My one and only regret as a maritime writer

by | Feb 27, 2024 | Uncategorized

Aften. Melankoli I ( Evening. Melancholy I), 1896
Colour woodcut by Edvard Munch
Photo © Munchmuseet / Halvor Bjørngård
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Munchmuseet.

“Of all fruitless errands, sending a tear to look after a day that is gone is the most fruitless,” wrote Charles Dickens in his novel Nicholas Nickleby. How so true. Yet, how many of us have not run the errand Dickens spoke of? As a maritime writer, I’ve had only one regret which I fortunately jettisoned after some soul-searching.

I regretted that I gave praise to some individuals and organisations that did not deserve it. To be honest, It took me a while to realise that I had mistaken appearance for reality.

“All that glitters is not gold,” reads a line from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice (Act 2, Scene 7). I was a fool to ignore the admonition. In some cases, I wrote positive things about the subject of the article, not to curry favour, but simply to make some people happy. I thought that in doing so I would earn some good karma.

That was kind of silly. The upside of committing these errors of judgement is that I have learned three precious lessons about being a writer: 1) Do not concern yourself with being liked or disliked by your readers. Writing is not a popularity game; 2) Look beyond the appearance. Things are not always what they seem and words spoken are not always the complete truth; and 3) Write sincerely and never forget the power of empathy.

~ Barista Uno

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