1. "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."
  2. He wrote Charlotte's Web
    0c3e146a 4f7c 45d1 a522 e94fb82e5ca2
    "What's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating of flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."
  3. He had a tremendous sense of humor.
    3c8e440b b030 43b4 8c19 7971f70d4f80
    He captioned this New Yorker comic, which is one of my all time favorites and I was so stoked when I learned he wrote it. You also must read his letter to the ASPCA about his allegedly unlicensed dog, Minnie: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/02/she-doesnt-answer-phone.html?m=1
  4. He gave great advice on parenting.
    B847bbdd 47f2 402b a15e c00365c4df11
    "Does she look well?" asked the doctor. "Oh, yes." "Appetite good?" "Oh yes, she's always hungry." "Sleep well at night?" "Oh yes." "Then don't worry…I think she will always love animals. But I doubt she spends her entire life in Homer Zuckerman's barn cellar."
  5. He was an impeccable writer.
    20c58039 64a9 4fcd 9300 ce5d8e7d5ff0
    "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and *White* right? Every word he ever wrote was clear and beautiful. He once said "All writing is both a mask and an unveiling."
  6. He had a rational optimistic outlook and took time to share it with others.
    A662bec7 72ff 4a59 a185 8af62993bee0
    "Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day." http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/01/wind-clock-for-tomorrow-is-another-day.html?m=1 (hat tip to @shaun).
  7. He saw beauty everywhere.
    Beb986c2 2704 4191 b0e1 47671e5fcdb5
    "I'm sorry to learn that Dr. Cranby is revolted by spiders. Probably doesn't meet the right spiders."
  8. His approach was intricate and considered.
    154efda0 58e4 41c8 9b9c 26e8cd292448
    "In writing of a spider, I did not make the spider adapt her ways to my scheme. I spent a year studying spiders before I ever started writing the book. In this, I think I found the key to the story."
  9. He was consciously unselfconscious.
    B964166d 1cc1 4e7d 9343 f6fdadce609d
    "Bashfulness is a form of vanity, the only difference being that vanity is a tendency to overestimate your worth, and bashfulness to underestimate it; both arising from the overindulgence of self-consciousness."
  10. He was a happy socially adept introvert.
    24b92842 f27b 4cae 8fb8 55f1044b1646
    "I move in a desultory society and often a week or two will roll by without my going to anybody's house to dinner or anyone coming to mine, but when an occasion does arise, and I am summoned, something usually turns up (an hour or two in advance) to make all human intercourse seem vastly inappropriate."
  11. He was deeply humanist.
    Aa43ce58 3249 42c7 a0be 1da297e13cfc
    "When we slid the body into the grave, the loss we felt was not the loss of ham, but the loss of pig. He had evidently become precious to me, not that he represented a distant nourishment in a hungry time, but that *he had suffered in a suffering world.*" From "Death of a Pig" http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1948/01/death-pig/309203/
  12. "I knew that what could be true of my pig could be true also of the rest of my tidy world."