Dec. 3, 1996

Waving at Trains

by Roger McGough


Today's Reading:"Waving at Trains" by Roger McGough from WAVING AT TRAINS, published by Cape Press.

Tonight in New York City they'll be lighting the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center -- a 90 foot, 9 ton, Norway Spruce, decorated with 26,000 bulbs on five miles of wire.

It's the birthday of French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard (BREATHLESS; WEEKEND) born in Paris in 1930.

Opera soprano Maria Callas was born in New York City on this day in 1923.

Ingemar Bergman's cinematographer Sven Nykvist was born on this day in Moheda, Sweden, in 1922.

Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud and a leading advocate of child psychoanalysis, was born on this day in Vienna, 1895.

Novelist Joseph Conrad ("Heart of Darkness") was born on this day in Berdichev, Poland, 1857. He said, "A belief in the supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."

American painter Gilbert Charles Stuart, best known for his unfinished portrait of George Washington, was born on this day in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, 1755.

In 1660 actress Margaret Hughes played the part of Desdamona in THE MOOR OF VENICE at London's Vere Street Theatre; the first time a professional actress ever appeared on the British stage.

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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