Politics and the Stirred Heart

Courtesy of Cybershotking (CC BY 2.0)

A writer should concern himself with whatever absorbs his fancy, stirs his heart, and unlimbers his typewriter. I feel no obligation to deal with politics. I do feel a responsibility to society because of going into print: a writer has the duty to be good, not lousy; true, not false; lively, not dull; accurate, not full of error. He should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.

E. B. White, “The Art of the Essay No. 1”

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Her Prodigies in Us

I could never content my contemplation with those generall pieces of wonder, the flux and reflux of the sea, the encrease of Nile, the conversion of the Needle to the North; and therefore have studied to match and parallel those in the more obvious and neglected pieces of Nature, which without further travell I can doe in the Cosmography of my selfe; wee carry with us the wonders, wee seek without us: There is all Africa, and her prodigies in us.

Sir Thomas Browne, Religio Medici

Good Sleighing

One vampire heart was reportedly torched on the Woodstock, Vermont, town green in 1830. In Manchester, hundreds of people flocked to a 1793 heart-burning ceremony at a blacksmith’s forge: “Timothy Mead officiated at the altar in the sacrifice to the Demon Vampire who it was believed was still sucking the blood of the then living wife of Captain Burton,” an early town history says. “It was the month of February and good sleighing.”

Abigail Tucker, “The Great New England Vampire Panic”