Shakespeare and Things
It is phenomenal that a person can plug a Shakespeare quote into almost any situation to offer some philosophical perspective. That is easy. A person can also find almost any critical viewpoint to support his or her own thoughts on a subject. That requires time, but with the magic world of Internet, it is a simple task. True challenge only surfaces when one tries to express his or her own opinion. That is beyond the grasp of a “Google” bar or a database. Delving within the crevices of one’s mind to find the words to express an emotion or an experience requires more than merely time—it requires digging through volumes of memories, cobwebs of forgotten moments and forming a thought that is born separate from whatever the dominant paradigm of an era screams.
The mind is an odd thing indeed. It is so much more than a mechanical motherboard of chips and processors. It is a gift. I look into my mind, I find something hidden behind a cobweb, and I think, “Now, how the hell did that get there?” I do not recollect putting it there, so, who put it there?
I wonder what Shakespeare saw in his mind. I wonder if there were cobwebs of forgotten moments that occurred before he was even born. In addition, what of Shakespeare’s mind. Is one mind capable of producing the multitude of wisdom he shared? I do not know if Shakespeare’s profound wisdom was his alone or if it was a multitude of voices working together to sketch a plan that would describe any situation imaginable to man. Funny—I can think of many literary gems that make me wonder that exact thing. I dig through my mind, but I cannot find answers. Does it mean that I am an idiot because my next thought is who posed that unforgettable inquiry about why men have nipples.
I dug through my mind once and found paper dolls dancing freely and falling in love. I found a memory of kisses healing wounds and nice dreams always coming true. I was searching for words to express my grief and instead I found paper dolls withering, tattered and drenched, rotting away within some dark recess of my mind. Who put those rotting dolls there? Who would dare to kill paper dolls?
Another time as I was digging through years of experience, I heard a beautiful voice reminding me that I was once loved. The voice grew faint as voices of emptiness and solitude drowned it out. I thought I was experiencing some profound epiphany, but then I recalled that when slumber consumes my consciousness and washes over the forgotten memories and the cobwebs, I feel traces of love. I remembered that within the embrace of slumber, little pieces of a rainbow drip upon my heart like warm wax dripping from a burning candle. Sadly, I also remembered that consciousness cruelly tears the rainbow pieces into even smaller shreds and thrusts them upon the flames of darkness. Whoever shoved rotting paper dolls into the recesses of my mind must have also put rainbows and candles in there to keep me alert.
While I do not expect to find words as elegant as those within Shakespeare’s mind in my own, I like to explore my mind periodically to see if I can find my own words and thoughts. Digging through the volumes of memories, cobwebs of forgotten moments and forming thoughts born solely of my own experiences is a challenging process. Sometimes, I find things I never knew existed. Sometimes, I rediscover things that were lost. Periodically, I discover things that should have stayed covered in dust. Occasionally, I find things like rotting paper dolls and dead roses and wonder how they got there.
The best part of digging through an eternity of memories is seeing my children when they were babies. We were still laughing and the paper dolls were still alive and dancing. Roses are blooming everywhere and Doyle is still there. I am comforted when I see that death has not touched those memories and no one else has shoved anything into that part of my mind.
Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow;
Raze out the written troubles of the brain;
And, with some sweet oblivious antidote,
Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
There is even a unicorn grazing there in my mind. I remember putting it there. Fed and exercised properly, the mind can be a phenomenal thing. It is a gift. Regardless of whether I put things into my mind or someone like Death snuck into my mind while I slept and shoved stuff in there, things live there—happy things, sad things and even angry things. (Even ugly rotting paper dolls). I can find all the Shakespearean quotes and search the Internet for validation, but the things that live in my mind are the most challenging and rewarding things for which to search. I would love to pluck rooted sorrow from my memory, but then I risk losing my children’s laughter, Doyle’s love, blooming roses, rainbows and my unicorn. I will leave the sorrowful things there with the happy, but I will mount my trusty unicorn, brandish Excalibur and let my mind know that “I am the captain of my soul” (Henley).