Jan. 20, 1997


by Timothy Steele


Today's Reading:"Practice" by Timothy Steele from THE COLOR WHEEL, published by Johns Hopkins University Press (1994).

Today is the Inauguration Day. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution changed the date from March 4 to January 20. President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president (his second term) to be inaugurated on this day in 1937.

Poet Edward Hirsch (WILD GRATITUDE; THE NIGHT PARADE; EARTHLY MEASURES) was born on this day in Chicago, 1950.

It's the birthday of Anatoly Shcharansky, born in Stalino, Ukraine, 1948. His book FEAR NO EVIL described his experience as a Jew who became the chief spokesperson for dissidents and refuseniks.

The Nicaraguan revolutionary poet and priest Ernesto Cardenal was born on this day in 1925.

It's the birthday of Oscar-winning filmmaker Federico Fellini (LA STRADA; 8 ; NIGHTS OF CABIRIA; AMARCORD), born in north-central Italy in 1920.

It's the birthday of actor George Burns, born Nathan Birnbaum in New York City, 1896.

Harold Gray, creator of the cartoon LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE, was born on this day in Kankakee, Illinois, 1894.

The first office basketball game took place at a YMCA on this day in Springfield, Massachusetts, in1892, using peach baskets as goals. --Danish poet and novelist Johannes Jensen (THE LONG JOURNEY) was born on this day in Farso, Denmark, 1873. --French torch singer Yvetee Guilbert was born on this day in Paris, 1867. --It's the anniversary of the first meeting of the English parliament at >Westminster Hall, London, 1265.

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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