Aug. 19, 1996


by William Stafford


Today's Reading: "Allegiances" by William Stafford from THE DARKNESS AROUND US, published by Harper Perennial.

The Wyoming State Fair begins today in Douglas, Wyoming.

It was on this day in 1989 that Poland became the first country in Eastern Europe to topple one-party rule when Solidarity's Tadeuz Mazxowiecki took the office of prime minister.

It's the birthday of William Jefferson Clinton, born in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946.

It was on this day in 1934 that the German people went to the polls and voted by a huge margin to allow Adolf Hitler to take both titles of president and chancellor.

Science fiction writer Gene Roddenberry, creator of STAR TREK, was born today in El Paso, Texas, in 1921.

It's the birthday of writer Ogden Nash, born in Rye, New York, 1902.

Actress Lynn Fontanne, who teamed up with husband Alfred Lunt, was born on this day in Milwaukee, 1892.

It's the birthday of aviator Orville Wright born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871.

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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