I noted this Plato quote over at SFoxwriting.com, one of my regular stops when jaunting through the interwebs, and I was inspired to rebirth the old weekly quotes posts. It was either that or some kind of crude “hump day” thing each Wednesday, and I’m not some overgrown gone-to-seed frat boy so….
This one makes give me pause to consider not only my blogging penchant, but my entire personality. I mean: ouch.
On the other hand, those of you who know me in the real, non-electrical world must understand why I like ol’ Plato’s look. Very handsome.
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” –Plato
This post originally appeared in Old Road Apples’ very first week of existence. No one noticed it. No one even read it. So, I’m giving it a chance at new life, as I will be doing with other, carefully selected posts in the coming weeks.
Among the students voted “best…” and “most likely to…” for the Senior Class Personalities in my kids’ yearbooks, I noted what has to be the most flattering and impressive designation, “Talks the least. Says the Most.” I can’t think of a higher salute from one’s peers.
Now I’m thinking about the writer Ernest Hemingway.
Hemingway was one of those “gateway writers” who collectively inspired me to study literature and read obsessively. An early selection of my adolescence-generated prose stinks of derivation, but as I stumbled into my pretentious twenties I mocked him along with other, equally unsubtle critics. He ate a sandwich. It was a good, moist sandwich with meat and cheese. The cheese was yellow and good. He had eaten kind of sandwich Nick ate in Italy. I fell in love with bombast, magical realism, what I jokingly called “maximumism.” That passed, too, and I’ve come full circle to recognize the subtle genius behind the man who writes the least and says, or at least edits, the most.
My favorite story about Hemingway involves him sitting around a table, possibly at The Algonquin, with his friends, a few of whom were towering talents in their own right, and betting the house that he could write an entire story with just a few words. His eager companions bade him put his money where he mouth (and pen) was. Hemingway replied with a 6-word novel, hastily scribbled onto a napkin It read:
“For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”
His companions read the words, probably grumbled a little, and paid the man.