Nov. 7, 1996

Forty Something

by Robert Hass


Today's Reading:"Forty Something" by Robert Hass from SUN UNDER WOOD, published by The Ecco Press.

Franklin Roosevelt became the only U.S. president to be elected to a fourth term on this day in 1944.

It's the birthday in McLeod, Alberta, of singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell, 1943.

Danish writer and musician Benny Andersen was born on this day in a suburb of Copenhagen, 1929.

It's the birthday of evangelist Billy Graham, born in Charlotte, North Carolina, 1918.

It's the anniversary today of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, led by Vladimir Lenin.

French writer Albert Camus (THE STRANGER; THE PLAGUE; THE FALL) was born on this day in Mondovi, Algeria, 1913.

Zoologist and animal behaviorist Konrad Lorenz, was born today in Vienna, 1903.

It's the birthday of writer Herman Mankiewicz (DINNER AT EIGHT; CITIZEN CANE), born in New York City, 1897.

Physicist Marie Curie, winner of two Nobel Prizes for chemistry, was born in Warsaw in 1867.

On this day in 1637, Anne Hutchinson was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, charged with heresy for preaching that faith alone was enough for salvation.

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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