Thursday

Aug. 27, 1998

Girls Who Love Horses

by Lisa Lewis

THURSDAY 8/27

Today's Reading: "Girls Who Love Horses" by Lisa Lewis from SILENT TREATMENT, published by Penguin Books (1998).

Several STATE FAIRS get underway today — In St. Paul, it's the MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, in Syracuse, the NEW YORK STATE FAIR, and in Salem, the OREGON STATE FAIR.

It was on this day in 1912 that TARZAN first appeared, in a story by a Chicago ad writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs — the saga of an English nobleman's son abandoned in the African jungle and brought up by apes. The adventure magazine, All Story, published it. Two years later, Burroughs wrote another, this one called Tarzan of the Apes. It was so popular he quit the ad agency and went on to write 25 Tarzan books, which were translated into more than 50 languages.

It's the birthday near Stonewall, Texas, 1908, of LBJ, LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, the 36th president. He was sworn into the office aboard Air Force One after President Kennedy's assassination in November, 1963. The next year he was elected in the biggest landslide ever — 15 million votes — which helped him push through nearly all of his "Great Society" legislation: the Civil Rights Act; the Voting Rights Act; and the Medicare Bill.

It's the birthday of C.S. FORESTER, 1899, Cairo, Egypt, the writer who created the British naval officer Horatio Hornblower, hero of the Napoleonic Wars. Hornblower was the central character in a dozen novels beginning with the 1937, Beat to Quarters, and ending in 1967 with Hornblower and the Crisis. Most of Forester's novels were made into movies, the best known of which was African Queen, in 1935.

It's the birthday in Philadelphia, 1890, of Emanuel Rabinovitch, better known as the Surrealist artist MAN RAY. He grew up in New York City, and studied architecture, engineering, and art, intending to become a painter. But he fell in with the French artist Marcel Duchamp and began producing pieces called "ready-mades," sculptures or paintings with everyday household items right in them; Ray's best known one was "The Gift," a clothes iron with a row of tacks glued to the bottom. He began experimenting with photography, mostly, he said, as a way to make money so he could paint.

It's the birthday of THEODORE DREISER, born in Terra Haute, Indiana, 1871, author of An American Tragedy (1925). He was the ninth of ten children, and grew up moving around Indiana — living in Sullivan, Vincennes, Evansville, and Warsaw — his family looking for the next place that might them get out of poverty. Nearly all his books — like Sister Carrie (1900), Jennie Gerhardt (1911), and An American Tragedy (1925) — are based on his Indiana years and deal with the effect of money, or the lack of it, on moral behavior.

It's the birthday of SOPHIA SMITH, the founder of Smith College, born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, 1796. She was one of three children left with a sizable inheritance when their father died. And when her two siblings died and left her their estates, she decided to establish a school. She started Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in the 1870s, one of the first women's colleges in the country.

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 »