Aug. 13, 1996


by Seamus Heaney


Today's Reading: "Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney from DEATH OF A NATURALIST, published by Faber and Faber, Ltd.

It was on this day in 1961 that the Berlin Wall was created when the East German government closed the border between East and West Berlin with a barbed-wire fence.

Biochemist Frederick Sanger, one of the few people to ever receive two Nobel Prizes, was born on this day in Gloucestershire, England, in 1918.

It's the birthday of German engineer and inventor of the Wankel rotary engine, Felix Wankel, born in Lindau, West Germany, in 1902.

Director Alfred Hitchcock was born in London in 1899. He directed the first talking motion picture in Britain, moved to Hollywood in 1939 and went on to direct many films including SUSPICION, NOTORIOUS, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, REAR WINDOW, PSYCHO, and THE BIRDS.

It's the birthday today of the Scottish engineer who invented television, John Logie Baird, born in 1888.

It's the birthday of American markswoman Annie Oakley, born in Darke County, Ohio, in 1860.

Feminist Lucy Stone was born on this day in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, in 1818.

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
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  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
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  • “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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