Friday

Jun. 26, 1998

Recessions

by James A. Autry

FRIDAY 6/26

Today's Reading: "Recessions" by James A. Autry from LOVE AND PROFIT, published by William Morrow.

It's the birthday in Leicester, England, 1931, of COLIN WILSON, who became famous when he was only 24 years old when his first book was published, The Outsider, a long essay on 20th century alienation.

It's the birthday in Norfolk, Virginia, 1915, of CHARLOTTE ZOLOTOW, author of some 60 children's books, beginning in 1944 with The Park Book. One of her best-known is the little picture book called Sleepy Book, that shows and tells where and how various creatures sleep. Zolotow's other books include The Storm Book, and Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.

It's the birthday in Gloucester, England, 1914, of writer LAURIE LEE, who wrote several volumes of poetry and a collection of short stories, but is best known for his three autobiographies, Cider with Rosie (1959), about growing up in the English countryside; As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning, about his trip into London as a young man to seek his fortune; and A Moment of War, when he went to Spain during the '30s to fight in the Civil War.

The VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM OPENED on this day in 1909 in southwest London. It had originally been called the Museum of Ornamental Art and housed both science and art exhibits. The curators split the two and renamed just the art collection for the late Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert.

It's the birthday in Scott, Mississippi, 1893, of the Chicago Blues singer BIG BILL BROONZY, one of 17 children born to former slaves. He grew up in Arkansas and made his way, after stints as a preacher and sharecropper, up to Chicago, where he learned how to play guitar. He died in 1958 a few years after his autobiography came out, in which he said: "When you write about me, please don't say I'm a jazz musician. Just write Big Bill was a well-known blues singer and player and has recorded 260 blues songs from 1925 up till 1952; he was a happy man when he was drunk and playing with women; he was liked by all the blues singers."

PEARL BUCK, author of The Good Earth, was born on this day in Hillsboro, West Virginia, 1892, the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries. Her parents were there in West Virginia only for a one-year leave-of-absence from the mission field, then they returned to China. Buck spent nearly all her first 40 years in China. She wrote more than 85 books before she died in 1973 and won the Nobel Prize in 1938.

It's the birthday in Oakland, California, 1891, of SIDNEY HOWARD, the playwright of They Knew What They Wanted, the story of an old Italian immigrant and his mail-order bride that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1925, which then became the basis of Frank Loesser's musical The Most Happy Fella.

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 »