"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Saturday 25 March 2017

Not doing Nothing anymore

Facebook has been good to me, so I won't slam it. However, it can be very annoying sometimes with repetitious views of the same thing - over and over. 

Some months ago, someone who knows me very well sent a message with this quote: 

"Promise me you'll always remember that you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

As beautiful as it is, somehow it didn't feel like A.A. Milne, but every search I did insisted that indeed it is - until today. Wanting to find out which of Milne's books it was from, I found this article that told me. The author of the article, Pat Morden, did some research and discovered that the words above were not authored by Milne at all, but by some uncredited writer, working for Disney. The illustration above is a Disney creation as well. Now, let's be really clear about something; I do not dislike Disney or the cartoons or the movies. However, as Pat puts it so well, "the Disney piece is ideal for Facebook—sentiment neatly tied up with a bow."

The illustration below (or decoration as it says in the book), is by Ernest H. Shepard and is from The House at Pooh Corner*. I find it equal to the heartfelt words Christopher Robin says to Pooh as he is saying goodbye at the end of the book:

"Then, suddenly again, Christopher Robin, who was still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out “Pooh!
“Yes?” said Pooh. 
“When I'm - when -- Pooh!
“Yes, Christopher Robin?
“I’m not going to do Nothing any more.”
“Never again?”
“Well, not so much. They don’t let you.”
Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.
“Yes, Christopher Robin,” said Pooh helpfully.
“Pooh, when I’m – you know – when I’m not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?”
“Just Me?”
“Yes, Pooh.”
“Will you be here too?”
“Yes Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh.”
“That’s good,” said Pooh.
“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I’m a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded.
“I promise,” he said.
Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh’s paw.
“Pooh,” said Christopher Robin earnestly, “if I – if I’m not quite – ” he stopped and tried again – “Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?”
“Understand what?”
“Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!”
“Where?” said Pooh.
“Anywhere,” said Christopher Robin.

So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing."

*Copyright, 1928, by E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 


  1. Very powerful words, very powerful indeed..

  2. The sense of premonition and loss is too immediate and, as Abigale says, powerful for words from me. I will just sit and absorb. Thank you Halle, for this and all you have written.

    1. Thank you for travelling along the way and for all you have contributed; so much - more than you will ever know dear Tom.

  3. Disney ruins everything by trying to pin an uplifting moral on it.
    CR's slight sense of embarrassment at the end is far more affecting and English - at least for this English reader of a certain age.
    I'm a big Pooh fan (although I'm probably more of an Eeyore by temperament).
    I have a whole shelf of the Milne books and poems, plus a number of others such as Frederick Crews' brilliant lit-crit spoof The Pooh Perplex.

    1. We are living in sad times Susie. For many, the subtleties of Milne and others writing not so very long ago are wasted. Disney's version is much easier to digest.

  4. "Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day."
    - A.A. Milne

    Much of great value is being lost in our high speed society. When children are taught to learn the central literature of their people, or, in literate cultures, to read and understand it, their imagination is getting a very large part of the exercise it needs. A child who does not know where the center is - where home is, what home is - that child is in a very bad way.

  5. After reading your post today, I couldn't do any more than the one liner, as I had a lump in my throat.
    Later I dug out my copy of Tao Te Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.

    Here for Susan.
    By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, "There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”

    "While Eeyore frets ...
    ... and Piglet hesitates
    ... and Rabbit calculates
    ... and Owl pontificates
    ...Pooh just is."
    ...Like Tom. :-)

    And my favorite:
    "Rabbit's clever," said Pooh thoughtfully."
    "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit's clever."
    "And he has Brain."
    "Yes," said Piglet, "Rabbit has Brain."
    There was a long silence.
    "I suppose," said Pooh, "that that's why he never understands anything."

    1. Need I say more? I think not.

    2. My go-to quote for dealing with consultants.

      Although in this house, "Christopher Robin, I think these are wrong sort of ...." comes very close to being a meme.

  6. Oh! I think I must hie to the kitchen, pour a glass of quality ale, and raise it to you all! Prost!