Conversations July 4 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4 AM. Going to bed ever earlier, anticipating this exchange, and getting up earlier as well. I’ll lap the day if I’m not careful.

So we’re a long way before daylight, and the fruit stand is open early. Who and why?

Nothing. All right, let’s talk, papa. What is the rule, here? Sometimes I can scarcely get a word in and somebody’s off and running. Other times, as now, there’s a blankness, a waiting for me to decide what to broach.

Your question contains your answer. That is what’s going on, a gradual transfer of the initiative. And that’s worth a few words.

Continue reading Conversations July 4 2010

Simple reassurance

My friend Emerson lends reassurance across the years, via Emphatically Emerson, page 174. Writing in 1848, he says:

“Happy is he who looks only into his work to know if it will succeed, never into the times or public opinion; and who writes from the love of imparting certain thoughts and not from the necessity of sale — who writes always to the unknown friend.”
It could have been written this day, expressly for me, the writer of books that few buy but some treasure — or for you, regardless whether you write or blog or speak and regardless whether you have an audience.
Or, to paraphrase Henry Thoreau, write not the times; write the eternities.

Emerson on our times

In the midst of revising Babe in the Woods I came across a quote from Emerson that might almost be a commentary on our political season, and certainly is a commentary on our times. Written in August 1847, if you can believe it.

The Superstitions of our Age:

The fear of Catholicism;

The fear of pauperism;

The fear of immigration;

The fear of manufacturing interests;

The fear of radicalism or democracy;

And faith in the steam engine.