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Brain Pickings has a totally free Sunday digest of the week’s most fascinating and inspiring articles across art

Brain Pickings has a totally free Sunday digest of the week’s most fascinating and inspiring articles across art

Sunday newsletter

Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children’s books, and other strands of our seek out truth, beauty, and meaning. Here is an example. Like? Claim yours:

midweek newsletter

Also: Because Brain Pickings is within its twelfth year and because I write primarily about ideas of an ageless character, I have decided to plunge into my vast archive every Wednesday and select through the numerous of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring. Sign up to this midweek that is free for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate through the standard Sunday digest of new pieces:

The greater Loving One: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads W.H. Auden’s Sublime Ode to the Unrequited Love for the Universe

Favorite Books of 2018

Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert

Rebecca Solnit’s Lovely Letter to Children About How Exactly Books Solace, Empower, and Transform Us

A Brave and Startling Truth: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Reads Maya Angelou’s Stunning Humanist Poem That Flew to Space, Inspired by Carl Sagan

In Praise for the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on coping with Turbulent Times

A Stoic’s Key to Peace of Mind: Seneca regarding the Ant >

The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E is legit. Cummings on Art, Life, and being > that is unafra

10 Learnings from ten years of Brain Pickings

The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson plus the Culture-Shifting Courage to speak Truth that is inconvenient to

Timeless Suggestions About Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness while the distinction between Guilt and Responsibility

The Science of Stress and exactly how Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease

Mary Oliver on which Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy for Her true love

Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change

The Lonely City: Adventures within the creative art of Being Alone

Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

Related Reads

Annie Dillard on the Art for the Essay while the Different Responsibilities of Narrative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Stories

Ted Hughes about how to Be a Writer: A Letter of Advice to His 18-Year-Old Daughter

W.E.B. Dubois on Earning One’s Privilege: his letter that is magnificent of to His Teenage Daughter

Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized

7 Life-Learnings from 7 several years of Brain Pickings, Illustrated

Anaпs Nin on Love, Hand-Lettered by Debbie Millman

Anaпs Nin on Real Love, Illustrated by Debbie Millman

Susan Sontag on Love: Illustrated Diary Excerpts

Susan Sontag on Art: Illustrated Diary Excerpts

Albert Camus on Happiness and Love, Illustrated by Wendy MacNaughton

The Holstee Manifesto

The Silent Music regarding the Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacks

Just how to Read Intelligently and Write a Essay that is great Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter

“Only someone who is congenitally self-centered has got the effrontery in addition to stamina to write essays,” E.B. White wrote in the foreword to his collected essays. Annie Dillard sees things almost the way that is opposite insisting that essayists perform a public service — they “serve as the memory of a people” and “chew over our public past.” Although he had never written an essay himself, the advice Pulitzer-winning poet Robert Frost (March 26, 1874–January 29, 1963) provided to his eldest daughter, Lesley, not only stands as an apt mediator between White and Dillard but additionally some of the most enduring wisdom on essay-writing ever committed to paper.

During her junior year in college, Lesley shared her exasperation over having been assigned to write an academic essay about a book she didn’t find particularly inspiring. The art of the essay, and even thinking itself in a magnificent letter from February of 1919, found in The Letters of Robert Frost, Volume 1 (public library), the beloved poet gave his daughter sage counsel on her particular predicament, emanating general wisdom on writing.

Five years before he received the very first of his four Pulitzer Prizes, 45-year-old Frost writes:

I pity you, being forced to write essays where no chance is had by the imagination, or next to no chance. Just one single word of advice: Try to avoid strain or at the very least the look of strain. One way to go to work is to see your author once or twice over having an optical eye out for anything that develops to you personally as you read whether appreciative contradictory corroborative or parallel…

He speaks into the notion that writing, like all creativity, is a question of selecting the few ideas that are thrilling the lot of dull ones that occur to us — “To invent… would be to choose,” as French polymath Henri Poincarй famously proclaimed. Frost counsels:

There should be just about of a jumble in your thoughts or in your note paper following the time that is first even with the 2nd. Much that you shall think of in connection should come to nothing and get wasted. Many from it need to go together under one idea. That idea could be the thing to write on and write into the title in the head of your paper… One idea and a few subordinate ideas — the trick is to have those occur to you while you read and catch them — not allow them to escape you… The sidelong glance is what you rely on. You appear at your author you keep consitently the tail of the eye on what is happening in addition to your author in your mind that is own and.

Reflecting on his days as an English teacher at New Hampshire’s Pinkerton Academy, Frost points to precisely this over-and-above quality as the factor that set apart the handful of his students who mastered the essay through the great majority of those who never did. (Although by the time of his tenure the Academy officially accepted young women, Frost’s passing remark that his class consisted of sixty boys reveals a good deal about women’s plight for education.) He writes:

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