To Be or Not To Be?
Posted on March 17, 2016
There’s some Shakespeare in the novel I’m working on. I’ve mentioned it before. Hamlet, to be precise. He pops up in the more troubling scenes and every now and again the bard and his word play throw me off course and make me loose track of what I want with this story (well, not entirely, just a little).
In any case, I needed a bit of guidance and I needed it quick – I have my crit buddies pounding on my door. What better solution to force a breakthrough than to meet up with one of the bard’s greatest interpreters, the playwright George Isherwood. We had a riveting conversation about death, which is a big thing in the story, and about life. Equally big in the story, I guess. We also touched on the dark side of the mind and the dark side of the story. On the light, or more specifically on the absence of light and how that affects the novel and the reader’s experience. It was a good exchange that moved both me and the story forward.
While writing the next scenes, my muse decided to throw in some existentialist musings of his own. He shot me some balls about death being a mere exit versus death being a liberation, about the ‘to be’ as the only answer (to life or to death, I wonder). Good stuff to think about, not just for the book and the writing but also for life in general. What is death? And what if death is a self chosen one like with Ophelia? (Mind you, we assume she took her own life, but we don’t know for sure, as the bard doesn’t give us any clues about what happens in between the acts.)
After these thought-provoking tête-a-têtes with the playwright and the muse, I decided to let this whole ‘To Be Or Not To Be’ thing simmer for a while and just wear my favorite Tee.