Friday, July 2, 2010

E.B. White and magnolia trees

"The essayist is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief, that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him is of general interest. He is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just as people who take bird walks enjoy theirs. Each new excursion of the essayist, each new "attempt," differs from the last and takes him into new country. This delights him. Only a person congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write essays."

-E.B. White, from the foreward of "Essays of E.B. White" (I am not reading it now, but I think it's going to make it to my summer reading list.)

I like this quotation, and I like how he's honest about his profession. It's true! But the good thing for him is that other people have taken interest in his essays and "attempts" as well. Is a blogger the 21st century version of an essayist? There are parallels, no doubt.

What got me on this E.B. White kick was my boss letting(/suggesting/recommending) me read Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style." It is SO good! Sometimes -- I know this is a little bit nerdy -- I am just fascinated by grammar.

Here are some "elements" I really liked:

"A dash is a mark of separation stronger than a comma, less formal than a colon, and more relaxed than parentheses"
Ask me my favorite punctuation mark, and I'll tell you. It's the dash.

"Unique. Means 'without like or equal.' Hence there can be no degrees of uniqueness." Thus, the sentence, "It was the most unique eggbeater on the market." is correctly written, "It was a unique eggbeater."
I remember learning this from after-school Latin classes in 5th grade, but I'm still guilty of saying, "Whoa! That's really unique!" from time to time. And I also like the example sentences.

I took this photo of Mom and Daniel at the beginning of the summer (actually, I took all of these at the beginning of the summer...) during one of our yard-raking parties. Maybe it's reminiscent of "American Gothic"... or maybe not.

I used to collect these magnolia flower droppings and I called them rabbit skins. Believe me, these things feel just like 'em. ;-)

The Lord really blessed me yesterday. I have been craving and missing so much the unique fellowship with friends from Covenant. (Some of this might come from the fact that even my parents were out of town this week, but a lot of it is just being away from the other people I love so much.) Anyway, it "just so happened" that I was able to have a great talk with Jane, get a wonderful email from April, and even have a really encouraging chat with Josh! Oh man! Guys, I love you!

Happy Fourth of July weekend!


  1. I love you too, Hannah! And I love this post. The quotes are great.

  2. Nuts Jane, you stole my line. I'll use it anyway.

    I love you too, Hannah! :)

    I can't wait for a real phone conversation when I am back in the States :)