Hardly anyone writes anymore. I forgot to take a screen shot of it, but when I posted my blog yesterday, Truman Capote said that, “It is not writing, it’s typing” (or something to that effect). Which is true, for the most part, we don’t really write anymore, we just type in our computers (or tap in tablets). It’s faster and more practical that way. But for ideas, I still think its best to do it the old fashion way. The seed of the best typewritten work comes from actually writing. That is how we learned to write and that is the way to get the ideas flowing and the critical questions to manifest itself.
Granted, these notebooks were a splurge. They do cost quite a lot, for a notebook. I have also read various reviews, especially about a Moleskine and their marketing. The thing is, the feel of the paper is nice, it’s not too thick for it to be heave and not too thin for inks to bleed. The 240-page Moleskine is just as thick as the 128-page Daycraft. My notebook from the previous year, teNeues also makes wonderful paper and creative hardbound covers, but the rule lines are too large and it’s quite heavy. My notebooks for this year, the thesis formation year, are quite fabulous…
The Daycraft Signature Notebook was my first purchase of the three. It contains my everyday notes for every subject. It does not have any pocket, which is a downer, but it’s really pretty. The cover looks like leather, but it’s Italian polyurethane and it feels really luxurious. No animal died for this one. The formation of the thesis, among other things are written here. Granted, it looks like a scratch paper, especially the way I write on it, but it doesn’t make it any less pretty. Also, it is two-toned, so, even if it receives quite some bumps, it does not really show on the side.
For more thoughts and questions, here is my latest splurge, the large Moleskine hardbound ruled notebook. It currently contains thoughts, questions and interpretations of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement. I am re-reading it for a paper that I have to write. They publicize this as the notebook of Picasso and Hemingway. I really thought these notebooks were over-priced. They might still be, but for me, it’s worth it. It inspired me to write.
As mentioned earlier, its paper is thin enough to be light but thick enough to be substantial. And I really enjoy writing on it, which is what notebooks are basically for. Also, it’s an acid-free paper, which is important if you want your writings to last. The writings on the teNeues notebook from last year still holding up despite the abuse. Hopefully, the Moleskine lives up to expectations.
When I finally decided on a planner for the year, I knew I made the fabulous decision. I am currently using this extra small, sky blue diary from Moleskine. It has daily pages, so I can write appointments and thoughts that happen on the course of the day. I stick some color-coded Post-it half inch flags on it to remind me of upcoming deadlines and appointments, and yes, my first quarter is really looking crazy. It’s gaining the abuse of being in a bag all day, the pages have some marks as early as now, but its holding up beautifully. The best part, it’s really light. I hardly notice it in the bag. Also, it’s so pretty and cheerful, it really does look like how a perfect sky should be. It’s a bright, cheerful addition to the collection.
At the end of the day, any notebook should do, the important thing is that we write. As I said, these are splurges that happened is a span of a few months. These are what I buy when I shop, I buy notebooks, pens and of course–BOOKS. Lots of them. I am a geek. I have to admit that. These are the “stuff” that I buy on a retail-therapy mode. And this is it, for today’s Diary of a Grad Student.
Again, I have been ignoring the blog for a while, something which I swore I will not do. I am overwhelmed with things, to be completely honest. Then I decided to expand the blog, again. Since most of what I do and what I think are art-related, I am keeping now a diary of sorts here. Getting back to Manila after the holidays meant I am slammed with work from teaching as well as my graduate classes. On the upside, I am also welcomed with some post-holiday gifts. This put a smile on my face as I now keep simple things from friends, memorabilia of their affection that drowns the tension away.
On my first day back in grad school, I was immediately welcomed not with one, but with two gifts.
This is my turquoise bracelet from Monette, to match my necklace… She says this is a truth stone, and she felt like I needed it. And I do!
This foldable bag is from Jeff. It’s a good shopping bag, to reduce our carbon footprint. Also serves as a good book bag. I just dragged 6 hardbound books from Shopping Center yesterday with it.
Then came my planner dilemma. The planner that I wanter from Fully Booked disappeared. I was thinking on getting this anyway but I didn’t want to consume the extra coffee needed. Well, Dj gave me this one instead.
Unfortunately, the planner wasn’t what I thought it would be. The paper was a tad too thin and it’s a bit heavy. Also, there are a lot of look-alikes which I really hate. Dj didn’t mind anyway. He was betting for a Moleskine as well.
Speaking of planners, Fred gave me one as well. It’s a really colorful, pretty planner from PETA. You don’t see a lot of this.
Finally, I got this coin purse from Mark. Really loving this Boy Agimat! coin purse which he designed. More on Mark Salvatus’ artwork here. Currently using this coin purse right now. Hope it brings me luck.
Simple cheers that make our day. Then, I continue on with studying and teaching. This is it for now on a Diary of a Grad student. I have to go back to Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement. I am re-reading him for my thesis preparation. I hope to write again soon. A lot of books and art events to write about!
Shakespeare intersects numerous aspects of our everyday lives. Funny enough, the Bard intersected a lot of my favorites themes in this week’s Voices.
Magic. What is in common with Harry Potter and Shakespeare? Ralph Fiennes! “Actor Ralph Fiennes is hoping Harry Potter fans will be lured to watch Shakespeare when he stars in The Tempest in London’s West End.” Lord Voldemort will transform into Prospero this time around. Ralph Fiennes has been widely acclaimed and recognized as the main antagonist in the Harry Potter Series, despite the heavy prosthetics, and will now play a protagonist forThe Tempest. This could be an arena for Shakespearean voices to intersect into the popular audience. From the trunks of Hogwarts, a lead casket has been opened.
Remembrance. Nick Schifrin reflects on his experiences of the 9/11 attack on Reporter’s Notebook: Mulling Revenge, via Shakespeare, After 9/11. Such events, 10 years ago and today, reminds him of Titus Andronicus, particularly of the effect on the people, “In Afghanistan and Pakistan, where I have lived for the last three years, I’ve often wondered: Has the United States made many of the same mistakes that Titus Andronicus and his fellow tragedians made? Prioritizing revenge and killing the enemy over helping the local populations? Choosing allies who help produce short-term gratification (security gains) but long-term trouble? Refusing to truly engage with a population that seemed so different from themselves?”
Bronze Casket. Its adorable to open the first bronze casket from an adorable girl. She wrote in her moleskin notebook about the phrases we use everyday that we owe to Shakespeare. It went viral. Though a lot of people also sent in their corrections, it’s still something that it went viral in the first place. People do still find Shakespeare interesting. Its always a good start. It received various reports, even from the Shakespeare Geek. Its a bronze voice worth listening to.
Starving Artist? Yet you want to watch the Bard and other plays? Well, Orlando Shakespeare Theater now offers a “Starving Artist” Pass for those employed in a non-profit art organization. Matthew Palm reports”Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF is offering an opportunity to those employed by nonprofit arts organizations to purchase tickets for the 2011-2012 season at a reduced rate with a “Starving Artist” pass. Starving Artist passholders will receive one ticket to each of Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s six Signature Series productions for only $30. (Limit two per person).” This is certainly good news and a show of much needed appreciation for artists, art lovers and cultural workers who love to go to the theatre but may not always be able to afford it. They want to hear the Bard’s voices most, but usually can afford it least.
Quoting Shakespeare. “If all else fails, at least I can quote Shakespeare…” Majoring in English, Literature, Theatre Arts and other Liberal Arts poses a lot of problems, as presented by Abdul Siddiqui. There often comes a lot of employment difficulties after graduation, I should know, as it is also the problem I faced after graduating with an Art Studies degree. Yet, there are a lot of job opportunities out there, you just have to be persistent enough in looking. You can also consider volunteer works that can help you enrich yourself as well as get your name out there. The Shakespeare Standard and other sites also provide information on scholarships and publications that you also want to explore. So, really, there is no need to resort to just quoting Shakespeare. Let’s start opening some more caskets…
Sam Blumenfeld, author of The Marlowe-Shakespeare Connection, says its Marlowe who wrote Shakespeare and that his book should’ve been the one turned into a movie rather than Anonymous in his column Who Wrote Shakespeare?for The New American. I guess everyone just wants a piece of the Bard.
What is up for this week? My newsfeed is still abuzz over Anonymous. But honestly, are you as over this hype as I am? The facts are out there, the most disturbing aspect is the distribution of the “documentary” to schools where it confounds students. Why can’t we just give respect where it belongs. Clearly, this glitzy and glamorous golden casket is just plain that.
Moving on, remember the Subway Shakespeare? Now we have Shakespeare on an elevator! Hillard reports, “Rothhaar and Pasqualini are part of Salty Shakespeare, a California theater group dedicated to bringing Shakespeare to public spaces in a way that penetrates the electronic wall that often surrounds us. The group has performed on Venice Beach and currently has plans to take Romeo and Juliet to a shopping mall. Back on the elevator, once the doors open, people move quickly. Not all of them realize that they’ve just witnessed a performance.” Now this is an interesting bronze casket. I wonder when I will ever run into the Bard like this. This deserves a round of applause.
There is nothing like laughter to bring Shakespeare closer to the people. As was my habit in Portia’s Caskets, I love looking for bits and pieces that will develop the love of the Bard and bring him closer to everyone. No, he is not an Earl; he is an ordinary person, just like most of us, and it never stopped him from creating the plays that we all know and love. Our own respective status will not stop us from being what we want to be, Shakespeare is one of the best inspiration of that belief. Stratford-Upon-Avon, keep up the fight.
Students at Bernards High School will present “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”
Such fun and laughter is inspirational in the works of children, “Next weekend, the students at Bernards High School will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a play that takes a jab at all 37 of the Bard’s works in a production that runs just under two hours.” We can all remember our high school Shakespearean readings, but for Lynn Weltler, director of Bernards High School’s theater program, “Now imagine if the female characters wore bad wigs and overacted like the actors on Saturday Night Live.” Hopefully, more schools will follow their lead for a fuller Shakespearean experience.
Hello dear readers, sorry for the bit of delay for today’s Portia’s Casket. Our second semester just begun and everyone is busy catching up, including me. Once again, I play a dual role of a teacher and a graduate student. Such longing for the recently ended vacation brings me to our first casket, Shakespeare, Global Warming, Sunset, and You. Bill Blakemore starts with this reflection, “Imagine you’re reading Shakespeare on an unseasonably warm evening while sitting on a dune looking west across the sea at sunset.” How I wish I can ponder the authorship debate in this setting. There is nothing like this relaxed atmosphere to wonder about various issues that are plaguing us, “You watch the reddening sun move down toward the horizon until the bottom edge of the bright disc drops behind the rim of the sea. The still visible portion of the sun morphs into various shapes as it moves inexorably down until it’s just a tiny point of light. Then, as you can plainly see, it is suddenly gone as the sun travels even further below the horizon.” But he is also right, the sun does not sink in the horizon, it is the earth that actually moves, so it is us that must also move.
Difference. Most times, it is difficult to be so different from others. But this difference makes us special. Shakespeare helps us express this. His plays and our adaptations of it often focus on difference. And this difference makes the practice of the Bard amazing.
To do this, we have to start from the beginning. It is no surprise that art education is in dire trouble today. Teri Hein and Darren Lay points out, “THE No Child Left Behind Act drove schools to slash programs that don’t directly contribute to the goal of higher achievement in reading and math. The technology revolution, with its emphasis on math and science, has further pushed us to prioritize those disciplines.” Arts education receive help, yet it is growing increasingly difficult as the funds are now strained more than ever, “While schools focus their limited resources on math, science and reading, the task of engaging children in the arts falls increasingly on the shoulders of organizations like 826 Seattle and Young Shakespeare Workshop. We are deeply proud of the youth we serve, but there are thousands more every year who never find us, or for whom we simply have no capacity.”
Everybody is back from the Thanksgiving hiatus. Its good to be back. How did Shakespeare speak to us this week?
Relevance. Ralph Fienne’s performances are mostly rewarding to watch and his directorial debut of Coriolanus was no exception. Newsweek Magazine reports, “His main aim for the film was to be relevant and accessible today, which meant reining in Shakespeare’s language to make it as direct as ordinary conversation. On one Belgrade location Butler could be heard roaring obscenities of frustration, but Fiennes, hunched behind the monitor, was gently cajoling. “That’s great, Gerry, don’t lose that focus,” he urged, until finally the lines were sounding unforced. “He came in with a raggedness, which was exciting,” Fiennes said later, “But then, in the last few takes, he used it and refined it. It was a real process.””
Here is the rundown. I started with Ralph Fiennes and ironically, I also ended up with Ralph Fiennes. Writing Portia’s Casket has been rewarding. I hope to write more for The Shakespeare Standard and I always hope for more readers. Let’s keep on opening the Bard’s Caskets!