In recent weeks, while typing up scores of quotations from Thoreau on the nature of writing, I started reading some essays by Seamus Heaney. The first one began talking about finding your voice as a writer, finding the words to express yourself, and then I see that I had marked this quotation by Thoreau.
Yes, I am still working hard, and haven’t quite acquired my language yet.
‘How hard one must work in order to acquire his language, – words by which to express himself.’ 29 August 1858
Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 513
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