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Brain Pickings has a totally free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and articles that are inspiring art

Brain Pickings has a totally free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and articles that are inspiring art

Sunday newsletter

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

midweek newsletter

Also: Because Brain Pickings is in 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 from the tens of thousands of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring. Donate to this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate from 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 On How 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 associated with Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on coping with Turbulent Times

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

The Courage to Be Yourself: E.E. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafra >

10 Learnings from 10 Years of Brain Pickings

The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson as well as the Culture-Shifting Courage to Speak Inconvenient Truth to Power

Timeless Suggestions About Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers

A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness in addition to Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility

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

Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Elegy that is her moving for 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 creative art regarding the Essay plus 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 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

Simple tips to Read Intelligently and Write a Great Essay: Robert Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter

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

During her junior year in college, Lesley shared her exasperation over having been assigned to publish 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 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 close to no chance. Just one single word of advice: Try to avoid strain or at any rate the look of strain. One way to go to work is to read your author once or twice over having an optical eye out for anything that occurs to you personally while you read whether appreciative contradictory corroborative or parallel…

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

There must be pretty much of a jumble in your head or on your note paper following the very first time and even after the next. Much that you shall think about in connection will come to nothing and start to become wasted. However some from it ought to go together under one idea. That idea could be the thing to write on and write to the title in the head of your paper… One idea and some subordinate ideas — the trick is to have those happen to you as you read and catch them — not let them escape you… The sidelong glance is exactly what you be determined by. You appear at your author you maintain the tail of the eye about 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 quality that is over-and-above the component that set apart the few of his students who mastered the essay through the the greater part of those who never did. (Although because of the period 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: