Tag Archives: white

Somebody Ought to Know

“There’s a house on a hill where a lady lived that used to keep cats. Along the road the apples are little and yellow and sweet. Puddles dry in the sun, and the mud cakes, and yellow butterflies diddle in the new mud. Cow trails lead up slopes through juniper beds and thistles and gray rocks, and below you the lake hangs blue and clear, and you see the islands plain. Sometimes a farm dog barks. Yes, sir, I returned to Belgrade, and things don’t change much. I thought somebody ought to know.”

– E.B. White

{Frankly, I’m not sure what White’s purpose was in writing this; I found this passage in the highly-recommended “On Writing Well,” a book on writing non-fiction by William Zinsser. I love it because it draws a great word picture, and because he seems to be saying that sometimes we write for the same reason that some painters paint – because we saw something beautiful and feel compelled to share it. To me, that seems to be one of the best reasons to do something creative, as Kipling said, “for the joy of the working.”

{What do you think? Am I missing his point? Is it a good point? Should I read the rest of the essay this comes from?}

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