That that is, is

Writers striving to become better writers must navigate their way through a challenging collection of (often contradictory) rules. Things like:

  • avoid clichés/clichés bring dialogue to life
  • shun adverbs/diligently
  • find your muse/there is no such thing as a muse
  • write what you know/what you know is boring so use your imagination 

Two important rules I hear often are:

1. remove “that” from your writing as often as possible
2. the verb “to be” is a weak verb.

These are two excellent rules ­that I usually obey. And often break.

So it was with some relief that I read the quote that formed the title of this post: “That that is, is” penned by none other than . . .  Shakespeare.

This gives me hope.

Shakespeare took two of the weakest constructs in the English language and combined them to create something powerful. From this I learn:

1. Sometimes it’s a good idea to break the rules.
2. The smallest among us, working together, become one powerful unit.

This liberating knowledge takes the pressure off. I don’t have to be Superwoman to make a difference. I can be just plain old me working with other plain olds to make a powerful statement.

As Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.”

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