Summer Reading 2017

I had forgotten that this used to be at thing: reading for fun, ya know? And that I used to document it (somewhat haphazardly). But now that my (first) thesis is done along with my (first) master’s degree, it might be tenable for me to pick up the habit again.

So, welcome to this year’s summer reading scheme!

After two years of graduate school including one year consumed by a thesis on publishing practices in late 19th century American, my goal for reading this summer is to HAVE SOME FREAKING FUN. I mean, school and research has been fun but I different type–you know what I mean.

If I happen to pick up some classics or whatnot, great. Maybe after a month of just-for-fun reading I will get the urge to expand my knowledge of modern plays (which I desperately need to do) or delve into resources for my next thesis (which I also should do), but to begin I am just reading whatever strikes my fancy.

I will post a my reflections on each book after finishing it. However, if you are looking for a list of reading recommendations I suggest you read this post or just check out the “books” tag.

(Re)Search Update

Hello Friends!

I am learning exciting things and while I am proud to that I am documenting them in a properly-MLA-formatted annotated bibliography, I wanted to document them here for anyone who might be curious about textbook printing practices in America at the start of the 20th century and how it pertains to Shakespeare. Continue reading (Re)Search Update

Beginning the (Re)search

I find the term “research” odd. I’m not doing something a second time, so why the “re” prefix? I’m searching for the first time. I know full well the OED has a perfectly adequate etymological explanation, but I question the term not only for its surface inaccuracy, but also because I find the term “search” more exciting. It lets me feel like Indiana Jones.

Not only does conceptualizing this as a search allow me more agency, the title alludes to my mildly alarming lack of direction. In the three months I have been working on this thesis–working be a very generous term for my accomplishments last month–I have developed three different abstracts, not merely in form but in content. And I highly doubt that I have settled on to the content that will remain constant through the year.

Despite that uncertainty, the past week of delving into my topic–the form of early paperback printings of Shakespeare’s individual plays in America–has been positively electrifying. I’ve chased many rabbits, most of them resulting only in metaphorical dirty boots and literal wasted time, but I’ve found a few gems along the way.

I’ve looked through dozens of articles, checked out books from three libraries, and given the poor people at the ILL offices their fair share of work for the week. I’ve even bought myself some copies of a 1911 paperback printing of Shakespeare’s plays.

I’ve learned more about paperback printing and cover design in the early 20th century than I ever thought I would know, and it is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying to think that I have just scratched the surface.

Basically, it’s going to be a wild ride and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.

Like a Pro(crastinator)

One month of the summer has slipped by and I have accomplished nothing, more or less.

As far as my thesis research, I have gotten really good at carrying impressive books in my bag without ever opening them.

As far as my personal health, my yoga mat remains rolled up in the corner where I put it when I moved into this house.

As far as my creative endeavors, one page of my sketchbook has new scrawlings. Continue reading Like a Pro(crastinator)

Processing

The world has been a rather terrible place recently.

First, the attacks and negativity from the presidential candidates fills the spaces when another national crisis or tragedy doesn’t demand headline space.

Then, the Stanford rapist received an unbelievably lenient sentence, simultaneously highlighting the racism, sexism, and classism in society, as well as the massive holes in our justice system.

And those are just events in the United States, not counting the tragedy, war, and violence around the world.

Now, the terrorist attacks at the gay dance club in Orlando has destroyed innumerable lives and families.

I don’t know how to respond. Continue reading Processing

Year (D)one.

This morning, I finished the last of the requirements for my first year of graduate school;  such an event should, probably, be marked with some self-reflection.

The year has been good. Challenging, and frustrating, and confusing, but very very good. Challenges were met, frustrations were overcome, and confusions were clarified. Naturally, new ones spring up immediately, but the obstacles make the journey interesting, so I won’t complain.

When you love something, someplace, or even someone, there’s a natural hesitance to get to know it better, at least for me there is. A year ago (to the day actually), I was ending my time at Messiah–a school I grew to love, but my time there did not start that way–and looking towards starting my time at MBC–a town and school I loved from my first google search. So, when the time came to move and start classes, I felt scared to get up close and personal with something, someplace, I adored from a distance.

My fears were unfounded.

Not to say everything here is perfect–there are plenty of quirks and issues–but the issues that we face are superficial, not integral. The actualities of the program and company might be imperfect, but the people working with and through them are good people attempting to do good things.

Reflecting on this year, the number of amazing opportunities I have had astounds me.

Within a month of starting classes, I performed on the Blackfriars Stage in a staged reading of The False One.

Over the course of a weekend, I heard more brilliant thoughts and met more brilliant scholars than ever before.

In my first semester, I performed as Hamlet, the Gravedigger, and Beatrice.

In the span of two weeks, I helped mount of a full production of The City Nightcap with Sweet Wag Shakespeare.

In my second semester, I directed one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite shows with some my favorite people.

In the course of the year, I have seen dozens of performances at the American Shakespeare Center, all of which make me laugh or cry, or frequently both.

Over a semester, I delved deeply into Macbeth and mounted a pretty freaking awesome production with my classmates.

In ten rehearsals, under the direction of my mentor I took on my biggest (full) role to date, and not only ended up with a decent performance, but had a blast doing so and learned a ton.

Looking back on all of this, I don’t know what I did to be so lucky to be doing what I love, where I love, with people I love. I am humbled and confused and incandescently happy.

Let’s do it again next year, eh?

 

#WhimWord: Meal

The collapse of Faith didn’t start where you might expect. As the Book tells us, Faith needs belief and action and all that, but the crumbling corner was not a lazy apathy or seed of doubt. Faith withered from a point of weakness overlooked not only by pessimists and optimists, ministers and theologians, conservatives and liberals.

The people stopped having meals.

They ate, regularly, three times a day plus snacks, but the hurried distracted routine of quelling stomach pangs does not constitute a meal.

“Do this in remembrance of me” — most think “this” is about stale crackers and plastic shots of juice as a metaphorical (or not) recreation of the Crucifixion and Resurrection. But what if it was more? Not just the end of the meal, but the whole thing.

What if it was not about a few minutes closing service, but a few hours around a table, laughing at bad jokes, spilling food on the table cloth, and drinking more generous amounts of wine?

Sure, “humanity does not live by bread alone but by the Word of God,” but that Word of God as Flesh sure liked bread. He constantly invited himself to people’s homes for meals, provided extra wine at weddings, and even hosted (possibly) the world’s largest picnic.

Too many see it as coincidental that his first and last act of ministry involved handing out wine to his friends, and that his last command asked for them to follow suit.

So, they all carved out time for service, and for the soup kitchen, but they missed communing with others over bread and wine and enchiladas and hamburgers and pizzas and bowls of gumbo and all the other infinitely creative and collaborative meals humanity designed.

Not only sharing table space, but memories, joys, griefs, fears, doubts, dreams, hopes–the aspects of being in His image.