May 15, 1997

Song of Myself (excerpt)

by Walt Whitman


Today's Reading:Lines from " Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman.

The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee begins in Angels Camp, California, today with over 3,000 frogs from around the world competing; an event based on Mark Twain's story " The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

The Little Norway Festival, a celebration of Norwegian Independence Day, takes place in Petersburg, Alaska.

It's the 67th birthday of painter Jasper Johns, Jr., a leader in the Pop Art movement; born in Augusta, Georgia, 1930.

It's the birthday of twin-brother playwrights Peter Shaffer (EQUES; AMADEUS) and Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH), born in Liverpool, England, 1926.

It's the 74th birthday of photographer Richard Avedon, born in New York City, in 1923.

Novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, whose work was so unpopular with Stalin that it wasn't allowed to be published (NOTES OF A DEAD MAN; HEART OF A DOG; THE MASTER AND MARGARITA), was born on this day in Kiev, Russia, 1891.

It's the birthday of short-story writer and novelist Katherine Anne Porter, born in Indian Creek, Texas, near Austin, in 1890.

It was on this day in 1886 that poet Emily Dickinson died in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she had lived in total seclusion for the last 24 years of her life.

Shakespeare scholar Emily Folger, who helped form the famous Folger Library in Washington, D.C., was born on this day in Ironton, Ohio, 1858.

It's the birthday of writer L. Frank Baum (THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ), born in Syracuse, New York, 1856.

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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