May 14, 1996


by Margaret Atwood


Today's Reading: "Cell" by Margaret Atwood from MORNING IN THE BURNED HOUSE, published by Houghton Miflin.

In North Cape, Norway, it's the beginning of the season with around-the-clock sunshine; the sun doesn't dip below the horizon from May 14 to July 30.

It's the birthday of the German physicist who introduced the mercury thermometer, Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, born in Danzig, Germany in 1686.

Claude Dornier, designer of the first all-metal plane in 1911, was born on this day in Kempten, Bavaria in 1884.

Explorers Lewis and Clark departed St. Louis, Missouri on this day in 1804 to explore the newly acquired territory in the Louisiana Purchase.

It's the birthday of soprano saxophonist, Sidney Joseph Bechet, born in New Orleans in 1897.

John D. Rockefeller donated $100,000,000 on this day in 1911 to establish the Rockefeller Foundation.

Filmmaker George Lucas was born in Modesto, California in 1944.

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show