Oct. 7, 1996

A Death at the Office

by Ted Kooser


Today's Reading:"A Death at the Office" by Ted Kooser from SURE SIGNS: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, published by University of Pittsburgh Press.

The U. S. Supreme Court opens its term for 1996-97. There will be seven two-week sessions for orals arguments, and six recesses during which opinions will be written by the Justices.

It's the birthday of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, born in Paris in 1935.

Today is the birthday of novelist Thomas Keneally, born in New South Wales, Australia in 1935. His book SCHINDLER'S ARK (1982) was made into the Spielberg movie, SCHINDLER'S LIST in 1993.

Psychiatrist R. D. Laing (THE DIVIDED SELF; THE POLITICS OF EXPERIENCE) was born today in Glasgow, Scotland in 1927.

It's the birthday of spy novelist Helen MacInnes, in Glasgow, Scotland (1907). Her first book, ABOVE SUSPICION, was based on a diary she kept.

It's the birthday of Joe Hill in Gavel, Sweden, 1879, known chiefly for his execution in 1915 which was based on circumstantial evidence.

In 1856 Cyrus Chambers was awarded a patent for the first practical folding machine, used for folding pages of books and newspapers.

It's the birthday of the "Hoosier Poet" James Whitcomb Riley, in Greenfield, Indiana (1849 or 1853).

Composer William Billings ("When Jesus Wept") was born on this day in Boston, 1746.

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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