Sep. 11, 1997

The First Days

by James Wright


Today's Reading: "The First Days" by James Wright from ABOVE THE RIVER, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and University Press of New England (1990).

The 75th Los Angeles County Fair starts today in Pomona, California.

Investigative journalist Jessica Mitford, author of THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH, was born in Gloustershire, England, in 1917.

It's the anniversary of the first time the "Star Spangled Banner" was sung at the beginning of a baseball game. It was in 1916 in Cooperstown, New York.

W.C. Handy's most popular song, "St. Louis Blues," came out on this day in 1914.

Soprano opera singer Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, made her American debut at New York's Castle Garden Theater in 1850.

Stephen Foster's "Oh! Susanna" was first performed in 1847 at a saloon in Pittsburgh.

English novelist D.H. Lawrence, author of SONS AND LOVERS, WOMEN IN LOVE and the controversial LADY CHATTERLEY'S LOVER, was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, in 1885.

Physicist James Jeans, the first to theorize that matter is continuously created throughout the universe, was born in London in 1877.

Scottish poet James Thomson (THE SEASONS) was born in Ednam, Scotland, in 1700.

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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