Good Blazing Fires.

As a fan of both lists and letters (and words in general), I'm a devoted follower of Shaun Usher's brilliant blogs, Letters of Note and Lists of Note. (I've got the former to thank for introducing me to this life-changing letter by Ted Hughes, which I wrote about here.) In today's letter, which dates back to the early 19th century, English writer Sydney Smith offers Lady Georgiana Morpeth a list of tips on how best to tend to her depression. It's a wonderful list and a wonderful letter; below are the first five suggestions. Find the full text on Letters of Note, here.

1st. Live as well as you dare.
2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you the slight sensation of cold,  75° or 80°.
3rd. Amusing books.
4th. Short views of human life - not further than dinner or tea.
5th. Be as busy as you can.

The 18th, however, is my favorite: Keep good blazing fires.

I also love this (unrelated) quote from Smith: "Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything."

Visit Letters of Note and Lists of Note for more. I'll be taking tomorrow off to celebrate the Fourth, but will be back with a new POV post on Friday. Have a lovely holiday!

Photos by Max Wanger.


  1. he's so right, don't you think? love your blog, always thought provoking! thank you

  2. he's so right, don't you think? love your blog, always thought provoking! thank you

  3. Oh my I cannot get enough of lists. Is that one of those annoying generational things? I don't care. Love them. Glad you shared, can't wait for Friday!

    Happy 4th! xo

  4. I love how it's not overly ambitious... the last thing a depressed person wants to hear are tips on being happy or how to cheer up.

  5. Thanks for introducing me to Letters of Note! I have now added it to my Knowledge tab on my internet browser. :)

  6. Oh oh oh!! I just love this!! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. I love this list! I also love that top photo. So much joy in those two little hands!

  8. thank you so much for sharing this.

  9. Emily, thank you, thank you!

    Ren, it's the best!

  10. That's such wonderful advice--thank you for sharing!



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