Friday

Nov. 6, 1998

Returning to Earth

by Jim Harrison

FRIDAY 11/6

Today's Reading: Two stanzas from "Returning to Earth" by Jim Harrison, from THE SHAPE OF THE JOURNEY, published by Copper Canyon Press (1998).

It's the half-way point of AUTUMN today. Tonight we'll have exactly 44 days of fall to go until the winter solstice on December 21.

It's novelist JAMES JONES' birthday, born in 1921 in Robinson, Illinois, near the Indiana state line. Jones wrote several books but is best known for his novel From Here to Eternity (1951), which won the National Book Award and part of a trilogy he completed several years later, together with The Thin Red Line and Whistle.

It's the birthday in Aspen, Colorado, 1892 of HAROLD ROSS, who founded The New Yorker in 1925 and ran it for over 25 years. Ross quit high school to become a reporter and during the First World War served in France editing the military paper, Stars and Stripes. He and the banker Raoul Fleischmann started The New Yorker on $25,000. Ross's guidelines were: "It will be human. Its general tenor will be one of gaiety, wit and satire, but it will be more than a jester. It will not be radical or highbrow. It will be sophisticated." Ross and Fleischmann cast about for a name. Manhattan, New York Life, and Our Town were all possibilities they considered, but they settled on The New Yorker.

It's the birthday in 1892 in Manchester, England, of aviation pioneer JOHN ALCOCK, the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic. He and his co-pilot took off from St. John's, Newfoundland on June 14, 1919 and landed 16 hours later in a bog in County Galway, Ireland. Charles Lindbergh was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic.

It was on this day in 1861 that JEFFERSON DAVIS was elected president of the Confederacy. Davis had been a U.S. Senator from Mississippi and a leader of the States' Rights party.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was elected the nation's 16th president on this day in 1860, winning 180 electoral votes to 12 over his rival, Democrat Stephen Douglas. Lincoln took a strong anti-slavery position and didn't win any of the 10 southern states.

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 »