Shakespeare or Carroll?

 

 

 

 

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I would pick Shakespeare. *insert gasps and awkward silence from audience*

Last week, I let myself finally read “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” It was in my giant, red book with both of Alice’s stories and tons of annotations to go along with it. I would have thought this worth my time.

But I was disappointed.

I hate saying that, because I have friends who love Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece. But unless you want to read what appears to be utter nonsense, this isn’t your piece of toast. The crazy we are met with in the Disney movies are basically right out of the book.

What took me by surprise, I think, was not everyone talking about purely insane things. That I already knew. What I wasn’t prepared for was the strange transitions Carroll threw in. I suppose this a comparison to how we move around in dreams. First, we are with Alice in the hall with the doors. She keeps growing bigger and smaller in an attempt to get the key or to get into the door the key is for. When this leads to ill success, Alice becomes small enough to swim in her own tears. She spots a mouse swimming too and ends up accidentally insulting him many times with talking about cats and dogs. But then there are other animals in the water and they then swim to shore on a nice beach – wait, what?

Where did the hallway go? What happened to the doors? How did she get out? I notice now that the Disney cartoon did kids a favor and made a somewhat logically reason for her escape. She is so tiny that she fits into the keyhole and is gone. Not so with the book. One moment you’re here, and then another you’re there. And you can’t quite fix the exact moment that a bridge might have been there to sensibly fill the gap.

This happens more and more in the story. And while reading the book out loud was loads of fun, I thought I was on the verge of a headache afterwards. I didn’t even want to move on to “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” I thought, Nope. There may come a day where I will pick that book up and indulge until my eyes are sore. But it is not this day.

So why Shakespeare?

Yesterday I finished reading his play, “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” It was truly hilarious, different, yet with familiar styles thrown in; and it made sense. At last. Something that made sense. Basically, a man named John Falstaff tries to woo two wives at once. The wives, on finding he sent them love-letters at the same time, decide they will play sweet revenge on him. Meanwhile, the one wife’s husband, Ford, suspects his wife of betrayal. He disguises himself as a man named Brook and meets with Falstaff, saying he too wants to woo Mistress Ford. Needless to say, the wives not only get revenge on Falstaff once, but three times. The third is the climax, where he is publicly humiliated for his deeds.

There is a back story concerning Miss Anne Page looking for a husband and eventually finding the one she wishes to marry; but ultimately the focus is on the wives.

And merry wives they certainly were.

Ford learns from his jealousy and realizes his wife never intended to be with Falstaff. But even when the story closes, Falstaff has no idea that Ford is Brooks. So we get these beautiful lines at the very end from Ford:

“Let it be so. Sir John,

To Master Brook you yet shall hold your word,

For he tonight shall lie with Mistress Ford.”

 There was no way to dampen my spirits once I read those words. I had heard the best ending to end all witty endings. (Okay, perhaps not; but in the moment, nothing else mattered.)

I realize my comparison between Carroll and Shakespeare is probably a tad unfair. They are nothing alike. And why should I choose Shakespeare? Is it because of popularity and history? I don’t believe so. Even if I cannot quite grasp Carroll’s insanity, at least I can with Shakespeare. His insanity strangely makes sense to me. Maybe it’s the way he relates it to our basic humanity.

Surely, I can understand my own insanity if Shakespeare could understand Macbeth’s.

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Protective Warrior

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I went from battling with my dog to give her a bath yesterday in muggy, scorching heat to now wearing a sweater and drinking a hot cappuccino in the not-natural summer chill of today.

(Looking at my first sentence is giving me a run-on headache.  Maybe I’ll be pardoned for now.)

Perhaps the past Polar Vortex has messed up the seasons. Now we are forever doomed to experience fall in the summer, and winter in the fall and spring in the winter. Maybe we’ll get dumped with snow right now and start exclaiming that global warming is – once again – ‘very’ real.

But never mind the weather. That’s the talk to start conversations with. I’ve already started one two posts ago. Though weather is something we must cooperate with, at least the human body does defend itself along the way.

Have you ever thought about that? That our bodies are actually putting up a fight, even when it appears they are failing? Of course, we are no super heroes with super-human strength that will cure all illnesses and decay. We can’t change that we age and grow weaker. Some organs or tissues will eventually die.

But our bodies still try to live.

I remember when I was in an automobile accident last year in the spring. I’d never been in one before; so the sudden crash from behind startled me too late to have a reaction. All I knew was that the window behind me had shattered and we had made an abrupt stop. Luckily everyone was okay, both in our car and others who unfortunately were involved. We were told by one of the firemen that our situation could have gone two ways. It could go the way it had, where all four of us in the car walked out unharmed. In the other case, we would have been seriously hurt and being rushed to a hospital. To this day, I’m extremely thankful that option #2 wasn’t us.

The only problem I ended up experiencing was a terrible whiplash. Then for a week or two, my body felt like it had been run over by something heavy. I ended up seeing the college nurse to make sure nothing was broken. As it turned out, I was fine. The only dramatic thing that happened was my nose running like crazy from my cold as the nurse examined my back. That, needless to say, was slightly embarrassing.

But the nurse told me something that day that I will never forget. She said that the only reason my body was so sore was because it had been defending itself against the hit.

Did you catch that? My body, in that split second of insanity on the road, had tensed up in order to protect itself. Of course, it’s not like a sudden super-power emanated from my skin and I wasn’t slammed against my seatbelt with immense force. But still…the fact that my body has such mechanisms in it to know when it’s in danger…amazing.

Okay, so mechanism sounds kind of robotic. All I’m saying is that we should not only remember that our bodies are awesome warriors on the frontline. I’m also saying that with this in mind, shouldn’t it be motivation to take care of ourselves? We are warriors indeed if we can juggle both.

Repeat to Retrieve

There is so much to inspire the imagination and writing. The only stumbling block is that all inspirations become only ordinary props of life. I can look out my bedroom window right now and be inspired by the lush green trees. But I’ve seen them too much. They are there every day and hardly ever change (except for seasons). Sad they should become nothing to my eyes.
In part, that’s what this poem “Repetition” has made me reflect on. Though Phil Kaye only speaks of words being repeated and dying, my inspiration doesn’t change and thus fades away. It’s like I’ve told those trees outside that they are just trees over and over again. Then they turn into just that.
But I love how the poem makes a bold attempt to make words consequential. The stutter is what makes “I love you” say something real. See how poetry awakens the power of words again! It makes them new and meaningful. So maybe instead of looking at the trees and thinking about how the trees have always been there, we must look at the cracks. Watch the way the wind tilts them, uplifts the leaves to indicate a storm, the way waters drips off them into a new shower.
Now does it come? Does inspiration not seem so far away? I’ll not pretend that I haven’t struggled to write for a few months now. Senior year seemed to empty me of essential amounts of imagination. But I dislike making excuses for a lack of inspiration, for writer’s block. These are just ideas that pretend they’re alive enough to chain us. And they can if we let them. Just like the idea of boogie monsters under our beds as children. As long as we believed they were there, they were there.
So enjoy the rejuvenation of words by Kaye. Enjoy the world around you, because it can work if your imagination won’t.

The Start of the Next

College was the beginning of a new life; but when May 10, 2014 arrived and I was on the stage shaking the president’s hand, I couldn’t believe it. Four years of my life gone. I just hoped that those four years made me a better person.
Now that my real diploma finally came and my graduation gown is ready to collect dust, I’m on to the Next. And the Next could be anything. It could be an internship, marriage, temporary jobs, or just trying to find a suitable car.
But what should a Bachelor of Arts be looking for in the Next? If anything, they are looking for what’s lost. What Shakespeare had in his time is what theaters today are lacking. What Charlotte Bronte created a pen-name for it what is left lifeless on the bookshelf.
What we need is an audience.
I am a writer. I am a Bachelor of Arts. And this blog is my attempt to revive the imagination by various means. It is not bad to have the heart of a child. If anything, the imagination gives us a kaleidoscope to see reality for what it could be. What does the world lack and what hope does it still cling to?
I’d like to thank the people who recommended WordPress as the home for my blog: Farkas (Bekah), Sarah, Jake, and Brigette.
Until the next post, Adventurers, assemble!
(Yeah, I know. Avengers still sounds better.)