Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Two Boys With a Pet Platypus is Weird. There. I said it.

        They’re tearing down Springfield Mall.

I should back up. Springfield Mall is this place here in Virginia that was at one time the state of the art, up and coming mall that was consistently packed on the weekends, especially during the Christmas shopping season. Slowly over the years it became “that mall.” You know the one. It’s in every down. It’s big, but about half the stores are closed and the ones that are open don’t really have the “right” things in them. The food court has all the restaurants you like but they don’t really taste the same. Just walking in you get the feeling that everything is wrong. Not just the stores themselves, but you have a feeling of deep despair and dread, like you’ll never know happiness ever again until you mercifully step outside and rejoice in the fact that you no longer have to sit in that mall. It had become that kind of place.

Anyone who has visited the mall in the past few years is probably saying, “Cool. It’s about damn time they got rid of that ghost town.” Of course I have to admit that if I was going off just the past couple of years I’d have to say, “good, it’s about time.”

The problem is, it hasn’t always been that way. That’s true of just about everything, things are built and designed to be cool, and then they end up wearing out their welcome, much like the Platypus. (Despite the attempt of Phineas and Ferb to make them cool again.) But in this case, I mean it really hasn’t always been that way.

I remember growing with the Springfield Mall. I can remember they used to have this one store in there called “Another Universe” which was this really cool comic book store. I can remember my dad coming home with a stack full of comics and some Star Trek cards every week. I can remember standing in line with a hurt leg to watch the Star Wars re-releases. (I did grow into my nerdhood there.) I remember Christmas shopping, I remember this was really the place to just hang out.

As I admitted before, yes, has really gone downhill over the past couple of years. I’m talking about a place that really hasn’t existed in a couple of years. We all have a place like that. It’s not really a place per se, it’s a feeling. A feeling of a childhood (or teenagehood) past. 

I guess that’s why I used to enjoy walking through Springfield Mall even after it became that kind of mall. I know it was barely safe at the time that someone said, “Hey, this isn’t working let’s go ahead and turn it into something that’s the exact opposite of what it is now!” I’d even get made fun of for daring to insist that it was, at one time, a place I wanted to be. But it wasn’t the place, it’s a feeling.

So, I’m raising a Bad Shakespeare glass... or something? To the Springfield Mall. Not to the mall itself, no, this is a mercy killing. To the feeling. To that feeling of the past that I know I’ll never be able to recapture. Yes, it’s important to remember that I will never recapture that feeling. I will, however have to create new feelings, a new place to return to.

Of course, there will always be a place in my heart for whatever that place is going to become.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On Failure and Getting Back Up Again.

        So, I failed.

I’m not talking about Nanowrimo. Well, not exclusively. At this point we are about five days away from the ending, and I’m only about 4000 words in. Unfortunately, I failed in another, much more spectacular way. And I’m not going to lie, friends, it really took the wind out of my sails. I never really understood that metaphor until this week, when I did, in fact, stopped moving forward. In a bad way.

I was low, and it affected just about every part of my life. I couldn’t work out, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do the things that I really enjoyed. I found myself falling into old habits that involved me clinging to my time away from what was really bothering me, staying up later than I should and sleeping longer than recommended because that meant I wouldn’t have to deal with my failure. My spectacular failure.

The thing about failure is that you can’t really let it get you down. You’re going to get knocked down. The important thing, the great philosophers in the band “Chumbawumbah” have told us is that we have to get up again. Ain’t never going to keep me down. Of course, they’re talking about drinking and later the song was adapted to refer to soccer hooliganism (who are notoriously difficult to keep down, and have a great outlook on life.) so maybe that’s not the best place to get advice.

The thing is, despite all the kittens hanging on branches with cute sayings, it’s really difficult to get back up again once you’ve gotten the wind taken away from your sails. Everyone tries to help - and trust me I’ve really appreciated all of the help I’ve gotten - but sometimes all the sayings in the world can’t really help. Particularly the fashion in which my wind was stolen from me.

But after some time, I finally have... well, me back. I’m getting back up on that horse and putting the wind back in my own sails. I don’t mean to be as cryptic as I’m coming across, but I’m still not fully ready to put out exactly what happened in blog form, but I will when I can write about it in a way that’s not overly needy or depressing. You come here to laugh.

However, as announced on my Facebook page, I WILL be restarting my own personal Nanowrimo. Not through the official scary counter, but I will be restarting in a new fun way, and it’s going to be for Christmas. It’s not going to be a Christmas story, but it’s Bad Shakespeare’s Christmas Present to everyone. A Very Bad Shakespeare Christmas Novel Writing Event! I plan on following the same guidelines, by December 25th, I will have written a 50,000 word novel with plans to edit it and self publish it by the new year. I will post some parts on Bad Shakespeare, and I will let you all into the process, starting this week as I resume my blogging duties.

Let’s get back up on that metaphor together, people. Let’s hear some cheering, and let’s not little things knock us down so badly that we never get up from it again. Failure will always happen. It’s time to kick failure in the teeth.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Further Adventures of Novel: The Novel

        At this point in the Nanowrimo fun (funness?) I’m about 4,000 words in. According to the official Nanowrimo counter, I should finish sometime after the Mayans have said that the world itself is supposed to collapse in on itself. Man, do I hate the official Nanowrimo counter.

I also hate that I still like typing “Nanowrimo” as opposed to “National Novel Writing Month.” Because it’s long. And I’m lazy.

Your good buddy Bad Shakespeare really hasn’t been around much lately, and he hasn’t bee updating his word count that much, and you’ll also notice that he hasn’t been posting much. You see it’s a long story. One filled with excitement and wonder, that would in fact make a great Nanowrimo story, if not for the fact that I was living it, and couldn’t be sure that the ending would happen in time.

No. I was actually going through some personal stuff. It really hasn’t been fun or exciting, but it illustrates one of the constant frustrations with writing. For you see, Right now I am writing a comedy novel. It’s actually pretty planned out and coming along great in my head. I’ve mentioned what it’s about, but the cast has continued to grow almost unwieldy, but is still funny. Funny enough anyway, and I constantly laugh to myself regarding one scene in which a double secret agent meets up with his handler in an English McDonald’s, and she’s clearly out of place nibbling on a cheeseburger.

The real problem with this is that when tragedy, or in this case, severe depression hits... it’s really difficult to write a comedy. It’s difficult to get those words out, it’s difficult to get that feeling out. And Bad Shakespeare has been in a bad place the past couple of weeks. With the help of good... dareisay GREAT friends, I’ve managed to come out of it, and I’m back on track. I plan on still doing my best to power through and finish this epic novel of comedy. 

It has been said that dying is easy, comedy is hard. I believe it. For the longest time, I can get by on just what I think is funny. The problem is translating that to a version that everyone loves. And that can be difficult when you have stuff getting you down. Yes, you have to power through it, but sometimes, you can’t power through it on your own. And I’m blessed and lucky to have friends to help me. That being said, it’s still difficult to be funny when you’re curled up on the couch, not really caring about what is going to happen next because you’re afraid for the next minute. Fortunately, I’m past that.

And of course one that moment passes you have to ask yourself, “when is it ok to be funny again?” And I see no reason to start now. But I do feel powerful enough and funny enough to restart my Nanowrimo shenanigans. I may be behind, the odds against me, but I’ve never let that stop me before. I promised you all a novel, you’re all getting a novel.

Thanks for following along, everyone. Get ready for some more comedy, coming right at you!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Making It So...

                Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you… NaNoWriMo!

                For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month. I refuse to refer to it as NaNoWriMo. It sounds like a bad Star Trek character. Anyway, Bad Shakespeare has officially signed up, which means over the next 30 days I will be writing over 50,000 words, and I plan on sharing this journey with you, the loyal readers of Bad Shakespeare. Which means I have to do roughly... well, if I could do math I wouldn’t be doing National Novel Writing Month.

                What am I writing about? That’s simple, it’s a simple tale of boy needs an internship so he gets one working for a possibly evil organization and may be asked to be the inside man for FBI, a super-secret spy group, a superhero, a nosy DJ, all while trying to impress his boss and get that college credit. Also, there’s a cat who the head of human resources. I’d like to say, “don’t worry it will probably all make sense at the end” but right now I can’t promise anything. All I have is that pretty loose outline and the super-secret spy group literally just popped into my head.

                So, why am I posting this now, almost five whole days when I should have at least… someone do the math for me… that many words written? Because last week you were treated to the Bad Shakespeare Election Guide. And I write things in advance, and post them. I’ve been working on this novel DURING the BSEG. And what does this mean for you, the regular Bad Shakespeare reader? Simple: rather than my usual posting of three days a week, I’ll be posting only once a week, probably on Friday as I update you on where we’re at in the story, how many words I’ve done, and what you can expect. I may hit you with more, shorter blog posts, but they will revolve around this undertaking.

                I’m also aware that this isn’t original. Plenty of people blog their National Novel Writing Month Experiences. But ask yourself: will there’s be as entertaining? Probably not.  Also, as I post things I will be taking feedback, and I may be asking you to help guide the story. Particularly towards the middle, when I’ll probably be a little stuck. Also, I'm going to want your encouragement. I could really use it, as with anything that involves a finish line. This will take up a big part of my life... I will need your help in reaching that goal.

                Here we go, loyal Bad Shakespearists. In the words of the great Captain Picard, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” It’s what I’ll probably be drinking when I write. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bad Shakespeare Election Guide: Falstaff

Name: John Falstaff

Occupation: Fat Knight, drinker, advisor, drinker, boaster, drinker.

The Rundown: One of William Shakespeare’s most famous creations, Sir John Falstaff the Fat Knight is a drunkard who appears in three of his plays. This is one of the first recurring characters that actually necessitated a sequel, so think about that the next time you complain about yet another sequel is hitting theaters (Shakespeare did it). Vain and boastful, John Falstaff actually provided sage advice, and his death off stage was mourned heavily in Henry the V. (That means this guy is featured in four of Shakespeare’s plays. That makes him the Tony Stark of the Shakespeare Universe.) I have included him on this list because he is one of my favorite characters in all of literature.

Why Wouldn’t He Be Elected Today: Dude loved the drink and loved the ladies. He wouldn’t apologize or try to hide scandals, he’d revel in them.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bad Shakespeare Election Guide: Oberon

Name: Oberon

Occupation: King of the Fairies; amateur theatre critic.

The Rundown: As King of the Fairies, he’s basically the most powerful person in the Athenian forest. So naturally he gives the task of trying to convince his wife to give up the kid they kidnapped together to Puck who’s really not all that up to the task. What follows is possibly the very first episode of Three’s Company. Lovers keep falling in love with the wrong person, then in then his wife falls in love with a man who has the head of a donkey. (And is named Bottom. Real subtle, Shakespeare.) In the end, he makes everything right with the snap of his fingers, then heckles a group of mediocre actors.

Why Wouldn’t He Be Elected Today: He assigns the most important job possible to the least qualified individual possible. His critique of the play at the end is so-so at best.