Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why I Love Shakespeare

Whattup dawg-eth?
I studied a lot of literature when pursing my English degree in college, and that's when I really started to appreciate Shakespeare. In fact, I took a whole college course dedicated to the bard. When I look at my own writing with a critical eye, it's pretty easy to see where many of my influences come from when it comes to writing style - namely Robert Cormier and Orson Scott Card.

But I would still say that Shakespeare is the one author that truly has been my greatest influence. I love utilizing several literary devices Shakespeare made famous including the use of foils, foreshadowing, and dramatic irony.

There are more reasons why I think Shakespeare rocks:

1) The drama! Oh man, Shakespeare created the kind of drama that makes you go, "Damn!" From secret affairs, betrayal, murders, conspiracies, jealousy, hatred, love, fate...and everything in between. Shakespeare created the kind of juicy tension not even Jersey Shore can touch. And there was all kinds of cool stuff for everyone. You got great fencing and fighting scenes like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth. But you also got the romance in Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Pericles.

2) The humor.  OK, some people don't think that puns are funny. But I sure as hell do. "I'm a mender of bad soles," remarked the cobbler in Julius Caesar. Or take Hamlet for example - a very serious and tragic play, but it had a little comedy in it too. The gravediggers provide a little comic relief as they're burying Ophelia. Shakespeare was also an expert in the "mistaken identity" plot line we see in a ton of sitcoms and funny movies.

3) The timelessness. Shakespeare is copied over and over again. The themes, drama, situations are absolutely timeless. They are as relevant today as they were centuries ago. For example, Taming of the Shrew was remade into 1999's 10 Things I Hate About You. I'm a big Jet Li fan. Remember his 2000 film, Romeo Must Die? Or how about The Lion King being based on Hamlet? The movie/musical classic West Side Story is another Romeo and Juliet remake, along with Twilight's New Moon.

Shakespeare is still so very relevant today.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

10th Anniversary of September 11th

I've posted this picture of the beams of light representing the lost World Trade Center Towers every single anniversary of 9-11 for the last several years. I usually put this up on my blog without any written words, as I've always felt that the image speaks for itself.

But on the 10th anniversary, I felt compelled to write.

9-11 left scars on Americans that I don't believe will ever fully heal. The nation's economy has been faltering ever since the attacks, we've lost so many brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan, and how many of us are still psychologically damaged in the wake of September 11th?

There's been several movies and books depicting many different aspects of that dreadful day, yet I haven't been able to explore any of them. It's just too painful. Even after a decade, my stomach still churns every time I see the Towers struck by the hijacked planes.  When I watch footage of the buildings collapsing, it's like watching the end of the world.

I hope we always remember the anguish of September 11th and refuse to go back to "business as usual."  Nothing has been the same since that day, and we should never forget.