more Thoreau

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

– Henry David Thoreau in (that’s right) Walden…still one of my favoritest boooooooks since reading it earlier this year.

This year, I’m trying to increase my experience in standing up to live; in anticipation of a consequent decrease in the number of times I sit down to write and post things on this blog, I beg your pardon in advance. I’ll most likely return to writing more frequently on here next year. (For more info on my current “standing and living,” visit my other blog, “R.K. in ROK” at rkinrok.wordpress.com – though I wouldn’t expect too awful much to show up on that blog this year, either.)

Sincerely yours,

R.K.

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2 thoughts on “more Thoreau

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  1. I feel this so strongly every time I sit down to write. Especially when I sit down to write without a clear idea of what I’m going to put on the page — writing for writing’s sake, I guess you might call it.

    Nevertheless. Writing can help teach us how to live. How to pay attention. How to make sense of what has come before to better meet what will come ahead, or what’s right in front of us. I think this is true, as long as what we write is true, or at least as long as that’s what we’re trying for, and we’re not just indulging in narcissistic fantasies, or being lazy (which are both hard to avoid, for me).

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    1. I def. agree that writing can help teach us to how to better live, as well as help us make sense of things/better discern how to proceed, etc. And on helping us be more attentive to the present – YES.

      Good point about truth; it made even more Thoreau come to mind:

      “Literary gentlemen, editors, and critics think that they know how to write, because they have studied grammar and rhetoric; but they are egregiously mistaken. The art of composition is as simple as the discharge of a bullet from a rifle… This unlettered man’s [John Brown] speaking and writing are standard English. … It suggests that the one great rule of composition–and if I were a professor of rhetoric I should insist on this–is, to speak the truth. This first, this second, this third; pebbles in your mouth or not. This demands earnestness and manhood [or womanhood, of course ] chiefly.”

      I think, too, that there is a time to be quiet and to wait, so that the words you write can be true(r) and “embody the silence from which they come” (I’m stealing ideas and maybe exact phrases, though not sure, from Wendell Berry and Henri Nouwen here) in a way that is more life-giving. This is (sometimes) the hard part for me. And “letting my words be few[er]” – not the smallest reason being so that the words I do put forth actually carry more weight.

      (Wordiness/severe lack of being laconic is perhaps my most dominant perennial problem in writing…even in blog comments, apparently – yeeps!)

      Liked by 1 person

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