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

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Brain Pickings has a totally free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and articles that are inspiring art, science, philosophy, creativity, children’s books, along with other strands of our search for 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, We have decided to plunge into my vast archive every Wednesday and select through the tens of thousands of essays one worth resurfacing and resavoring. Sign up for this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate do my essay through the standard Sunday digest of the latest pieces:

The More 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 Regarding 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 of the Telescopic Perspective: A Reflection on coping with Turbulent Times

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

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

10 Learnings from a decade of Brain Pickings

The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson and 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 therefore the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility

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

Mary Oliver about what Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy on her behalf soul mates

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

The Lonely City: Adventures into the Art to be Alone

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

Related Reads

Annie Dillard regarding the Art of this Essay and the Different Responsibilities of Narrative Nonfiction, Poetry, and Short Stories

Ted Hughes on how best 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 associated with Mind: Remembering Oliver Sacks

Just how 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 has got the effrontery additionally the stamina to create essays,” E.B. White wrote within the foreword to his collected essays. Annie Dillard sees things almost the opposite way, insisting that essayists perform a public service — they “serve once the memory of a people” and “chew over our public past.” Himself, the advice Pulitzer-winning poet Robert Frost (March 26, 1874–January 29, 1963) offered to his eldest daughter, Lesley, not only stands as an apt mediator between White and Dillard but also some of the most enduring wisdom on essay-writing ever committed to paper although he had never written an essay.

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

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

I pity you, needing to write essays where the imagination has no chance, or next to no chance. Just one word of advice: stay away from strain or at any rate the look of strain. One method to head to work is to read through your author a few times over having an eye out for anything that occurs to you while you read whether appreciative contradictory corroborative or parallel…

He speaks towards the notion that writing, like all creativity, is a question 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 should be just about of a jumble in your thoughts or in your note paper after the first time and even after the 2nd. Much that you will think about in connection should come to nothing and get wasted. But some of it ought 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 some subordinate ideas — the trick is to have those happen to you while you read and catch them — not allow them to escape you… The sidelong glance is really what you depend on. You appear at your author you maintain the tail of the eye on which is happening in addition to your author in your own mind and nature.

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 factor that set apart the few of his students who mastered the essay from the vast majority of those who never did. (Although because of the time of his tenure the Academy officially accepted young women, Frost’s passing remark that his class consisted of sixty boys reveals a tremendous amount about women’s plight for education.) He writes:

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