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“…books stimulate conversation. Conversation stimulates a sense of community. Listening happens. Thinking. The exchange of thoughts.” Reading became a galvanizing force rather than a solitary chore.” – Heidi Pitlor
You can read more of Pitlor’s Huffinton Post article here:
Sadly, the tendency for us over share and sensationalize instead of taking the time rationalize is nothing new.
In a journal entry from August, 1851, Henry Thoreau wrote, “how vain it is to sit down to write without first having stood up to live.”
To this idea, let me paraphrase – how vain it is to sit down to write, without first sitting down to read – and learn what great writing can be.
You can find many of my ‘favorite’ Thoreau quotes listed here as well or on hundreds of other sites on the Web…but the list in and of itself is an example of exactly what I am talking about. (And what I believe Ms. Pitlor is saying as well.)
Now, of course Henry didn’t spend his time at Walden thinking up lists and catchy one-liners. In fact, he probably spent much more time reading (and sauntering about) than he did writing.
Each of these now famous quotes was taken from a much larger work – and often a larger idea – that was captured by Thoreau’s pencil after many hours of study, activity and contemplation. The fact that these few words can stand on their own and still be so powerful and completely understood is testament to his genius and vision.
Thoreau did not write because he seeked fame or notoriety. He certainly didn’t write to have bumper stickers, coffee mugs and t shirts printed with his ‘best’ lines…but I do understand that conservation takes money and visibility. Que Sera Sera.
He wrote in response to what he read, experienced and then considered to be true – in that order!
Unfortunately today, many writers do just the opposite.
Instead, for those of us with the penchant for expressing ourselves through the written word, I offer this sage advice about how move the craft forward instead of simply adding to the noise “learn it, know it, live it.”