“There is no wealth but life.”
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort.”
“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.”
Today, February 8, is John Ruskin’s birthday. Born in 1819, he is widely regarded as the leading art critic of the Victorian Age and as a Renaissance man. His far-ranging writings touched on art, philosophy, and even geology! Here’s my favorite advice from him for making life more lovely and worthwhile:
“Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us yet know, for none of us have been taught in early youth, what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought — proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us — houses built without hands, for our souls to live in.”
Beautiful! “Houses built without hands, for our souls to live in” — isn’t that what we are conjuring up for our readers? Whether we are short stories, plays or novels, we are creating magical spaces were our readers can go to escape or be enriched or educated or enlivened. Even a memoir can transport us to another time and place –and give us the courage to go on — to triumph over our own personal adversities.
How wonderful and important it is to remember the gifts we bring the world as writers! It is we who show our readers the way to the yellow brick road and to the fairy palaces and give them a path through the dark woods of life. Write on!