Marginalia: Journal Prompts (June)

"Words are things," Dr Maya Angelou said once. She believed in the power of words as more than mere communication. Whether you're a reader or a writer or neither of those, language is an everyday tool that no one can do without. Those who have speech disabilities also need and use a language. We know from anthropologists that several primate and bird species also have their own languages for communication. But we do take language entirely for granted, don't we? This month, let's take a look at the words, phrases, cliches, metaphors, etc., that interest us, drive us, and make us think and feel. You can write to each daily prompt in your private journal, on your blog, or even in the comments below.


Marginalia: Journal Prompts (May)

This month's journal prompts theme is "productivity." This, of course, means different things to all of us. For some, it is about achieving plans and goals. For others, it is about doing things that align with their values and ethics. One thing almost everyone will agree is that it is never about getting "a lot of stuff" done. Rather, when activities are driven by some kind of purpose and focus, those accomplishments feel like time that has been well-spent, time that has been productive.

Marginalia: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare)

On Shakespeare's birth and death anniversary, some notes on one of his comedies, 'Much Ado About Nothing'. The entire play is a “skirmish of wit”, as Shakespeare himself called it, between a playboy bachelor, Benedick, and a sharp-tongued spinster, Beatrice (one of my all-time favorite Shakespearean women.) To read this as simply a love story would be to short-change its overall wit and insightfulness. It is also more than a light-hearted comedy because, through these two characters, Shakespeare makes many nuanced observations about men and women and how we (mis)understand and (mis)play with each other.