Jul. 16, 1997

From an Autobiography

by Harvey Shapiro


Today's Reading:"From an Autobiography" by Harvey Shapiro from NATIONAL COLD STORAGE COMPANY: NEW & SELECTED POEMS, published by Wesleyan University Press (1988).

It's the birthday of Panamanian salsa singer, songwriter and actor Ruben Blades, born in Panama City, in 1948.

Violinist and conductor Pinchas Zukerman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, on this day in 1948.

The first atomic bomb was tested on this day in 1945 at 5:30 a.m. in the desert at Alamogordo Air Base in New Mexico.

Norwegian novelist, playwright and short-story writer Dag Solstad, was born on this day in Sandefjord, Norway, in 1941.

Writer Anita Brookner (HOTEL DU LAC) was born on this day in London in 1928.

The last Russian czar, Nicholas II, along with his family, servants, and doctor, were shot to death by the Bolsheviks on this day in 1918.

It's the birthday of actress and dancer Ginger Rogers (FLYING DOWN TO RIO; THE GAY DIVORCEE; FOLLOW THE FLEET), born in Independence, Missouri, in 1911.

It's the birthday of crusading black journalist Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, in 1862.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, was born on this day in Bow, New Hampshire, in 1821.

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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