Quiet Desperation

Shakespeare supposedly wrote a lot of great stuff


I have a dab of Shakespeare (1582-1616) memorized, and that’s about it. I am a failed scholar when it comes to most of it.

Romeo and Juliet was set in Minneapolis and St. Paul. I think.

I’ve tried.

I am daunted by the language. I admit it.

I have tried to enter sideways, through films like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935) and “Forbidden Planet” (1956).

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was first performed on New Year’s Day, 1605.

Characters are named Snout, Snug, Puck, Bottom and Flute.

It’s one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. It has been staged repeatedly and filmed several times. Woody Allen even took a crack at it.

“Forbidden Planet” has been compared to “The Tempest.”

I know one line from “The Tempest,” and I keep it handy.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

It is often misquoted: “We are such stuff as dreams are made of.”

Either way, I can gather it up and make sense of it.

A lot of Shakespeare takes more time to get through, and that’s when my depth of inquiry disappoints me. In other words, I’m lazy.

There was a time when I thought I should have far more Shakespeare in my golf bag. It’s not going to turn out that way.

I look at the wording and something happens. When I have to reread a line three times, I lift my head, look around the room, and plan lunch.

I appreciate the themes, and Shakespeare’s contributions.

I feel the same way about Mozart (1756-91), but I haven’t been as lazy about Mozart as I have been about Shakespeare. The reason is simple: Mozart enters through a different sense. Hearing.

Both of them died young. Mozart, particularly. He only made it to 35.

Shakespeare was married to Anne Hathaway. That’s the kind of things that sticks in my head. Trivia.

I am lining up my List of Regrets, trying to keep it short, not wanting the depression that might come from certain failures to experience some things.

Number One is my complete failure to have strummed.

I watch these boys and girls with their Stratocasters, and it grieves me that I am not one of them.

What else? It’s looking like I will never see The Great Wall, although I have been to Hoover Dam.

No pyramids for me either. Nor Mexico’s ancient ruins.

Jennifer has been to Dachau. I haven’t. Probably won’t. Will wish I had.

I’m thankful for The Travel Channel, but it’s like kissing only by watching others do it.

I could take a month or more and immerse myself in one of my regrets. Except I won’t.

My photographer has a 9-year-old son who can play a piece on the piano, and then play it again in a different key.

I don’t even know what a key is.

His classmates apparently bully him because he isn’t as involved in sports as they are.

I wonder if Yo-Yo Ma was bullied? Or Jimmy Page?

I told “Veronica” to get her son a Stratocaster.

(As I wrote this, I listened to Mozart’s “Piano Sonata No. 5, Andante in G.” Perfect.)

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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