Words Are Art, Translatable

I think often “what’s the use of writing?” Writing is not commonly considered among the arts for display. Writers have no chiseled stone, no colored brush strokes, no light-tinted emulsions or choreography to hold up for the world–or themselves–to see what they’ve created.

Then I came across Mr. Thoreau’s point of view, and may need to rethink my assumptions:

A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. It may be translated into every language, and not only be read but actually breathed from all human lips; — not be represented on canvas or in marble only, but be carved out of the breath of life itself. – H D Thoreau

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I’m sure glad you came across that encouraging quote. Very true words. We all are able to get pleasure from the art of writing, unless we are illiterate. So, keep it up, wordsmith.