“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” E.B. White
Ahhh, EB, aren’t you cropping up a lot in my reading these days. It makes sense. His is the second name in Strunk & White’s classic writing text, The Elements of Style, after all. I’ve probably broken a lot of his rules already but we won’t worry about that yet. Let us just stick with the Henry Rollins/Nike school of Just Do It for the moment. I try to write every day, it’s a good habit to get in to. Sometimes its fiction, sometimes its thoughts or experiences, sometimes journal entries. Occasionally I like to take a prompt from a writing magazine or website and run with that for a few hundred words.
The other day it was the quote above from the author of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little that cropped up in my 2021, despite him haunting around my 2020. Its time I paid more attention. Charlotte’s Web, by the way I haven’t read for at least ten years, but I think it is fantastic. I have a hardback copy in class and I have read it to pupils somewhere before; the best way to enjoy a children’s book. I had recently been reading about White on Wikipedia and then this quote appears in an email. How timely.
And so we turn this comment around into a question. What do I want to say with my writing and what is presented here? What do I want you, fellow adventurer, to get out of the Last Wolf blog? Are my aims in anyway similar and as straightforward as those of E.B. White?
If our goal is the ascent and eventual summiting of Word Mountain, how do we get there? Are we still scrabbling about in the foothills, lost over a crumpled map, unsure of where we are heading? Are we wrestling with the initial steepness of the climb? Or are we merely enjoying the tranquillity of an early morning forest walk as we make our approach, listening to the sound of the river, the birdsong…
My aim is to develop and share a sense of wonder and curiosity. The sense of wanting to see something just for the hell of it, for the sole reason just to see it. No reason needed. To go somewhere because it’s there. How many people do not know what lies beyond that hill? I’m continually surprised how many people have never explored the area they’ve lived in all their lives. With Covid restrictions limiting us one again there has never been a better time to discover the radius we inhabit. My favourite question for a local explore is ‘what does the inside of that clump of trees looks like?’ Usually the answer is near impenetrable, but it’s always worth checking. Don’t take my word for it.
We humans tend to stick to the same routes and roads in life. An important question is where does all those other roads go? Or perhaps what does that road even look like? I use the word road here loosely, as a metaphor. There are countless amounts of ‘roads’ as I include in this paths and animal tracks, rivers, walkways, motorways and dual carriageways.
But there is also the symbolic journey of say, reading War & Peace, Ulysses or some other massive novel. Or perhaps learning a musical instrument or a new language. What might my life look like in a year if I practised the mandolin for half an hour every single night? What effect on my life does writing 500 words per day have?
Yes, I agree with E.B. White. I can see why he wanted people to know he loves the world. But what I aim for most of all is for you, fellow adventurer, to love it too. I want people to look after the natural world, to protect and respect it. But at the same time I want you to make the most of your life. Reject the unimportant things, go outside and explore. This world is wonderful, and it is yours.
As befitting, the day this was posted, this quote popped up on Twitter.
Currently listening to Buffet Lunch new album masters! @BuffetLunchBand