Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Upon the king..." #shakespearesunday

(Henry V, iv, i)

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,
Our debts, our careful wives,
Our children and our sins lay on the king!
We must bear all. O hard condition,
Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath
Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel
But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease
Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!
And what have kings, that privates have not too,
Save ceremony, save general ceremony?
And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?
What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more
Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?
What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?
O ceremony, show me but thy worth!
What is thy soul of adoration?
Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,
But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,
And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!
Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out
With titles blown from adulation?
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,
Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,
That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;
I am a king that find thee, and I know
'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,
The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,
The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,
The farced title running 'fore the king,
The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp
That beats upon the high shore of this world,
No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,
Not all these, laid in bed majestical,
Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,
Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind
Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;
Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,
But, like a lackey, from the rise to set
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night
Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,
Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,
And follows so the ever-running year,
With profitable labour, to his grave:
And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,
Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.
The slave, a member of the country's peace,
Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots
What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,
Whose hours the peasant best advantages.

Dr. Seuss (or an imitator) on #rapeculture

Marijuana and schizophrenia

Maybe read this before you start holding forth, online or elsewhere, about what a great idea it is for marijuana to be a mainstream recreational phenomenon. Yes, there are a lot of studies. Yes, Harvard is a wonderful institution. This is the still the study I want you to read.

Here endeth the mini-rant.


A man in transit, a man like me in transit anyway, has books as his home. This one is a bittersweet keeper: Once I'm done with it, there's no more unread Salinger. Not until the Estate coughs something up, anyway, as it may opt never to do. Oh well.

It's superb, and obsessed with practical spirituality.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Portrait of the artist as editor

I'm editing someone else's book these days, having put FREED aside to marinate for a month or two. (The opening chapter of FREED is here.)

This novel I'm editing is quite brilliant. I took this photo during a break between sessions. Editing this book seems to make me look smarter, or more intense, or something.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Roger Ebert

(The exchange below is from the unexpectedly moving documentary Life Itself, which chronicles Ebert's life.)

Question: How do you keep your spirits up?

"I've zeroed in on my work. When I'm seeing a movie or writing a review, that makes me feel good. You know how they talk about being in the zone? When you're doing something you're good at, you get in the zone. So it pushes your troubles to the back of your mind."

Roger Ebert, on coping with cancer