Jul. 10, 1998

436 The Wind -- tapped like a tired Man

by Emily Dickinson


Today's Reading: "The Wind tapped like a tired Man" by Emily Dickinson.

On this day in 1940, the German Luftwaffe sent 70 planes to raid targets in southern Wales, starting THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN. Exactly 3 years later, on July 10, 1943, the U.S. 7th Army, commanded by General George Patton, began its INVASION OF SICILY.

It's the birthday of songwriter JERRY HERMAN, born in New York City (1933). He played piano by age 6 – taught by his mother, a piano professional piano teacher, and by his early twenties was playing piano in New York clubs. He wrote the smash hit Hello, Dolly! which stayed at the St. James Theatre for nearly 7 years, followed by Mame (1966), and La Cage Aux Folles (1983).

Today is the birthday of author ALICE MUNRO, born in Wingham, Canada (1931). She grew up on a poor farm in southwestern Ontario and began writing while in college. Her first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), won the Governor General's Literary Award –the most important literary prize in Canada. Her other books include the novel, Lives of Girls and Women (1971), the short story collections Friend of My Youth (1990) and Open Secrets (1994).

It's the birthday of jazz singer IVIE ANDERSON, born in Gilroy, California (1905), who sang with Duke Ellington for 11 years. In the 1920s she had sung often at the Cotton Club, and toured Australia with Sonny Clay. She recorded the first and definitive version of "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing."

On this day in 1890, WYOMING JOINED THE UNION as the 44th state. Its capital, Cheyenne, is located on Crow Creek in the southeastern corner of the state.

It's the birthday of novelist MARCEL PROUST, born in Paris (1871). A frail, asthmatic child, he adored and depended upon his mother. Soon after her husband's death, she, too, died. Marcel was then 35. He withdrew from his former life as one of the most visible figures of Parisian society, secluded himself in his cork-lined apartment, and devoted the rest of his life to writing A la Recherche du temps perdu [Remembrance of Things Past] – written, and then revised and tirelessly expanded, until it was three times its original length by the time of his death (1922). Of seven volumes, he completed the final revisions on the first four (Swann's Way; Within a Budding Grove; The Guermantes Way; and Cities of the Plain).

It's the birthday of American-born painter JAMES McNEILL WHISTLER, born in Lowell, Massachusetts (1834), whose most famous work is "Arrangement in Grey and Black, Number 1: The Artist's Mother" (1872), popularly known as "Whistler's Mother."

It's the birthday of French painter CAMILLE PISSARRO, born in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands (1830). In his twenties he settled in Paris and studied at the Academie Suisse, with its free art classes, where he became friends with younger painters Monet, Renoir, Sisley, and Cezanne, whom he encouraged through the early years of the much-scorned Impressionist movement.

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 »