Hope Against Hope You Aren’t Quoting Shakespeare

Tiago Hoisel | Creative Tempest

Tiago Hoisel | Creative Tempest

Made a huge mistake of reading various suggestions on how to become a better blogger, about 172,686,012 articles in all, give and take a few. Now, safely back from my discovery-packed journey to the how-to universe, I found myself incapable of discovery-unpacking.  Waste of time it was, I’ll confess.

My heartfelt advice to fellow bloggers everywhere: To become a better blogger, avoid getting stuck reading other people’s advice, however brilliant, on how to become a better blogger. Just write and post. Or don’t post. Read a book or a clever blog post. Make a mental journey to a parallel universe where you are an unemployable cockroach… to blog about it tomorrow.

If it’s hard to kick the self-help habit, then seek other people’s advice on how to become a better person, follow it and become one… if only to blog about when and if it happens.

In Cicero, Pixels and Synchrophasotron there is a phrase (as they say, quote yourself when not quoting Cicero):

Majority of elemental subjects – time, life, death, children and book writing among them – got a pretty thоrough coverage over the ages, and it is getting harder and harder to come up with a weightier, more profound utterance.

To embellish the point: If something sounds reasonably clever and you are certain Cicero didn’t or couldn’t possibly have said it, then you ain’t quoting Cicero. Very likely you are freely borrowing from Shakespeare, not even being aware of it.  Bernard Levin said it best in his famous passage – one awfully long, impossible to rattle off in 24 seconds sentence. No 24/7 for this baby!

Broken up and formatted for ease of reading, here it is:

 You are quoting Shakespeare

  •  if you cannot understand my argument, and declare “It’s Greek to me”;
  • if your lost property has vanished into thin air;  
  • if you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy;
  • if you have played fast and loose;
  • if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle;
  • if you have knitted your brows, made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony, had too much of a good thing;
  • if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise;
  • if you think it is high time and that that is the long and short of it;
  • if you believe that the game is up even if it involves your own flesh and blood;
  • if you suspect foul play;
  • if you have your teeth set on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the devil his due – you are quoting Shakespeare;  
  • if you bid me good riddance and send me packing;
  • if you wish I were dead as a door-nail;
  • if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot.

If, on the other hand, you insist that your iPad is your best friend and the love of your life, then you are NOT quoting Shakespeare. It’s only if you suspect this makes you sound like a blinking idiot, then you are… quoting Shakespeare.


3 comments on “Hope Against Hope You Aren’t Quoting Shakespeare

    • I think the beast was damaged at birth. And who wouldn’t? Look at his environs – lots’a creepy stuff is going on out there, and he has to concentrate on his game of chess… and smile like mad.

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