Aug. 31, 1997


by Jane Hirshfield


Today's Reading: "Percolation" by Jane Hirshfield from THE OCTOBER PALACE, published by Harper Perennial (A Division of Harper Collins) (1994).

Singer, songwriter Van Morrison was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1945.

Violinist Itzhak Perlman was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, in 1945.

Kurt Weill's THE THREEPENNY OPERA opened in Berlin in 1928.

Lyricist and playwright Alan Jay Lerner (BRIGADOON; PAINT YOUR WAGON; CAMELOT), was born in New York City in 1918.

Journalist Daniel Schorr was born in New York City in 1918.

Author William Saroyan, ("The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze"), born in Fresno, California, in 1908.

Longtime editor of THE NEW YORKER magazine, William Shawn, was born in Chicago in 1907.

Acting teacher Sanford Meisner, a founding member of the Group Theater, was born in Brooklyn in 1905.

Writer Lynn Riggs, whose book GREEN GROW THE LILACS was adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein to become OKLAHOMA, was born in Claremore, Oklahoma, in 1899.

Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori schools, was born in Rome in 1870.

Writer Duboise Heyward, whose book PORGY was the basis of Gershwin's opera PORGY AND BESS, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1885.

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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