Sep. 30, 1996

Autumn Day

by Stephen Spender


Today's Reading:"Autumn Day" by Stephen Spender from COLLECTED POEMS 1928-1985, published by Random House (1986).

It's the Feast Day of St. Jerome, patron saint of scholars and librarians.

The Cornish Festival starts today in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

Actor James Dean was killed in a car crash on this day in 1955.

Writer Elie Wiesel, a survivor of the Holocaust, was born on this day in Sighet, Transylvania, 1928. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986.

It's the birthday of author Truman Capote (BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S; IN COLD BLOOD), born in New Orleans in 1924.

Composer and entertainer Donald Swann (Flanders and Swann) was born in Llanelli, Wales, in 1923.

It's the birthday of Hans Geiger, inventor of the Geiger counter, born in Neustadt an de Haardt, Germany, in 1883.

William Wrigley was born in Philadelphia in 1861 and started out as a traveling soap salesman, offering chewing gum as a premium, which turned out to be more popular than the soap. He introduced Wrigley's Spearmint gum in 1893.

Mozart's THE MAGIC FLUTE was first performed on this date in Vienna, 1791.

America's first annual fair, A Cattle Fair and Hog Fair, was held at New Netherlands on this day in 1641.

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show