Amid some conjecture and debate, Homer is the ancient Greek author credited with writing the epic poems The Odyssey and The Iliad.
These two poems, aside from being great literature, have had a defining impact on the development of Western culture. Homer’s works are described as ‘not only seeds but fertilizer for almost all the other arts and sciences in Western culture.’
So it is from these lofty heights that the saying ‘even Homer sometimes nods’ gains its peculiar poignancy.
Imagine, if you will, having your work lauded as the precursor to all Western cultural endeavours and then having pointed out the occasional errors of continuity in these works.
Being held to such lofty standards, the inevitability, from time to time, of failing to reach them is assured. But, like Homer, this should not prevent the ambition to strive for that standard.
Even the best among us are capable of error—by omission or action—and, in the pursuit of excellent writing, we must be forgiven our occasional indiscretions.
Better to forgive and encourage further effort towards good works than to discourage the pursuit of good works through a pedantically enforced banal standard.
In writing, specifically, sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. But that doesn’t mean that we should not strive for perfection in the writing we produce. We just need to remember that perfection offendeth the gods—even Homer’s myriad of gods and demi-gods.
It is little wonder, then, that Homer occasionally nods. We too will nod in our writing quests. Accepting this and writing on, therefore, is the only future to build upon Homer’s unshakeable foundations.
Write, therefore, and know that, like Homer, you will sometimes err. Nonetheless, continue. The world will be better for your efforts.