Phaedrus’ “Aesop and the Writer”*

Posted by jlubans on April 13, 2018


(On a bad author's praising himself)

“A man had recited some rotten writings
To Aesop, containing some excessive compliments
To himself, at elaborate, infelicitous length.
So, eager to elicit the old man’s opinion,
He asked anxiously, “Am I being arrogant?
I trust no. I ‘m confident in my talent.
Aesop, exhausted by interminably listening
To such sorry stuff, said in reply,

“I approve of your lavishing praise on yourself.
From no other quarter will it conceivably come.”
As an indie auth
or, a self-promoter and self-booster of his own book - Fables for Leaders - Phaedrus’ words from the first century do sting a bit.
Many reviewers – dismissively unwilling to review an indie book – might turn to Aesop as justification:
“Go right ahead and praise yourself, since no one else is likely to!”
Yes, the truth hurts.
Such are the life and times for the indie author.
But, there is a difference between my book and the “sorry stuff” from the first century.
Most would agree that Fables for Leaders is a beautifully designed (Alise Šnēbaha) and creatively illustrated (Béatrice Coron) book.
My contribution, the content, may not meet your eclectic tastes but the book itself is a splendid object.
In the workplace – since this blog is about working – we may not have self-congratulating authors, but we certainly have a goodly number of people who let everyone know how important they are to the organization, if only it would listen.
Unappreciated, unrecognized.
Alas, so it will be until “praise comes from another quarter”. If that fresh breeze from halcyon fields never springs, you can take pride in doing a good job, whether anyone hits the like button or not.

*Source: The Fables of Phaedrus Translated into English Verse. Phaedrus. Christopher Smart, A. M. London. G. Bell and Sons, Ltd. 1913.

Speaking of moderate self promotion, here’s the Fables for Leaders Library of the Week:
Radford University McConnell Library, Radford, Virginia, USA

“A valuable book.”
And, amidst this noisy tooting of my own horn, comes an unexpected and unsolicited positive note from Creighton University’s distinguished Fr. Fred Carlson Fable Collections:
“I enjoy this book and even find John Lubans something of a kindred spirit. The heart of the book, I would say, is a collection of traditional Aesopic fables. To these Lubans adds a number of things. First of all there are what I would call ruminations, reflecting well on how the fable applies to life. Then there are fables from others, including especially himself. My hat is off to anyone who, after the thousands of fables that have been created in our literary tradition, makes a new one. I do note that Lubans' fables seem longer than the traditional Aesop fables he uses. To these texts are added simple, pleasing silhouettes, like the dramatic gesture outlined on the cover. The book also makes room for personal notes from readers. It all adds up for me to a valuable book. The fables are grouped by themes under seven chapters, with two to eight themes per chapter. Bravo, John Lubans!”

© Copyright John Lubans 2018

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