Hi, and welcome to Shakespeare Geek.
My name is Duane, and I’m a geek. I say that proudly – I am a hacker, a cruncher of code, a software engineer not only by trade but by passion. I’m one of those kids that taught himself to program at the age of 10 (that’d be 30 years ago), then went on to teach my teachers, blah blah blah. Just…trust me. Software geek. Some people bring a book on vacation, I bring a code compiler. Hacking code is my bliss.
I’m also a big Shakespeare fan. Weird combination, huh? At least it gave me the cool name. A geek who likes Shakespeare. A Shakespeare Geek. Or am I a geek about Shakespeare? I was never quite sure which I liked better.
How did you get into Shakespeare?
Wish I could explain it. I went through high school Shakespeare just like everybody else did. When I went to engineering college (Worcester Polytechnic Institute ’91) I had to spend the first two years studying humanities, and for some reason I latched on to Shakespeare. Just seemed like something I’d like. Right around that time I got involved in a software project, an educational game, to create a database of trivia questions about Shakespeare. So I set about reading the entire works and generating a list of 1000 questions. The project never went final, and over the years I’ve lost the code :(…but something definitely happened over that time, and I came out the other side a Shakespeare geek.
I started blogging back in mid 2005, because I spotted a Shakespeare reference in the wild one day and wanted to write it down somewhere I could collect them. I went looking for Shakespeare blogs to hang out on, and couldn’t find any. Sure I could find plenty of places where I could find the works of Shakespeare and various translations, but that’s not what I wanted. I wanted a blog, someplace where somebody with a love of the subject could post things like “Hey did anybody notice that the new PS3 commercial does a voiceover from Henry V’s “band of brothers” speech?” And, even better, have people comment on it and say “Yes, yes we did. There are more of us out here, you know.” (Yes, that really did happen.)
Thus was Shakespeare Geek born. New book comes out about Shakespeare’s life? Got it. New movie version of King Lear starring Anthony Hopkins, or maybe Al Pacino? Yup. Every news site and celebrity gossip site will report the news, sure – but here’s where those of us that are interested in it, talk about it. Good idea or not? I mean, heck, Leonardo DiCaprio referenced Shakespeare during the Golden Globe Awards and half the people that hang out here were all “Woo! Shakespeare!” as if he’d just told us our hometown rocks the hardest.
Sometimes we do the academic stuff. We help people with their homework. We tackle the big unanswered questions. We argue. That’s often where it gets to be the most fun, because how else do you get closer to the material than to have your understanding of it put to the test? Great stuff. Outside of the big ivory towers of the academic world you just don’t get that. Try bringing up Iago over beers after work. Nobody wants to talk about it. We do. Bring it.
The most important thing to take away from the site is that we – I – love this stuff. I really really do. I think that my life is better for experiencing Shakespeare, and I wish to share it with those around me. You’ll find stories of me trying desperately to get my 2yr old to recite ‘To be or not to be’. You won’t find that many other places :). I hope I – we – can convince you, too.
Contacting Shakespeare Geek
I’m always up for some chat about Shakespeare, so feel free to email me. This includes publishers and others looking for reviews, and I’m always happy to take part in contests and give stuff away to my readers. What I really hope is that somebody one day is going to hit me up for a book deal and then I can really hit the big time :). Twelve years of blog posting makes for quite a bit of content, you know 🙂
Oh, and by the way…
Favorite play? The Tempest. In case you were going to ask that next.