Feb. 1, 1997

Ghost of a Chance

by Adrienne Rich


Today's Reading:"Ghost of a Chance" by Adrienne Rich from ADRIENNE RICH'S POETRY, published by W.W. Norton and Company.

The month-long festival of the North starts today in Ketchikan, Alaska, with literary and poetry readings, an art walk, and a wearable art performance.

Today is Robinson Crusoe Day honoring the 1709 rescue of Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor who asked to be put ashore on an uninhabited island after an argument with his captain; the adventure that formed the basis of ROBINSON CRUSOE, by Daniel Defoe.

It's the birthday of author Reynolds Price (A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE; THE SOURCE OF LIGHT) born in Macon, North Carolina, 1933.

Pulitzer Prize winning-poet Galway Kinnell was born on this day in Providence, Rhode, Island, 1927.

Author Muriel Spark (THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE) was born on this day in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1918.

It's the birthday of humorist S.J. Perelman (AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS) born in Brooklyn, New York, 1904.

Poet and writer Langston Hughes was born on this day in Joplin, Missouri, 1902.

Puccini's opera LA BOHEME (THE BOHEMIANS) was first performed on this day in Turin, 1896.

Film director John Ford (THE GRAPES OF WRATH; THE SEARCHERS; THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE) was born on this day in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, 1895.

The OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY was first published on this day in 1884 after more than 25 years of work.

Composer Victor Herbert (BABES IN TOYLAND) was born today in Dublin, Ireland, 1859.

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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