On the occasion of Shakespeare’s birthday, I must once again express how much he has meant in shaping my life. It was MACBETH which connected my mind to my soul, aligning them – like Dorothy and her cohorts on the Yellow Brick Road – on the rocky, curving path to becoming a published author. In my case, “home” was my words – and yes, they were with me all along, but I was terrified to use them. I was the Cowardly Lion for sure. But this is about Shakespeare.
When my teacher, Mrs. Lenore Israel of Lawrence High School, read to us she became Lady Macbeth (in a good, non-murderous way.) She gave voice to those powerful words! She also assigned us the task of memorizing the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy, and we each recited it SLOWLY in front of the class. There was something about the timing – allowing the words to linger on my tongue – that made all the difference.
After that, I was hooked. Falstaff was next. I also studied him with Mrs. Israel, as I was graduating a year early and had her for three periods (11th and 12th grade English!) I then came down with pneumonia and, bedridden, spent my days reading Shakespeare. (I don’t recall doing any other school work, but I must’ve – because I graduated and went off to NYU.)
I’ve made two pilgrimages to Stratford-upon-Avon with my sons! The second time, when we were traveling in Europe together for three weeks, they took the long train ride from London without complaint because they KNEW how much Shakespeare meant to me!
I hope you all have something which connects with you as Shakespeare does with me. And I hope you will take a moment to reflect on Shakespeare’s beautiful words, and just how timeless they are.
Happy birthday dear Shakespeare!!! I love you.