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May I quote you?

December 29, 2011

Scanning through the archives of columns I’ve penned in the last year, I failed to find inspiration in a single word I’ve written. Rather than be depressed, I decided to turn to others for pithy comments and have (blind, unfounded) faith that I may say something worth remembering as 2012 unfolds.

There are those in the community who might be surprised to find me at a loss for words, but (believe it or not) it does happen, on rare occasion—and I set out to surf the web seeking divine intervention. Since I could not uncover anything I’ve said worthy of (IMHO) repeating, I began my journey by sifting through what others find quotable.

Ironically, the first words to resonate with me were uttered by someone I’ve never heard of, named Michel de Montaigne. I neither speak nor read French, but I stumbled across an English translation attributed to him ( which reads, “I quote others only the better to express myself.” A college professor once called me “lazy” for quoting others and suggested that I explore “original thought” in future endeavors. Nice. Unwilling to admit that I could be experiencing “writer’s block” (to say nothing of lack of oxygen to the brain) I delved further, feverishly searching for more on the subject (which by now has slipped my mind) at hand. Oh right, the new year.

Once again, a fellow with whom I am unfamiliar popped up. Bill Vaughn, who was (according to an “American industry author, mentor and subject-matter expert” once said, “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” Since “subject-matter expert” seemed ambiguous enough a title for even me to cling to, I embraced Vaughn’s’ musings and read on.

Scrolling down the page, I came across James Agate, who (unbeknownst to me) was a “British diarist and considered one of Britain’s most influential theater critics.” The Delaware Valley Arts Alliance ( gallery curator Rocky Pinciotti once dubbed me the “Baird Jones of the Catskills”, so I feel justified in aligning myself with this Agate guy. (Who was Baird Jones, you ask? Google him...I’m busy.)