I don’t know if it was because it was Friday at 5pm, that I was having a Boddingtons, because I saw all those crazy awesome hats from the “wedding” or because I posted a link on Chicago Shakespeare Group fan page few hours before but the moment that @AJLeon tweeted me, I swear I felt my heart skip a beat. Check out the Happy Birthday Shakespeare project to learn more about #HBWS!
Shakespeare was to me what comic books were to many teenage boys. Only thing is, I wasn’t a teenager. I was a 20 something learning English and my escape from reality was to go home and read Hamlet and laugh with him. Read Othello and disagree with him. Read Romeo and Juliet and sigh with them. I idolized theses characters, they become my mentors, friends, enemies, crushes, family and teachers.
I’ve already written about my affair with Shakespeare and it would seem redundant to keep doing it. To say that Shakespeare changed my life is not an exaggeration. That said, I’m going to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with you by sharing what might be my two favorite sonnets.
The first one appeals to the cynical side of myself. The side that doesn’t believe in happily ever after. Although one can argue that this sonnet represents what, ultimately, it is to be happy. It’s sonnet #138. Once you read “therefore I lie with her and she with me, and in our faults by lies we flattered be” you realize that sometimes having someone in bed might just be your only option, regardless of that person’s feelings or actions when you’re not looking. It’s not hopeless or giving up but it’s a form of un-pitiful acceptance that many can’t achieve. Give it a read and share your thoughts!
The second one is the kind of sonnet you read to yourself in the warm spring breeze, right after you’ve had your first kiss with someone you’re so in love with. With someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with. That person is the realization of every romantic thought you ever thought you could have. It’s the can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t breath sonnet. It’s when will I get to see you again sonnet. It’s sonnet #29. Go on, read it and fall in love again!
Happy birthday Shakespeare and thank you for shaping the man I am today.