Jan. 8, 1997


by Walter McDonald


Today's Reading:"Cabin" by Walter McDonald from NIGHT LANDINGS, published by Harper and Row.

It's the birthday of hymn composer Lowell Mason ("Nearer My God to Thee") born in 1792 in Medfield, Massachusetts.

The Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812, took place on this day in 1815.

Cartoonist Peter Arno, who helped establish THE NEW YORKER magazine's reputation for sophisticated humor, was born on this day in New York City in 1904.

Journalist Charles Osgood was born on this day in New York City in 1933.

It's the birthday of Elvis (Aaron) Presley, born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935.

Theoretical physicist and author Stephen W. Hawking (A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME) was born on this day in Oxford, England, 1942.

Sociologist, political scientist, and economist Emily Greene Balch was born on this day near Boston in 1867. She was a leader in the women's peace movement during and after World War I, winning the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1946.

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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