Flipping the Script on My Project Failure

July 2015 I set out to read all Shakespeare's canon in a year AND write re: it. 37 plays, 154 sonnets, 5 poems. ONE YEAR. I knew 6 months in I wouldn't meet the deadline & I struggled with failing before I was halfway through. I'm going to finish but it will take twice as long. So I'll celebrate what I HAVE done in a year. www.dreadpiratemama.com
  1. 24 plays read (66.6% of the total plays!!)
    6 histories, 9 comedies, 7 tragedies, 2 romances. Solid mix of stuff I have & haven't read before
  2. 23 plays written about
    24th (The Taming of the Shrew) will be posted this week
  3. 14 new (to me) films viewed
  4. 7 posts about Shakespeare that are not commentary on the plays
    Mostly about fun books & movies influenced by the Bard
  5. 5 books read about Shakespeare or influenced by his works
    1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Sex with Shakespeare, Romeo and/or Juliet, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, and Vinegar Girl
  6. 3 live plays attended
    Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, Hamlet. Going to The Winter's Tale in a couple of weeks!
  7. 3 bottles of alcohol purchased and consumed for their Shakespeare-related names/logos
    Writer's Block wine, also King of England IPA, which I pitted against Henry Hotspur cider when I covered Henry IV Part I. Suggestions on others? I'm thinking Upstart Crow wine and Shakespeare Rogue ale need to happen
  8. 1 pilgrimage to see First Folio
    Folger Shakespeare Library is having a national tour of their First Folios! One stop for each state, and the exhibits are super cool. I convinced the fam to vacation in San Diego (admittedly, not a hard sell) so I could go.
  9. 1 sonnet performed
    Buzz Bookstore is a cool online vintage bookseller. They asked avid nerdy readers such as myself to read a sonnet, 154 total people. I did Sonnet 55 - video is on their YouTube channel & my blog
  10. 1 audition for a local theatre company, using a Shakespearean monologue (Mistress Page's indignant speech about being wooed by Falstaff)
    I didn't get a callback, but considering it was 400 people auditioning for 6 small cast plays (& I had a 12 year hiatus from acting), I'm really proud that I gave it a shot. I plan on auditioning again!
  11. 1 Shakespeare massive online open course completed
    A 10 week course, covering 8 plays, through FutureLearn. If you're just interesting in learning on a wide variety of topics, I highly recommend checking out their free courses. That one was run by Jonathan Bate (big Bard academic) & Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  12. Countless new online buddies who have been supportive readers and given their own smart and fun insights on the Bard (through their tweets, blogs, li.sts, and podcasts)
    I found a Bard community! Not easy in person if you're no longer in college or working in theatre. By the way, the No Holds Bard podcast is hilarious; #ShakespeareSunday weekly Twitter trending is literary nerd heaven
  13. So...obviously, we sometimes have to readjust our expectations
    My goal to "do" the canon still exists; I had to accept that my initial self-imposed deadline of 1 year to completion was a more than a tad ridiculous
  14. It's ok to realize your limitations
    And hell, life gets in the way sometimes. Throughout all this, I also saw my daughter through kindergarten & my son through his 1st year of preschool. It was my 1st year of staying home with my kids & adjusting to not working anymore. I weathered my best friend through her worst depressive period ever. I worked 2 huge contract projects for my former employer. I took a creative writing course as well as breaks to read non-Bard stuff & watch TV & hang out with loved ones. You know, LIFE
  15. I've learned a ton so far, and not meeting part of my goal brought its own lessons
    I thrive on deadlines and do my best work under pressure. This is the first project in a very long time where I am accountable only to myself. I'm still learning how to motivate myself without using fear of letting others down as a driving force. This has helped me to do so. It's also helping bridge me over to writing creatively, which I'll hopefully be ready to share one day
  16. But mostly, I still really enjoy Shakespeare
    I've learned so much more about the beauty of language, Elizabethan & Jacoban history, the theatrical process, and dirty jokes & insults than I ever hoped to. Who needs the pressure and cost of a masters degree when you have a local library & good wifi??
  17. And I'm proud of myself
    Sometimes you have to look at how far you've come, not just how far you have to go