Jun. 8, 1997

The Pleasures of Reading

by Charles Simic


Today's Reading:"The Pleasures of Reading" by Charles Simic from A WEDDING IN HELL, published by Harcourt Brace and Company (1994).

The Grant Wood Art Festival begins today in Stone City- Anamosa, Iowa.

It's the birthday of detective novelist Sara Paretsky, creator of the female private eye character, V.I. Warshawski, born in Ames, Iowa, in 1947.

It's the birthday of physician and best-selling author Andrew Weil (SPONTANEOUS HEALING), born in Philadelphia, in 1942.

Actor Robert Preston, remembered for his role as Professor Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN, was born on this day in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, in 1918.

British biophysicist Francis Harry Compton Crick, who, with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, determined the molecular structure of DNA, was born on this day in Northampton, England, in 1916.

It's the birthday of the architect whose "Prairie Style" became the basis of 20th-century residential design, Frank Lloyd Wright, born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, in 1867. He wrote, "No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other." In an interview he said, "The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines."

It's the birthday of German composer Robert Schumann, particularly renowned for the piano music he wrote for his wife Clara. He was born in Saxony, Germany, in 1810.

It's the birthday of English engineer and founder of the civil-engineering profession, John Smeaton, born in Yorkshire, England, in 1724. He designed the third Eddystone Lighthouse in the late 1750s.

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