Happy Birthday, Mr. Shakespeare!
Ah! It is your birthday, once again and an excuse for me to celebrate all that I have loved about your pen! The riches you have amassed over your lifetime make it almost unfair to other authors; I mean who can fill such huge boots? Not that the reader in me complains! I first read your work when I was a kid, 8 years perhaps? But I clearly remember the thrill that ran in my blood while reading King Lear. Experiencing that enmeshing of relationships to highlight various emotions driving life and gathering them all into a few pages of brilliant, dripping prose was scintillating! And since I shared a wonderful buddy-relationship with my father, the experience was heightened as I did a joint-reading with him. I read that work twice and I remember, discovering more meaning on my second reading. The book was a part of a thin collection of a few of your works (The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest and a few others) and by the time I finished them all, I was ready to relish more.
Over the years, I have read many of your works, all celebrated (which is just how they should be!). Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear and The Merchant of Venice are my top 4. I read a bit about you here and there and sensed you walked some thorny paths in life. But you never lied subdued. And that’s the foremost trait of a man worth emulating; never quitting. When I first came to know, I was surprised that in 1582, you married Anne who was 8 years your senior . For times which were orthodox and far from liberal, it seemed an audacious decision to take. But I had the privilege of knowing your thought processes from close proximity, through your sonnets in particular, and I realized you were a vagabond dreamer. You were a passionate chaser. You were on your own. You were a fierce advocate of living life on one’s own terms and went all out to snatch that life from the clutches of destiny. I may never know what it felt like being in such a tempest since I never heard you speak. But what you speak to me in your works, especially the latter ones, outline the pains you undertook and the costs you paid to uphold your head. I am quite proud that you never dropped your quill; some of the heaviest things are moved by the lightest levers.
Well, to give you a gift today, I plan to read one of your works this week. In my small little way, I wish to tell you that you will forever be a part of my reading sojourn; in dawn and in dusk. And it is not a matter of deliberation; not a matter of to be or not to be.