So you can read my books

Saturday, April 26, 2014

APRIL 27 -- For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness


“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson ca1857 retouched.jpg
Emerson in 1857

Hello, readers ... I am the ghost of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Ah, I see your eyes rolling up now.  "That old stuff-shirt" you groan. 

I have heard it all before ...

and from no less a luminary than Mark Twain in his mocking of Whittier, Wordsworth, and myself as we listened in 1877.

He left for Europe not long afterwards,  the critics howling for his blood.  I thought it mildly amusing, not insulting at all.

But Samuel McCord found my company tolerable aboard the Demeter in 1853. {RITES OF PASSAGE}

But I digress:

On this day in 1882, I died at the age of seventy-eight.

Although my last decade was one of increasing debility it was also one of international accolade and local adulation.

 When the "Sage of Concord" as critics uncomfortably called me returned from my last trip abroad,

I found the band playing, the schoolchildren singing and my burned home rebuilt by the community.

"…the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is that they set at naught books and traditions, and spoke not what men, but what they thought."
—from my essay on “Self-Reliance”

Speaking of Milton ...

 The epic status of Milton’s Paradise Lost can obscure the fact that, when published, it was a controversial and risky venture — so risky for the publisher that, on this day in 1667,

Milton signed a contract to receive only 5£ for his work (with an additional 5£ after the sale of 1,300 copies). 

I hear this strange book firm, Amazon, is much the same way.

Part of the controversy was over the anticipated religious outcry over the way Milton had portrayed this figure or that doctrine.

Ever the voice of liberty, Milton saw his epic as an attempt to deliver poetry from “the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.” 

Hart Crane is another who, in The Bridge, aimed for an epic.

 He is also another who struggled with addictions, and who jumped to his death, from a boat between Cuba and America on this day in 1932.

"Follow your arches to what corners of the sky
they pull you
Where marble clouds support the sea
Wreck of dreams."

Oh, that wily Clemens thought to snare me with the challenge of selecting an author whose name begins with X.

Hardly a feat for one with a classical education.  I choose Xenophanes, a Greek philosopher, theologian, poet, and social and religious critic.

I even wrote a poem entitled, Xenophanes:

"If oxen had hands, they would sculpt their gods to look like oxen."

"God is one eternal being, spherical in form, comprehending all things within himself, is intelligent,

and moves all things, but bears no resemblance to human nature either in body or mind."

Samuel McCord listens to this in the dark of Meilori's and mourns his lost love:

Gentle readers, do your senses a favor and listen to this healing melody:


  1. Way too Get the X!
    I like how Emerson talks about Amazon.

  2. I suspect that a minute of anger costs a great deal more than a minute of happiness. Particularly when/if you add in the time spent in resentment and regret.
    Another educative post - I knew very little about Emerson. Thank you.

  3. David:
    Yeah, Emerson is brave with my skin. Amazon can't sue him! :-)

    Mark Twain knew Emerson would be the one to feret out an author whose name began with X!

    Elephant's Child:
    You're right about anger. Speak from anger and say the hottest words you'll ever regret.

    I'm glad you liked my post and learned a bit about Emerson. :-)

  4. I liked that last musical interlude. I also like some of Willie's music.

    Words spoken in anger can never be taken back, and the hurt is remembered. And if you aren't careful, you can be sued as well.

    Take care if you're on the road this weekend.

  5. Only five pounds? That seems like a crime.

  6. The publisher offering Milton only 5 pounds should be a lesson for all of us....

  7. D.G.:
    That last musical interlude struck me as something Emerson would like. :-)

    Written words of anger on the internet are especially dangerous!

    The weather is threatening and thunderous today. Cross your fingers for me.

    Publishers had the power back then. But considering the impact and worth of PARADISE LOST, the sum paid was indeed a crime!

    Yes, the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules!

  8. You went way back for your X, mine is just down the road, and it is not just one, but many. I am listening to Willie Nelson now and I am so glad you put up this song as I have never heard it before. My girlfriend sent an email and said while she likes Helen Hayes, she doesn't much care for Willie. I mean how could you not?!

  9. Loved the Willie Nelson song, and the TreVeld. Cellos are cool.

    There is a lot of darkness in the literary world. Perhaps we all must be a little crazy in order to be so creative.


  10. I didn't know about Milton's problems with publishing, but I'm not surprised. Writing is an art, publishing is a business, and sometimes they just don't mix very well.