What news?

I am very curious about what life was like when Messengers were the primary delivery system, when a person had to go to another person to report new developments or send messages. All the news had to come from a human being.

Apart from there probably being a lot less news to deal with on a daily basis, there was always a human face connected to any bit of information.

I’d imagine that there was an altogether quieter mind then. Perhaps the mind created its own news coming into it – but I would like to know what that must have felt like.

Even letters had to be passed from one human hand to another. Now most of us get our news from the small rectangles that dominate our lives. Some of us even get most of it from our social media networks – perhaps an attempt to re-connect the human face to the new delivery system?

And now, as I write this, I looked up to see a cluster of police officers and two EMTs surrounding a woman with a large bag. I don’t know what is going on – but I can see all their faces from this café where I’m sitting. If I read this event in the news, it would be meaningless – but in front of me, with all those faces, it is a captivating bit of news.


How now!

The stage direction right before this line is: Enter a Messenger. This is why my theatre company is called Messenger Theatre Company. Because something is ALWAYS about to happen as soon as a Messenger enters. A messenger never enters to deliver no news. A messenger is a catalyst. A messenger moves things forward. “How now!” is an appropriate response to a messenger’s entrance.
I wonder, though, how I might use it as a company slogan. I don’t think it would take.

Enter a Messenger.

How now!

I loved your father, and we love ourself;

On the whole it is hard to express self love. All sorts of practices propose to teach you to do it. Some of them will suggest that you practice saying you love yourself. To say “I love myself” is sticky. All the books will tell you to do it – but it sounds funny coming out of anyone’s mouth.

“We love ourself,” though, well, that’s a different story. I think all self – help books should henceforth follow Claudius’ example and suggest “we love ourself” as a self-love mantra. It helps with the plurality of the sense of self – helps with the individualist’s sense that each one of us is a king – and features both the plural and the single. Very useful this.

You shortly shall hear more.

A guy I only know on Facebook said that he doesn’t listen to a lot of podcasts. A whole slurry of people lined up to hate on podcasts. They said they hated listening to people talking. They didn’t like listening to things. That it was like radio and radio sucks, too.

I was stunned to read all of this. I love podcasts. I cannot stop listening. I love listening to people talk. I love listening to audio stories. I love hearing comedy. I love hearing analysis. I dig hearing intelligent conversation. And I cannot fathom feeling otherwise.

It’s all the pleasure of company with none of the responsibility. It’s the smoothest way to learn new things. It’s a way to take in ideas without requiring my full attention. That is, I can listen while I fold things or sort things. I can learn while I get dressed or make breakfast.

I have listened to dozens and dozens of podcasts and dozens and dozens of voices and will shortly hear more.

You must not think That we are made of stuff so flat and dull That we can let our beard be shook with danger And think it pastime.

I can see why that play Claudius watched could seem like a beard shaking to him. It was absolutely designed to have that effect. It is a taunt. It is a tugging on his self respect. It is a challenge, no doubt.
This is probably not what he’s trying to tell Laertes, though – because if he explained why the play was a taunt, he’d also have to explain that he has, I don’t know, MURDERED HIS BROTHER, THE PREVIOUS KING!
But what’s weird, though – is that if he’s NOT talking about the play, then he’s talking about the murder he’s committed – the victim of which is the man he’s talking to’s father.

Which doesn’t seem like a beard shaking so much. That feels a bit insulting to the man’s father. But Claudius is somehow adept at making his way through this dangerous territory.

Break not your sleeps for that.

If only intentionality played a role in what we lost sleep over. If only we could choose whether or not to break our sleeps. If we could, we’d all get a lot more sleep.

Even when I’m losing sleep for my creative work, churning over artistic decisions and whether or not I’ve really thought that ending through, it would still be better to sleep and let those answers come in the morning. But sleep breaking doesn’t work like that. We are always helpless in its power. Sleep either comes or it doesn’t. Or it comes in fits and starts.

I mostly am a good sleeper. I can sleep and sleep and sleep. But when the sleep gods decide to break me, I am powerless and will lie awake, churning and churning, brain racing – doing nothing of consequence but NOT sleeping.

That’s the breaks.

So that my arrows, Too slightly timber’d for so loud a wind, Would have reverted to my bow again, And not where I had aim’d them.

I don’t know a lot about archery but I feel like it would be quite unusual for an arrow to turn all the way around from the bow it was shot from to end up in its shooters head. That would require quite a specific wind, a really circular situation, no matter how slightly timber’d.
I could see how maybe one might shoot one’s own foot in this situation – because at least gravity might play a part. But for an arrow to get far enough away from you and then turn 180 degrees. And then move upwards, well. That would be one shockingly focused wind. Loud, sure. But also very precise. But it is a quite lovely way to say that a plan will backfire.

Who, dipping all his faults in their affection, Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone, Convert his gyves to graces;

What I don’t understand is why, if the public loves Hamlet so much, did they not make him King when his father died? Why is Claudius King and not Hamlet? I mean – I understand it’s a monarchy and the will of the people ain’t necessarily a factor. But they do help. And monarchies tend to hand crowns from fathers to sons, not brother to brothers. But…I’ve wondered this before and so have others.

The remarkable thing about this line is actually this spring that turns wood to stone. Apparently, this is a thing that exists. There are waters in the British Isles called petrifying wells and they make wood look like stone. No wonder these folks believed in magic. It’s like freakin’ magic but it’s a real thing. A real crazy nature thing.

The other motive, Why to a public count the general gender bear him;

I wish there were a general gender. Like rather than a world of male and female, there was just general gender and any variety within that was just that within it. Like, a general people – full of diversity but just generally people. It would be cool if gender was like that.
I’m thinking of it because of that story of the horrible orange bus driving around the country proclaiming that boys are boys and girls are girls and that’s biology. In my city, that bus was vandalized right away – to my city’s credit, I’d say. I don’t know why someone thought a bright orange bus with a hardline gender message was a good idea. But someone did.
Someone who would find general gender threatening, I imagine.