Sep. 12, 1997


by Stephen Dunn


Today's Reading: "Insomnia" by Stephen Dunn from NEW AND COLLECTED POEMS 1974-1994, published by W.W. Norton & Co. (1994).

The Wine and Sausage Market starts today in Bad Durkheim, Germany.

In Lincoln, New Hampshire, the Highland Games get underway.

Oktoberfest starts today in Denver, Colorado.

Canadian novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje, author of THE ENGLISH PATIENT, was born in Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), in 1943.

The Lascaux Caves in France with their prehistoric wall paintings, were discovered in 1940.

Country singer George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, in 1931.

Novelist Kristin Hunter, author of GOD BLESS THE CHILD, THE SURVIVORS, and THE LAKESTOWN REBELLION, was born in Philadelphia, in 1931.

Epidemiologist Alexander D. Langmuir, who in 1949 created and led the federal Epidemic Intelligence Service, was born in Santa Monica, California, in 1910.

Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, who founded the Knopf publishing house in 1915, was born in New York City in 1892.

Singer, dancer and actor Maurice Chevalier was born in Paris in 1888.

Journalist and iconoclast H.L. Mencken, known as the "Sage of Baltimore," was born in Baltimore in 1880.

The man who built the first successful rotary printing press, Richard March Hoe, was born in New York City in 1812.

Henry Hudson sailed into what is now New York Harbor aboard his sloop HALF MOON in 1609.

Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici, who inherited the rule of Florence at the age of 21, was born in Florence in 1472.

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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