J Is for Juliet & Ophelia & Paying for Groceries: #atozchallenge

When students asked, “Why do we have to read all this literature?” I told them it would help them to play Jeopardy. You never know when Alex Trebek will ask you a question. Since leaving the classroom, I’ve come up with other reasons. Here’s one I wrote about back in 2012.

*

At HEB this afternoon, having verified that I had, indeed, spent my last sou on a cup of coffee at Waterloo Writers, I ran my credit card through the scanner. The resulting screen read, Select Tender Type.

Tender.

Such a formal, old-fashioned word for this new-fangled device.

It reminded me of the scene in which Polonius asks Ophelia about the status of her relationship with Hamlet:

Polonius: What is between you? give me up the truth.

Ophelia: He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

Polonius: Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

Ophelia: I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

Polonius: Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or–not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus–you’ll tender me a fool.

Poor Ophelia. She was a sweet thing, and young, and the men in her life treated her so shabbily.

But even though Polonius belittles his daughter to her face, the way Shakespeare moves tender through the passage, varying its meaning from one line to the next, renders the speech remarkable. As Hamlet later implies, Polonius is a rat—and he pays for his treachery a couple of acts down the road—but the old man has a way with words.

Thinking of Polonius and Ophelia reminded me of Lord Capulet‘s rage when Juliet tells him she will not marry Paris. He explodes, and Juliet adds fuel to the fire.

Capulet: How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?

Juliet: Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
Proud can I never be of what I hate;
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.

Capulet: How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’
And yet ‘not proud,’ mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!


“Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, / But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,…” Beautiful. Those are the words of an angry man. Just seeing them on the page gives me the shivers.

To some, Capulet sounds like a terrible father, but, as I pointed out to my freshmen, year after year, Juliet started it. She was rude and disrespectful. Her father didn’t know she was already married to Romeo; he thought she would be thrilled to marry the wealthy and handsome Paris. But she behaved like a brat. It’s no wonder Capulet threatened to drag her on a hurdle thither.

These two female characters present an interesting contrast: Ophelia refuses to speak for herself; Juliet shouts. But neither one lasts to the end of Act V.

A scholarly paper might lurk in there somewhere: “Shakespeare’s Women: A Study of the Consequences of Self-Actualization Within the Context of the Father-Daughter Relationship Complicated by Nascent Heterosexual Bonding, with a Focus on Hamlet’s Ophelia and Romeo and Juliet’s Juliet.”

Or maybe not.

By the time I finished with the Capulets, the cashier had almost finished with the scanning. While she bagged the items, I pondered the relationship between the name of Jason FForde’s protagonist, Thursday Next, and the once-projected date for Juliet’s wedding.

Then I remembered that Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King contains a line echoing Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds. I don’t remember which character says it, and I’ve not been able to locate it online; I guess if I’ll have to re-read the entire Idylls just to ease my mind.

But I recognized other lines that drifted across the screen: Guinevere, jealous of Elaine, takes up Lancelot’s gift of diamonds

 

And thro’ the casement standing wide for heat
Flung them and down they flash’d, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flash’d, as it were
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.

 

That image—diamonds falling into the sunlit stream, and water splashing up, like diamonds to meet them—has been with me for thirty-five years and will remain when the rest of the book has passed from memory.

Well. By the end of my reverie, the cashier and I had completed our transaction. I wheeled the groceries to the car. End of shopping.

End of post.

Except to observe that I stood for ten minutes in one of the most boring places imaginable and forgot to be bored.

I was busy elsewhere.

***

Here are some A to Z Challenge blogs–and some not A to Z Challenge blogs–you might like to visit.

Sparkonit Science Simplified

Charles Heath — Author

iScriblr

A Pondering Mind

Anne’s Family History

FranceSays

Ailish Sinclair: Stories and Photos from Scotland

Zombie Flamingos

Beth Lapin’s A to Z Blog

Abbie’s Corner of the World

***

Images from Wikipedia:

“Ophelia” by John William Waterhouse

“Juliet” by John William Waterhouse

A Secret Pleasure at the Gym

recumbent bike trainers with TV monitors on top
recumbent bike trainers with TV monitors on top

No, it’s not the swimming pool. It’s not the hot tub. It’s not the gorgeous male trainers.

It’s the closed captions.

Some machines at the gym have TV monitors attached so users won’t become bored. A wise move.

My first day on the recumbent bike, I said to myself, “Oh, pish-tosh! I don’t need television. I have an active mind and a rich internal life.”

The second day, I discovered my internal life isn’t rich enough to keep me pedaling for twenty minutes without my active mind imploding. So–on with the TV. Since I hadn’t brought earbuds, I turned on the closed captions.

Viewing choices are limited: some cable movies, lots of sports, a travel show, all about as stimulating as watching your knees rise and fall. But one news station runs unscripted programs, most related to business and the economy.

And the closed captions for those unscripted programs are a hoot.

During one session, I managed to take notes. Here are some of the fragments I recorded. Remember, the program was about finance, and my knees were moving up and down at 9.4 mph.

 Captions

 1. … when people gathered to talk about the economy and cucumbers…

2. …too much of Peoria for political to sin…

3. …when like at Europe the monkey is struggling and falling apart…

4. …and to see Barry big surprise interest from some pastries…

5. …we have the armpit that all of our options fade with time…

6. …the importance of a kiwi in Europe…

7. …call the stow the hillbilly of what is coming…

8. …take on a ministry the comics not to forget…

9. …the markets found some milk without the markets coming up…

10. …learned from a tumor and people said a tomato…

All that in just one session of violent bodily exertion. What more could I want?

Yesterday earbuds were available, but plugging them in didn’t cross my mind. Nor did announcing my find.

Those captions are my own little secret. When other cyclers look my way, wondering why I laugh aloud, they can just wonder.

And when the rest of the health nuts have dropped out from indolence and ennui, and I alone register perfect attendance, and when the muscleiest trainer can’t drag me off the bike, the Powers That Be will admire, nay revere, me. And they will give me head pats.

Gad, I love those headpats.

*

If you missed yesterday’s post about torture at the gym, you can read it at O Treachery, Thy Name Is Puller-Downer Thingey.

And yes, I’m pretty wiped out today.

wiped out
pretty wiped out

Select Tender Type or, Another Reason Literature Is Useful (Repost)

Below is a piece I originally posted, under a slightly different title, several years ago. I don’t know why the text looks as it does, but it will stay that way until tech support and I find a remedy. I hope you will read and enjoy anyway.

Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in
“Ophelia,” oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in (Photo credit: Wikipedia) John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
At HEB this afternoon, having verified that I had, indeed, spent my last sou on a cup of coffee at Waterloo Writers, I ran my credit card through the scanner. The resulting screen read, Select Tender Type.

Tender.

Such a formal, old-fashioned word for this new-fangled device.

It reminded me of the scene in which Polonius asks Ophelia about her relationship with Hamlet:

Polonius: What is between you? give me up the truth.

Ophelia: He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

Polonius: Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

Ophelia: I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

Polonius: Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or–not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus–you’ll tender me a fool.

Poor Ophelia. She was a sweet thing, and young, and the men in her life treated her so shabbily.

But even while Polonius belittles his daughter to her face, the way Shakespeare moves tender through the passage, varying its meaning from one line to the next, makes the language as briliant as its meaning is dark. Polonius, as Hamlet later implies, is a rat—and he pays for his treachery a couple of acts down the road—but he has such a way with words.

Thinking of Polonius and Ophelia reminded me of Lord Capulet‘s rage when Juliet tells him she will not marry Paris. He explodes, and Juliet adds fuel to the fire.

Capulet: How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?

Juliet or The Blue Necklace (1898) by John Wil...
Juliet or The Blue Necklace (1898) by John William Waterhouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Juliet: Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
Proud can I never be of what I hate;
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.

Capulet: How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’
And yet ‘not proud,’ mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!

“Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, / But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,…” Beautiful. Just seeing it on the page gives me the shivers.

To some, Capulet sounds like a terrible father, but, as I pointed out to my freshmen, year after year, Juliet starts it. She’s rude and disrespectful. Her father doesn’t know she’s already married; he thinks she would be thrilled to marry Paris. But she behaves like a brat. It’s no wonder Capulet threatens to drag her on a hurdle thither.

The two female characters present an interesting contrast: Ophelia refuses to speak for herself; Juliet shouts. But neither one lasts to the end of Act V.

A scholarly paper might lurk in there somewhere: “Shakespeare’s Women: A Study of the Consequences of Self-Actualization Within the Context of the Father-Daughter Relationship Complicated by Nascent Heterosexual Bonding, with a Focus on Hamlet’s Ophelia and Romeo and Juliet’s Juliet.”

Or perhaps not.

By the time I finished with the Capulets, the cashier had almost finished scanning. While she bagged the items, I had time to wonder whether the name of Jasper FForde‘s protagonist, Thursday Next, was inspired by the once-projected date for Juliet’s wedding.

I also remembered that The Idylls of the King contains a line echoing Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds; I believe it’s spoken by Guinevere–maybe–but I’ve not been able to locate it, and it looks as if I’ll have to re-read the entire Idylls to ease my mind.

But I did catch the next lines that drifted by: Guinevere, jealous of Elaine, takes up Lancelot’s gift of diamonds

“And thro’ the casement standing wide for heat
Flung them and down they flash’d, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flash’d, as it were
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.”

That image—diamonds falling into the sunlit stream, and water splashing up, like diamonds to meet them—remains with me when the rest of the book has passed from memory.

Well. By this time, the cashier and I had completed our transaction. I wheeled the groceries to the car. End of shopping.

End of post.

Except to point out that I stood for ten minutes in one of the most boring places imaginable and forgot to be bored.

I was busy elsewhere.

 

 

 

Select Tender Type or, Another Reason Literature Is Important

Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel
Ophelia by Alexandre Cabanel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At HEB this afternoon, having verified that I had, indeed, spent my last sou on a cup of coffee at Waterloo Writers, I ran my credit card through the scanner. The resulting screen read, Select Tender Type.

Tender.

Such a formal, old-fashioned word for this new-fangled device.

It reminded me of the scene in which Polonius asks Ophelia about the status of her relationship with Hamlet:

 

Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in
Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Polonius: What is between you? give me up the truth.

Ophelia: He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders
Of his affection to me.

Polonius: Affection! pooh! you speak like a green girl,
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?

Ophelia: I do not know, my lord, what I should think.

Polonius: Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or–not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus–you’ll tender me a fool.

 

Poor Ophelia. She was a sweet thing, and young, and the men in her life treated her so shabbily.

But even though Polonius belittles his daughter to her face, the way Shakespeare moves tender through the passage, varying its meaning from one line to the next, renders the speech remarkable. As Hamlet later implies, Polonius is a rat—and he pays for his treachery a couple of acts down the road—but he has a way with words.

Thinking of Polonius and Ophelia reminded me of Lord Capulet‘s rage when Juliet tells him she will not marry Paris. He explodes, and Juliet adds fuel to the fire.

Capulet: How! will she none? doth she not give us thanks?
Is she not proud? doth she not count her blest,
Unworthy as she is, that we have wrought
So worthy a gentleman to be her bridegroom?

Juliet or The Blue Necklace (1898) by John Wil...
Juliet or The Blue Necklace (1898) by John William Waterhouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Juliet: Not proud, you have; but thankful, that you have:
Proud can I never be of what I hate;
But thankful even for hate, that is meant love.

Capulet: How now, how now, chop-logic! What is this?
‘Proud,’ and ‘I thank you,’ and ‘I thank you not;’
And yet ‘not proud,’ mistress minion, you,
Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds,
But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,
To go with Paris to Saint Peter’s Church,
Or I will drag thee on a hurdle thither.
Out, you green-sickness carrion! out, you baggage!
You tallow-face!


“Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds, / But fettle your fine joints ‘gainst Thursday next,…” Beautiful. Just seeing it on the page gives me the shivers.

To some, Capulet sounds like a terrible father, but, as I pointed out to my freshmen, year after year, Juliet started it. She was rude and disrespectful. Her father didn’t know she was already married; he thought she would be thrilled to marry Paris. But she behaved like a brat. It’s no wonder Capulet threatened to drag her on a hurdle thither.

The two female characters present an interesting contrast: Ophelia refuses to speak for herself; Juliet shouts. But neither one lasts to the end of Act V.

A scholarly paper might lurk in there somewhere: “Shakespeare’s Women: A Study of the Consequences of Self-Actualization Within the Context of the Father-Daughter Relationship Complicated by Nascent Heterosexual Bonding, with a Focus on Hamlet’s Ophelia and Romeo and Juliet’s Juliet.”

Or perhaps not.

By the time I finished with the Capulets, the cashier had almost finished with the scanning. While she bagged the items, I had time to wonder whether the name of Jason FForde’s protagonist, Thursday Next, was inspired by the once-projected date for Juliet’s wedding.

I also remembered that The Idylls of the King contains a line echoing Thank me no thankings, nor, proud me no prouds; I believe it’s spoken by Guinevere–maybe–but I’ve not been able to locate it, and it looks as if I’ll have to re-read the entire Idylls to ease my mind.

But I did find the next lines that drifted by: Guinevere, jealous of Elaine, takes up Lancelot’s gift of diamonds

 

Queen Guinevere's maying, by John Collier, 1900
Queen Guinevere’s maying, by John Collier, 1900 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And thro’ the casement standing wide for heat
Flung them and down they flash’d, and smote the stream.
Then from the smitten surface flash’d, as it were
Diamonds to meet them, and they past away.

 

That image—diamonds falling into the sunlit stream, and water splashing up, like diamonds to meet them—remains with me when the rest of the book has passed from memory.

Well. By this time, the cashier and I had completed our transaction. I wheeled the groceries to the car. End of shopping.

End of post.

Except to point out that I stood for ten minutes in one of the most boring places imaginable and forgot to be bored.

I was busy elsewhere.

Dull people

Only dull people are bored. ~ Adela Rogers St. John

I’ve just begun a book about structuring the novel. So far I’ve learned that I don’t know how to write my novel because I don’t know the structure, and that, because only I know the story, no blueprint exists until I create it.

I’m pretty sure I already had that figured out.

My plot is acting up. Or, worse yet, maybe it’s the story that’s giving me fits. Several months ago, CP convinced me I could make it work, but once again, I’m not so sure.

She asked whether I’m bored with my characters. I’m not. But I’m bored with a situation. I don’t know whether I can make it work. I don’t know whether I want to make it work.

CP said maybe this isn’t the book I want to write. Maybe it’s the second. Maybe it’s just back story.

Maybe I’m afraid to push through to the end.

I wrote a post several months ago about being all grown up and adequate to the task ahead.

Yeah, right.

Today’s Scorpio says I’m filled with courage and the heart to get the job done. And my tenacity will carry me through.

Not today.

I’ll be honest: I do not feel adequate and I have no ideas for tonight’s post, which, because of more network problems, was posted prematurely and is now being fixed. A little.

I don’t think that’s what WordPress had in mind when it invited me to post daily.

Phooey.

Oh well. I’ll think about that tomorrow. It’s another day.