Nov. 20, 1997

First Desires

by C. K. Williams


Today's Reading: "First Desires" by C.K. Williams from FLESH AND BLOOD, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Writer Don DeLillo, author of WHITE NOISE and LIBRA, was born in New York City in 1936.

Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated during his Presidential campaign in 1968, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1925.

South African novelist Nadine Gordimer, winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Springs, in the province of the Transvaal in 1923. "We are all many people, and each of our acquaintances or friends or lovers or children knows a different person. In the end, you are left with this refraction of yourself, and it's for you to find out what you really are."

Poet and novelist Thomas McGrath, who lost his job and was blacklisted in the 1950s for his involvement with the Communist Party, was born in Sheldon, North Dakota in 1916.

Journalist and commentator Alistair Cooke, who came to America and began corresponding back to England by way of the long-running BBC radio series "Letters from America," was born in Manchester, England, in 1908.

Astronomer Edwin P. Hubble, the first to discover evidence to support the concept of an expanding universe, was born in Marshfield, Missouri, in 1889.

Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlof, author of THE STORY OF GOSTA BERLING and JERUSALEM, was born in Varmland, Sweden, in 1858.

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  • “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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