This morning I read for the second time an article clipped from the Wall Street Journal and given to me by a friend, who serves on our Jenner’s Pond library book selection committee. She wrote on a note attached to a book review, “thought of you when I read this.” It was a review titled, Where Earth and Water Parted authored by Gerald Helderich in reference to Aaron Hirsh’s new book, Telling Our Way To The Sea.
Describing Hirsh’s pictorial writing of his personal explorations of the Sea of Cortez and information from John Steinbeck Sea of Cortez adventures, Helderich makes a perfect pitch for persons to read Telling Our Way To The Sea.
I was grateful for my Jenner’s Pond friend cutting out and giving me this book review not only because I have taken people sailing on The Sea of Cortez but also because it reminded me of an important author’s practice of making reference to those who have gone before us in creative ways.
In this review the author makes use of Hirsh’s reference to Steinbeck before him. It helps me as an author to remember and practice this in creative ways not only because Hirsh does this in his book but because memorable practitioners including John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Abraham and Jesus, the Christ, have done so. However, so far as we know, Jesus did not write it down, just filed it in his memory, and pulled it out and used it when ever necessary by mentioning the laws and prophecies before him, whenever and wherever he could use it to help him to give credence and persuasion to his presentation. He noted that he was then not only able to fulfill the law and the prophets but expand and enlarge interest and engage the people with whom he was talking in their own vernacular. Our memorable great presidents did the same thing. John Kennedy reminded the American people to not ask what their country could do for them but what they could do for their country, a saying that originated many years before in ancient Greece.
It’s a practice, my friend reminded me of by reading the article second time which she had given to me with her note. She helped me to practice my own deliveries in talking as a pastor and writing as an author by including the gifts of those who have ventured before me in their exploration, understanding and projection of the subjects I wish to talk and write about. Thanks to my friend, Mary Jane Hofmann.
Another way of looking at this wrinkle which needs to be ironed out whenever talking or writing is what Robert Schuller has said in reference to speaking and writing when he instructed us to give credit to those from whom we have received information or an idea. Claiming credit for something we’ve said or written without giving credit to those from whom we received it, is termed plagiarism. The truth of the matter is that most of us have few if any completely new ideas or understanding. We simply continue to learn from others mistakes and successes as well as our own and we build on them. It behoves us and whatever or whoever we’re talking or writing about to give credit where credit is due.
Frankly, I am humbled to learn that my thoughts and feelings have been thought and felt long before I ever experienced them. Fortunately, I can then enjoy expressing what they said or have written in new significant and hopefully life changing and interesting ways.
Once again thanks for your note, Mary Jane