Days The Writing Stopped

Four hundred years ago this week, it was a sad time in the history of literature. April 22-23, 1616 the two most important writers in Spanish and English history died.

First, Miguel de Cervantes, best known for Don Quixote passed away. He had a substantial and lasting imprint on the Spanish language. He wrote novels, plays and poetry, making Spanish one of the “romance” languages of the world.

The next day, William Shakespeare died. The English playwright, poet and actor regarded as the most important figure in English literature and the greatest playwright who ever lived. His works are still studied in every country on the planet.

Why is this important?

If you believe writing and books to be some sort of “avocation” only to make a little money or express your personal creativity, you are dangling your feet in the kiddie-pool, believing you are actually swimming.

You don’t need to swim in the deep end to find meaning and purpose, but knowing that the writing of books is more than your words on your paper will develop a healthy appreciation and perspective.

In the less-deep end of the pool, books can make people laugh, give great help, communicate important information or great recipes for wonderful meals.

In the deep end, books absorb the greatest thinking and insight the world has ever known, even the thoughts of the creator God of the universe were captured in mere words, although within the limits of finite human understanding.

Today let’s briefly swim in the deep end by reading the words of two of the greatest of all time, Miguel and William, who changed the world with their writing:

From reading too much, and sleeping too little, his brain dried up on him and he lost his judgment.
Miguel de Cervantes

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
William Shakespeare

It is one thing to praise discipline, and another to submit to it.
Miguel de Cervantes

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
William Shakespeare

Truth will rise above falsehood as oil above water.
Miguel de Cervantes

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
William Shakespeare

Modesty, tis a virtue not often found among poets, for almost every one of them thinks himself the greatest in the world.
Miguel de Cervantes

God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.
William Shakespeare

Those who’ll play with cats must expect to be scratched.
Miguel de Cervantes

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare

He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses his courage loses all.
Miguel de Cervantes

The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.
William Shakespeare

God bears with the wicked, but not forever.
Miguel de Cervantes

Boldness be my friend.
William Shakespeare

Thou hast seen nothing yet.
Miguel de Cervantes

Words, words, mere words, no matter from the heart.
William Shakespeare

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

14 Responses to Days The Writing Stopped

  1. Jackie Layton April 19, 2016 at 4:04 am #

    What a beautiful post. My one word for 2016 is bold, so your Shakespeare quote on boldness made me smile.

    Congratulations on Gilead Publishing!

  2. Angie Dicken April 19, 2016 at 5:41 am #

    As I write today, I look back and realize that my brief acting career was not in vain, because I had the opportunity to immerse myself in Shakespeare’s writings, thanks to my high school drama teacher. That has shaped me as an author in so many ways. The sixteenth century playwright has inspired me often while I write novels…he even shows up in them on occasion. 🙂
    While I was researching for a novel a couple of years ago, I ran across a mind-blowing fact–1700 words that we use today are attributed to Mr. William Shakespeare! He certainly was an important man in literature and beyond!
    Thanks for this post, and I enjoy also reading quotes from Cervantes who I haven’t read as much.

  3. Steve Hooley April 19, 2016 at 5:43 am #

    Great words. Great thoughts to motivate us to swim in the deep end (or at least move us in that direction).

    Congratulations on your new publishing endeavor!

  4. Sue Faris Raatjes April 19, 2016 at 5:48 am #

    Language is powerful. I taught works from both of these men in the high school classroom. Every time, I discovered new inspiration. I enjoyed this post.

  5. Jeanne Takenaka April 19, 2016 at 6:53 am #

    Such an insightful post, Dan. This spoke to me: “…knowing that the writing of books is more than your words on your paper will develop a healthy appreciation and perspective.” It’s important to remember that broader perspective as we (I) put words onto the screen. I don’t think I’ll ever be as well regarded as Cervantes and Shakespeare, but I can aspire toward that end.

    I wanted to pick one quote from what you shared and call it my favorite, but there are too many good ones. 🙂

  6. Peter DeHaan April 19, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Thanks for sharing these great quotes, Dan. They give us much to consider.

  7. Norma Brumbaugh April 19, 2016 at 7:46 am #

    This is proof that words are powerful. Loved reading the quotes. As a teacher, I often posted quotes on the walls of my classroom. Shakespeare was a fav.

  8. Bodie Thoene April 19, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    Beautiful and true thoughts , Dan! May we swim in the deep deep sea of words which change our world for eternity!
    All the Thoene clan are praying great blessing for you and Susan with Gilead!
    Love you, bud.

  9. Georgiana Daniels April 19, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    The death of two greats really did make for dark days! Up until a few years ago I hadn’t read Cervantes. That Don Q. was one quirky dude!

  10. Linda Riggs Mayfield April 19, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    More than 20 years have passed since I last taught Shakespeare, and then the curriculum only included Othello. Last week a student where I volunteer as a tutor needed help with interpreting a section of Romeo and Juliet. I felt totally inadequate for the task, but soon discovered that for both student and tutor, the Bard’s words seemed to come alive with meaning as we read them aloud, and the young man was able to complete his assignment. This reminder from you today demonstrates the power and timelessness of well-chosen words. Both heady and humbling for a writer! Thanks!

    And also, congratulations on the new endeavor!

  11. Jenelle M. April 19, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

    Oh man, such beauty in those quotes.

    I don’t want to swim in the deep with my writing, it’s not where I belong and I know that. Shakespeare’s quote hit home for my writing journey. I need to make sure I’m keeping the face God has given me. Why would I want to be anyone else anyway when I’m so uniquely created?

  12. Sheri Dean Parmelee April 19, 2016 at 3:34 pm #

    While I agree that those two writers were absolutely outstanding, I would argue (like the character “Flight” from the movie Apollo 13) that “our best days are ahead of us.” Like Esther, we are all here “for such a time as this.” We are in the circumstances that God has planned for us, if we are in His will for out lives. Who knows what lies ahead? I wake up excited and thrilled to greet the new day. Like I tell my college students at the College of Southern Maryland, I am so happy to be with them that the alarm rarely wakes me up on days I teach face-to-face classes, even after ten years of teaching there.

  13. Karen Sargent April 20, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    Love your tribute to the Hard Bard! My seniors are enjoying Macbeth this week, and I’m enjoying my seniors as they analyze character, motive, and the downfall of a tragic hero. Timeless words and themes…

  14. Michael Emmanuel April 22, 2016 at 10:29 am #

    This afternoon, I helped my mum in typing out questions based on ‘Othello’. Then I realized the book was written over four hundred years ago when there was no electricity, no internet, no email, no author’s blog to encourage, no platform out there waiting for the book, no writing group, no critique circle, nothing…. It was just Shakespeare, his lamp, and his work. The world of English and Literature wouldn’t be this if he didn’t spend himself… And it makes me conclude that no matter the discouragement, lack of help, demoralizing followers, there’s no excuse in my way.
    While I should not think myself as the next ‘great guy’, I have to do my quota. End of story.

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