1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A to Z Blogging Challenge: E is for Emerson and Essays

Image of Ralph Waldo Emerson borrowed from this site
What's the first thing that comes to mind with the word "essay"? Ugh! It's that theme paper I had to write in Composition class, the one where I had to make a point and defend it. No wonder essays went the way of horse-drawn carriages. They're kind of fun to read for nostalgia's sake but not consumed on a regular basis by the reading public. It's more relaxing to do stuff like look for Waldo in a picture than try to see things from another Waldo's (Ralph W. Emerson's) perspective. Take a deep breath and think happy thoughts. Don't tax your brain. It is April, you know, and by now we've all had enough of taxes.

Who writes essays anymore? Actors and musicians are idolized, but other arts are ignored. Yes, writing is an art, even the nonfiction kind. The mind of a writer paints in colors imagined by the reader, with brushes assembled hair-by-hair in experience. That experience can be personal and/or gathered from other writers. A written story continues--while adding to--someone else's story, a thread picked up and added to a skein of yarns:

There is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may think; what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any time has befallen any man, he can understand.

Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent. 

Of the works of this mind history is the record. Its genius is illustrated by the entire series of days. Man is explicable by nothing less than all his history...This human mind wrote history, and this must read it. The Sphinx must solve her own riddle. If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. There is a relation between the hours of our life and the centuries of time...We as we read must become Greeks, Romans, Turks, priest and king, martyr and executioner, must fasten these images to some reality in our secret experience, or we shall learn nothing rightly...

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays (First Series), "History," 1841

What are you taxing your brain with or adding to the skein today?

See A to Z Blogging Challenge for links to more "E's" from Challenge sponsors and other writers.


  1. Thought provoking. Nice E man, I mean word :) If I tax my brain anymore I will explode, so I am giving it a break.

  2. I always learn something new here from you here. What am I taxing my mind with? Terrible back pain because I injured my back. I can hardly move let alone think.

  3. Good morning, W2W! I just realized you are posting every day...I don't get around to reading blogs every day, but I have gone back and read the posts I missed. I will say I am a very lucky woman to have two wonderful daughter-in-laws; some times I think I get along better with them than their husbands:)

    I taught a class in American Lit only a few years during my teaching career, and I remember the kids thought Emerson was pretty dull and hard to understand. I, on the other hand, loved reading him and found myself nodding in agreement at so many things he said. I think I should go back and read a few of his essays again now.

  4. I think I like this challenge better than ABC Wednesday. I didn't realize how long it would take to get through the entire alphabet when you do it a week at a time. Daily seems more do-able.
    I am taxing my brain with Steig Larsson. My daughter has been taxing her brain writing college entrance essays. Ugh.
    Thanks for your visit.

  5. Dear Walk2Write,
    thank you to remind me that Emerson's essays are standing in my book case, too - red linnen, golden letters. I think he is very usable when you need a quote - he said so many interesting things!

  6. We are drowning in essays here between the kids’ homework and my husband’s grading. I do think a well written and argued essay is a work of art. That’s a good example. I’m taxing my mind with laundry, waiting for comments on my manuscript.

  7. I read an Ernest Hemingway post yesterday..and today an Emerson post. Loved both...I don't write essays, but I sure read a lot of them. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Oddly, I used to really enjoy writing essays. There's something about their logical structure I really enjoy!

  9. I am reading a wonderful book of essays, but would have to disturb my lovely wife to get the exact name, so I will try to remember to come back later.

    Great to stop by and see that you too have gotten into the a-z.