Sep. 21, 1998

505 I would not paint -- a picture --

by Emily Dickinson


Today's Reading: "I would not paint a picture" by Emily Dickinson.

It's ROSH HASHANAH or the JEWISH NEW YEAR, marking the beginning of 10 days of repentance and spiritual renewal.

It's STEPHEN KING's birthday, born in Portland, Maine, 1947, author of Carrie, The Shining, The Dead Zone, Christine, The Dark Half, and dozens of other horror novels and short stories.

It's the birthday of playwright MARSHA NORMAN, born in 1947, Louisville, Kentucky, and best known for winning the 1983 Pulitzer Prize with her play "‘night, Mother." It's the story of Jessie, who wants to take her own life; and her mother, Thelma, who tries to keep her from doing it.

Physicist DONALD GLASER was born in Cleveland on this day in 1926, best known for inventing the bubble chamber which allows scientists to precisely measure the paths of subatomic particles. He won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1960 when he was 34, one of the youngest winners ever, then joined the staff at the University of California, Berkeley.

SIR ALLEN LANE, the founder of Penguin Books, was born on this day in Bristol, England, 1902. Before Penguin came along, books were printed mostly in hardcover and were relatively expensive. In 1935, when Lane was 33 years old, he left his uncle's publishing firm to start Penguin. His first paperbacks sold for 12 cents. In 1937 he began publishing Shakespeare's plays in paperback, then children's books. His best seller was D.H. Lawrence's 1928 novel, Lady Chatterley's Lover.

It's the birthday of the British writer, H.G. WELLS, born in Kent, 1866, and best known for his first novel, The Time Machine, which came out in 1895, and other science fiction books like The Invisible Man (1897) and War of the Worlds (1898). He grew up poor and when he was 14 years old became apprenticed to learn how to make draperies. He got fired from that and several other small jobs, before getting a scholarship to study biology at the Royal College in London. His very first book, which he wrote when he was 27, was a biology text. Science fiction made him famous, but he wrote books of all kinds, turning them out at the rate of one every other year. People especially loved his comic novels about lower middle-class Londoners: clerks, shop keepers, underpaid teachers — most of them modeled on himself; like his 1910 book, The History of Mr. Polly.

It's the birthday of the French scientist CHARLES-JULES-HENRI NICOLLE, 1866 in Rouen. It was Nicolle who discovered that typhus is transmitted by lice. He won the 1928 Nobel Prize for the discovery, and for distinguishing between the classic form of the disease and murine typhus, which is not spread by lice, but by the rat flea.

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
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