May 6, 1997

Well Water

by Randall Jarrell


Today's Reading:"Well Water" by Randall Jarrell from THE COMPLETE POEMS, published by Noonday Press.

It's the birthday today of Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman (DEATH AND THE MAIDEN), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1942.

Hall of Famer Willie Mays, ranking only behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in total home runs, was born on this day in Fairfield, Alabama, in 1931.

It's the birthday of film director, actor Orson Welles, who made his great film CITIZEN KANE (1941) when he was only 25 years old. He was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 1915.

It's the birthday of German-born, French raised film director Max Ophuls (LA RONDE; LOLA MONTES), born in Saabrucken, Germany, 1902.

It's the birthday of film actor Rudolph Valentino, born in Castellaneta, Italy, 1895. He arrived in New York when he was 18, went off to Hollywood and got a series of bit parts, establishing his reputation as the "Great Lover" of the screen in the film THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE.

It's the birthday of candy manufacturer Russell Stover, who perfected the Eskimo Pie. He was born in Alton, Kansas, 1888.

It was on this day in 1877 that Sioux chief Crazy Horse surrendered to the US army in Nebraska. He was killed a few months later while allegedly trying to escape Fort Robinson.

It's the birthday of French novelist Gaston Leroux (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA), born in Paris in 1868.

Henry David Thoreau died of tuberculosis on this day in 1862 at the age of 44.

In 1626 on this day Dutch settler Paul Minuit bought Manhattan Island from the Red Indians for a handful of trinkets worth about $25.

Thousands of residents were killed, libraries destroyed, and the Pope captured as the Sack of Rome began on this day in 1527, effectively bringing the Renaissance to a close.

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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