May 22, 1997

When I Am Asked

by Lisel Mueller


Today's Reading:"When I Am Asked" by Lisel Mueller from WAVING FROM SHORE, published by Louisiana State University Press (1989).

The Kodiak Crab Festival begins today in Kodiak, Alaska.

There will be a full moon tonight, beginning in the early hours of the morning, and known this month as the Mother's Moon or Planting Moon.

The Roanoke Festival in the Park begins today in Roanoke, Virginia.

It was thirty years ago today (in 1967) that the children's program MISTER ROGER'S NEIGHBORHOOD premiered, hosted by Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers.

It's the birthday of writer Peter Matthiessen (A PLAY IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD), born in New York City in 1927.

It was on this day in 1925 that Gertrude Stein wrote to F. Scott Fitzgerald about his new novel, THE GREAT GATSBY: "This is as good a book [as THIS SIDE OF PARADISE] and different and older, and that is what one does, one does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure."

It's the birthday of astronomer Thomas Gold, who maintains that the universe has no beginning or end, but is continually expanding and creating new matter from empty space. He was born in Vienna in 1920.

It's the birthday of actor Laurence Olivier (WUTHERING HEIGHTS; REBECCA), born in Dorking, England, in 1907.

The Great Train Robbery took place on this day in 1868, when seven members > of the Reno Gang took over a train at Marshfield, Indiana, and made off with $98,000 in cash from the safe.

The creator of detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was born on this day in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1859.

It's the birthday of American painter Mary Cassatt, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, in 1844.

The founder of modern ophthalmology, Albrecht von Grafe, was born on this day in Berlin, 1828.

It's the birthday of German composer Richard Wagner (DER RING DES NIBELUNGER), born in Leipzig, in 1813.

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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