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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Rummaging Around

A couple of posts ago I commented on a feeling of lethargy, inspiration dried up and looking for a kick start. Something to rekindle the enthusiasm and looking for that spark. I ventured on to the Internet.

Not always a good move, but then the unexpected happens. I was looking for a peg to hang something on and picked the 23rd of April as my target. William Shakespeare's birthday, and also the date of his death, the feast of the patron saint of England and as I discovered UN English language day.

From nothing to a surfeit of riches in next to no time. The English Language Day intrigued me, honestly I've never come across it before. (Some of you may be wondering where I've been hiding, but that's for another time.)

It's roots lay in a social movement based on defending the right to write in ones own language. Linked to International Mother Language Day, marked on the 21st of February.  Announced by UNESCO on 17 November, 1999 it was formerly recognised by the UN General Assembly on the 16th May 2009 in Resolution A/Res/61/266..

English Language Day, along with a day to celebrate each of the six official languages of the UN "to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six of its official languages throughout the organisation." was established in 2010.

French starts the roll on the 20th of March,, Chinese Language Day is the 20th of April, Russian arrives with the 6th of June. Spanish joins the party on the 12th of October and the count is rounded off with Arabic on the 18th December.

None of that is why I began searching, but are key to the search. I was looking for information of World book Night, marked every year on Shakespeare's birthday and celebrated by the gift of books. Either through organised distribution, or personally between friends. The gift of a cherished volume to someone who doesn't read, or reads rarely; given in the hope that the enthusiasm will be spread.

Shakespeare has inspired intrigue, enthusiasm, touched our hearts with the most romantic sonnets, conjured up the words to strengthen in the quiet tension before battle, made us wonder about our own mortality, and earned himself a measure of immortality.

Scholars have discussed who he was, speculating that he may have been a noble writing under pseudonym. Arguing on the grounds that a jobbing actor wouldn't have been educated well enough to write such but, a grammar school education which William received was the pinnacle of education available at the time. Equal to any noble, or even the monarch.

Whatever the truth, the words he configured and have been uttered from the boards of the world's theatres and studio sound stages for the last four hundred and odd years have worked their magic. How often, reading Shakespeare and feeling the power of the words as creative spirits have we whispered, "I wish I had written that."

Shakespeare's touches something deep within us, and he seems to have a word somewhere for all life's events, a talent that many have wanted to claim as their own

Who knows where the future will take William Shakespeare, one of the odd titles for today on the website www.daysoftheyear.com is Star Trek First Contact Day, celebrating the day in the Star Trek universe when mankind broke into Warp speed on the 5th of April 2063. Three hundred years later First Contact Day commemorates the event, and tucked away in the movie, Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country. Referencing Hamlet, The Klingon Chancellor Gorkon at a dinner in his honour offers a toast to "the undiscovered country... the future". In conversation he comments that "you have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon."

Humorous, outrageous, but the fictional Klingon's are not alone in wanting to lay claim to Shakespeare. The Nazi's attempted to claim him as theirs, an idea reflected in the British film "Pimpernel Smith," (1941) where a German general quotes William as "our great German poet."

Vladimir Nabokov,  lays a claim in the novel "Pnin" (1957). His thirteenth work and his fourth in English is a comedy of academic manners. His hero, Timofey Pavlovich Pnin, taught his American college students that Shakespeare would move them more in the original Russian.

Whoever lays claim to him, Shakespeare belongs to all of us, his characters are you and I, his script is the human condition and the world was his stage.

Now, that stage is ours and we tread the boards.

Break a leg!

So where did all this start? With a thought about a red sticker used by Winston Churchill that said simply;  Action This Day. A label he attached to anything he decided needed immediate attention. That's was I was looking for, something to boot me up, to prompt me to action this day,

Looks like I found it.

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