“Why can’t somebody give us a list of things everybody thinks and nobody says, and another list of the things that everybody says but nobody thinks?”—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Now that is an interesting question I hadn’t seen asked by anyone before until perusing the works of American physician, poet, professor, lecturer, and author Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. Born in 1809 in Boston, Holmes was a member of the Fireside Poets, whose fellow members proclaimed him “one of the best writers and thinkers of our day.”
Those would probably be throw-away words except for the fact that the other writers doing the proclaiming were Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier and James Russell Lowell, all of whom wrote some of the most memorable and thoughtful pieces of American literature and poetry.
One of the most popular poets of the mid-19th Century, Holmes was encouraging to all who liked his writings and sought his advice, telling them not to hesitate in their creativity. If you have creative things to say, then say them, he often advised.
“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so?” he asked. “Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. And before they know it, time runs out.”
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