Saturday

Mar. 25, 2000

No Tool or Rope or Pail

by Bob Arnold

Broadcast Date: SATURDAY: March 25, 2000

Poem: "No Tool or Rope or Pail," by Bob Arnold, from Where Rivers Meet (Mad River Press).

On this day in 1960, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the unabridged version of LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER by D(avid) H(erbert) Lawrence, WAS NOT OBSCENE, and could be sent through the U.S. mail. The ruling was unanimous. One judge asked, "Should a mature and sophisticated reading public be kept in blinders because a government official thinks reading certain works of power and literary value are not good for him?" A British court issued a similar verdict shortly afterwards. During this wave of litigation, over 6 million copies of the book were sold. Lawrence missed all the excitement; he had been dead 30 years.

It's the birthday of novelist and poet SUSAN FROMBERG SCHAEFFER, born in Brooklyn (1941), author of Buffalo Afternoon (1988), The Golden Rope (1996), and The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat (1997).

It's the birthday of feminist writer and activist GLORIA STEINEM, born in Toledo, Ohio (1934). Her childhood was spent traveling with her parents in trailers; she didn't attend school regularly until she was 12. In 1971 she helped found the National Women's Political Caucus and the Women's Action Alliance, and edited the first issue of Ms. magazine.

It's the birthday of novelist and short-story writer (Mary) FLANNERY O'CONNOR, born in Savannah, Georgia (1925). She once said that the climax of her life occurred when she was six: Pathé News visited her farm and shot a newsreel of her with a chicken that walked backwards. Her first novel, Wise Blood was published in 1952. Shortly afterward, she was stricken with lupus, which had killed her father when she was 12. She moved back to live with her mother on a farm in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she took drugs to control the disease and continued to write. Her titles include A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and Other Stories (1955), The Violent Bear It Away (1960), and Everything That Rises Must Converge (1965).

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 »