May 1, 1996


Today's Reading: "Song: On May Morning" by John Milton. A children's folk song by an anonymous author from AND THE GREEN GRASS GROWS ALL AROUND, published by Harper Collins

Today is the first day of May, also celebrated as a labor holiday in Europe.

In 1886 strikes and violence broke out in cities around the country when the American Federation of Labor announced the new eight-hour work day.

It's the birthday of American labor organizer Mother Jones, born in Cork, Ireland in 1830.

The Smithsonian Institution opened on this day in 1847.

Novelist Joseph Heller, author of CATCH-22, was born in 1923 in Coney Island.

The Empire State Building opened on this day in 1931.

It's the birthday of Judy Collins, born in Seattle in 1939.

The comic book hero Batman first appeared on this day in 1939.

Writer Bobbie Ann Mason, author of IN COUNTRY, was born in Mayfield, Kentucky in 1940.

Orson Welles' film CITIZEN KANE premiered in New York City in 1941.

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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