O Shakespeare, Shakespeare! Wherefore art thou Shakespeare

Every opportunity I get, or can afford rather, I jump at the chance to venture to something new for us.  Last week we visited Fonthill Castle, this week, Shakespeare.

I love literature and any classic written works, but sometimes they are intimidating to me.  It’s likely because I attempted my first go at a Charles Dickens classic when I was twelve.  I couldn’t get through the first chapter and it really gave me anxiety to pursue any scholarly type works.  In my mind, I had the idea that if there are entire programs dedicated to particularly authors or pieces of writing at Harvard, I probably wouldn’t understand it.  I know this negative mindset is not healthy and crushes ones’ ego, but in all honesty, that’s how I felt.

Needless to say, I always wanted to learn more about Shakespeare.  Tonight jumpstarted this because even though it’s the most typical play in his collection, the opportunity to see Romeo and Juliet half-price made my wallet wince less than my “I’m an individual” persona.  Continue reading

“10 More Reasons Why I Need Somebody New…Just Like You”

I quote the words of the lead Red Hot Chili Pepper himself, Anthony Kiedis in the song “Can’t Stop”, and I use them because this blogging experience has started to affect my life in a way I didn’t expect. I can’t wait to meet more bloggers that cross my path and there’s really no stopping now.

There are people who write to write and people who write and get inspired by other writers in the process. At first, I must admit that I feared I was the first, trying to just write, make my postaday goal and maybe finding people who could relate to what I had to say. That last part didn’t really seem crucial. In the process, I’ve found people that I relate to, and more importantly, people who are encouraging and whom I’m learning from.

I’ve learned to let go of “stuff”, and that it’s memories will still exist even if I clear items physically from my life with 365trinkets. I’ve learned to never give up and keep learning with The World’s Latest Bloomer, inspiring me to pick up the guitar in addition to other ideas and joys that I’ve left behind. There are countless photographers that share beautiful visions, ready for us to view as we wake up each morning.  And then there’s a very dear friend of mine, who takes the time to read my blog out of support and has suggested giving Tai Chi a shot, after he read about my woes with yoga.

Throughout this writing process, which has been consistent for only 1.75 months, I’ve learned that strangers can be supportive and wonderful, without even realizing how they affect other people. It’s easy to let myself down, but it’s ten times more difficult when there are people who are encouraging me to move forward and get what I want out life. This may be the cheesiest blog, but it’s true none the less.

I can’t wait to continue discovering the people who are making a difference in their own lives, and to learn from them. In the process, I hope that I can be someone to encourage others somewhere along the way. When all is said and done, just keep blogging.

Jane Eyre in Black and White

Jane Eyre 1943

I find myself here again, late a night and somewhat in a sleepy haze.  I’ve proven again that my body is not as ambitious as my mind is.  I have fallen asleep on the couch again, this time watching one of the older versions of Jane Eyre, with Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine.  It’s actually my favorite version that I’ve seen, so I can’t blame the movie for the nap.  Instead I will let it guide me into a late submission of my daily blog.

Jane Eyre, notably one of the most popular and timeless novels in literature, can still grip me, and I don’t believe I am alone.  Charlotte Bronte’s story of a strong and often lost young woman can be heart wrenching, but still plausible, despite the fact that it was set in the mid 1800’s, in a world far different from ours today.  I’m not so literary that I can try to establish some new worldly significance of what I consider a masterpiece, but I will tell you why I appreciate the particular version I watched tonight.

This black and white version is from 1943.  It’s old enough that Elizabeth Taylor plays Jane’s school friend Helen, but pre-National Velvet, was clearly unknown and not credited for her roll.  This is the 7th or 8th movie version of Jane Eyre by the way, depending on who you ask, as it follows a Jane Eyre based zombie movie.  It seems that the varieties of adaptations since are virtually limitless too.

Orson Wells is Rochester in this classic and what I like about it, is that the script uses many lines straight from Bronte’s pen.  If you hadn’t read the book, you also wouldn’t get left wondering about important details, through the use of seamless transitions and plot lines.   One of the reasons for this is likely due to the fact that the screenplay was adapted from a radio version of the novel.  My husband took me to see the newest Jane Eyre in theaters last winter and since he is not terribly familiar with the story, I found myself wanting to explain portions because key elements seemed to be missing.  That was unfortunate.

The Orson Wells version simply feels as dark as it should; not just because it’s a grainy black and white film, but the imagery in conjunction with the silhouettes feels appropriate to the story.  There’s a certain dissonance to it, making the hardships Jane lives feel raw and not a shiny Hollywood version.  The soundtrack is a little exaggerated at moments but adds a nice touch overall, creating intense atmosphere amongst the characters.  Overall, it’s the perfect movie to enjoy on a rainy night such as this, if you aren’t already curled up with the book or your laptop reading blogs.

Book Reader vs. E-Reader; The Inner Battle

Books and Nook

I live close to a Simon & Schuster distribution center, which likely has people hauling boxes of books and loading tractor trailers so books can reach the shelves for our grubby hands.  Still, I had thought how romantic it would be to work for a big publisher, plus I could probably ride my bike there.

I also want to stop carrying my Mary Poppins purse.  It’s more like luggage these days and I could probably help an army of people survive an epic catastrophe with its contents.  One of the mainstays of my bag is a book, usually just one, but sometimes two.  The weight of this thing is wreaking havoc on my shoulders, so I’ve been seriously considering getting the Nook.

I like the idea of the Nook better than the Kindle because I can borrow from the library still or purchase books at different stores, rather than being stuck to Amazon.com with the Kindle.  I like the idea of having something light and portable, and let’s face it; I could become a greedy American and shout “More is better!”.  Why I would need to carry 1,000 books is beyond me, but maybe it would be cool to read whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and without hauling a pallet of books in tow.

Like most things in life, I’m torn between my appreciation for the old-fashioned or traditional ways but also for how technology can make things so easy.  I certainly don’t want to put Simon & Schuster employees out of work but I also want to keep my shoulders from separating from the rest of my body.  In all honesty, I don’t care if I had one book at a time on the darned thing but new shiny things can be appealing too.  I take that back, it is not shiny; its matte screen is anti-glare for reading in the sun.

Another factor seems to be that it seems easier to find eBooks by our favorite authors online than in print.  Publishers are pushing us toward eBooks because their overhead is drastically minimized from the print options.  They also have the ability to use the force of technology to push additional advertising and multimedia on us with the click of the mouse.

We will see what happens.  For avid readers, there is something special about holding a book and the musty library scent or the fresh smell of printing ink.  If only the Nook was made in America, this decision would feel a heck of a lot easier.

Torn About Reading

Courtesy of Trinity College Dublin

Ultimately, I want writing to have a more prominent role in my life. For the time being, reading tends to monopolize most of my down time.  But after spending all the gaps in my plans this weekend by beginning and then finishing a novel, I reached a philosophical dilemma.  Is it possible to waste too much time reading? Should I be spending more time living?

I say this is a dilemma more than a simple question to ponder, because writers need readers. How can I expect to succeed without a reader and how could my favorite authors have succeeded without us to turn the pages?

By reading, we open the mind. We can learn to open doors to possibilities that we don’t stumble upon in our everyday lives, thus having more meaningful experiences, or at the very least, dreaming of them.  We can also become hermits.

Like most questions I run over in my mind, the answer always leads to the same rule drilled into my brain by one of the most important people in my life, my Dad. He says, “Everything in moderation”. I know he wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last to live by this, but I haven’t yet found a situation where this standby fails.

So now, I have written.  I will go read (and not all night) and I will get a Goldilocks portion of sleep.