Aug. 26, 1996

Summer's Elegy

by Howard Nemerov


Today's Reading: "Summer's Elegy" by Howard Nemerov from TRYING CONCLUSIONS, published by University of Chicago Press.

The Democratic National Convention opens today in Chicago.

Longtime NBC reporter Irving R. Levine was born on this day in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, 1922.

It's the birthday in Boston, Massachusetts, of Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, born in 1921.

It's the anniversary of the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

Argentinean novelist and short story writer Julio Cortazar was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1914.

It's the birthday of novelist and playwright Christopher Isherwood (MR. NORRIS CHANGES TRAINS, 1935; GOODBYE TO BERLIN, 1939) born in rural Cheshire, England, in 1904.

Art patron Peggy Guggenheim was born on this day in New York City in 1898.

The biggest explosion in recorded history occurred on this day in 1883 when the Indonesian island Krakatoa erupted.

Writer Guillaume Apollinaire was born on this day in 1880, possibly in Rome.

It's the birthday of novelist and playwright Zona Gale who chronicled small-town Midwestern life in her novels. She was born in Portage, Wisconsin, in 1874.

Lee de Forest, the "father of radio," was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on this day in 1873.

Christopher Columbus was born on or around this day in Genoa, Italy, in 1451.

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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