Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thine Own Self

Zestful Blog Post #187

Before today’s post, I want to give a shout-out to one of our own, Stanley Walek. Big Stan is a friend, client, Zestful Blog reader and comment poster, and as of recently, he’s an author. If time travel, archaeology, ancient British history, ventriloquism, science, and off-kilter humor hold any interest for you, check out Paxton's Worlds. Congratulations, Stan!

The latest Writer’s Digest magazine (January 2017) is out, featuring a piece by yours truly, “21 Ways to Pivot Your Plot.” Here’s Editor-in-Chief Jessica Strawser’s blog about the issue. The theme is “Write That Novel!”, most appropriate for the New Year, I say. Lots of good stuff in there.

Was honored to have some of my work mentioned in a roundup of ‘best’ story writing advice by Jane Friedman recently. She’s put together quite a bouquet of sound material in that list, if I say so myself, so consider looking in on it.

OK. Today’s post is a pushback against Shakespeare abuse. The other day I heard somebody say ‘To thine own self be true,’ to justify some little selfishness or other, and it made me mad, because that’s the opposite of what Shakespeare really said. The quotation is incomplete.

I remember my mother discussing this once, when I was about nine. She was attending college to become an English teacher, so naturally she was studying Shakespeare. One day she was sitting with a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, musing, maybe more to herself than anything, about people screwing up this quotation. Then she must have noticed me standing there, and recited the full passage:

[from the cover of my old Kittredge edition]

“This above all—to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night to day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

The play is Hamlet, the speaker is the ill-fated Polonius, and he’s finishing up giving a bunch of life wisdom to his son Laertes.

Buddha would approve. Good advice for children of all ages! I remembered that moment with Mom all these years.

Do you have a Shakespeare defense story to share? What do you think? To post, click below where it says, 'No Comments,' or '2 Comments,' or whatever.

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  1. It's "Lay on, MacDuff." Not "Lead on, MacDuff."

  2. Right you are! It's about fighting, not following.

  3. thanks for your encouragement ur post did inspire me thanks .
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  4. I like that he uses a female pseudonym. My, how times have changed.


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