Thursday

Jun. 17, 1999

From June to December

by Wendy Cope

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: June 17, 1999

Poems: "From June to December," a summer villanelle by Wendy Cope, from Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (Faber & Faber).

Twenty-seven years ago today, 1972, at 2:30 in the morning, five men were caught trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the WATERGATE Complex in Washington. Two days later on the front page of the Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein began their Watergate stories.

It's the birthday in 1966, Long Island, of LAURIE FOOS, author of the surrealist novels Ex Utero (1995), the tale of a woman who takes a shopping trip and along the way discovers that she has lost her uterus; Portrait of the Walrus by a Young Artist, subtitled A Novel About Art, Bowling, Pizza, Sex, and Hair Spray (1997); her next novel, Twinship, is due out this September. She says, "I write about the inner lives of women, those things which are taboo, to make things seem absurd and grotesque, because as Flannery O'Connor said, it takes drastic measures to open the reader's eyes."

It's the birthday in Illinois, 1955, of JO ANN BEARD, author of the memoir Boys of My Youth that came out last year. She was working as a secretary at the University of Iowa physics department in November 1991 when a student there gunned down five members of the department. She'd left work early that day to tend to her sick dog at home. She wrote about it in a piece for the New Yorker, called "The Fourth State of Matter," and then expanded it with memories of growing up in the '60s into Boys of My Youth.

It's the birthday of THOMAS SWAN, born in Pittsburgh, 1928, the author of suspense novels of the art world; like The Davinci Deception (1990); The Cezanne Chase (1996); and The Final Faberge, due out in September.

It's the birthday of the Harlem Renaissance poet, songwriter, and novelist JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1871, best remembered for The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.

It's the birthday in Lincolnshire, England, 1703, of JOHN WESLEY, who with his brother, Charles, founded the Methodist movement in the Church of England. The term "Methodists" was originally a derisive nickname for students who took a "methodical" approach to Bible study and prayer.

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 »