Feb. 21, 1997

Who's Who

by W. H. Auden


Today's Reading:"Who's Who" by W. H. Auden from COLLECTED POEMS, published by Vintage Books.

The Chinese Lantern Festival takes place today in China marking the end of the Chinese New Year holiday season.

The eight-month Oregon Shakespeare Festival begins today in Ashland, Oregon.

Richard Nixon arrived in Beijing, China, on this day in 1972, becoming the first U. S. President to visit a country not diplomatically recognized by the United States.

Black activist Malcolm X was shot to death on this day in 1965 while addressing a rally in New York City.

Author and humorist Erma Bombeck (THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER OVER THE SEPTIC TANK; IF LIFE IS A BOWL OF CHERRIES, WHAT AM I DOING IN THE PITS?) was born on this day in Dayton, Ohio, in 1927.

Classical guitarist Andres Segovia was born on this day in Linares, Spain, 1893.

The world's first telephone directory was issued on this day in 1878 by the New Haven Connecticut Telephone Company. It contained the names of 50 subscribers.

Poet W. H. Auden was born on this day in York, England, in 1907. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1948 for THE AGE OF ANXIETY.

The Washington Monument was dedicated on this day in 1885 in Washington, D. C., on the site originally chosen by city planner Charles L'Enfant in 1791.

English theologian and writer John Henry Newman, famous for his defense and history of his religious views in APOLOGIA PRO VITA SUA, was born in London on this day in 1801.

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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