Some good advice from Horton Foote

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, we hope you’ve gotten the message that we’re not trying to give advice or tell anyone what to do. We just want to give you some interesting information and maybe sometimes a few nudges in the right direction.

We believe firmly that there are no simple answers to life’s complex issues and problems. Each of us has to listen to all of the advice we get from others and then come up with her own advice for herself.  

We recently found some words that express what we mean when we say you have to Help Yourself. Horton Foote, a Texas playwright, was giving advice to other writers, but what he says applies to advice for living your life, too. We’ve taken the liberty of changing the word “writers” to “people” and also “writer” to “person” in this passage.

“Take all the counsel and advice you can get,” Foote says, “but remember, finally, it is you alone in a room….How then can you know what advice to take and to whom to listen? That, too, is something you cannot be told. That is something every person has to discover….Sometimes people are badly advised; they listen to that advice and are harmed. Yet, even then you are learning. Essentially what you are learning is who you are and how you are different from other people. Cherish that difference, not in arrogance, but in humility and in gratitude that you are allowed such differences.”

John Guare, another playwright, used this quote in his foreword to Horton’s book Three Plays.

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