New Year's Resolutions, Promises and Chekhov's Gun
|Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1860|
"One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn't going to go off. It's wrong to make promises you don't mean to keep."I suppose writers and livers of life have been thinking about that "rifle" since Chekhov wrote the words in 1889. Writers know that words are precious and should to be used with great care. Using word or object (Chekhov's Gun) to foreshadow what is to come is a very important tool used by successful authors. Those of us that write blogs know a promise made in the title should be delivered in the body of the article. But livers of life can take a different lesson from his warning.
I am talking about any announcement of intent. It might be a threat or a promises or even a New Year's resolutions. The promise (Chehov's Gun) is very like an elephant in the room. No one can take their eyes off it in the expectation of action. At this time of year we are all trying to live up to whatever we resolved to accomplish in 2014...a promise made to ourselves or someone we care about. There that big announcement of intent sits waiting for us to take it up and do something with it. Even the threat to take action can become meaningless if it is not acted upon. Chekhov suggests we have some choices. We can leave the loaded gun in the room unused until it means nothing, renounce it or actually take the action we promised we would. Our actions will say a lot about who we are.
It is just a thought. Have a wonderful day!