Mar. 5, 1997

The Heaven of Animals

by James Dickey


Today's Reading:"The Heaven of Animals" by James Dickey from THE WHOLE MOTION: COLLECTED POEMS 1945-1992, published by University Press of New England.

It's the 49th birthday of writer Leslie Marmon Silko (CEREMONY), born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1948, and raised on a Pueblo Reservation: "I grew up with women who were really strong, women with a great deal of power·If someone was going to thwart you or frighten you, it would tend to be a woman·your dad is the one who's the soft touch."

It's the birthday of biologist Lynn Margulis, who proposed that all the cells in the human body are derived from bacteria that formed symbiotic affiliations in the seas and microbial mats that covered the earth more than two billion years ago. She was born in Chicago, 1938.

It's the anniversary of the 1933 election giving the Nazis and their Nationalist allies 52 percent of the seats in the Reichstag; the last free election in Germany until after World War II.

Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, best known for his eight-piece collection "Bachiana Brasileira," was born in Rio de Janeiro, in 1887.

It's the birthday of novelist Frank Norris (McTEAGUE; THE OCTOPUS), born in Chicago, in 1870.

Illustrator Howard Pyle, who rewrote and illustrated children's classics such as THE MERRY ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, was born on this day in Wilmington, Delaware, 1853.

It's the anniversary of the Boston Massacre in 1770, when a skirmish between British troops and colonists resulted in the death of five colonists.

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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