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May I quote you?


December 29, 2011

Scanning through the archives of columns I’ve penned in the last year, I failed to find inspiration in a single word I’ve written. Rather than be depressed, I decided to turn to others for pithy comments and have (blind, unfounded) faith that I may say something worth remembering as 2012 unfolds.

There are those in the community who might be surprised to find me at a loss for words, but (believe it or not) it does happen, on rare occasion—and I set out to surf the web seeking divine intervention. Since I could not uncover anything I’ve said worthy of (IMHO) repeating, I began my journey by sifting through what others find quotable.

Ironically, the first words to resonate with me were uttered by someone I’ve never heard of, named Michel de Montaigne. I neither speak nor read French, but I stumbled across an English translation attributed to him (www.speaking-tips.com) which reads, “I quote others only the better to express myself.” A college professor once called me “lazy” for quoting others and suggested that I explore “original thought” in future endeavors. Nice. Unwilling to admit that I could be experiencing “writer’s block” (to say nothing of lack of oxygen to the brain) I delved further, feverishly searching for more on the subject (which by now has slipped my mind) at hand. Oh right, the new year.

Once again, a fellow with whom I am unfamiliar popped up. Bill Vaughn, who was (according to www.thinkexist.com) an “American industry author, mentor and subject-matter expert” once said, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Since “subject-matter expert” seemed ambiguous enough a title for even me to cling to, I embraced Vaughn’s’ musings and read on.

Scrolling down the page, I came across James Agate, who (unbeknownst to me) was a “British diarist and considered one of Britain’s most influential theater critics.” The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (www.artsalliancesite.org) gallery curator Rocky Pinciotti once dubbed me the “Baird Jones of the Catskills”, so I feel justified in aligning myself with this Agate guy. (Who was Baird Jones, you ask? Google him...I’m busy.)