Jul. 3, 1997

Late Hours

by Lisel Mueller


Today's Reading:"Late Hours" by Lisel Mueller from WAVING FROM SHORE, published by Louisiana State University Press (1989).

The Dog Days begin today, the 40 or so days that are usually the hottest and most humid of the year.

National Tom Sawyer Days begin today in Hannibal Missouri, Mark Twain's hometown.

The ten-day Salem Fair and Exposition begins today in Salem, Virginia.

It's the birthday of playwright Tom Stoppard (ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD; ARCADIA), born in Zlin, Czechoslovakia, in 1937.

Documentary filmmaker Francois-Arnold Reichenbach, whose 1969 film ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN L'AMOUR DE LA VIE won the Oscar for best feature- length documentary, was born on this day in Paris in 1921.

The Battle of the Somme began on this day in 1916 in France during World War I. More than 100,000 were killed on the first day, and over a million were killed before it was over.

It's the birthday of the novelist and short-story writer Elizabeth Taylor, a frequent contributor to THE NEW YORKER; born in Reading, England, in 1912.

It's the birthday of M.F.K. Fisher, author of many books about the art of food, born on this day in Albion, Michigan, in 1908.

Writer Franz Kafka, whose most famous story METAMORPHOSIS was one of the few published before his death at the age of 41, was born on this day in Austria-Hungary, in 1883.

Songwriter, playwright, actor and producer George M. Cohan ("You're a Grand Old Flag," "Give My Regards to Broadway") was born on this day in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1878.

It's the birthday of Welsh poet William Henry Davies, known as the tramp poet, born in Newport, Wales, in 1871.

Architect and engineer Dankmar Adler, a partner with Louis Sullivan, was born on this day in Stadtlengsfeld, Prussia, in 1844.

It was on this day in 1775 that George Washington took command of the Continental Army.

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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