When Rogert Ebert passed away, I found myself particularly touched when regular contributor JM signed off a comment with, “Say hello to The Master for us.”
It got me thinking. What’s Shakespeare to you? I don’t mean that in a grand philosophical or religious way. I mean specifically what word do you use to describe your relationship to the bard? Is he your muse, your idol, your inspiration?
I don’t know how to answer this question (which typically makes for the best questions). Shakespeare is my … comfort? Doesn’t do it justice, but that’s close. I won’t say muse or inspiration or anything like that because I do not look upon my own creative endeavors and think, “I wish I was more like Shakespeare.”
Shakespeare is what I point to when I feel something and can’t adequately express it myself. I know Shakespeare’s been there, and has my back. Whether it’s grief or romance or anger or sarcasm or ambition or wisdom or any other infinite emotions, I can pull from Shakespeare and think, “Yes, yes, there it is. Precisely.”
When I say he is my comfort I do not mean it in the sense of, “I am trying to communicate with a person, and Shakespeare has saved my bacon (ha!) by making sure that I’m not at a loss for words.” I mean, “I’m feeling something and I’m trying to explain those feelings to another person who may or may not understand what I’m feeling … but I know that Shakespeare knew.”