Dec. 17, 1996

Snowbound (excerpt)

by John Greenleaf Whittier


Today's Reading:Excerpts from "Snowbound" by John Greenleaf Whittier.

The ancient Festival of Saturnalia, the Roman celebration honoring Saturn, would begin on this day and last for one week.

In 1955 Carl Perkins wrote his big hit "Don't Step on my Blue Suede Shoes."

It's the birthday of jazz trumpeter Sy Oliver, born in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1910.

Chemist and Nobel Laureate Willard Frank Libby, who developed the "Carbon-14-Dating" process in 1946, was born on this day in Grand Valley, Colorado, 1908.

Novelist Erskine Caldwell (TOBACCO ROAD; GOD'S LITTLE ACRE) was born on this day in Coweta County, Georgia, 1903.

On this day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew their 605-pound wood and fabric aircraft above the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

THE NUTCRACKER BALLET was performed for the first time on this day in Petersburg, Russia, 1892.

Writer Ford Madox Ford (THE GOOD SOLDIER) was born on this day in Merton, England, 1873.

Charles Dickens' story, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, was published on this day in 1843.

It's the birthday of poet John Greenleaf Whittier, born near Haverhill, Massachusetts, 1807.

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show