Dec. 16, 1996

Mossbawn Sunlight

by Seamus Heaney

MONDAY 12/16

Today's Reading:"Mossbawn Sunlight" by Seamus Heaney from POEMS 1965-1975, published by Farrar Straus Giroux.

In Mexico, the annual eight-day celebration called Posadas begins today. Groups of people go from door to door asking for "posada," or shelter, as Mary and Joseph did before the birth of Jesus.

Today, in the state capitals of the nation, electors are meeting to cast the official votes for President and Vice President of the United States.

It's the birthday of English science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, author of the short story "The Sentinel," on which the film 2001: SPACE ODYSSEY was based. He was born in Minehead, Somerset, in 1917.

It's the birthday of anthropologist Margaret Mead, born in Philadelphia in 1901.

Author V.S. Pritchett (YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LIFE; BLIND LOVE AND OTHER STORIES) was born on this day in Ipswich, England, 1900.

English playwright, actor, and composer Noel Coward (PRIVATE LIVES) was born on this day near London in 1899.

It's the birthday of Gothic revival architect Ralph Adams Cram, born in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, 1863.

Poet and philosopher George Santayana was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1863. His most famous line about history: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

It's the birthday of author Jane Austen (PRIDE AND PREJUDICE; EMMA; PERSUASION) born in the village of Steventon, Hampshire, England, 1775.

The Boston Tea Party took place on this day in 1773.

It's the birthday of composer Ludvig van Beethoven, born in Bonn, Germany, 1770.

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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