Oct. 27, 1997


by Lisel Mueller

MONDAY  10/27

Today's Reading:  "Things" by Lisel Mueller from ALIVE TOGETHER, published by Louisiana State University Press (1996).

It's the birthday of writer Fran Lebowitz, author of METROPOLITAN LIFE (1978) and SOCIAL STUDIES (1981), born in Morristown, New Jersey, in 1950.

Danish dancer and choreographer Peter Martins, current director of the New York City Ballet, was born in Copenhagen in 1946.

American-Chinese memoirist Maxine Hong Kingston, who wrote about her childhood in THE WOMAN WARRIOR and CHINA MEN, was born in Stockton, California in 1940.

Actor-writer John Cleese, best known for his comedy productions including FAWLTY TOWERS and MONTY PYTHON, was born in Weston-Super-Mare, England, in 1939.

Poet and novelist SylviaPlath, author of THE BELL JAR (1963) and poetry collections THE COLOSSUS, ARIEL, and CROSSING THE WATER, was born in Boston in 1932.

American "pop art" painter Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York City in 1923.

Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who had completed much of his poetry by the age of 21, was born in Swansea, Wales, in 1914.

New York City's first subway line opened for business on this day in 1904, running from the Brooklyn Bridge uptown to Broadway at 145th Street.

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, was born in New York City in 1858.

Inventor and sewing-machine developer Isaac Merrit Singer was born in Pittstown, New York, in 1811.

British naval captain and explorer James Cook was born in Yorkshire in 1728.

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
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show