Impulsive Writing (07)

To thine own self be true.

Be Honest? Don’t listen to others? Do the right thing? Look out for yourself? What the hell does it mean?

He sat there, looking at the screen. Nothing. No thoughts, no ideas. The only thing he could find in his mind was the faint sound of an aria coming from the apartment downstairs. “Symbolic,”  he thinks. “I’m trying to get my mind wrapped around something said in a dark 16th century Danish castle, and it’s kicked back listening to a sunny 17th century Italian opera.” 

He closed his eyes, leaned back, and gave in to the rich, luxurient sounds from centuries ago.  And in doing so, he understood.

* * *

To thine own self be true? Simple. Ignore the thoughts on top…and listen to the music below.
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7 comments on “Impulsive Writing (07)

  1. Perhaps my favorite quotation, from a character nobody takes seriously, but expressing an idea I try to live by, is “This above all, to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow as the night the day/ Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

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  2. “Perhaps my favorite quotation, from a character nobody takes seriously…”

    My favorite is essentially the same, just simpler: “The less you pretend to be, the more you are.”

    Your mention of “not taken seriously” reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s (Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock) appraisal of Polonius:

    No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
    Am an attendant lord, one that will do
    To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
    Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
    Deferential, glad to be of use,
    Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
    Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
    At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
    Almost, at times, the Fool.

    In my late teens I memorized the entire poem, in part because I was so enamored with that segment, especially the line: “Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse.” (Not to mention several other ‘juicy’ bits scattered throughout that incredibly mouth-watering poem :)

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  3. What about this one, gentlemen?

    “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

    (William, editor’s note: I am not disagreeing with you. When I disagree with someone it manifests itself in the form of glasses, books and shoes flying around, which would anyway be somewhat difficult considering the relative time and space distance between us… [sigh]).

    By the by, my favorite quote:

    “One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.” -George W. Bush

    I’m gonna go look for some pictures in my copy of Orhan Pamuk. Wish me luck!

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  4. “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

    Yes. But only if one’s “own person” is conflicted. Otherwise there’s only one voice, masked or not. Taking it one step further: What’s true to one who’s conflicted is nearly impossible to grasp, no matter how its ‘masked.’

    Put another way, “The more you pretend to be, the less you are.” And the less you are, the more there is to mask.

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  5. You have made this piece much more interesting. I thought I had made my comment and passed on, but your quotation from Eliot brought it back to life, making my identification seem so much more modest (if sincere), and then your drawing Jade in makes it still more promising–perhaps if you work together on “She Dreamed Who She Was” as a short story, you (we) can work together on this as a poem (each being true to him/her self).

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  6. I’m in for the project! I dare say the results will be astonishing to say the least. Oh, and that short story, I’m afraid, will turn into something more of a novelette. Once I manage to take even a bit of time off from work, I will return to writing on it. And I’m anxiously awaiting to see what my William has in store for Jimmy boy (I attempted a reply to that but I was laughing so hard it was beyond impossible). Also pondering on the Easter bunny case these days. If there’s no possibility of getting him out on bail, we’re fucked, I hope you all realize that.

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