Dec. 7, 1997

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room

by William Wordsworth

SUNDAY  12/7

Today's Reading:  "Nuns Fret Not" by William Wordsworth.

In 1988 an earthquake in Northern Armenia killed an estimated 100,000 people.

It's the anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, described by President Franklin Roosevelt as "a date which will live in infamy."

It's the birthday of writer and political activist Noam Chomsky, a founder of transformational grammar, born in Philadelphia in 1928.

Painter Stuart Davis, who worked extensively with Cubism, collages, and pure abstraction, was born in Philadelphia in 1896.

Novelist Joyce Cary, best known for THE HORSE'S MOUTH (1944), was born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1888.

Composer and pianist Ernst Toch was born in Brooklyn in 1888.

Novelist Willa Cather, author of O PIONEERS!, MY ANTONIA, and ONE OF OURS, was born in Winchester, Virginia, in 1873.

German physiologist Theodor Schwann, who founded modern histology by identifying the cell as the basic unit of animal organisms, was born in Neuss, Prussia, in 1810.

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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