May 30, 1997

The Great Day

by Carl Dennis


Today's Reading: "The Great Day" by Carl Dennis from RANKING THE WISHES, published by Penguin.

It's the birthday in San Francisco in 1908 of Mel Blanc, creator of dozens of cartoon voices including Porky Pig, Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, Daffy Duck, Tweety Pie, Sylvester the cat and many others.

Swedish physicist Hannes Alfven, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for his work in the study of electrically conducting fluids moving in a magnetic field, known as magnetohydrodynamics (MHD), was born on this day in Norrkoping, Sweden, 1908.

It's the birthday of writer Countee Cullen, the foremost black writer in America during the 1920s, born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1903.

The first American daily newspaper, THE PENNSYLVANIA EVENING POST, began daily publication on this day in Philadelphia in 1783.

It was on this day in 1431 that the nineteen year old Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France.

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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