And I Think I’m Going Out Of My Head

My afternoon session over, I’m part joking around with a student and part mentally prepping for the next day’s training when my train of thought crashed spectacularly. It must have shown on my face.

Student: You okay?

Me: Yes. No. Tomorrow.

Student: Tomorrow?

Me: Yes, Tomorrow…

And this is what it sounds like when my brain fries

and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty…wait no, that Shakespeare, that’s not tomorrow… creeps in this petty pace from day to day… NO!..Tomorrow never dies……what about tomorrow?… To the last syllable of recorded time… what the ever loving fuck?! I’m having a damn Shakespearean earworm!! …pace from day to day…day by day, oh dear Lord three things I pray…wait. What? No! My mind is shot…arrows… suffer the slings and arrows…GOD DAMN IT WILLIE SHAKES!…arrows…shot through the heart and you’re to blame…NO!…I will burn the heart…I have been reliably informed that I don’t have one… Oh Sherlock…Moriarty…Mycroft Masada Holmes…dammit no… Mycroft and Sherlock…broken heart…playing Operation…operations?…YES! Office of Operations! That’s who is coming in for training tomorrow!…

The mystery of tomorrow solved, I sigh in relief returning to what I was doing.

It was the very amused expression on my student’s face that informed me that entire stream of unconsciousness had in fact occurred aloud.

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For the record I referenced:
Shakespeare's "Macbeth” and “Hamlet“,
James Bond’s “Tomorrow Never Dies“,
Day By Day” from the musical “Godspell”,
Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name“,
From BBC’s “Sherlock”, the pool scene
A friend and fellow blogger whose name (Mycroft Masada Holmes) coincides with a character from the show and finally,
An operating scene from BBC’s “Sherlock”

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#SOL2017

#SOL2017

At the halfway mark! Let’s see how others are slicing up their day:

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 16

Ro’s Rant

Boom
This ache
That was caused
Surprised me so
Eyes the color of irises in bloom
Seen from a glance across a crowded room
I should have known
’twas the start
Of my
Doom

Fell
So hard
that is what
I truly did
I wish someone had rung a warning bell
His lips upon mine had not chance to tell
That loving him
Totally
Would be
Hell

Blend
Is what
We had hopes
For both our folks
we knew for a while it would be pretend
but in time hands of true warmth would extend
Jules and I knew
it’d be good
in the
end

Blessed
is the
One thing that
We’d never be
His folks would rather take knife to my breast
And my folks held him in equal detest
Who would have thought
Parents could
Be so
Stressed?

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Using the Double Tetractys form to give modern twist on a classic Willie Shakes tale.

dVerse ~Poet Pub | Open Link Night # 176

Reader

There is (or was depending on when you read this) a Facebook meme asking users to list 10 books that have stayed with them in some way. The books did not have to mean anything to anyone but the user.

Here is my list in the order of which they popped into my head:

1. The Kushiel Legacy (Series) – Jacqueline Carey
2. Harry Potter (Series) – J.K. Rowling
3. Spenser (Series) – Robert B. Parker
4. X-Men (The Phoenix Saga) – Chris Claremont
5. The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) – Dante Alighieri
6. Othello / Romeo & Juliet / Macbeth / Hamlet – William Shakespeare
7. Teacup Full of Roses – Sharon Bell Mathis
8. If Beale Street Could Talk / The Fire Next Time / Go Tell It On The Mountain – James Baldwin
9. Incarnations of Immortality (Series) – Piers Anthony
10. Holy Bible (King James Version)

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#1 (The Kushiel Legacy (Series) – Jacqueline Carey) and #9 (Incarnations of Immortality (Series) – Piers Anthony) on this list I have written about in an earlier blog post and you can read why I love them here. Below I give little summaries not of the books themselves (I trust that you know how to Google or Wiki it if interested 😉 ), but why they remain with me.

Harry Potter (Series) – J.K. Rowling

As a reader of the books and watcher of the movies I adore this in its entirety. Not having children of the target age initially designed for I didn’t come into the Potter world until I saw the first movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. As a sucker for things magic, warlock, wizard, witches et cetera, I had to read the book that created such a delightful movie. Only then did I learn a) it was a children’s book and b) it was series. Still, by the time I finished reading the books published to that point Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I was hooked. Author J. K. Rowlings has invented such an amazing in-depth world that is and yet is not part of our own, while never forgetting that at its core it is still a young adult book. In most children/young adult literature series the characters stay relatively the same age for years.  J. K. Rowling penned theses character in as true sense of a bildungsroman possible given the fantasy. Reading/watching the characters develop over the years, I really did have a sense of watching the characters grow and come into their own. The entire series was phenomenal storytelling that captivated me and opened up a genre of books (young adult) I never would have considered reading otherwise.

The following quote has been attributed to actor Alan Rickman who portrayed the Severus Snape character in the film version of the books:

When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, “After all this time?” And I will say, “Always”

That sums up my love for the books and their movies in its entirety.

Spenser (Series) – Robert B. Parker

I admit it, were it not for television, I likely still would have never heard of Robert B. Parker. Luckily for me, the television series “Spenser for Hire” happened.  I fell in love with the characters; none of whom were perfect (though the leads were perfectly cast in the show).  I found out in the third (and final) season that they were based on books and after reading “Ceremony” it was a done deal.  Robert B. Parker’s writing is witty, intense, mellow and detailed with nuance as he slides you into his Boston.   Both the requisite tough and tender, Spenser (with an “S” like the poet), a former boxer, former Boston cop, now private investigator is a well-read, often quoting classic poetry, yet one smartass S.O.B. and an excellent cook. He has his own very strong sense of morals and what happens when doing what’s right clashes with doing what’s right– as  it often happened. It is both the strength and the albatross of what makes his friendships and relationships work.

X-Men (The Phoenix Saga) – Chris Claremont

Yes, X-Men as in the Marvel comics and movies, The Uncanny X-Men comic books to be specific. Yes, Storm – a character who was strong, female, and stop the presses, Black – opened the door introducing me to X-Men and the Marvelverse, however, it was Chris Claremont’s writing that kept me in the building. From the Phoenix’s fiery ascension (ironically from the waters of New York City’s Jamaica Bay), to its death, The Phoenix Saga took a little over three years to tell in its entirety and I was there for every step of it. The very human dynamics of the mutant x-men working with their powers, and in the case of Phoenix powers that eventually prove to be far beyond her ability to control with dire consequences, was not something I expected in a comic. The world at large was just coming into the concept of a graphic novel, so this level of storytelling for a comic book was unheard of.  Yes, they were humans with extraordinary powers, but they were human first and that is what called out to me.

The Divine Comedy (The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso) – Dante Alighieri

Finally reading this as an adult away from school, I needed two detailed abridged versions along with the original to fully appreciate the scope of this masterpiece.  Yes, on the literal surface, The Divine Comedy portrays Dante’s adventures in his imaginative realms of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, which is intriguing enough. However, these adventures or so much more than what is on the surface. Other than the Holy Bible, it was the first book I read that dealt with the demands Christianity makes on invariably fallible human souls. Though told through the character’s view this is not just one man’s struggle, but the struggle of all who strive for morality and find unity with God as we try to travel the right road.

Othello / Romeo & Juliet / Macbeth / Hamlet – William Shakespeare

Who is better at delving into what makes man, and woman, tick and then deliver it to us in finer verbiage than Willie Shakes? No one.  While his comedies show display our foibles with rapier sharp wit, it is his tragedies that really cut to the human heart of us. These four in particular being the prime examples of his craft.

Teacup Full of Roses – Sharon Bell Mathis

Though technically a young adult novel, I was ten when I read “Teacup Full of Roses” at the suggestion of my teacher.  I fell in love with the book because it was the first book I read clearly where the characters were contemporary (1970s), from the city and above all the characters were Black.  I could easily relate to the hopes, dreams, nightmares and failures of these people because they lived in my world. There is much conversation on how the media does not provide an accurate portrayal/accounting of people of color compared to real life, and this is at the adult level. Imagine how much more this is so at the child level.  Until then the only black character I knew in books was Jim in Huckleberry Finn.   Some will never understand how amazing and important this is to a child of color, but it is.

If Beale Street Could Talk / The Fire Next Time / Go Tell It On The Mountain – James Baldwin

Ah Baldwin, in turns made me yearn, made me made angry, made me resolute. Not yet fully aware of the world at large, I did not know the importance of his writing at the time. I just knew this was our lives being told true as I knew them to be. I was exposed to passion in black love, anger and Christianity in a way that was not toned down and pretty. Teacup impressed the ten-year old me, but Baldwin blew the teenaged me out of the water.

Holy Bible (King James Version)

Ah the Bible. I worried as Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go. I understood the father’s joy when his prodigal son returned home; Abraham’s torment as he led Isaac up the mount, as he resolutely obeyed God’s word and Mary’s pain as she cried for her child on the cross.  And Song of Solomon / Song of Songs – well, that’s its own love.  For me The Word was never about  my potential destination to heaven or hell. It never really about His word per se, the analogies/parables between man and deity took second place to the stories of the people themselves and how we relate to and with Him.

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Dissecting this list I realize the connection between all of them is that, it is always about the people in them and their stories. Whether fictional/biographical/auto-biographical – it is how the protagonists / antagonists relate to themselves, to the immediate people who are a part of their daily lives and how they relate to the world the world at large. Good or ill, it’s all about what makes them tick.  And how deeply can they pull me into it their world and make feel me it in mine.

That Which Is Called…

What’s in a name? Shakespeare asks.

Clearly he was never subjected to the abject cruelty of schoolyard children to the poor child whose mama got a little thoughtless in the naming department. I’m also guessing one simply did not use a diminutive in those days. At least not one associated with male anatomy, right William?

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Another go at Flash Fiction, also called sudden fiction, micro fiction or nanofiction via Friday 55.
Write a story in exactly 55 words, then tell the G-Man!

Happy Birthday Willie Shakes

Just this morning I quoted “all the world’s a stage” to a friend. A discussion ensued which wound up with us using Google to prove I was right in that the line was from “As You Like It” and not from “Love’s Labour Lost”. That in turn became a discussion of just how Shakespeare’s words have infiltrated our lives.

Few of us get through the education system without gleaning some basic knowledge of the man, well at least a couple of his works. Even if one cannot quote any other line from say, Hamlet; even if one does not know the name of the tragedy itself, one is still familiar with “…to be or not to be…”  I still remember the magical moment in fourth grade upon realizing wherefore actually meant why and how that one little thing completely changed the context of “…wherefore art thou Romeo?”. It taught me to always look deeper than the words on the page, because as Led Zeppelin perfectly states ’cause you know sometimes words have two meanings. Still, thanks to my southern upbringing, I knew what being “a sorry sight” meant long before I ever heard the name William Shakespeare and was destined to enjoy more of his magical verbiage.

Think about it. Most of his words which we quote without thought, were written for plays – for mere entertainment. Think about how so much of it has transcended from Elizabethan times to now, without one iota of loss in their overall meanings. Talk about staying power! Many of us remember little of what we’re taught regarding the actual history of those times. Well, little of history in general, to be honest. Yet all of us quote him more than we can ever imagine, even if we do not realize the words are his.

I’ll quote someone else for a moment and paraphrase Edward Bulwer-Lytton: the might of the pen, indeed!

In the midst of the above mentioned Google search I also discovered today, April 23rd, is William Shakespeare’s birthday.

Willie Shakes, as I quite tongue-in-cheekily like to refer to the Bard, would be 449 years old. In honor of the man who likely has had the biggest influence on many of the colloquialisms that continue to spice our language I post the following:

Shakespeare Words

* click to see full size *

Happy 449th Birthday William Shakespeare!!

“To me, fair friend, you never can be old”
— Shakespeare Sonnet 104
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Slice of Life graphic

Slice of Life Weekly Writing Challenge – April 23, 2013