Tag Archive | Shakespeare

Small minded

Sometimes I think I live in a world of small minded people. Usually I don’t let it bother me too much, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and sometimes that leads to irritation. But it’s not the small mindedness of others that I’m thinking of. It’s mine.

 

Oh I used to dream. Sugar plum dreams so strong they were enough to give you toothache. I’d picture the magazine cover home, decked out in all its holiday glory, inside there would be a golden glow around the piles of presents and the piles of food, and Christmas music in the background. I used to dream of it. Not that I would wish for it, just that it would give me something to think about at night when I couldn’t sleep because I was so excited.

 

It was a wonderful thing to have in childhood. It’s good for children. But then you grow older and your mind shifts, and that’s fine too.

 

Our car’s gotten worse. It doesn’t work at all now. Our Christmas this year will be even more simplistic than usual, partially out of the greater need for practicality and partially because there aren’t a lot of material things that we want. And people, if they knew, might pity us. But they don’t understand. There are things that I want. Of course there are things that I want. Things so deeply that they can’t even imagine, because they’re still off in the shallows chasing after the holiday sales and technology toys that’ll be outdated in a few  years.

 

I don’t indulge in the sugar plum dreams so much these days. Not that I have a problem with cherishing fantasies, but I’m a genuine soul, so I don’t engage in daydreams that don’t reflect what I really want.  I don’t want bells and whistles and Christmas cards from relatives whose only communication with us is via Christmas card. I wouldn’t mind going to a Christmas party (I like food), but I’m at all cut up about the fact that it might not happen due to transportation. The gift situation is similar.

 

What I really want is for my friends to think of me fondly, and let me know they think of me fondly. I get so desperate for attention sometimes. I want to be appreciated in a very real sense, not the Facebook “Like” kind of approach. I’d also like to be able to create something, a story or a piece of artwork or similar, to develop my talents and be able to do truly remarkable things with them. But I’m not sure that’s something my fellow mortals can help out a lot with. I’d be content with a show of friendship, however that may manifest itself. There’s more than one love language after all.

 

“There are greater things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dream’t of in your philosophy.”

Take over the world

Ah the ambition of youth. I don’t know if it’s naiveté or whatever, but sometimes one thinks one is just going to go out and conquer the world, take it by storm. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. One may as well harness one’s energy while they’re still young and motivated.

 

But I get ‘one of those days’ too, you know? I wake up in the morning and want nothing more than to go back to sleep same as most other people. I do my fair share of trudging through the day. Still… I don’t know, it just seems like there’s so much I could do with myself. Like I could reach heights I can’t even imagine. And I’ll do it a little bit at a time. First of all, I’m going to have a spanking good GPA. Then I’m going to have a game plan for this vacation thing, which so far mostly includes stock piling reading material. When the break hits, I am hopefully going to produce some more beautiful artwork, maybe find a little bit more direction regarding that. Moreover I intend to develop some of my other talents. Wouldn’t it be great if I actually wrote something? It would be a miracle if I could actually finish a story.

And I’ll be learning while I do my artwork. I know some great resources for watching documentaries and such, as well as just ‘for fun’ sort of things.

 

Things could turn out pretty amazing, couldn’t they? Why not? Amazing things happen after all. I mean, it could be like that Shakespeare quote couldn’t it? “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrown upon them.” So clearly, Greatness is no respecter of persons, and I qualify as much as anybody else. I just hope I’m willing to work and sacrifice what I need to. I don’t expect it to be easy, only possible and worthwhile. I guess I’m kinda hoping to do what I can while life is good and opportunities are out there.

Absurdist plays- search for meaning

My roommate went on a date to see the campus performance of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. It’s an absurdist play. I’ve only seen one absurdist play; Waiting for Godot. It was, I have to say, an interesting experience. It’s certainly not something you would go for to be entertained, but it does make you think. I might have joined my roommate in watching, but I didn’t because a) I knew she was going with this guy, and I wanted them to have alone time, and b) the tickets were sold out when she reminded me. But I did ask her to bring back a program, as they generally have more insight than I could gain on my own. The program explains: “The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek for meaning in life and the human inability to find meaning.” It was nice to have a clear, concise statement like that. And it certainly made sense in the context of my limited experience with absurdist plays.

Do you know what the really fascinating thing is? The really fascinating thing is that today I’m giving a Sunday School Lesson on the Plan of Salvation, which is all about helping us understand the big picture idea. Therein we find meaning and purpose. Were it not for divine revelation, humans really would have a hard time with the juxtaposition presented in that program.

How do you make them understand? How do you get them to realize that they don’t have to live life as if they were a player in an absurdist play? Oh it makes me think of when I watched Waiting for Godot. One of the actors looked so… forlorn at one moment, that I just wanted to get onto the stage and hug him (realize that this is an unusual thing for me to want to do to a complete stranger). And to think there are people out there feeling that way… Oh I wish they could know.

And what does that mean I’m supposed to do? Plays seem to me to have a call to action. After presenting a problem and a conflict, they turn around and ask you, “So what are you going to do about it?” I feel like I’ve been given that challenge, and I haven’t even watched the play, I just read the program. And the truth is, I don’t know what I’m going to do about it. I mean, I’m going to write this post and pray that it reaches somebody who needs to hear it. But otherwise I really don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know who to reach out to. Yet surely there is something I’m supposed to do? Some way I could help?

All’s Well That Ends Well

I watched All’s Well That Ends Well, a Shakespearean ‘problem play,’ yesterday. I have two things to say about it; first, I can see why it was labeled a ‘problem play.’ Second, I will never think the same way about that phrase ever again. Good grief. I mean, it would work best if your ethics were based on consequentialism. This could have sparked an interesting discussion in my philosophy class last year or in my Shakespeare class, if either chose to cover it and neither of them did. I imagine it is not so well known as many of Shakespeare’s other plays, and I have to say it is rather a strange one.

I still like Much Ado About Nothing, which is another one I watched yesterday (hey, if you want to kill time and feel cultured while doing so, watching Shakespeare plays is a good solution). Benedict was as fun as ever, quite charming really. He’s my favorite character. It is not often that my favorite character in a Shakespearean play is one of the romantic interests. I generally favor the jesters, like Feste or Puck. I think even in Hamlet my favorite character is the Gravedigger. As for Macbeth… I think my favorite character is actually Macbeth.

But that is all it’s own subject. This means I have watched and/or read a total of… oh let me see…. 13 different Shakespearean plays. But some I don’t know very well, because I have only seen and not read them. Still, that seems an accomplishment. It occurred to me yesterday that I would become better acquainted with Shakespeare’s works if I didn’t insist on just watching different versions of my favorite plays. For example, I calculated yesterday that I have seen four different versions of Much Ado About Nothing in my life, including one live performance I attended. I wonder if some people would be appalled at that statistic. They should know how many different versions of Pride and Prejudice I have seen (five), Pirates of Penzance (four), The Mikado (three), Taming of the Shrew (three, plus Kiss me Kate) and Persuasion (three- but that was only because I was not satisfied with the first two). And I’m still young. I might consider it an advantage to watch other Shakespearean plays, even though I doubt I shall like any so much as Much Ado About Nothing, for the sake of variety and for experiencing a broader range of his work.

Heaven and earth

In case you didn’t know, one of my favorite quotes from Shakespeare is, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet may not be my favorite Shakespeare play, but it certainly has some good lines in it. I mention it now because we’ve been learning some good stuff in my religion class. The Old Testament is becoming much clearer. Religion classes should be that way, Sunday school classes should be that way… but they aren’t always. I was right to have picked to study the Old Testament, even though the New Testament may have been easier.

I learn so much here. That’s why I’m constantly reminded of that quote, “more things in heaven and earth.” It’s like looking at the pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope. It’s amazing. More things in heaven and earth.

And we get to participate in it. Isn’t that wonderful? I know I must sound really cheesy right now- but this is really how I feel, so what do you want me to do? I think it’s kind of exciting.

Ah life.

Ulgh, homework.

Words

Who knew words were so difficult to work with right? I’m pretty good at writing… spontaneously. Free writing. It’s so easy. Just allow the thoughts to flow into words. But writing papers for Humanities classes is so much harder. Even if you have good content, the style can trip you- passive voice and weak verbs and all that good stuff. I don’t think I would mind nearly so much about those details if it weren’t for the page minimum.

I’m rewriting my art analysis. It was really hard to get a lot of content for my essay, because the artist we looked at had a very simple style. It was hard to pick at the details, because he didn’t include a lot of detail. After I picked apart line, color, scale, form, and style as best I could, I still needed more to make the four page minimum. The only thing I could think up to do was fluff up the words. Which is not good writing. I could probably write a better paper if I disregarded the page minimum. But I can’t stand to do that. I very much like to do things right, and that includes getting the page minimum. Now we’re editing, and I’m trying to take the fluff out of the words while keeping the page length. It’s not fun.

This is why I admire people who are so good with words, like Shakespeare and poets. I like the way comedians play with words. Or those famous quotes; the ones where people say a lot in few words. This again is Shakespeare: “How well he’s read, to reason against reading!” or “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”

I wonder if coming up with those things were painstaking. It’s painstaking for me to chose exactly the way I will word things in papers and such. Journaling is easy. I have often wondered of ‘journalling’ would be considered a talent. It wouldn’t seem so to me, since it is rather easy for me. But some people say they aren’t really good at journaling, so maybe it is. But I can’t believe that being able to free-write is nearly so great a talent as what it takes to write a good paper for a Humanities class.

News of the miscellaneous

This is the problem with social media; when you have both Facebook and a blog, and you put similar things in both- but use each for a different purpose. I mean, I write both in Facebook and this blog things I want to share with people. For my blog I will get a little more in depth with what I want to say. However, nobody really reads my blog- so if I actually want a chance for feedback I put it on Facebook- which forces me to be brief. Sometimes I’ll have things of Facebook that I also want on my blog.

Like this: We had a short lecture on the history of romance novels in my Young Adult Literature class 🙂 so much fun. And so validating to hear things voiced which I’ve known all along (i.e. lust does not equal love, stalking someone is a strange way to portray a healthy relationship, being hot doesn’t redeem a guy from being a jerk, etc.)

Additionally, there’s emails and Facebook messaging. Those are personal- maybe I want a specific person to read it (my sister, in this case). But maybe I want to share it as well on my blog post- it doesn’t matter if other people see it so long as the specific person does.

Like today when I was talking about writing. I have in my mind created a mythology loosely based off of the Greek Gods. I just like personifications of natural phenomena. I call them Fates, because they like to think they have a role in the destiny’s of mortals. One of the one’s I created was based off of cupid. Her name is Matchgirl, apprentice to the current Matchmaker. Obviously, these are the Fates that make sure you meet the person you are going to marry, and sort of guide you along the way; arrange coincidental meetings, open up certain topics of conversation, make sure you’re in the right time and the right place, that sort of thing.

Well, yesterday I was writing about how Matchgirl’s first solo assignment (without the guidence of Matchmaker) was to bring together the houses of the Capulet and Montegue through marriage. Those of you who know your Shakespeare know this doesn’t end very well.

Here’s the thing, I don’t really think that Romeo and Juliet loved each other. It’s like what I said before about lust not being love. I think that Romeo and Juliet is a significant story- but not because they really loved each other. Were it not for the feuding families, maybe Romeo would have courted Juliet openly, instead of feeling the need to marry secretly. Then, given time, maybe Juliet will realize Romeo has commitment issues and would dump him just like Rosaline did. Maybe Romeo would have realized Juliet needed to grow up a little bit and moved on with his life. But they didn’t really have the luxury to try it out and then realize they weren’t right for each other.

I guess what I’m saying is… the feud between the families ruined the relationship before Romeo and Juliet had a chance to end it? Maybe that isn’t right. Maybe that isn’t a very ‘literary’ analysis of what was really going on, but it’s what I get out of the whole Romeo and Juliet relationship. I really still think that the story of Romeo and Juliet is more about the feud between the families than it is about ‘true love,’ because it isn’t love- it’s lust. The feuding families is a far more valid theme, in my mind.

It begins….

Well, this is my first blog! I’m kinda excited to see how this is going to turn out, and where I’m going to go with this. It’s just that sometimes one needs a better outlet for one’s thoughts and creative expressions than Facebook. There are two main ways I express thought and creativity; journaling and art.

I love journalling, and I can go on and on about why. I believe that journalling is more than talking about the day’s events. I think that if you approach it that way, your in for a boring journal. At least mine would be. Today’s entry would go something like this:

 July 17, 2012- I didn’t have to go to Shakespeare class today. The class is basically over, we just have to take the final (which I also did later today and got a 93%). So during that time I did religion homework, went to religeon class, and then to my Homer to Tolkien class where we discussed The Odyssey.

I mean… so… short. And it doesn’t really say anything. Except to you, now you know that I’m a student (Brigham Young University in Idaho, or BYU-I, formally Rick’s Collage) and a few of the classes that I take. No, real journalling is for expressing ideas, working out problems, and suchlike. For instance, in reference to my Shakespeare class, I would probably talk about how I love Shakespeare class, but the problem with studying Shakespeare is when the professor has it fixed in his mind exactly what the theme of a particular play is. And then he frames all the homework questions around his ideas, so that we can find evidence to support his opinion. And I’m not saying that he is wrong, or that his ideas have no credibility. But I would prefer if we were just pushed in the right direction, so that we can come to our own conclusions and support them with our own evidence. Of course this would make the class more challenging, but in all honesty, it can do with a bit more challenge. Sometimes pleasing the teacher, even if you can’t do it wholeheartedly, is too easy.

And then there’s art. When people ask what my talents and hobbies are, that’s what comes first to mind- even though I realize that I am quite the amatuer. I haven’t done much artwork lately, since I’ve been at University in Idaho. It keeps me busy. BYU-I runs on a three-track system, in which each student is assigned to two out of three semesters. Since the semsters are so short, the work load has to increase. However, it means that we get a very long break (unless we chose to go to school on our off-track, but I don’t have the finance to do that). And I intend to use that break to become reaquainted with my colored pencils and see if we’re still on good terms. It’s finals week right now, and I should be back home in Ohio early Tuesday morning.

But I suppose I should tell you a little bit about myself if you’re going to be reading this. My name is Azure (it means sky-blue, but hopefully you are educated enough to know that). I’m currently 19 years old, but will be 20 in August on the 19th. As I mentioned, I’m a student at BYU-I for about 7 months of the year. I’ll be finishing up my second year very shortly. I’m a Humanities Major (deals with the Fine Arts, also with history, philosophy and the like), with clusters in Literature. For the other 5 months of the year, I’m home in a small town in Ohio- the second oldest of six siblings (though my older brother is in California, serving a mission for our church now). Now that’s just a quick look at myself, I’m sure I’ll write more later. I’m actually fighting against the urge to continue writing- but I don’t want this to be too long (even though I have a tendency to write for ours when I’m left to my own devices).