In the 80’s, at Watkinson, I was a good student and read all my required books… but never really fell in love with Shakespeare. I loved watching his plays… loved the stories… but truthfully, the reading of them was a little painful at times.
I read them when I was a kid, at a time in my life when all I cared about was how big I could make my hair! How was I supposed to know what really good literature was when I thought Acid Wash jeans were a good idea?
Last summer, I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with friends in the backyard… around the fire. A guilty pleasure I wish I could indulge in more. And amongst them were a lot of writers.
Now, I usually do a lot more talking… and a lot less listening… and all my friends know what I mean. But, in some cases I really try to listen… and then come to my own conclusions… usually around 3am.
During one special Firepit night we discussed Shakespeare. Now… that’s not my typical Brain Tumor, Sex, Marijuana and “I can’t wait til school starts again” banter. And that night I couldn’t sleep. I really spent a lot of time thinking about Shakespeare.
I absolutely loved the movie “Shakespeare in Love” with Gwyneth Paltrow. It spoke volumes to me. It was told in a beautiful way that touched me. It was accessible… and I too cried.
I think people want to be touched by what they read. And I think Shakespeare loved seeing people in the theaters, watching his plays, clasp at their chests, sigh… and sometimes cry… at the end of each one.
He wanted to touch them, and make them react. He wanted them to taste tragedy for one moment.
When speaking to a friend of mine, who is considering helping me write a book… still in discussion… the Shakespeare “word” came up. I don’t remember if it was her or me who brought it up… but knowing my dirty mouth and cavalier attitude towards most things… it was probably her.
But as we spoke, I explained to her why people are so fascinated with Greg and my story. Our Love Story. It is amazing and fairy tale-ish. It’s white knight… on a white horse… rides up… carrying a white rose… and saves the damsel in distress kind of story.
But, our story doesn’t end in ‘And they lived happily ever after…’
It ends the way it would in a Shakespeare play. Tragic.
And I think people equate Tragedy… with Romantic. And, although I think our story is probably the most romantic of any love story I’ve ever known… it ends tragically.
Greg and I are forced to live in a world of today… not tomorrow. Our romance also includes MRI dates, Pill reminders, holding back hair while vomiting, watching painful seizures… and not being able to be the “White Knight” and stop them. Headaches that never stop and can only be controlled by drugs. Conversations and crying that should happen at the end of a long life… not the beginning of a new marriage.
BUT… we also live in a world of watching movies and snuggling on the couch. Sitting outside and listening to great music. Going to New Orleans, getting lost in back alleys, and then ending up drinking Absinth in a hidden little French-style garden… with the coolest people. We went to Alaska and went dog-sledding. Went to NYC and found a dive that served Mexican hot chocolate in the wee hours of the morning.
We watch our children grow, fight, complain, fight, smile, fight, laugh, fight, study, fight, cry, fight, text… snuggle…Goodnight… Good-morning, fight.
All the things kids do. And then… marvel at how much we love them… and count down until they are all through college!
We go to sleep together. We wake up together. And everything else that happens in between…
But we also know how this story ends. Let’s face it… everyone reading my Blogapy knows how it ends. We just don’t know when.
So, the chest clenching moment that Shakespeare couldn’t wait for, the moment that he longed for, that he stayed up nights… writing and re-writing… to get it perfect… to see his audience feel it… will be the moment I dread for the rest of my life.
People love to read tragic love stories, see tragic movies, listen to tragic music… and then put it down or turn it off… and go back to their own lives. And.. maybe look at themselves… their lives… their actions… differently. Even if just for a little while,moments, hours or sometimes a lifetime.
So, after you’ve finished reading this Blogapy, go back to what you were doing. Go cook breakfast, or go back to work, or go play with your kids. Truly enjoy the fact that tragedy hasn’t touched you in a way that you can’t recover from.
I try and live that way everyday. After every seizure, I pick myself up, or sometimes Greg picks me up… we hug… then we laugh… then we cry… then we go back to doing… whatever it was that we were doing.
When pain hits… I use Cannabis. It stops the pain and allows me the ability to move on… physically and mentally.
Life goes on. Tragedy happens. Let it touch you. Let it in… feel it… and then go on… and hopefully it will become part… a very very small part… of who you are.
I finally can write a decent paper on the subject of Shakespeare… It’s just too bad my High School Professor, Mr. Cagenello, can’t read it. I think he would have given it a good grade… all the grammatical mistakes aside. (How cool is spell check! They didn’t have that in the 80’s!)
Have a truly great day… I plan on having one!