Unless I miss my guess, few people know about William Sidney Porter. He was a guy who loved to write, and he did it over and over again in the course of his lifetime. Wrote lots of interesting things, too. He coined a widely-used term, and wrote a story that just about everyone knows about. But I’ll get to those in a second.
One of the stories that Porter wrote is called Sixes and Sevens and in it, humanity is divided into three groups: Barons, Workers, and Troubadours. Porter then went on to identify anyone reading his story–which he termed “folderol“–as a Troubadour, since Barons had no inclination to read such things, and Workers had no time to do so. Anyone with the time and inclination to spend on reading had to be a Troubadour. And a Troubadour, to Porter, is a person who sings, acts, dances, writes, lectures, or paints. And I’m guilty of the writing part, at least.
So if you already know about Sixes and Sevens, you know that William Sidney Porter is better known by the pen name O. Henry. Porter went to prison for embezzlement, and yet he still continued to write and send his stories to a friend for publication. The writer’s urge was just that strong in him. I’m glad that I learned of his own story, and I hope to read more of what he wrote in the weeks and months ahead. There’s certainly a lot available, and I’m grateful for that.
Porter wrote the story of The Gift of the Magi, which is about as well-known a Christmas story as there is. And he also coined the term “Banana Republic,” which not only describes a political dictatorship, but also a very popular clothing brand, as well. If only the people wearing that label knew more about the man who coined the term.
From one Troubadour to another, thanks for reading this.