29 August 2010

Writing

I've been reading "Letters of E. B. White" Revised Edition, revised and edited by Martha White, his granddaughter. Mr. White is one of my favorite writers, having written "Charlotte's Web", "Stuart Little" and "The Trumpet of the Swan" as well as compilations of his many essays from "The New Yorker" magazine. Mr. White was born in 1899. In January 1929, he wrote to his brother Stanley about writing. Here are some quotes from that letter:
"I discovered a long time ago that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters of the heart, the inconsequential but near things of this living, was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sincerity or grace. . . The rewards of such endeavor are not that I have acquired an audience or following as you suggest (fame of any kind being a Pyrrhic victory), but that sometimes in writing of myself - which is the only subject anyone knows intimately - I have occasionally had the exquisite thrill of putting my finger on a little capsule of truth, and heard it give the faint squeak of mortality under my pressure, an antic sound."
"One nice thing about either writing or drawing is that it is both a direct and an uncertain way of making a living. To write a piece and sell it to a magazine is as near a simple life as shining up a pushcart full of apples and vending them to passersby. It has a pleasing directness not found in the world of commerce and business, where every motion is by this time so far removed from the cause and the return, as to be almost beyond recognition."

I heartily recommend you pick out anything written by Mr. White and spend some time with it. It will be well worth your time.

2 comments:

Jilda said...

great blog entry, really enjoyed your writing tonight, and thanks for the note!

Life 101 said...

Hey Bob, good post. I will revisit Mr. White.
I'm finishing up listening to Stein on Writing (Audible) It gave me some really good ideas for improving my writing. I actually ordered a Hardcopy to keep as a reference.
Keep up the good work.
Rick