Jan. 9, 1997

Faint Praise

by Wendy Cope


Today's Reading:"Faint Praise" by Wendy Cope from SERIOUS CONCERNS, published by Faber and Faber.

It's the birthday of feminist leader Carrie Chapman Catt, born in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1859. She led the women's right movement for more than 25 years.

American novelist Henry Fuller (THE CLIFF DWELLERS) was born on this day in Chicago in 1857.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the Whitney Museum of Art, was born on this day in New York City in 1875.

It's the birthday of Russian-born choreographer George Balanchine, cofounder of the New York City Ballet, 1904.

French author and feminist Simone de Beauvoir (THE SECOND SEX) was born in Paris on this day in 1908.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th president of the United States, was born on this day in Yorba Linda, California, 1913.

Cartoonist Chic Young, creator of the comic strip "Blondie" was born on this day in Chicago, 1901.

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