Sunday

Jun. 21, 1998

The Yellow Slicker

by Stuart Dischell

SUNDAY 6/21

Today's Reading: "The Yellow Slicker" by Stuart Dischell from EVENINGS AND AVENUES, published by Penguin Books (1996).

It's the FIRST DAY OF SUMMER. The sun has reached its northern-most spot in the sky and for the next few days sunrises and sunsets will only vary by a few seconds, giving the impression that the sun is staying still, which is the meaning of the ancient Latin term "solstice," or static sun.

It's FATHER'S DAY today, proclaimed for the first time in June, 1910 by the mayor of Spokane, Washington at the request of one of his citizens, Mrs. John B. Dodd. Presidential proclamation of Father's Day didn't come until 1966.

It was on this day in 1948 that Peter Goldmark of Columbia Records unveiled his microgroove, or LONG-PLAYING RECORDS, which quickly became the standard of the industry.

The BATTLE OF OKINAWA ended on this day in 1945, one of the bloodiest campaigns in the Pacific during World War II. Okinawa is a big 70-mile-long island in southwestern Japan and U.S. troops intended to take it and make their way to Tokyo. The Americans landed on Okinawa in April, 1945. The island was heavily defended and over the next three months, U.S. forces lost about 12,000 men; the Japanese, about 100,000. Japan surrendered the island at 10 p.m., June 21.

It's the birthday in Seattle, 1912, of writer MARY MCCARTHY, author of the autobiographies, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1957), and How I Grew (1987). She was orphaned as a six-year-old in Seattle and taken in by relatives in Minneapolis, a situation she described as one of "almost Dickensian cruelty and squalor." She was made to stand outside in snowdrifts for hours at a time, and once when she won an award at school, she was beaten with a razor strap to keep her from getting a big head about it. Her grandfather rescued her when she was 11 and took her back to Seattle.

It's the birthday in Wright City, Missouri, 1892, of theologian REINHOLD NIEBUHR. He started his preaching career as a pacifist, then changed his mind and was a strong advocate for the war against Hitler, and after WWII was influential in the State Department. He wrote a number of books, the best known of which is The Nature and Destiny of Man, in the early 1940s.

It's the birthday in Tarrytown Heights, New York, 1882, of the painter and illustrator KENT ROCKWELL, one of the most popular American artists in the first half of the century. He worked as a lobsterman and carpenter on the coast of Maine, then a ship's carpenter and a sailor. Most of the editions of books like Moby Dick, The Canterbury Tales, Paul Bunyan and Whitman's Leaves of Grass that came out early in this century had illustrations by Rockwell in them.

Work began this day in 1675 on ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL in London. The old St. Paul's had been destroyed nine years earlier in the Great Fire of 1666, the worst fire in London's history, that also devoured most of the government buildings and about 13,000 houses. The rebuilt St. Paul's was the work of architect Christopher Wren who designed a total of 53 London churches.

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 »