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To Be Rather Than to Seem
"To be rather than to seem" is an English translation of the Sturgis family motto, Esse quam videri. I've loved it ever since I learned it, which was probably when I was studying Latin in high school. Videri is the passive infinitive of the verb videre, to see, so at first I translated it as "to be seen." "To seem" is the more idiomatic translation. It's not hard to see the relationship between them. I love that too.
The subtitle is "A Writer's Education." To Be Rather Than to Seem: A Writer's Education.
I've lived in interesting times and stumbled into interesting experiences; I haven't exactly set the world on fire, but I've put -- I'm still putting -- all those times and experiences together in interesting ways. I trace the ability to do this back to my childhood. Intellectually I was a feral kid. My mother was an alcoholic with no self-esteem whatsoever; my father had had a regimented upbringing and was determined to raise his children laissez-faire. He couldn't, really; is it even possible? Being bright, observant, and the oldest child / oldest daughter, I understood that something was expected of me; I just didn't know what it was. What I learned, in other words, was not what they thought they were teaching me.
I'm pretty well educated, but from the beginning mine has been a "take what you like and leave the rest" kind of mind. It picks and chooses and doesn't take kindly to doctrines and ideologies. So To Be Rather Than to Seem will be anecdotal in structure, organized around incidents that sparked epiphanies and taught me something important about how the world worked. It's going to be fun, and funny too.
I've been posting pieces of the quilt to the bloggery. How they'll fit together I won't know till I'm close to done, and that won't be for a while. Here's a table of contents, in process:
Coffee and High Heels
Comfortable (Washington Area Women's Center I)
How I Became an Editor
Keep Off the Grass
The Most Important Book I Ever Read
My Middle Name
My Teacher, My Car
November 15, 1969
Out of Control
The Spy I'll Never Be
Staff of Life
Why I Moved to Martha's Vineyard
Women's Writing Workshop I
Women's Writing Workshop II