Feb. 12, 1997

As Befits a Man

by Langston Hughes


Today's Reading:"As Befits a Man" by Langston Hughes from SELECTED POEMS, published by Vintage Books (1974).

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent in Christian churches.

George Gershwin's groundbreaking symphonic jazz composition, RHAPSODY IN BLUE, premiered on this day in 1924, with Gerswhin himself playing the piano with Paul Whiteman's orchestra.

China became a republic on this day in 1912, following the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed on this day in 1909.

It's the birthday of American labor leader John L. Lewis, president of the United Mine Workers of America for 40 years. He was born in Lucas, Iowa, in 1880.

French architect Auguste Perret, who pioneered designs in reinforced concrete buildings, was born near Brussels, Belgium, 1874.

It's the birthday of the French photographer Eugene Atget who took more than 10,000 photographs of Paris architecture, monuments, and people. He was born in Libourne, France, in 1857.

English poet and novelist George Meredith was born on this day in Portsmouth in 1828.

Naturalist Charles Darwin (ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES) was born on this day in Shrewsbury, England, 1809.

Today is the birthday of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, born near Hodgenville, Kentucky, in 1809. He grew up on the frontier with little formal education, did odd jobs and studied law in his spare time while working as a storekeeper.

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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