I've always known that I live a life differently than most people. I've always known that I'm just a little bit off. I spend too much time sticking my nose in books that are hundreds of years old... I don't socialize well with contemporaries... I just, freak people out.
It’s been like this since I was a kid, walking around in the fields with the big Shakespeare anthology under my arm, racing bicycles down the gravel road and when one kid would crash into a tree and was laying there half bleeding and dizzy I would lay down next to them in the grass and say, “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin…that’s from Trolius and Cresida.”
OR if I was at the store and a buddy didn’t have enough pocket change for candy I’d tell him, “Neither a borrower or a lender be… that’s from Hamlet.”
I know, total dork. Right? What is wrong with me?
But the older I get, the more I realize that everyone is like this. That we all gravitate towards things that relate and connect the world to us. For some it’s comic books and video games, for others it’s sports or religion, to some it’s drawing or hiking… I get that now. I really do.
But I look at the choices in my life, the books and stories and poetry I’ve surrounded myself with, and realize that I’ve done insanely disastrous things to myself, in part, because I read them in Shakespeare plays.
I dabbled with women and broke hearts for sport, I created rivals out of nothing, I perpetrated slights to force duels with inconsequential contemporaries, I chased stars in the eyes of dreamers, I acted on impulses of the heart and body without regard for my own safety or sanity all because the heroes of my youth… these Romeos and Lears and Lysanders and Orlandos and Hamlets and Antonios all did the same.
But the funny thing is... I would do it all again! All because of Shakespeare. I have had such great loves and lost them all. I have had such wild nights and woken up to remember them only in blurs. I have followed my heart in ways that only lead to truth... I have had so much fun! And through love and loss and scorn and strife, through pain and passion and worry and woe there has always been the poetry. Those lines of the Bard have sustained me a thousand times over. The collected works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible, those two books have sustained me through ever trial of my life. So you can't blame me for being a little giddy here, can you? So thank you, Willy the Shake. More than any other person, you have taught me how to live sweetly, drink deeply, laugh loudly, and love passionately. These days in your hometown, I geek out, for you.