Saturday, February 13, 2016

Shakespeare Made Me Do It.


I wrote this several years ago, but for the life of me I don’t remember ever posting it—perhaps because I had better judgment back then…or at least a better memory.

Though I wrote it as a reflection on the value of the writing life, told through a parody of Hamlet’s classic To Be or Not to Be soliloquy, when I re-read it a day ago I found it reminding me of why we who write must not give in to the pervasive ennui brought on by the seeming hopelessness of our times; but continue to take up arms (and keyboards) against the sea of outrageous inhumanity sweeping across our world, ever mindful that if we do not, insanity waits in the wings for its turn to rule.

JEFFREY: To blog, or not to blog--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
In despair at our blog’s outrageous fortune
Or to take pens against our shared troubles
And by exposing end them. To fly, to leap--
To soar—or do we creep away to end
The headache, and the thousand natural blocks
That publish is heir to. 'Tis a consternation
Devoutly to be wished on others.  Weep--
Perchance even scream: But at the very nub
Of a possible death to the dream of some
Is why we suffer at this mortal toil.
Let us pause. There's the respect
That is the balm to a long writing life.
For who would bear the ups and downs of time,
Th' reviewer's wrong and downright contumely,
The pangs of edited work, the pub delay,
The insolence of the press, and its spurns
Showing patient merit worthy of a saint,
When he or she might quiet exit take
To make a living?  Who would deadlines bear,
To grunt and sweat a solitary life,
But that the dread of giving no more breadth
To all those undiscovered thoughts that churn
Our traveling minds, and puzzle our will,
Would make us far more ill by half
Than denying readers what they know not of?
Dedication makes writers of us all,
And a simpler life of remuneration
Is sacrificed to one of words and thought.
Any enterprise giving pitch and moment
To our words, even if currently awry,
We can’t lose in the name of no action. 
So now fair Colleagues, bring on opinions
That our blog be not dismembered.

Happy Valentine’s Day.



  1. But, soft! what light through yonder blogpost breaks?
    It is the east, and Jeffrey is the sun.
    Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
    Who is already sick and pale with grief,
    That thou her scribe art far wiser than she:
    Be not her scribe, since she is envious;
    Her vestal posting is but sick and green
    And none but fools do read it; cast it out.
    It is my scribe, O, it is my friend!

    O, that he knew he were!
    He writes yet he says nothing: what of that?
    His pen discourses; I will answer it.
    I am too bold, 'tis not to me he speaks:
    Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
    Having some business, do entreat his words
    To sparkle in their lines till they are read.
    What if his words were there, they on my screen?
    The brightness of his thoughts would shame those words,
    As daylight doth a lamp; his words on the net
    Would through the airy region stream so bright
    That birds would sing and think it were not night.
    See, how he types his fingers on his hands!
    O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
    That I might touch that mind!
    JEFFREY Ay Greek!
    ME He writes:
    O, write again, bright angel! for thou art
    As glorious to this night, being o'er my head
    As is a winged messenger of heaven
    Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
    Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
    When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
    And sails upon the bosom of the air.

    1. Well, Evka, you've nicely answered the age-old question, "O Romeo, Romeo. Wherefore art thou Romeo?"--living in Portland OR under an assumed name.

  2. I meant to leave a comment, but the two of you have said it all. My only concern now, is that there is a LOT of Shakespeare to translate!