Feb. 8, 1997

Little Exercise

by Elizabeth Bishop


Today's Reading:"Little Exercise" by Elizabeth Bishop from THE COMPLETE POEMS 1927-1979, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Tonight is the beginning of the annual Carnival celebration throughout Brazil, running through Shrove Tuesday.

It's the birthday of television journalist Ted Koppel, born in Lancashire, England, 1940.

Actor James Dean (EAST OF EDEN; REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE; GIANT) was born on this day in Marion, Indiana, 1931.

Writer and counterculture character Neal Cassaday, the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's Dean Moriarity in ON THE ROAD, was born on this day in Salt Lake City, 1926.

Poet Elizabeth Bishop was born in 1911 on this day in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Writer Henry Roth (CALL IT SLEEP) was born in 1906 in what is now the Ukraine.

It's the birthday of physicist Chester F. Carlson, the inventor of xerography, the electrostatic dry-copy process, was born in Seattle on this day in 1906.

Novelist and short-story writer Kate (O'Flaherty) Chopin was born on this day in St. Louis in 1851. She was ostracized by friends and social groups when her novel THE AWAKENING was published in 1899.

It's the birthday of Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev, who developed the periodic table of elements. He was born in Siberia in 1834.

French writer Jules Verne (A JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH; TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA; AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS) was born on this day in Nantes in 1828.

Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman was born on this day in Lancaster, Ohio, 1820.

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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