Feb. 7, 1997


by Mary Oliver


Today's Reading:"Winter" by Mary Oliver form NEW AND SELECTED POEMS, published by Beacon Press.

Today is the start of the Chinese New Year, 4695, the Year of the Ox.

In San Francisco the Chinese New Year Festival begins with more than two weeks of parades, pageants and street fairs.

It's the birthday of writer Laura Ingalls Wilder (LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS; LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE) born near Pepin, Wisconsin, 1867.

It's the birthday of Scottish lexicographer and editor Sir James Murray (THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY) born in Denholm, Scotland, 1837.

Swedish physiologist Ulf Svante von Euler-Chelpin was born in Stockholm on this day in 1905. He won the 1970 Nobel Prize for his work on this chemistry of nerve impulses.

Novelist Sinclair Lewis (MAIN STREET)was born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota on this day in 1885.

Charles Dickens (OLIVER TWIST; DAVID COPPERFIELD; A TALE OF TWO CITIES; GREAT EXPECTATIONS) was born in Portsmouth, England on this day in 1812.

English statesman and writer Sir Thomas More was born in London on this day in 1477.

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