The challenge came on the Chicago Now Facebook page at 8 p.m. Central Time, as it does once a month for what we call Blogapalooz-Hour. We are to write and publish a post in one hour on a set theme.
Tonight's question, the first I'm free to participate in, is "What keeps you up at night?"
Oddly enough, if I have trouble sleeping, writing usually gets me out of it. But that's my diary, just personal writing for myself. But when I started writing here about what I write about there (whew), I realized that it wasn't the right answer for tonight's post. Things that keep me up at night are too personal.
I don't believe in spreading private stories in my posts, so when I caught what I was doing, I scrapped "writing about what I write about" and decided to tell you why I believe I should not write in public about things I keep private.
The answer comes from "Epistle to a Young Friend," my favorite poem, written by Robert Burns (1759-1796). It's the poet's advice to a younger man, Andrew, even though it ends with
And may ye better reck the rede
than e'er did the adviser!
-- that is, may you better take the advice than ever did the adviser, a sort of eighteenth-century "Do as I say, not as I do." (Reck, of course, is the opposite of reckless.)
Part of the poet's advice is this:
Aye free, offhan' yer story tell
when wi' a bosom crony,
but still keep something to yoursel'
ye scarcely tell to ony.
I might tell a story freely to a bosom crony, a dear friend -- but that freely told story would be just for that person, not for everybody.
I love telling stories, but there are some that I scarcely tell to any, to dare to fix up the Bard's spelling slightly.
(Yes, I said the Bard. The word doesn't apply only to Shakespeare, but that is beyond this post.)
We've lost too much of "keep something to yourself." I don't know how we can get it back, but tonight I'll do my bit, first by keeping my problems to myself -- and secondly, by encouraging you to read the poem. (It's there behind the link.)
So that's enough writing for me tonight. I'm sleepy.
Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.
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