May 6, 1996


by Mary Oliver


Today's Reading: "May" by Mary Oliver from WHITE PINE, published by Harcourt Brace & Company.

Physician Sigmund Freud was born on this day in Freiberg, Moravia in 1856.

It's the birthday of Arctic explorer Robert E(win) Perry, born in Cresson, Pennsylvania in 1856.

Poet and dramatist Sir Rabindranath Tagore was born on this day in Calcutta in 1861.

It's the birthday of poet Randall Jarrell, born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1914.

Director George Orson Welles (Citizen Kane), was born on this day in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 1915.

It's the birthday of baseball player Willie Howard Mays, born in Fairfield, Alabama in 1931.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created by Congress on this day in 1935 to provide jobs for thousands of unemployed workers.

The German transatlantic dirigible Hindenburg exploded in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937 while attempting to tie up its mooring mast. All 36 passengers were killed.

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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