The Coloured Shakespeare

July 30th, 2018 → 6:51 am

    “I spy entertainment in her:  she discourses, she carves, she gives the leer of invitation.” 
    – Merry Wives of Windsor

My third novel is at last complete.  It is even more controversial than my last one, but it was important for me to see it through.  I leave it as a legacy for my son, whose own remarkable life was the novel’s inspiration.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Self/My Life

England – Part II

July 25th, 2018 → 5:21 am

    This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
    Feared by their breed and famous for their birth,
    Renowned for their deeds as far from home
    For Christian service and true chivalry
    As is the sepulcher in stubborn Jewry
    Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s son.
    This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
    Dear for her reputation through the world,
    Is now leased out – I die pronouncing it –
    Like to a tenement or pelting farm.
    England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
    Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
    Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
    With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.
    That England that was wont to conquer others
    Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.” – Richard II

This is the second half of the description of England in Richard II, and it is rank with anti-Semitism, disappointment, and contempt.  England is great and blessed, feared and exalted, but also, in hock, prejudiced, and shameful.  We all have two sides.  Good and bad, ying and yang.  England does too.  Heck, Shakespeare himself did.  We all do.  It behooves us to face this truth sometimes, and not be selective about it.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Politics/Politicians

England – Part I

July 23rd, 2018 → 6:19 am

    This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise,
    This fortress built by Nature for her self
    Against infection and the hand of war.
    This happy breed of men, this little world,
    This precious stone set in a silver sea
    Which serves it in the office of a wall
    Or as a moat defensive to a house,
    Against the envy of less happier lands,
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” – Richard II

I just finished watching Season 2 of The Crown.  It ends with this famous quote describing England.  And most commentators that use the quote today end it there.  But the passage itself in Richard II does not end there.  It continues along a darker vein.  Presenting only the first half of this description is selective, inappropriate even, as it presents only a shining image of England.  But – like most things in life – there is another side.  I’ll quote that other side in my next post…


Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Politics/Politicians

ShakeDic: bull pizzle

July 7th, 2018 → 7:39 am

    “Sblood, you starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s tongue, you bull’s pizzle, you stock-fish!” – Henry IV, Part I

The first reviews are in of Tom Hanks as Falstaff, and apparently they are glowing!  Of particular note are his insults, including “bull’s pizzle” said with a mouthful of spit and invective.  Sure wish I could see this up on the stage for myself.

“bull’s pizzle,” by the way, is a 16th century flogging instrument made from a bull’s penis

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Keep Writing – Don’t Give Up!

July 1st, 2018 → 7:15 am

“Ware pencils, ho!” – Love’s Labour’s Lost

I just spent the past two hours struggling with but one paragraph of my current novel.  Damn the intro to chapter 7, curse the writing life, bugger this voracious hunger to write, write, write.  To all my fellow authors out there:  Never Give Up!!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Benedict Cumberbatch

May 26th, 2018 → 5:15 am

    “We came into the world like brother and [sister]:
    And now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.” – The Comedy of Errors

Benedict Cumberbatch is my new hero, for saying he will boycott any project that does not pay female co-stars the same as their male co-stars.  He is urging other actors to do the same.  And if that isn’t enough, apparently he is a “fervent feminist.”  I don’t think I’ve had this big a crush on an actor since Michael J. Fox and Back to the Future!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

All He Has Taught Me

April 22nd, 2018 → 6:44 am

    “Look thou character. 
    Give thy thoughts no tongue,
    Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    Of each new-hatched, unfledged courage.  Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
    Bear’t that th’opposed may beware of thee.
    Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
    Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
    Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man…
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
    This above all: to thine own self be true,
    And it must follow as the night the day
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Hamlet

    It’s Shakespeare’s birthday sometime this week (we don’t actually know the exact day), and in the interest of saluting the bard, I’m quoting some of his pithiest advice. There are some really good nuggets in there. Hard to pick a favorite, but… today maybe it’s… ‘Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice.’

    Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Other

Writing & Editing, Editing & Writing

February 18th, 2018 → 6:27 am

“A sentence is but a cheveril glove to a good wit.” – Twelfth Night

I’m busy waking early every morning, editing draft 5 of my latest novel.  I just reworked the opening scene to one of the middle chapters.  It feels good, I think things flows better now.  But crafting the perfect sentence is hard!  I can agonize over it for hours!  Writing is most definitely an art.  As difficult and messy as I imagine working cheveril was for Shakespeare’s father.  But when done right, a sentence’s beauty can take your breath away.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art


November 3rd, 2017 → 5:07 am

Glendower:  “I can call spirits from the vasty deep.”

Hotspur:  “Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?”

– King Henry IV, Part I

I wake most mornings and try to write – some days, the words flow, other days, they do not.  Imagination and creativity are mysterious spirits.  I only wish I could see to the bottom of their vasty deep; I bet it is a riot down there.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art & Self/My Life

ShakeDic: wassail

September 30th, 2017 → 5:41 am

“Leave thy lascivious wassails.” – Antony and Cleopatra

wassail – to drink copious amounts of alcohol and enjoy oneself with others in a noisy, lively way; to carouse (n. a carousal)

Personally, I could go for a lascivious wassail right about now.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art