They seem incompetent at the stuff that is over-and-above. I do believe maybe it continues on in their heads while they read but they are not capable of catching it. They are too directly intent from the reading. They cant get going looking two ways at the same time. I believe too they have been scared of the simplicity of numerous things they think from the relative side while they read. They wouldn’t have the face area in order to connect it in writing aided by the author that is great have already been reading. It may be a childhood memory; it could be some homely simile; it could be a relative line or verse of mother goose. They need it to be big and bookish. Nevertheless they haven’t books enough in their heads to suit book stuff with book stuff. Of course some of that would be all right.
Indeed, in several ways Frost’s advice on essay-writing essay writers is really suggestions about reading — that mutuality of thought between reader and writer, pulsed through by the book as “a heart that only beats into the chest of some other.” Echoing Virginia Woolf’s dictum on how best to read a written book, Frost offers counsel so passionate so it becomes almost a stream-of-consciousness prose poem, barely punctuated:
The game is matching your author thought for thought in any of the many possible ways. Reading then becomes converse — give and take. It is only conversation when the reader takes part addressing himself to some thing when you look at the author in his matter that is subject or. In the same way when we talk together! Being careful to hold our end up also to do our part agreeably without a lot of contradiction and mere opinionation. The most sensible thing of most is going each other one better turning up the ideas anecdotes and incidents like alternating hands piled up on the knee. Well its out of conversation like this with a novel yours perhaps the book’s that will serve for other lesser ideas to center around that you find perhaps one idea perhaps. And there’s your essay.
He lands from this poetic elation into some practical advice:
Be brief in the beginning. You need to be honest. You don’t want to help make your material seem more than it really is. You won’t have so much to state in the beginning as you will have later. My defect is within not having learned to hammer my material into one lump. I haven’t had experience enough. The important points of essay won’t come in right in my situation as they will in narrative. Sometimes We have gotten round the difficulty by some dodge that is narrative.
Take it easy using the essay anything you do. Write it as well as you’re able to if you need to write it. Be as concrete as the statutory law allows in it — concrete and experiential. Don’t let it scare you. Don’t strain. Keep in mind that any old thing that takes place in your head as you read may be the thing you desire. If nothing much appears to happen, perhaps another reading shall help. Perhaps the book is bad or is not your kind — is absolutely nothing to you and can begin nothing in your nature some way.
Of course this letter is essay. It really is material which includes arrive at the top of my mind in reading just as frost brings stones towards the surface associated with ground.
In the end that is very before signing off “Affectionately Papa,” Frost can’t resist taking just a little jab at the essay, voicing the sentiment that generally seems to explain his own lifelong resistance to partaking into the genre:
I don’t know you understand whether its worth very that is much mean the essay — when you yourself have it written. I’m rather afraid of it as an enemy towards the writing that is really creative holds scenes and things within the eye voices within the ear and whole situations as a kind of plexus in the body (I don’t know just where).
Lesley spent my youth to be an author herself, albeit not of essays — she published two books of stories for kids: Really Not Really in 1962, published months that are mere her father’s death, and Digging right down to China in 1968.
The Letters of Robert Frost is a trove of writerly wisdom and heartwarming parental advice to the poet’s six children, of whom Lesley and her sister Irma outlived their father in its portly 850-page totality. Complement it with Frost’s beautiful poem on art and government, which he designed to but didn’t read at JFK’s inauguration, and F. Scott Fitzgerald from the secret of good writing in a letter of advice to his own daughter, then revisit this growing library of writers’ advice on writing.
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