To write or not to write; that is the question. “Whether it is nobler in the mind . . . .”
Okay! I know I am not very original, but there are worse things I could be, right? Besides, Shakespeare doesn’t have a monopoly on that dilemma, and Hamlet won’t mind having his private thoughts quoted.
Winter is here in earnest. Well, as earnest as it gets in this part of Georgia. We toy with winter weather all through November, December, January, February and March. Colder parts of the country scoff at our mild winters, so we have little to say to those folks during these months. When summer comes we will talk nonstop about our heat and humidity.
Until then, we will lay low (as they say), and hope that no ice or snow inundation brings us into the national spotlight, thereby exposing us to ridicule from the Winter Warriors who are accustomed to braving harsh elements unimaginable to us southerners. We don’t like being a laughingstock for the northerners who think of our winter as something approximating their spring.
A New Year has begun, of course.
If you are a resolution maker you have no doubt already formed Your Ten Commandments and subsequently broken at least one of them within the first weeks of the term. Setting goals is difficult enough (for many of us); indefatigably working toward them is on a whole other level.
But one of my goals is to continue to write . . . “in season and out of season” (to borrow a phrase). That is, when I want to and when I don’t.
The Lion in Winter, of course, was a 1966 play written by James Goldman, popularized even more by the 1968 film starring Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. It is set in 12th century England and chronicles some of the exploits (some fictional, some not) of Henry II.
Among the themes one could use to describe this play the theme of pervasive prevarication is appropriate. Lying.
This is the year for another presidential election in the United States. And so, we have all prepared ourselves to hear a great deal of lying this winter and in the months to come. I’m not sure there is more lying in the months leading up to an election, just that we tend to be more keenly aware of it because potential candidates try to bring it to light.
It is easy to look for inconsistencies in the statements of presidential candidates, even fun to point out possible prevarication. There must be something of the aspiring-word-detective in all of us; we do get a bit of satisfaction from noting the fallacies. We like to think we cannot be fooled, and we like others to think it about us, too.
What we definitively DO NOT like, however, is to closely monitor OUR OWN prevaricating. THAT . . . we will tolerate to no end. We resolve, and then we give up; we set goals, and then we abandon them; we dream dreams, but we never wake up in them.
There is little growth. Little change. Little improvement. Precious little transformation.
We talk. But we do not take ourselves seriously. We do not even listen to what we say.
The very real danger is that we will create a society or a culture where a man or woman’s word is no longer his/her bond, where one cannot be trusted to fulfill his/her obligations, where government can just as easily be expected to cheat or lie as any individual, and where child behavior and education are stymied by the prevailing looseness we endure under the rubric of “freedom.”
I will observe the various presidential candidates as they parade about this year, and I will vote on November 8, 2016, making the most responsible decision I can muster. I hope you will do the same. It makes a great deal of difference in our nation.
But far beyond the importance of the presidential election and the trustworthiness of the candidate who is chosen for that position for the next four years . . . is the surpassing importance of your trustworthiness and mine.
I am, in fact, the most significant force to influence the integrity of my family, those closest to me. And so:
- I will take my promises seriously.
- I will avoid making glib remarks.
- I will admit when I have failed to keep numbers 1 & 2.
No matter how outlandish Donald Trump sounds, no matter how deceptive Hillary Clinton appears, no matter what any persons in high positions espouse, my main focus this winter and in the months to come will be on my own words. My own goals. My own resolutions.
Unlike Henry II.
Unlike anyone around me who is content to live in a world of pretense, and who does all he/she can to create a following, an entourage of the misinformed.
I will write. And I will tell the truth.