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
- •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
- •23 plays written about24th (The Taming of the Shrew) will be posted this week
- •14 new (to me) films viewed
- •7 posts about Shakespeare that are not commentary on the playsMostly about fun books & movies influenced by the Bard
- •5 books read about Shakespeare or influenced by his works1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare, Sex with Shakespeare, Romeo and/or Juliet, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, and Vinegar Girl
- •3 live plays attendedRomeo & Juliet, King Lear, Hamlet. Going to The Winter's Tale in a couple of weeks!
- •3 bottles of alcohol purchased and consumed for their Shakespeare-related names/logosWriter'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
- •1 pilgrimage to see First FolioFolger 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.
- •1 sonnet performedBuzz 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
- •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!
- •1 Shakespeare massive online open course completedA 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
- •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
- •So...obviously, we sometimes have to readjust our expectationsMy 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
- •It's ok to realize your limitationsAnd 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
- •I've learned a ton so far, and not meeting part of my goal brought its own lessonsI 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
- •But mostly, I still really enjoy ShakespeareI'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??
- •And I'm proud of myselfSometimes you have to look at how far you've come, not just how far you have to go