Prose on any other day

On a Dublin street one day last century, Frank O’Connor asked William Butler Yeats how he was feeling.

“Not well at all,” replied Yeats. “I can only write prose today.”

Different sources put slightly different spins on Yeats’s quip, e.g. “Not very well” or “I am not feeling very well”. Whatever his exact words, it’s a great line. Today I feel well enough to write poetry, but it won’t happen until later: there’s editing to be done.

What are you feeling well enough to write?


6 Responses to Prose on any other day

  1. Only well enough to number crunch today, sadly

  2. Claudia says:

    It all depends
    which prose or verse
    your post demands.
    My mind is terse
    when time and place
    stat do require
    my soul in fire
    to light up space.

  3. Stan says:

    Jams: Blog comments count too. And the weekend is upon us.

    Claudia: Wonderful! Thank you. I’m too depleted to respond in kind this time.

  4. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly says:

    Good excuse! Here’s an even better one. When Dorothy Parker was asked by her skin-flint editor at The New Yorker, Harold Ross, why she wasn’t working in the office, she said, ‘Someone was using the pencil.’ Parker, Ross, Yeats–all were early 20th century writers who hung out with groups of other writers. I did my research on them and now post daily on It’s good to find out what your favorites were doing 100 years ago this month, or how they got discouraged when they were starting out too…

  5. Stan says:

    Thanks for sharing that splendid story, Kathleen. I’d heard it before, but Dorothy Parker’s wit stands the test of time and retelling.

  6. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly says:

    I agree–Parker is a universal classic and sadly too often forgotten today.
    The ‘pencil’ quote and others will surface on my daily postings in the next few weeks, so keep checking back:

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