This morning I tweeted a quote I thought I’d remembered from Goethe.
I said: ‘Goethe was right. When you start something it has magic in it.’
This comment was alluding to the fact that I have dithered for months about which book to write next. I have four possible choices and now, finally, have made up my mind to write the third book in my ‘The Lost King’ series.
I was happy and ploughing ahead with the book so I idly tweeted the reference to Goethe.
This afternoon I thought I’d better look up the quote and use it more accurately.
I found: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
There you go, this is what I remembered. It has a truth to it and is worth remembering.
But, and it’s a big but, I found the quote in an article which questions whether the words were written by Goethe at all.
I won’t go into the detail because the article is fascinating and I put a link to it at the end of the post.
The author believes that: ‘…the quotation often attributed to Goethe is in fact by William Hutchinson Murray (1913-1996), from his 1951 book entitled The Scottish Himalayan Expedition.’
It makes me wonder what on earth you can believe. I choose to believe this article because it appears scholarly and well-researched. Maybe I’m wrong to do this, of course. But in the world of instant information and the internet I feel increasingly at sea and need some bearings and references and well-argued discussion provides this.
Even in everyday life I wonder; what on earth is the truth? Who has caused the economic woes of the last few years? Are the Greek people being persecuted or, as someone said, getting their just comeback for years of drinking ouzo on the beach. Are there still reds under the beds or have they been replaced by Moslems in the closet or Anglo-American crusaders?
Maybe I should become a Post-Modernist and stop worrying.
I’ve surprised myself that lately, when seeking information, I turn first to Wikipedia. It is not the farrago of nonsense that some people would have you believe. (Although I always triple-check things for my writing research, whatever the source.) A few years ago I would never have looked at Wikipedia to start my research ball rolling. In fact the link to Wikipedia that I’ve highlighted says much the same as the research that I read. Which came first, I wonder.
It’s a changing world all right.
It all reminds me of the old story:
A General sent a message saying, ‘Send reinforcements, I’m going to advance.’ By the time the message had been relayed by a string of messengers it said, ‘Send Three and Fourpence, I’m going to a dance.’
Now, at least I know this was a falsehood, purely for the purpose of entertainment. Or was it?
In the end I’m comforted by the fact that the more information there is available, the more likely I am to find a truth acceptable enough or utilitarian enough for the purpose.
Help, stop, let me off.
Here’s the link to the article.
Tomorrow, I have an interview with author SJA Turney. Honest.