Had an odd dream last night that I was hanging out at the bookstore, in the Shakespeare section of course, when two girls – maybe 6 years old? – started discussing Sonnet 18. Specifically one of them, the smarty pants (and one of them is always the smarty pants) is trying to explain to her friend that you need to only read the first and last lines and you’ll know what it means. So they read “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? So long lives this and this gives life to thee.” She then naturally decide that, because the person is like summer, she’ll live forever because summer always comes back. Her friend does not seem convinced.
“You have to read the middle too,” I tell them. Then, so I’m not the random stranger talking to little kids without permission, I explain to their mother that my own children started Shakespeare with this sonnet as well. That gets us into a discussion about which plays to start with (Tempest and Midsummer, ‘natch) before I am awakened to reality, ironically, enough, by one of my own children. She is having her own bad dream that the aliens have come to take her away.