Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’

Stack of BooksWriters aren’t like normal people.

When writers read–be it a book, an article, or sometimes even a headline–we study, parse, and edit. We re-word what we read (“It would be better like this”), we laugh out loud at ugly phrases (“He threw up his hands”), and we will kick a book across the room before we’ll read another page filled with moronic characters and Swiss cheese plots.

This can take a lot of the enjoyment out of reading, but on the flip side, there are joys in reading only writers can experience. We have WIWI moments (“Wish I’d Written It!”) and can find ecstasy in a well-wrought sentence or a surprising image.

We also learn from reading. We learn a lot.


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Do you moue and roll your eyes when someone mentions Shakespeare? (If so, then I don’t know why you read this blog.) But if you do, if you think Shakespeare is nothing but a collection of thee’s and thou’s, if you find it all just stuffy and boring and completely incomprehensible, then I have the perfect entrée for you.

As the centerpiece of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the UK (in the form of the BBC) have created a new version of Shakespeare’s royal tetralogy collectively known as The Hollow Crown, and it is wonderful. More than that, though, it is accessible, it is totally comprehensible (both in plot and in language), and it is a joy.

The Hollow Crown comprises four of Shakespeare’s histories–Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, and Henry V–and in these you will not find any star-crossed lovers, any intricate plots. You won’t find women disguised as men nor any twins separated at birth. You’ll find no trickery gone awry and no semblance of death. None of that, here.

In The Hollow Crown, you’ll only find clean lines of action, kings trying to rule, subjects in revolt. You’ll find wenching and drinking, smooching and smiting, usurpations, successions, and war.

Easy peasy. (more…)

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Kurt R.A. GiambastianiA few weeks ago, I reported that a book I was reading made me question my long-held belief that William Shakespeare, the man, and William Shakespeare, the playwright, were one and the same. Now before your eyes glaze over (“O, by Heav’n!” you say. “Not again!”) let me say that as a writer, I found this of great interest. Several people have tried to interpret aspects of my writing and deduce things about my background and history; this is exactly the same…except with a genius writer instead of me. (more…)

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Stack of BooksI have been a “Stratfordian” all my life…so far, anyway.

A Stratfordian—for those of you not “up” on the nerdier side of All Things Literary—is someone who believes that the plays and poems of William Shakespeare were written by, well, by William Shakespeare. Of Stratford, that is. As in “Stratford-on-Avon”. Hence: Stratfordian.

I have been a Stratfordian all my life.

So far, anyway.


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Stack of BooksBy the time he was my age, Gustave Flaubert was decades past his peak with Madame Bovary. By the time Hemingway was 54, he was pretty much done. And by the time Shakespeare was as old as I am, he’d been dead a couple of years.

It’s hard to look at facts like these and not get a little depressed. I mean, sure, I didn’t even start writing until I was in my thirties, and didn’t really get into novels until my forties, but…damn! Adding fuel to the fire, a quick search for “writers who started late in life” does not generate a list of  late-blooming literary giants.

My mind quickly comes up with all sorts of justifications and explanations as to why so-and-so succeeded early in life and I have not—financial support from others, an early start in the craft, etc., etc.—but it’s all nonsense. As my father once wisely told me, there’s always going to be someone richer, smarter, or more talented than I am. Getting down on myself for not being a genius, for not getting that Nobel Prize for Literature, is silly. More than that, it’s counter-productive.

I don’t write to be famous. I don’t write for immortality. Crap, I don’t even write to make it into the “Who’s Who in American Literature.”

I write because I like it. Because I love it. And that’ll do.


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Harcopies Rule!Seattle peeps, it’s that time of year again.

The annual Shakespeare in the Park season is here, and there are some great, totally free performances for us to enjoy.

My personal favorite, “Twelfth Night,” along with “Taming of the Shrew,” “Henry VIII,” and “The Winter’s Tale” will all be performed, for free, in parks throughout the Seattle area. It is a great way to enjoy these plays, and both Greenstage and Wooden O promise some fun and entertaining interpretations and updates to these classics (“Shrew” in a trailer park? “Twelfth Night” on Gilligan’s Island?).

I can hardly wait!


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