How to read Shakespeare, tips from a complete novice #flshakespeare #shakesmooc


  1. Don’t worry about the fact that you only understand about half of what you are reading.  (Eventually you’ll start to pick up some of it. Eventually)
  2. Listen to an audio version. (Lots of options on YouTube for free)
  3. Read it out loud. (This was easier to do when I was alone. When the family came home, it got weird)
  4. Read it in conjunction with a modern translation. (No Fear Shakespeare)
  5. Watch a production. (My Netflix DVD queue is getting very long)
  6. Remember that it isn’t as long as you might think.  A staged production is usually only about 3 hours!
  7. Read it again. (Repetition, repetition, repetition)

Friends on Goodreads know that I can crank out over 100 novels a year. Reading Shakespeare is requiring a pace somewhat (OK, a lot….) slower than what I normal use.

When I read my first Terry Pratchett book, I was underwhelmed. Then, I listened to one of his books as an audiobook and I was HOOKED. Completely. I needed to hear every word to get all of the humor and word play. I need to remember that ANY time I need to read something closely, reading it out loud, or finding an audio version, and following along with the text is going to be the way to go.

Clearly it’s working with Shakespeare. I’ve now read Romeo & Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus the first three acts of Othello and and I’m in the third act of Henry V. All of that reading has included some version of listening or reading out loud.

I think Henry V is the hardest for me, so far, but I’m not willing to give up, and I’m not afraid to admit that part of my stubbornness stems from the fact that my reward will be watching Tom Hiddleston in The Hollow Crown: Henry V.



Am I smart enough? #flshakespeare and #shakesmooc

Frank Dicksee [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
When I was in high school, we had to read Romeo and Juliet in 10th grade. (Oh help. That’s the same age as my offspring. o__O) My recollection was that it was excruciating. The language was too hard, it was boring, the characters were dumb, the movie we had to watch (Zefferelli!) was awful and embarrassing, and etc, etc, etc.

{We were to have read King Lear in 12th grade. I can guarantee you that I read enough to get a decent enough grade, but I’m pretty sure I never finished it, and thought it was pretty awful, too}

I was left feeling like I wasn’t smart enough for Shakespeare, that there was a club that I just wasn’t allowed to be in. But that was OK, because if the club didn’t want me, I didn’t want it, either.

Only…….of course……..I did, but I never found the right path to get myself in and feel successful.

Now that I’m a grown up, and recognize that yes, I really am smart enough, two different online classes have found me at just the right time. Both are in their third week, but they are self-paced, and anyone can join in at any time.

The first is Shakespeare: On the Page and in Performance. Video lectures and roundtable discussions from an on campus class at Wellesley, combined with rehearsals and performances of various scenes from the readings make up the coursework. The class will cover 6 different plays, and I’m trying to take the experience fairly seriously — reading every word, watching all of the videos, participating in forum discussions the best I can, without letting it take over my life. The professor’s love and knowledge of Shakespeare is very infectious. He and his students are having a lot of fun, and it’s impossible not to respond to that.

The second class is Shakespeare and his World, and I’m enjoying it as well. I’m not working quite so hard at participating, but I have read both of the first 2 plays (between the two classes, I will end up reading 12 different plays). Each video in the class introduces an artifact relating to Shakespeare or his life and times and the professor uses the object to spark a story and of some kind about, well, Shakespeare and his world.

As of today, I’ve read three plays. The Merry Wives of Windsor. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

And: Romeo and Juliet.

And you know what? It was all kinds of awesome.

Remembering how to write — an essay about succeeding in an online class

So, if that headline didn’t just put you to sleep, um….yeah. One of the classes I’m trying on for size is a basic English Comp class. Yes, I took that a million years ago when I was a freshman, but that was a million years ago. And even though I have written a lot of words over the years, most of them haven’t been in the form of an actual essay, that had an actual outline and revisions and editing and even proofreading. So, if you are interested in reading my essay, I invite you to do so. For everyone else, here’s a picture of a ridiculous dog, you can skip the rest.

2014-10-12 23.44.06

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Life’s An Adventure


Time for another blog reboot. How many times can one restart their blog? As many times as one likes, I guess.

Why now? Well, why not. I’ve had my ups and downs with the daily photo thing — the reason they dropped off the blog again this time was…the same as previous years. I can’t seem to sustain the habit. I can get to May or even June and then….

It’s been an exciting summer since I last posted, and now here we are in autumn. Most of you that might be reading this probably already follow me on Facebook or are friends in real life, so you’ll already know about our real life adventures.

Like, for example, our tornados. (And, yes, that’s plural)

Tornado watching

That’s actually the second one, the first came right through town and made a gigantic mess (luckily no one was hurt). This one was a week later and north of town. The boys were in no danger. I was freaking out.

We’ve also had broken bones (And by we, I mean the boys. One broke his wrist plus a bonus bone in his hand, the other broke a bone in his hand at football practice).

Part of the reason I’m restarting the blog is to have a place to deposit some things about some online classes I’m going to be working on. A place to save them, mostly for me, but to point to them for other people. This may or may not be interesting to those of you that originally came here for the quilting and are wondering if I even know what quilting is anymore. (Yes, I do know, and no, I don’t do it right now.)

We’re already almost a quarter into a new school year, harvest is progressing (albeit slowly since it is currently pouring….ugh….), and so…yeah.

Hello again, blog.

Project 365 {Weeks 15,16,17,18}

I’m still taking pictures, but I ran out of steam on posting them, or posting anything at all, yikes. My normal life was interrupted by an adventure to Paris — Mom and I went to see my brother and his family, and had a marvelous time.

Here’s the April wrap-up:

April in photos #collectphotoapp

If you have a burning desire to see all of the photos, larger, you can visit my album on Flickr:

Project 365 2014

The album is missing a few days, but as you can see from the monthly wrap-up, I have managed to grab a photo every day, even if it’s a screenshot, and even if it’s a picture that Mark, took. My family doesn’t quite get my interest in a daily photo, but I find it fascinating to look back through them all, reading captions, and remembering what was going on. Or not going on, as the case may be…

If I’m counting right, yesterday was the end of week 18 and marked day 123. It’s hard to believe that more than a third of 2014 is already over, and in our case: school gets out in just 3 weeks!