That that is, is

Writers striving to become better writers must navigate their way through a challenging collection of (often contradictory) rules. Things like:

  • avoid clichés/clichés bring dialogue to life
  • shun adverbs/diligently
  • find your muse/there is no such thing as a muse
  • write what you know/what you know is boring so use your imagination 

Two important rules I hear often are:

1. remove “that” from your writing as often as possible
2. the verb “to be” is a weak verb.

These are two excellent rules ­that I usually obey. And often break.

So it was with some relief that I read the quote that formed the title of this post: “That that is, is” penned by none other than . . .  Shakespeare.

This gives me hope.

Shakespeare took two of the weakest constructs in the English language and combined them to create something powerful. From this I learn:

1. Sometimes it’s a good idea to break the rules.
2. The smallest among us, working together, become one powerful unit.

This liberating knowledge takes the pressure off. I don’t have to be Superwoman to make a difference. I can be just plain old me working with other plain olds to make a powerful statement.

As Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on January 21, 2011, in good faith, outreach, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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