May 2, 1996


Today's Reading: "Film Noir" by Nicholas Christopher from A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ISLAND OF BUTTERFLIES, published by Viking Penguin

The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival gets underway in Winchester, Virginia.

Composer Pietro Allesandro Gaspare Scarlatti was born in Sicily today in 1660.

It's the birthday of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, born in Stettin, Russia in 1729.

Henry M. Robert, who wrote ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER, was born on this day in 1837.

Lyricist Lorenz Hart of Rodgers & Hart was born in New York City in 1895.

Writer W.J. Cash, author of THE MIND OF THE SOUTH, was born in Gaffney, South Carolina in 1900.

It's the birthday of pediatrician Benjamin Spock, born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1903.

Serge Prokofiev's PETER AND THE WOLF premiered in Moscow in 1936.

Today in 1941 the Federal Communications Commission approved the regular scheduling of commercial television broadcasts.

Ball player Stan Musial set a major-league record for home runs in 1954 when he hit five of them against the New York Giants in St. Louis.

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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