Jul. 28, 1996

At North Farm

by John Ashbery


Today's Reading:"At North Farm" by John Ashbery from THREE BOOKS, published by Penguin Books.

American writer William T. Vollmann was born today in Santa Monica, California in 1959.

It's the birthday of basketball player and US senator, William Warren Bradley, born in Crystal City, Missouri in 1943.

Italian conductor, Ricardo Muti, was born today in Naples, Italy in 1941.

It's the birthday of Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, born in Southhampton, New York in 1929.

American poet, John Lawrence Ashbery, was born today in Rochester, New York in 1927.

Baruch Samuel Blumberg, developer of the hepatitis B vaccine, was born today in New York City in 1925.

English writer, Malcolm Clarence Lowry (UNDER THE VOLCANO), was born today in Birkenhead, Cheshire in 1909.

It's the birthday of English writer, (Helen) Beatrix Potter in Middlexes in 1866, who wrote: "You may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden. Your father had an accident there, he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."

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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