“It’s better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”
This statement was quoted by House Beautiful Editor-in-Chief Sophie Donelson in her July/August column. She doesn’t say where the quote comes from, but it probably wasn’t from the book on her nightstand. Of course, she was quoting Melville in reference to home decoration and that is valid I suppose, but poor Herman was talking about something different. Sadly, he knew a lot about failure.
Today is Melville’s birthday, so let’s give some thought to how to celebrate. You could check out this website: Melville’s Marginalia Online, a virtual archive of books owned and borrowed by Melville (1819-1891). Amazing! If you are in New York City, you could take the Melville walking tour. Whatever you do, be sure to wear your Herman Melville t-shirt.
And by that I mean, please don’t. (Maybe Ms. Donelson found the quote on a t-shirt!)
Well, moving on…we have heard a lot lately about the total solar eclipse that will occur around 1 p.m. on Monday, August 21. The last total solar eclipse here in flyover country was in 1442. As you can see, we are right in line for some great viewing!
We have, of course, been reminded ad nauseum to obtain special protective glasses if we plan to watch, so I sent off to Amazon for some of these. Am I cool or what? (Well, the OM is a scouter, so I always try to be prepared.)
Are you wondering how I am going to tie up Herman Melville’s birthday and the total eclipse of the sun? Here is a section of his obit in the New York Times of October 2, 1891:
Sad, sad, so sad.
Discuss among yourselves.