Dec. 14, 1996


by Thomas Campion


Today's Reading:"Winter" by Thomas Campion (1567-1619).

Today is the start of Halcyon Days, days of peace, traditionally the seven days before and seven days after the winter solstice.

It's the birthday of writer Shirley Jackson whose short stories, including "Lottery," often appeared in THE NEW YORKER. She was born in San Francisco in 1916.

Roald Amundsen and his troupe of four explorers discovered the South Pole on this day in 1911.

Geneticist Edward L. Tatum, who helped show that individual genes are coded messages that specify the make-up of proteins, was born on this day in Boulder, Colorado, 1909.

Roger Fry, who directed the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discovered the work of French painter Paul Cezanne, was born on this day in London in 1866.

Lawyer Louis Marshall, who argued important cases on religious freedom during the 1920s, was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1856.

President George Washington died on this day in 1799 at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

John Bloomfield Jervis, who helped forge new construction techniques in canals, railroads and water-supply system, was born in Huntington, New York, 1795.

Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was born today in Knudstrup, Denmark, 1546. He accurately positioned more than 777 fixed stars at a time before the invention of the telescope.

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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