You Get to Keep Your Hand

Posted: August 16, 2010 in Articles, For Writers
The Crown jewels at The Tower of London

Image by Edgley Cesar via Flickr

All writers who are slightly afraid to put pen to paper should write in memory of John Stubbs.

John Stubbs was a committed Englishman, loyal to his queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I. He wrote one little pamphlet challenging a possible marriage between Her Highness and the King of France’s brother.

And with one smack of the butcher’s cleaver, poor John Stubbs’ hand came off.

He’s lucky he only lost his hand; Elizabeth’s original sentence for the opinionated Englishman was the loss of his head.

I draw attention to this story because I know too many people with stories to tell who won’t sit down and write them. They fear failure or criticism, or they think their grammar isn’t good enough or their structure is lacking, or they rationalize that good writing is best left to the pros. Some have even written before and are worried they can’t replicate their previous good work.

To them, I say: Pull out a private notebook, start a blog, or Tweet like crazy. Your voice should be heard, no matter what.

And unlike John Stubbs, you get to keep your hand.

If you dig British literature and stories like this one about John Stubbs, check out my completely nerdy blog about my journey through the Norton Anthology of English Literature. Or, if you just like John Stubbs, his Wikipedia entry is really informative.

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review


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