Saturday, September 22, 2007

There must be some misunderstanding

As you've probably noticed, I enjoy quotations by famous people, as well as quotes from readers, pro and con, that express your opinions on The Burning Taper. You've no doubt noticed the Masonic quote generator at the top of the page and the quotes from readers in the sidebar.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of my philosopher-heroes, said, "To be great is to be misunderstood."

I don't think I'm great, but I do sometimes feel misunderstood. Perhaps H. L. Mencken's words more aptly fit me: "Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood."

I hope that occasionally what I write here "afflicts" you with ideas, that I give you pause, once in a while, to think about something in a new way.

In spite of having a flat tire today, it's been an exceptional week. I've had some wonderful moments with old friends, and made some great new friends as well, and survived four major airports. Business is looking up. Things are going well, and the future looks bright.

A few minutes ago I discovered that while I've been out of town this week, a fellow writer did a review of The Burning Taper on his blog, A Partir Pedra, which means "To Break Rock." His article is written in Portuguese, which I don't speak or read. Fortunately, the Babel Fish translator helped me make sense of what Rui Bandeira wrote about the Taper.

He said: "Widow's Son é um maçon que cultiva a polémica — mas respeita as opiniões alheias —, fomenta a discussão — mas pretende-a esclarecedora — e defende com intransigência — mas com espírito democrático — as suas concepções."

That translates, roughly, to "Widow's Son is a Mason who cultivates controversy, but respects other people's opinions; foments a quarrel, but intends it to be enlightening; and defends his intransigent ideals with a democratic spirit."

I like that. I think he's got me pegged. It's nice to be understood by someone from another country, who doesn't speak English as a first language. But I won't let it go to my head. I promise to keep afflicting you with ideas that can be misunderstood. Mencken and Emerson would want me to.

You can read (in Portuguese) the article on his blog. Or copy the URL and paste it into the Babel Fish. Be sure to set the language translation for Portuguese-to-English.

Image: Henry Louis "H.L." Mencken (1880-1956)

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  1. "I won't let it go to my head. I promise to keep afflicting you with ideas that can be misunderstood."

    I hope so. Good to have you back, and glad to hear it was a safe trip, sans the flat tire.

  2. You got it right.The translation is good.

    We here on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean we try to follow what bretheren from all over the world have to say.

    You are ( all of you are) wellcome in our blog


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