Weaving A Spell


Hugo Weaving In Macbeth

Hugo Weaving In Macbeth© Sydney Theatre Company

Writing 101 today asks:

Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year?

Our stories are inevitably linked to the people around us. We are social creatures: from the family members and friends who’ve known us since childhood, to the coworkers, service providers, and strangers who populate our world (and, at times, leave an unexpected mark on us).

The most interesting person I’ve met so far this year. Well if we have a loose definition of ‘met’ then earlier this year I went to my first Sydney Theatre Company Pier Group Lunch.

These are organised by the STC Pier Group as a fundraiser. You get a nice lunch (at the Bar at the End of the Wharf), a glass of wine and a chance to talk to some of the creative people involved in one of the STC productions. I think they have four a year. This one was the ‘Macbeth’ lunch and I had a chance to listen to Andrew Upton, director Kip Williams, Melita Jurisic (who played Lady Macbeth) and Hugo Weaving (Macbeth himself).

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Watching From The Wings


Sketch of William Shakespeare.

Sketch of William Shakespeare. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “If you could be a “fly on the wall” anywhere and at any time in history, where and when would you choose?”

Another superb question. So many possibilities!

As a total computer geek there are a number of events starting in the 60’s I’d love to have watched. Starting with Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritche developing Unix and C. Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn working on the first computer internetworks. Then, of course, to be in that garage when the two Steve’s built the Apple I and Apple II. I could watch as as the “pirates” developed Mac OS.

Though all those events are recent and quite well documented. You can be a fly on the wall by reading all the first hand accounts. They are also not that visual.

One of my loves is the theatre. I’ve had the privilege of seeing some great actors in some great plays starting with Judi Dench in an RSC productions of ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘A Winter’s Tale’ back in 1970 through to Cate Blanchett in ‘The Cherry Orchard’ two years ago and ‘Gross Und Kliein’ last year. Imagine though the possibilities, the rehearsals and performances I could choose to watch.

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A Hand


Good friend for Jesus sake forbear, To dig the...

Good friend for Jesus sake forbear, To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, And cursed be he that moves my bones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post was prompted by today’s Daily Prompt, “Tell us about the most surprising helping hand you’ve ever received.” Mine is not quite a traditional helping hand but one that has stayed with me for many years, nonetheless.

There I was in that small church in Stratford-on-Avon sitting in the front pew looking at a stone set into the floor with tears flooding my cheeks.

My first trip to Europe was only a little over ten years ago and I was over 40 after a lifetime of reading English literature and seeing English drama (I went to rehearsals of the Scottish play when I was three).

My trip started in Rome where I was overcome by the age of everything that surrounded me and finally I found myself in St Peter’s standing in front of the Pieta and was so overcome by the beauty of mother and child that I wept.

Florence was another revelation. The art was breathtaking and a trip through the Uffizi will live in my memory forever.

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Opening Is The Hardest Thing


J.R.R. Tolkein

J.R.R. Tolkein

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Barnado: “Who’s there?”

First Witch: When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Today’s Daily Prompt asks “Take the first sentence from your favourite book and make it the first sentence of your post.”

Well I’m sorry. Just one “favourite book”? Not possible, that’s like asking a mother to choose her favourite child, not only is it an almost impossible question it would constantly change and be unfair to the unchosen children.

I picked five opening sentences from three of my favourite novels and two of my favourite plays. You probably recognise most of them, in case you don’t they are from, in order from top to bottom, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (TLotR), ‘Emma’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’, ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Macbeth’. All of these five pieces of literature have been my “favourite” for a time. TLotR was the first great love of my adult reading life back in my early teens, before that only juvenile literature had been loved though I had read much meant for older readers. The two Austen novels became my favourites later when I was a mature age student studying English Literature and the two Shakespeare plays somewhere in between, probably after I saw a great production.

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Which Five People?


My list

I wrote my list!

Today’s Daily Prompt was “A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?”

My list would have to start with my daughter Jessica. I’ve often said that I have no idea how my ex-wife and I managed to raise her, she is better natured and well-balanced than either of us. Being around her always makes me happier, she lifts my spirits in so many ways but principally it is because she sees all my flaws and failures and still loves me without limit.

At the same time I feel a love for her that is deeper and more fulfilling than any other I have ever known. There is no greater joy than the mutual love of child and parent.

The list would then get a little harder.

Next I’d probably choose someone who was going to challenge my intellect and inspire my work. There are any number of great programmer’s I could choose but truth be told I am a better system administrator than programmer so I’d probably want someone like Charles Edge or Chris Siebenmann to spend some time with. I would love to spend time with someone who would keep me on my toes, keep me learning, point me in the right direction and share the successes and the failures.

Now for somebody to share my writing with. Should I go for somebody down to earth and modern such as Hemingway or go for the classics such as Austen or Shakespeare? Perhaps a poet such as Blake, Donne or T.S. Eliot? I think if it is going to be one it will have to be the Bard. Shakespeare was both a poet and a playwright. My one hesitation is that I am terrible at writing a plot and it seems he borrowed most of his, but perhaps he can teach me how to take another’s plot and bend it to your own will.

For number four I would love to spend some time with someone who could fill a gaping hole in my education, I know little about art. Robert Hughes, who died this year, was a Sydney boy who grew to be an influential critic and author. I’d love to spend time seeing galleries and discussing art with him.

The fifth and final spot has had a few contenders over the years but none have really found it home. I have loved many women and thought that many have loved me. I will leave that last spot open not expecting anyone to be there but hoping that one day just as I saw my mother take that spot with my father someone will take residence there and make it hers.