Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Thursday 20 November 2014

Keeping My Mouth Shut

I just wrote that and then had to correct it because of a rather delicious Freudian Slip. What I actually typed was Keeping My Mouth Shout.
Lips properly pursed
Photo by James K Barnett

Sometimes I want to shout, and the things I want to shout are the things I should keep my mouth shut about.

Discretion is the better part of valour.

You know it and I know it and our mothers knew it, and that’s why they drummed it into us. They might just have been wrong though. So often, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to read Shakespeare too. Perhaps we could all understand this expression differently.

I have been reading through some blog posts that never made it onto this website. I’ve been reading through some of the posts that I wrote, but decided were probably not for public consumption.

I know that many of my readers like a good snark, and I can’t help exercising my frustrations and opinions here from time to time, and, who knows, maybe my insights, too. I’m also not completely stupid. I know that some of what I think is a little ‘out there’. I know that while I can make good and valid arguments for some of my thoughts and observations, they won’t always be popular. I also know that I risk exposing myself and those close to me with some of the stuff I could write about. I could change the way some of my readers think about who we are and what we do.

I’m on the inside. I could lift the lid on some stuff.

I don’t do it.

At least, I do it and then I hold those blogs in a file marked ‘rejected’ never to see the light of day.

There is no way for me not to be honest in this world. I am essentially congruent in my relationships, and I count my interface with the world through the blog as a kind of relationship. Had I begun the blog twenty years ago I would simply have posted everything I wrote, because I completely lacked filters. Time has taught me that I need them, mostly for my own safety and sanity.

I’m old school... most of the time. I’ve written blogs about all sorts of things, things that I believe. I’ve written about situations and people, about work and life, about sex and politics and religion. I’ve written about all the things we’re told we shouldn’t talk about in polite company. I’ve written about those things, and because I’m old school, I’ve kept those blogs to myself.

I wonder whether Shakespeare wasn’t making a point, though.

The quote I mentioned above comes from Henry IV part i. Prince Hal assumes that Falstaff has been killed on the battlefield. He has not. Falstaff played dead, and when the battle is over, he is alive. Left alone, it is Falstaff who says the line, or something approximating it. But there’s another way to interpret this line. What if it’s a joke. Falstaff is a coward. He is useless to his King and country. He is not brave. Caution does not support courage if caution requires a man to play dead. It’s an excuse. The quote has come to suggest that it’s better to live to fight another day. That’s one interpretation, but it’s not the only one. 

The truly valiant take risks, stand true, throw caution to the wind.

It’s not what our mothers taught us, or their mothers, but for every maxim, aphorism, proverb, phrase or saying there is generally an equally valid opposite. Besides, I think Shakespeare was probably cleverer than that.

Falstaff was a buffoon, a loveable buffoon, perhaps, but a buffoon nevertheless. Sometimes what we need is a hero. Sometimes, fortune favours the brave.

Honestly, I don’t know how brave I am, or when or if I’ll choose to be brave. But you never know, anything’s possible. 

I was surprised by some of the blogs I wrote but didn’t post. Some of them are strong, some of the arguments stand scrutiny and, like it or not, the represent my opinions and my truth. Who knows, maybe some of them will one come dancing into the light. For what it's worth some of them are vulgar, irreverent, and, I think, rather funny. Who knew?

Sometimes the passing of a little time is all that’s required. We’ll see.

1 comment:

  1. I like a bit of "out there", admittedly I've been accused of such. I'm the kinda guy that thinks there's no reason a man can't be a feminist. that said, I'm sure at various stages people were clicking that unfollow button ... ;)

    I think it comes down to energy and the greater good. if some greater good can come of it, then I'll put in the energy. if it's just me complaining about something that bothers me, well, I'm not sure that's enough to make it worth bringing to everyone's attention, even though it seems like the thing to do.

    as wise people say, writing is for the readers, and in this case, you get to be the only reader, so those blogs must be for you, more than us :D