemed the best spot for U.S. bombers to re-fuel so they could hit Japan. The Japanese had constructed an elaborate network of caves and tunnels on Iwo Jima, and it took a month of some of the worst fighting in the war for the Marines to secure the island.

Three years earlier on this day, President Roosevelt signed EXECUTIVE ORDER 9066, calling for the eviction and internment of all Japanese Americans. More than a dozen camps were set up in Western states, and beginning in April, 1942, 112,000 people were forced from their homes into the camps. The internment lasted until December, 1944 when Roosevelt revoked the order.

It's the birthday in Columbus, Georgia, 1917, of the short-story writer and novelist CARSON MCCULLERS. She left Georgia when she was 17 to become a pianist, headed for New York and the Juilliard school, but within days of arriving in the city she lost her wallet and tuition. So she got a job and took writing classes at Columbia University instead, and when she was 23 published her best known work, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

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 Sharon Olds 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 »