Hello, reader. I debated posting a short message on Twitter and Instagram about the current state of my blog, but I’m pretty long-winded and since the message I want to get across is about my blog, why not post it on my blog as content? Yes, my ideas are revolutionary – so if you want more, like and subscribe!
I’m much more interested in watching a Shakespeare play than reading one. I would only read Shakespeare willingly if I was performing one of his plays and needed to learn lines and stage directions. That doesn’t seem likely to happen in the near (or far) future, so I will continue to happily sit in my theater seat watching Shakespeare’s plays – especially Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, The Tempest, and Hamlet.
I know some who share my sentiments, some who can’t stand even the thought of Shakespeare’s poetically connotative name, and many more who can’t stand the thought of actual people not enjoying reading his work. Regardless of my aforementioned sentiments, it was with brio that I waltzed into the Portland Public Library in search for the Lewis Gallery so I could lay my eyes on a masterful tome containing William Shakespeare’s work.
If you don’t know anything about folios, don’t worry. If you’ve ever taken a piece of paper and folded it in half, you understand what a folio is. One fold, four pages (two front and back), and the largest paper size for a book to be printed on, which varies as the size of printing paper used in older time periods was not standardized; folios can now range from 15″ to 50″ although 15″ is the most common.
Okay, so thanks for that great lesson on paper but what’s the big deal about Shakespeare’s First Folio?
How dare you! This was a [postmortem] gift from Shakespeare’s friends! Many of Shakespeare’s most popular work wouldn’t exist now if it wasn’t for this First Folio!
So maybe it wasn’t necessarily a gift. It was more like a tribute to Shakespeare that came 7 years after he died. Some guys got together and decided: “Hey, our man Shakespeare entertained us for years with his plays, the world needs to be able to experience those plays until the end of time. Let’s print this book, the First Folio, and maybe about 400 years from now the Folger Shakespeare Library will bring it on tour around the country so as many people can see it as possible.”
That may or may not be a direct quote from somewhere,* but the information is definitely correct. Shakespeare died 400 years ago. Four hundred years ago. And we’re still talking about him/studying him/getting giddy over him after all this time. His friends knew what they were doing.
If you’re in Maine, visit the Portland Public Library – between now and April 2nd! – and see the First Folio. It’s kept in a room under the stairs, so you won’t see it right away as you walk down those stairs in the Lewis Gallery. It will be quite dim in the modest-bedroom-sized room, and you won’t be able to touch the book. You can’t even touch the glass case it arrived in and sits inside of, unless you want to trigger alarms and whatever 17th century magic is on the old, fragile pages. That’s the main reason I took this photo from a distance…
…until the “tour guide” ushered me closer to get a better picture. I’ve never held my phone so daintily strong before; it was nerve-wracking, but luckily the dehumidifier was in full force so I didn’t sweat. But I did get a better picture. Oh, and if you do take pictures, make sure the flash is off on your camera. The room is dim because there is a strict limit on the number of lumens that can shine on the inside of the book (seriously, how cool/terrifying/astonishing is that?!) in order to prevent damage, and flashes of cameras exceed that limit tremendously.
Lastly, if it wasn’t for this First Folio, the world’s most popular Shakespeare play would have been lost forever. “To be, or not to be: that is the question” may not hold the same significance or identity as it now does without this and the other 233+ since published First Folio editions. But don’t worry, you can still check out Hamlet from your library, order it from a bookstore, and see it in one its most original forms on the First Folio tour.
Where will the First Folio be touring near you? Find out through the Folger Shakespeare Library’s First Folio Tour page.
*It’s definitely not a direct quote from anywhere
“Piece of shit!” – THUNK – and then, “Sorry.” – the creaking noise an old door makes when it’s being open – At least, that’s the sound I imagine when I open my tablet back up after my motivation sort of side-steps the frustration I feel for how terribly this “innovative” piece of technology is working. Or not working. Back to my precious alter-reality.
There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind. I’m bored, in the least crass and all-encompassing respects of the word.
Well what can I do to interest you? How can I change the way you feel? How can I change?
I wish the keyboard’s communication with the inner workings of this square, flat tool would keep up with the speed of my fingers. And that’s not just a brag about how fast I can type.
Nothing, nothing, and I don’t want you to. I’ve changed. I need something different. I don’t know what, and I don’t know what it is I want. But I know what I don’t.
Well I wish you would explain this to me more clearly, it just doesn’t make any sense.
I wish I could too.
SERIOUSLY?! Please just work more smoothly – it’s so distracting. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather stay away from you and rely on my faithful notebooks and pencils. But here I have more guts to actually post and publish. Maybe this is a sign. Maybe you’re telling me I’m full of crap and should just start from square one and do something with my life that people [my family] will actually understand?
Despair. It truly is an unmistakable and overwhelming feeling – even though it may not show its true face at first. In dealing with technology; with feelings and more specifically love; and with life. Oh, and writing.
Disclaimer: I’ve decided to make this emotional. It wasn’t a necessarily out-of-the-ordinary day, but I need to get this out. And I want to say happy birthday to a friend who is missed by so many; I wish I could be more articulate about that, but I can’t, although I don’t know what else can really be said. I will say that this post ends happily; I know, I’m a sucker for ruining endings.
This day has been exhausting. Not because I physically exerted myself, or because it was a hectic day at work, or because my social calendar was too overwhelming (a rare occurrence). None of these can be blamed for my exhaustion, and yet, I’m searching for a reason why I feel chewed up, spit out, and left behind. Or, at the very least, why I felt like that earlier (all day).
It started with the news coverage of the recent college campus shooting in Oregon. Even now it brings tears to my eyes and the “why’s” to my mind. Innocent decades-long lives lost for a second of an action stemming from hatred. I don’t think I’ll ever understand. Will anyone? And then, of course, President Obama’s passionate speech that followed this tragedy. His comments on gun control always lead me to question myself and my beliefs. I’ve always grown up knowing about and following gun safety guidelines, laws, and the responsibilities that come with owning, carrying, and firing a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. I know the outcry against gun rights and the ease of access to purchasing guns isn’t directed towards me per se, and are not unwarranted, but it frustrates me that the guns are being blamed. I’m not going to go any further than this, because families, friends, communities, and a nation are all grieving, and regardless of the cause, those entities are pained and are suffering because of the “why’s,” “what if’s,” and right now all I can do is keep them in my thoughts and heart, and hope they can find peace with the help of loved ones, and if not totally end their pain, at least be able to work through it.
Then, I experienced something I’ve only experienced a handful of times. The mounting pressure of finances, bills, figuring out a way to get my blog more noticed, the disaster that is the state of my apartment right now, beating the crazy Friday-afternoon-rush-hour-traffic, overflowed and all of that anxiety marched across my brain and hit my mind with military force. I felt sick, nauseous, and just sad. The marching eventually ceased, but the recovery has been slow.
At home, I poured a glass of wine and watched a few episodes of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Comedic relief about things actually happening in the world is calming to me – oh and the wine helps too. Then, I started on a project I’ve been thinking about all week: organizing my new bookshelf.
This really did the trick. Holding some of my most valuable possessions and putting them among each other and other little trinkets eased my soul. Books have always allowed me to escape the world I live in and dive into others, and organizing them makes me almost as happy as reading their pages.
When I was a kid, usually when my mom asked me to clean my room, I would just reorganize my bookshelf; rediscover titles I hadn’t read in a while, and even discover letters or pieces of paper that I would stick between them to save for something. The rest of my room would be neglected, as I would always sit/lay down and just read. Tonight, I was happy to find something wedged between Pamela and To Kill A Mockingbird – my Maine fishing license. It’s funny to me that at one point I was certain I would remember where I put it – but guess what, I’ve been wondering where it went probably around the day after I stuck it in there.
Anyway, my bookshelf is now organized and full. Few “strange” things give me pleasure like a full bookcase. I added the lamp, black wooden chair, and my favorite soft throw because I’ve been needing a reading/writing nook that I can be inspired and comforted by. Because, I’ll be honest, my desk is a mess.
As far as my anxiety, it is calmed for now. The state of the world is complicated, and I know it will continue complicating itself. I will help myself by being informed, standing strong with my beliefs, and loving everyone who has supported and believed in me. And if all else fails, I’ll have my books.