MONDAY 11/25

Today's Reading:"Learning to Adjust" by William Stafford from EVEN IN QUIET PLACES, published by Confluence Press.

Today is St. Catherine's Day, commemorating the patron saint of maidens, mechanics, philosophers and all those who work with wheels.

The Zibelemartit or Onion Market takes place today in Berne, Switzerland.

Today is the birthday of writer Shelagh Delaney (A TASTE OF HONEY) born in Salford, England, 1939.

Novelist and short story writer Ella Leffland was born on this day in Martinez, California, 1931.

It's the birthday of New York Yankees fielder Joe ( Joseph Paul) Dimaggio, born in Martinez, California, 1914.

Physician Lewis Thomas, author of THE LIVES OF A CELL: NOTES OF A BIOLOGY WATCHER, was born on this day in Flushing, New York, 1913.

It's the birthday of choreographer and composer Alwin Nikolais, born in Southington, Connecticut, 1910.

Composer and critic Virgil Thompson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his film score for LOUISIANA STORY, was born on this day in Kansas City, Missouri, 1896

Naturalist and writer Joseph Wood Krutch (THE MEASURE OF MAN) was born on this day in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1893.

Poet Isaac Rosenberg was born on this day in Bristol, England, 1890.

English writer and publisher Leonard Woolf, husband of novelist Virginia Woolf, was born on this day in London, 1880.

Temperance crusader Carry Nation was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, 1846.

It's the birthday of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, born in Dunfermline, Scotland, 1835.

Austrian Composer Franz Gruber (STILLE NACHT or SILENT NIGHT) was born on this day in Unterweitzburg, Austria, 1787.


TUESDAY 11/26

Today's Reading:"Houses" by Donald Justice from NIGHT LIGHT, published by Wesleyan University Press.

The first frozen TV dinner was sold back on this day in 1954. Bacteriologist Betty Cronin created the turkey meal in an aluminum tray that was added to the Smithsonian's collection in 1987.

The film CASABLANCA premiered on this day in New York City in 1942. Director Hal Wallis had wanted to cast Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan in the roles eventually played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Also in 1942, the German siege of Stalingrad ended when Soviet forces counter-attacked and forced the German Army to retreat.

It's the birthday of singer Tina Turner, born in 1939 (or so) in Tennessee.

Sculptor George Segal (THE DINER) was born in New York City on this day in 1924.

It's the birthday of cartoonist Charles Schultz (PEANUTS), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, 1922.

Playwright Eugene Ionesco (THE KILLING GAME) was born on this day in Slatina, Romania, 1912.

It's the birthday of mathematician Norber Wiener (CYBERNETICS), born in Columbia, Missouri, 1894.

Willis Haviland Carrier, inventor of the air-conditioner, was born on this day in Angola, New York, 1876.

It was on this day in 1864 that Oxford mathematics professor Charles Dodgson, pen name Lewis Carroll, sent his early manuscript of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, to a friend's daughter as an early Christmas gift.


WEDNESDAY 11/27

Today's Reading:"Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare.

It's the birthday in Seattle, Washington of musician Jimi (James Marshall) Hendrix, 1942.

It's the birthday of Czechoslovakian leader Alexander Dubcek who worked to establish a democratic society in his country, dubbed the "Prague Spring." He was born in Uhrocev, Slovakia, 1921.

Writer James Agee (LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS MEN) was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on this day in 1909.

It's the birthday of one of the most influential historians of the 20th century, Charles A. Beard, born in Knightstown, Indiana, 1874.

Astronomer Anders Celsius, best known for the 100-degree thermometer scale named after him, was born on this day in Uppsala, Sweden, 1701.

It was in 1582 on or about this day that 18-year-old William Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway.


THURSDAY 11/28

Today's Reading:"The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake.

Today is Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November and first celebrated back in Plymouth Colony in the autumn of 1621.

The Atlanta Marathon takes place today in Atlanta, Georgia.

Astronomer Russell Alan Hulse, who co-discovered the first binary pulsar and won the 1993 Nobel Prize for Physics, was born on this day in New York City, 1950.

Novelist, poet Rita Mae was born on this day in Hanover, Pennsylvania, 1944.

Berry Gordy Jr., founder of Motown Records, was born on this day in Detroit, Michigan, 1929.

The Grand Ole Opry opened on this day in Nashville, Tennessee, 1925 with a broadcast over station WSM.

It's the birthday of French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss, born in Brussels, Belgium, 1908.

Novelist and short story writer Alberto Pincherle (Moraiva), author of THE CONFORMIST and THE VOYEUR, was born on this day in Rome, 1907.

The inventor of celluloid, John Wesley Hyatt, was born on this day in Starkey, New York 1837.

It's the birthday of social and political theorist Friedrich Engels, co-author with Karl Marx of THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO and DAS KAPITAL, was born on this day Barmen, Prussia, 1820.

Poet and illustrator William Blake, who was said to have visions as a child, was born on this day in London, in 1757.


FRIDAY 11/29

Today's Reading:"55" by Hayden Carruth from COLLECTED SHORTER POEMS 1946-1991, published by Copper Canyon Press.

Today marks the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season, also known as Black Friday, a term coined by retailers to describe the day when the ink on their income statements turns from red to black.

The Fish House Parade takes place today in Aitkin, Minnesota.

The Jule Fest, a Danish Christmas festival, starts today in Elk Horn, Iowa.

An Old German Christmas will be celebrated today in Papillion, Nebraska.

It was on this day in 1989 that Czechoslovakia officially ended communist rule.

American dancer and choreographer Pearl Primus was born on this day in Trinidad, 1919.

It's the birthday of writer Madeleine L'Engle (A WRINKLE IN TIME), born in New York City, 1918.

It's the anniversary of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre in the Colorado Territory. More than 150 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, including women and children, were rounded up and slaughtered by the U.S. Cavalry after they had surrendered and been disarmed.

Louisa May Alcott, author of LITTLE WOMEN, was born on this day in Philadelphia, 1832. She thought the story boring and wrote, "The publisher thought it flat, and so do I and neither hoped much for or from it. I do not enjoy writing 'moral tales' for the young, I do it because it pays well."

Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who came up with the Doppler Effect which became a major tool in astronomy, was born in Salzburg, 1803.


SATURDAY 11/30

Today's Reading:"This Morning" by Jane Kenyon from OTHERWISE, published by Graywolf Press (1996).

Today is the Feast Day of St. Andrew, in honor of the fisherman on the Sea of Tiberius.

It's the birthday of the woman who launched SESAME STREET at PBS, Joan Ganz Cooney, born in Phoenix, 1929.

Blues musician (Walter Brown) Brownie McGhee, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1915.

It's the birthday of screen-writer, humorist Donald Ogden Stewart (THE PHILADELPHIA STORY; HOLIDAY), born on this day in Columbus, Ohio, 1894.

Yiddish novelist I.J. Singer, older brother of Isaac Bashivis Singer, was born in Bilgoray, Poland, 1893. His novels include THE BROTHERS ASHKENZAI (1936) and THE FAMILY CARNOVSKY (1943).

It's the birthday of the author of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES, Lucy Maud Montgomery, born in Clifton on Prince Edward Island, Canada, 1874.

Winston Churchill was born on this day in England's Blenheim Palace in 1874.

It's the birthday of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, Mark Twain, born in Florida, Missouri, 1835. He wrote in TOM SAWYER, "Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do. Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do."

It's the birthday of the foremost prose satirist in the English language, Jonathan Swift (GULLIVAR'S TRAVELS), born in Dublin in 1667.


SUNDAY 12/1

Today's Reading:"Triads" from THE BOOK OF IRISH VERSE, published by Galahad Books.

Today is the beginning of Advent in anticipation of the feast of Christmas, beginning on the Sunday nearest St. Andrew's Day.

Rosa Parks was arrested on this day in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955, for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus, defying the city's racial segregation laws.

It's the birthday of Allen Steward Konigsberg, better known as Woody Allen, born in Brooklyn, New York, 1935. He wrote, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. It's not that I'm afraid to die, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

It's the birthday of actress Mary Martin (SOUTH PACIFIC; PETER PAN) born in Weatherford, Texas, 1913.

Architect Minoru Yamasaki, designer of New York's World Trade Center, was born on this day in Seattle, 1912.

Mystery writer Rex Stout, creator of detective Nero Wolfe, was born in Noblesville, Indiana, 1886.

It's the birthday of chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth, discoverer of uranium and titanium, born in Wernigerode, Germany, 1743.



«

»

  • “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