Tuesday

Nov. 23, 1999

The Afterlife

by Billy Collins

Broadcast Date: TUESDAY: November 23, 1999

Poem: "The Afterlife" by Billy Collins from Questions about Angels published by William Morrow & Co.

The musical Fiorello! opened on this day in 1959, at the Broadhurst Theater in New York.

On this day in 1936, the new photo-magazine Life came out, selling for 10 cents a copy. The first issue featured a cover photo by Margaret Bourke-White of the Fort Peck Dam in Montana.

It s the birthday of Irish novelist Shaun Herron, born in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland (1912). Educated in Belfast, then at the University of Edinburgh and at Princeton University, he was ordained a minister of the Scottish Congregational Churches (1940), served in the British Army (1940-45), and after the war moved to Canada and worked as a minister and journalist. His novels include The Whore-Mother (1973), The Blacksmith s Daughter (1988), and At the House on Pine Street (1987).

On this day in 1903, tenor Enrico Caruso [en-REE-koh kah-ROO-soh] made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, singing the role of The Duke in Verdi s Rigoletto.

On this day in 1874, the first installment of Thomas Hardy s novel Far From the Madding Crowd was published—anonymously—in The Cornhill Magazine. It was published in book form later that year under the author's name.

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 »