Sep. 16, 1996


by Louis Jenkins


Today's Reading:"Motorcycle" by Louis Jenkins from NICE FISH, published by HolyCow! Press.

It's the birthday today of black-literature scholar and theorist, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was born in Keyser, West Virginia, in 1950.

Writer James Alan McPherson was born today in Savannah, Georgia, 1943. His short-story collection ELBOW ROOM won the Pulitzer Prize.

It's the birthday of writer John Knowles (A SEPARATE PEACE; 1960), born in Fairmont, West Virginia, in 1926.

B. B. King was born on this day in Itta Bena, Mississippi, 1925; he was a disk jockey in Memphis, where his radio name, Beale Street Blues Boy, was shortened to B. B.

Psychoanalyst Karen Horney, who suggested that a person's upbringing and social factors played a large role in their mental health, was born on this day in Hamburg, Germany, in 1885.

Piano builder Henry Steinway sold his first American made piano on this day in 1853.

It's the birthday of railroad baron James J(erome) Hill, who was born in Guelph, Ontario, in 1838, and went to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he learned the transportation business.

It's the birthday of historian Francis Parkman (THE OREGON TRAIL; 1849), born in Boston in 1823.

It was on this day in 1620 that 102 Puritan separatists and a small crew set sail from Plymouth, England, in the Mayflower, bound for the New World.

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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