Mar. 12, 1996

For My Daughter's 20th Birthday

by Walter Lowenfel


Today's reading: "For My Daughter's 20th Birthday" by Walter Lowenfel from SOME DEATHS, published by Jonathan Williams.

It was on this day in 1789 that the U.S. Post Office was established.

It's the birthday of Adolph Simon Ochs, founder of The New York Times, born in Cincinnati in 1858.

The Girl Scouts were founded on this day in 1912 by Juliet Low in Savannah, Ga.

It's the birthday of writer Jack Kerouac, born in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1922.

Playwright Edward Albee was born in Virginia on this day in 1928.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the first of his Sunday evening Fireside Chats to the American people in 1933.

Diarist Anne Frank died on this day in a German concentration camp in 1945.

It's the birthday of poet, memoirist Patricia Hampl, born in St. Paul in 1946.

Today marks the anniversary of the ordination of women priests by the Church of England in 1994.

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
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