I have long been a great fan of Admiral Sir John Arbuthnot Fisher (1840-1919).
He was a firebrand, peppering his letters with Biblical quotes, multiple underlinings, different coloured inks. Along the way he invented the abbreviation ‘OMG’, first used in a letter he penned to Winston Churchill in 1917.
As British First Sea Lord from 1904, Fisher was responsible for introducing both the dreadnought and the battlecruiser. He habitually arrived at work at 4.00 am, vigorously pour his energies into the tasks in hand, and would often parade around the offices bearing the sign ‘I have no work to do’.
The Royal Navy wasn’t called ‘the fleet that Jack built’ for nothing.
He spoke as he wrote. ‘Fisher,’ King Edward VII is reputed to have once said, ‘will you leave off shaking your fist in my face.’
One of Fisher’s favourite sayings – immortalised on the bust carved by Epstein – is starkly poignant ‘The —- with today. What’s happening tomorrow?’
It is, I think, an apt point we could all do well to consider, as we write. What direction are we going in – and how can we make things more exciting tomorrow?
Have you written anything to shake things up lately?
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013