I told you in the course of this paper that Shakespeare had a sister; but do not look for her in Sir Sidney Lee's life of the poet. She died young--alas, she never wrote a word. She lies buried where the omnibuses now stop, opposite the Elephant and Castle. Now my belief is that this poet who never wrote a word and was buried at the crossroads still lives. She lives in you and in me, and in many other women who are not here tonight, for they are washing up the dishes and putting the children to bed. But she lives; for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh.
It is hope--with regard to our careers, our love lives, our children, our politicians, and our planet--that is primarily to blame for angering and embittering us. The incompatibility between the grandeur of our aspirations and the mean reality of our condition generates the violent disappointments which rack our days and etch themselves in lines of acrimony across our faces.
Here's a funny question: What is your favorite word? Think about it—maybe it's a word that makes you absolutely happy, or a word that sounds gloriously beautiful, or a word that evokes awe and wonder. Maybe you are reminded of a great time when you hear it, or maybe it represents your life's dream. So, what is it? What is your favorite word of all words? Thought about it yet? Good. And now, think why.
Betsy was so full of joy that she had to be alone. She went upstairs to her bedroom and sat down on Uncle Keith's trunk. Behind Tacy's house the sun had set. A wind had sprung up and the trees, their color dimmed, moved under a brooding sky. All the stories she had told Tacy and Tib seemed to be dancing in those trees, along with all the stories she planned to write some day and all the stories she would read at the library. Good stories. Great stories. The classics. Not Rena's novels.
If you hold a candle close to you, its flame rises. And if you hold it away from you, its flame shrinks. The same way you hold a candle close to you, keep all your plans, aspirations, projects, and dreams close to you too. Do not share your plans or goals until you complete them, because as you hold your candle away from you, your goals will shrink in the eyes of others. Envy, jealousy, and resentment will put out your flame before it grows.
I do not doubt the ability of mankind to aspire to lofty ideals and the most pristine of principles. But what I doubt is the willingness of mankind to incur the sacrifices involved in moving from aspiring these things to actually embracing them. And in such a conundrum as this, I would suggest that to stop at ‘aspiring’ and never move to ‘embracing’ is without a doubt the greatest sacrifice of all.