Dec. 8, 1996

The World Was Warm and White When I was Born

by Delmore Schwartz


Today's Reading:"The World Was Warm and White When I Was Born" by Delmore Schwartz from SELECTED POEMS: SUMMER KNOWLEDGE, published by New Directions.

This is the day called the Ascent of the Prophet Muhammad by Muslims.

It's the birthday of poet and short-story writer Delmore Schwartz (IN DREAMS BEGIN RESPONSIBILITIES), born in Brooklyn, New York, 1913.

Novelist and playwright Richard Llewellyn (HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY) was born on this day in St. David's, Pembrokeshire, Wales, 1906.

The creator of Popeye, Elzie Crisler Segar, was born in Chester, Illinois, on this day in 1894.

Writer James Thurber ("The Secret Life of Walter Mitty") was born on this day in Columbus, Ohio, 1894.

The co-founder of Chevrolet, Billy Durant, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1861.

It's the birthday of Eli Whitney, who invented the cotton gin, but most importantly developed the concept of mass production of interchangeable parts. He was born in Westboro, Massachusetts, 1765.

It's the birthday of Queen Christina of Sweden, who abdicated her throne after ten years, and moved to Rome the next day where she spent the rest of her life. She was born in Stockholm, 1626.

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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