Jul. 21, 1997

Common Things

by Ivor Gurney


Today's Reading:"Common Things" by Ivor Gurney from EVERYMAN'S POETRY, published by Everyman Paperbacks (1996).

It's the birthday today of poet and short-story writer Tess Gallagher, born in Port Angeles, Washington, in 1943.

Poet and novelist John Gardner (GRENDEL; OCTOBER LIGHT) was born on this day in Batavia, New York, in 1933. He died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 49.

It's the birthday of jazz pianist Billy Taylor, born in Greenville, North Carolina, in 1921.

Novelist and short-story writer Ernest Hemingway, who achieved success with his first novel THE SUN ALSO RISES (1926), was born on this day in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1899.

Poet Hart Crane, known for his epic poem THE BRIDGE, was born on this day in Garrettsville, Ohio, in 1899.

Physician George Frederick Dick, who with his wife Gladys isolated the hemolytic streptococcus that causes scarlet fever, was born on this day in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1881.

The first U.S. train robbery took place in Adair, Iowa, on this day in 1873, when the James Gang held up the Rock Island Express.

The Civil War's first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas Junction, Virginia, on this day in 1861. Hundreds of sightseers brought picnic lunches and champagne to watch the battle.

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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