Achilles or Hector?
Most men they take note, of words that he wrote,
Of Homer, this man with a tale,
Great city, destroy; the story of Troy,
As ships by the thousands, set sail.
Not strange that it be, not all do agree,
On this, most famous oration,
What lessons to learn; what wisdoms, discern,
What things, held high by ovation.
Achilles or Hector, victor … protector,
Of heroes, which one would you choose,
Which one most admire, which one hence aspire,
Achilles you win … if Hector, you lose?
Chose him, the Greeks; Achilles’ mystique,
For Victory … it meant but to win,
Would Athens it laude, this man as a god,
For losing, most mortal of sins.
But others demurred, on the honors conferred,
For them, the laurels misplaced,
More than their lot, was why they had fought,
Hector, his motives more chaste.
Achilles was vain, fought to glory attain,
Hector, he fought for his clan,
Died for his city, and hence would they pity,
… Lesser the soldier, greater the man.
Come might it, surprise; who would Hector apprise,
Of him, they’d write it, a tome,
Include in their lore, descent from the war,
Made Troy … ancestor of Rome.
The Romans opined, how honor’s defined,
And Hector became their ideal,
Ought fate one defy, if fate would have die,
Stand fast … in face of ordeal.
All men can they choose, for things that they’d lose,
Such choice, the lifeblood of life,
In refusal to yield, a truth there revealed,
Defined … are men by their strife.
All men will decide, what find they inside,
Soldier and sailor and farmer,
It’s all about soul, what Rome did extol,
Hector … Good Man under armour.
The Great 10,000 STEEM Delegation Contest, sponsored by @theycallmedan, has come to an end.
It was, without doubt, the most exciting and emotional week of my year on the blockchain. What started as 'just another Steemit contest,' quickly became something dramatically more. In my final contest-related post, I wrote:
The Power House Creatives have a mission: To set the Quality Standard against which all other content will be measured. It is a presumptuous, perhaps even pompous, ambition ... but it is the one by which we live. And so: Our poets strive to be Shakespeare; our satirists, Mark Twain; our musicians, Beethoven or the Beatles.
But, there is an unease that we all feel: In an environment where earning more than $10 (or even $5) on a post pretty much requires buying it with bidbots, perhaps creating quality content simply doesn't matter. And, if quality doesn't matter ... than neither do we. And so, something about this contest has become existential in nature, a desire to demonstrate that we are still relevant. That our banner ... is not but a flag for fools.
And so, the Power House Creatives came alive. Indeed, a I opined in that same article:
My Nominee Group, the Power House Creatives (formerly SteemitBloggers, and listed as such in the poll) is one of the three groups still in the running. To garner votes, we have been jumping through hoops to an extent that is, quite frankly, awe-inspiring. Our Discord Channel is like Allied HQ during the Normandy Invasion.
Alas, we finished second. There were 'voting irregularities' that will, I'm sure, be discussed and addressed before another DPoll Contest is conducted. But there is a time and a place and this is neither. And so, I offer my congratulations to @votovzla on their hard fought victory.
When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going
No one likes to lose and so, admittedly, it was a stinging defeat. A couple of hours prior to the DPoll closing, we were in the lead by fifteen votes. That said, nothing about the outcome negates the transcendent aspects of the experience. My comment on @jaynie's Congratulatory Post:
At some point over the past week, this competition became about something more than winning a 10,000 STEEM delegation. All could feel it, many commented upon it. Somehow, perhaps surprisingly - and certainly unintentionally, a dynamic began to occur which seemed to transcend the competition itself, the figurative overtaking the literal.
In me, it stirred both the soldier and the poet ... and that is a potent thing. To every Member of the Power House Creatives, my brothers and sisters, I thank you for standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the face of overwhelming odds. Your manner of comportment was exemplary and you made me proud to be of your number.
For those that don't know, this is "The Jaynie" you may have noticed frequently referenced. She is the Founder and Commander-In-Chief of The Power House Creatives. Take a look at her profile pic ... she doesn't look all that intimidating, does she?
Go read the poem ... she's the "dog in the fight." This gal's got a spine made of steel.
In the military, you have no choice but to salute people you think unworthy of the honor. People who you do not believe deserve the command they've been given. There are, however, a few that you salute unbegrudgingly. One of the common character traits of such people is that they're not show ponies .... they lead from the front.
Alexander the Great, often argued to be the best general in history (hence, the moniker), was notorious for this. His men followed him ... because HE WENT FIRST. He was the proverbial Tip of the Spear. Hannibal was the same way. Caesar too. And Napoleon.
Jaynie ... you have earned your Right to Command and you have my salute.
Jaynie's Number Two is the irreplaceable and much loved, @zord189. If Jaynie is the iron gauntlet, Zord is the velvet glove. Zord is also a graphic design guru and video-creation magician. And, like Jaynie, is one Hell of a worker.
Thank you @quillfire for this beautiful poem written for this contest! You are what I would call a role model for what quality is all about.
GREAT content creator!
And you are a role model for what leadership is all about. You and Jaynie have done a fantastic job orchestrating this endeavor. You can only ever Take Measure of a Man when the chips are down ... and your performance has been par excellence.
How we've managed to do so well, despite having so many fewer members than the other two still in the race, is astonishing. And, it speaks volumes.
Two more days ... then we can sleep (my subconscious may refuse to wake up). :-)
Given my military background, I have little patience for banal bromides or empty platitudes and the aforementioned sentiments were offered as cold, hard assessments based upon direct observation and the passing of personal and professional judgement. Jaynie and Zord are pros and they have earned the respect that we give them and they salutes they receive.
Jaynie and Zord, of course, worked not alone.
The 'Band of Brothers' phenomenon experienced by soldiers is the result of a shared adversity and a shared fate. Vastly outnumbered, the members of the Power House Creatives closed ranks ... and charged.
Given the ferocity with which we fought, one would have thought there was a million STEEM at stake.
Sleep went out the window. Meals became things about which to remind one another. Posts and videos. Poems and prose. Comments and replies. And DM'ing ... yeah, Discord undoubtedly hates our guts (and rightly so). But, when the odds are twenty-to-one, there can be no rest for the weary.
When The Trumpet Sounds, Ride To The Sound of The Guns
... Finally, I want to announce a surprise for #PowerHouseCreatives.
This could be one of smallest communities in terms of numbers, approximately 100, but the amount of effort and work done by each and every member was quite remarkable. They received 712 votes in total, more than 7 times their total strength ... supported by other communities as well. They have truly given their best to it.
I am delegating 10K to @SteemitBloggers via @appreciator for a span of 6 months until they get more, or equivalent, support. I hope it could help them further grow and flourish.
Bluemist is a Whale and has been a long-time supporter of the Power House Creatives. But there was no reason why he should have felt compelled to make such a gesture.
What can one say in response to such an unexpected generosity ... except Thank You.
And, the generosity of spirit was not exclusive to those associated with the Power House Creatives.
Originally, there were ten Nominee Groups that advanced to DPoll voting. It soon became apparent, however, that seven of the groups were unlikely to win. Two of the groups, @qurator and @freewritehouse bowed out and asked their members who had not yet voted to support the Power House Creatives. While both these groups share our ethos .... the creation and curation of Great Content ... their self-sacrifice for our sake was both noble and noteworthy.
Personally, I intend to encourage PHC collaboration with both. To both groups, thank you. You are Class Acts.
And our debt of gratitude does not end with like-minded communities.
A Personal Debt of Gratitude
Respecting this contest, there is one individual to whom the Power House Creatives is most indebted. Until now, this individual's identity was known only to Jaynie, Zord and myself.
Dan and I are old mates. We're both poets and we even share the same birth date, December 31. And, we're both obsessive compulsive linguists. Dan is an artist's artist, and hence, it's not always easy, or even possible, to understand what the Hell he's talking about (a situation exasperated by his having an IQ at least three standard deviations above normal). And, no one razzes him more about his artistic obscurity than I.
But make no mistake ... Dan is one of the most talented writers on the blockchain. Indeed, as I've written on several occasions, if there was a Big Money Write-Off, in poetry or prose ... the one username I wouldn't want to see in the Participant's List would be @d-pend.
In addition to literary brilliance, Dan is one of the most generous and community-minded guys on the platform.
When Resource Credits replaced bandwidth following HF20, I faced imminent blockchain death. I write with the intent to persuade ... which frequently precludes brevity. And hence, a good portion of my comments are longer than the posts they comment upon ... some by an order of magnitude. Without a word, Dan delegated 250 SP, instantly saving my ass. And, he did the same for others.
Lest things become too laudatory, know that Dan possesses a sadistic sense of humor.
When the DPoll commenced, I immediately DM'd him knowing he had a number of alt accounts (he's devised some 11 dimensional strategy ... somehow involving Voids ... for using the blockchain to save humanity. And I'm only half kidding ... he's a Big Picture guy).
Anyway, days went by with no response. And so, I left a comment on one of his posts:
... BTW ... GO READ your damn DM's (or at least the ones from me)!!! If you don't, I'll DM your Mom and have her kick your ass.
Still, nothing. Finally, on the second-to-last day, he replied to one of my other comments:
Btw, got any good links for me about @steemitbloggers? I did check my DMs a bit today, though I'll get around to responding tomorrow probably :-)
Note the smiley face.
Dan lives on Steemit and he knew exactly what was going on and exactly what I wanted ... but was letting Poor Ol' Quill, that kind-hearted and hard-working plowhorse ... twist in the wind. Soon, Poor Ol' Quill was so flummoxed that he began mixing metaphors.
How many votes do you have? Have you voted for someone else already? Will you vote for us?
Beggars can't be choosers and so I had no choice but to play his game.
... You know, my heart is 51 years old, right?
Toying with your food ...
Alas, being natal day bros ... we share a sick sense of humor. :-)
I know what you're thinking: This was justifiable payback for all the razzing about Voids, obscurity and 11 dimensional strategies ... but what about my old heart? Ought not that have taken precedence? No sleep. Canned Raviolis for breakfast, lunch and dinner. STRESS! STRESS! STRESS!
Anyway, Dan threw all his votes our way but it wasn't enough.
Dan and I are both Male Capricorns which, for those who don't know, means that we'll compete about anything. Who's the best poet? Who's the best satirist? Who can hold their breathe the longest? Throw in an age difference and it quickly becomes the Ol' Dog vs the Young Dog.
The contest may have been over for everyone else but we knew it wasn't yet over for us. As a fellow raconteur ... and an 11 dimensional strategist ... Dan knew I'd be creating a post about the contest ... it was simply too good a story to pass up. And he knew that someone in this story ... was going to become the "Poet-Hero".
Him or me.
Him for contributing his pile of votes (PHC members, remember, two hours before the close when we were up fifteen votes ... @d-pend), or me, for all my poem-posts (here and here and here ... which, BTW, are all still live. So ...). Of course, as a fellow raconteur ... and an 11 dimensional strategist ... he also knew that "Quotes Sell Stories."
And so, to deprive me from "Getting the Last Word" (which is really, really important in storytelling because of two phenomenon: The "Peak/End Rule" and the "Recency Effect." Bottom line: "What you end with" has an enormous impact upon memory, recall and meaning ... and hence, who will become the "Poet-Hero" in people's minds), he DM'd me:
... I was considering delegating 1,000 SP to the group [Power House Creatives] long-term. Just making sure the account I should give it to is @steemitbloggers and not some other account used for voting first. Let me know!
Bastard. That's ... a Good Quote!
Now understand, he knew that I'd have to finish the story strong because the LAW OF BARDS prohibits weakening the ending purely for the purpose of self-aggrandizement. But, as a Male Capricorn, he also knew I'd try to twist things so that I'd be crowned the Poet-Hero. He knew this ... because it's exactly what he'd do.
And so, he had to make sure I couldn't flank him and ... it's much harder to twist two quotes than one. So, on a follow-up DM:
... Actually, I'm thinking I'll do 2,000 SP.
SON ... OF ... A ... BITCH!!! (@violetmed, no offense - metaphorically speaking).
How the Hell does one follow ... THAT!?! If he gets the Last Word ...
Prior QuillFire post:
Do you have a friend? A really good one? If so, you are lucky. They're hard to come by.
Thankfully, you don't need many. One is enough.
If you do have one, once in a while, say, "Thank you for being my friend." Don't add or detract, don't embellish or embroider ... just the way I wrote it. And say it like you mean it.
For some strange reason, that I'm at a loss to explain, these are particularly powerful words amongst human beings. The essence of the effect is, perhaps, primeval. Neither poetry, nor prose, makes them more potent.
If you do it right: It will cost you something to say them; and, they will cost your friend something to hear.
Nothing is free.
Dan ... Thank You For Being My Friend.
@hlezama, Henrry (yes, spelled with two r's), is, without question, the best literary critic on the blockchain ... when he shows up in your comments section, it inspires others to up their game and the level of commentary jumps 15 IQ points. And, although Henrry is a non-anglophone, his command of English, even the High Art forms, exceeds that of most native English speakers ... a fact I find astonishing.
Henrry, too, has an off-the-scale IQ and was, until recently, a professor. I say until recently because Henrry is a Venezuelan and Venezuela is a country on the verge of collapse. Despite his country's team being a competitor in this contest, however, Henrry voted for the Power House Creatives.
As I explained in one of my contest posts:
The members of the Power House Creatives hail from every corner of Earth. Our Founder and Commander-In-Chief, @jaynie, lives in South Africa. Our Number 2, @zord189, lives in Malaysia. I am a Canadian, who lives in the United States.
Others live in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Slovakia, the Netherlands, France, the Philippines, India, Denmark, Sweden, the United States, Uruguay, Canada, Croatia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia.
We are not a group bound by nationality. We are a group bound by an ideal: That to survive, and to thrive, Steemit must be capable of creating "Great Content."
Not "Good Content" or even "Very Good Content."
Poets and writers. Musicians and chefs. Photographers, videographers and visual artists. It matters not the Art Form ... but it matters that it's Art.
Henrry is a thinker and, by conscious decision, an honorable man.
As such, the ideal upon which Steemit is theoretically predicated, that: Content Shall Be Compensated Commensurate With Its Quality ... hence, a Meritocracy, is as important to him as it is to me and the other members of the Power House Creatives. And so, when I asked him to support the Power House Creatives, he did. Indeed, he corralled a few former students as well.
Such willingness to elevate an ideal over parochial interests is typical of the man. Thoughtful consideration of cause and effect, of actions and their consequences. Either you create positive feedback loops ... or negative ones.
Steemit must decide: Merit or Manipulation.
We cannot have it both ways as the latter negates the former.
Last, but not least, my old friend, @girlbeforemirror.
As I've written on countless occasions, Marg is one of the most creative human beings I've ever encountered. I met Marg during @d-pend's 100 Days of Poetry Contest. I'd written a poem, and an accompanying article, about a sonnet form I'd invented (the Savagerean Sonnet), explaining the neurological effects of various literary devices and how I employ them to generate certain neurological effects in my audience.
Marg commented on my post and I began reading her poems and other literary creations. Immediately, I recognized a MASSIVE amount of raw talent and a mentorship quickly ensued. And, I soon discovered that there is no artistic thing that Marg can't do, and do well. Nothing. Poetry, prose, drawing, painting (stuff for which I don't know the name) ... and crocheting (which, I promise you, isn't the same as 'knitting' and which, I promise you, is not a conflation you wish to make.)
Since then, a close friendship has developed and our emails are chapter length. This is a very smart cookie.
Marg, until recently a marathon runner, now suffers from a debilitating illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It just came out of nowhere a couple of years ago. The EDS creates more medical problems than one could possibly dread. And yet, despite it all, Marg still manages to ... albeit, sometimes with difficulty ... rise to the challenge.
There can be no Gilding The Lilly ... her illness creates huge hurdles and 'happy talk' will resolve none of them. It's 'make the best of a bad situation.' Period. Her courage and force of will is ... humbling. She is a wounded lioness who refuses to lie down. That stirs in me, the lion. My personal and professional admiration is such that I once created a Tribute Post in her honor, something I have done for no one else.
For this contest, Marg shoehorned five votes out of her family members and, probably, a few crocheters as well - it's hard to know ... they're a secretive lot.
Honor is Not An Anachronism
It's not a word about which we hear much anymore. And, when we do, it is often bandied about as if it were an anachronism, a relic of a bygone era when people thought the Sun orbited the Earth. But let me suggest that if we do not soon see the elevation of 'honorable ideals,' it will result in the end of the blockchain ... a subject about which I've written extensively.
The actions of the individuals and communities I described in this article share a common theme: They were honorable.
People doing not just what they believed to be 'most expedient,' but what they believed to be 'most right.'
Generosity of spirit. Nobleness of mind. Courage of conviction.
They chose ... Hector.
Achilles or Hector, victor … protector,
Of heroes, which one would you choose,
Which one most admire, which one hence aspire,
Achilles you win … if Hector, you lose?
You guys know the QuillDrill. Be verbose ... but articulate.
And remember ...
Go Love A Starving Poet
For God's sake ... they're starving!