May 9, 1997

Alley Violinist

by Robert Lax


Today's Reading:"Alley Violinist" by Robert Lax from LOVE HAD A COMPASS, published by Grove Press (1996).

It's the birthday of English screen and stage actor, Albert Finney (THE ENTERTAINER; TOM JONES), born in Lancashire in 1936.

British playwright and screen writer Alan Bennett (THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE III), was born on this day in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1934.

It's the birthday of the first woman to be appointed poet laureate of the United States, Mona van Duyn, born in Waterloo, Iowa, 1921.

It's the birthday of children's author Eleanor Estes, best known for her series of books about a family of four children growing up in a small New England town, beginning with THE MOFFATS in 1941. She was born in West Haven, Connecticut, in 1906.

English Egyptologist Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, was born in London on this day in 1874.

It's the birthday of the creator of PETER PAN, THE BOY WHO WOULDN'T GROW UP, James Matthew Barrie, born in Kirriemuir, Scotland, in 1860.

Confederate spy and author Belle Boyd was born on this day in Martinsburg, West Virginia, in 1844.

It's the birthday of the famous American abolitionist John Brown, born in Torrington, Connecticut, in 1800. Captured by the Confederates and hung for treason the Union troops marched into battle singing: "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, but his soul goes marching on."

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show