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Making My Own Notebook

I’ve always loved the concept of Midori notebooks. The fact that you can add and subtract inserts as you need them offers a wonderful level of flexibility. I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I debated on sewing my own cover out of an amazing fabric I had found but realized I would prefer a hard cover for durability. I pick a notebook I’ve had for a long time but have never used because I loved it so much and didn’t want to “ruin” it and proceeded to ruin it….as in I ripped out the inner pages and installed four elastics to hold the new books. It worked perfectly!

Next I made the inner notebooks. I found quite a few templates from DIY Planner that suited the size of the notebook (5×8) as well as I’m a Paper Nerd. I followed the tutorial from I’m a Paper Nerd and the notebooks worked out beautifully. They were a lot of fun to make! I also found that Moleskine notebooks fit inside the cover as well. The only downside is the width of the hardcover book limits the amount of notebooks you can fit inside it (two Moleskines or four 20-page handmade books).

I replaced the old diary lock with a clasp I made of found objects from Michaels and a loop made for holding index cards.

Which Edition?

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Way too tiny!

I had originally started out with the complete works volumes you see to the right of them. They didn’t include any introductions, essays, or, even more important, there weren’t any annotations. And the size 4 font made reading them less than a pleasure.

Thankfully, the course I was watching by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D. provided a list of editions that would be of use. From the massive Complete Works editions to, as he called it, “more curl-up-able” single volumes.

Folger Macbeth

I had a hard time choosing between the Folger Shakespeare Library editions or the Arden. The Folger editions feature an introduction and an essay pertaining to the play as well as detailed notes and annotations.

What I especially love is that the annotations are printed on the page opposite of the play text. This makes for very easy reading if one feels they understand what was going on in the play.

Arden Macbeth

Why I ultimately chose the Arden editions is the amount of scholarly texts and essays that are included in the editions. From pieces discussing the history of the events of the play, to essays discussing the characters and their driving forces, to a selection of famous performances.

What I loved about the Folger and was almost a deal breaker for me with the Arden was the annotations being printed below the play text. The annotations are so in depth for some plays that they take up most of the room on the page leaving space for only a small amount of play text. The sheer amount of content in the volumes quickly made me overcome this obstacle though.

I *love* collecting things. For me the challenge of finding what I’m looking for is equal to the joy of actually owning them. And so the search begins. The Arden cannot be found new in stores in my area. I have found some at a used book store and have been carefully combing through the ones they have for the least damaged editions. The rest I am going to have to acquire online from Amazon or Indigo.

This will be over quite a period of time which suits my purposes as I’m unsure how much time I will be spending with each play. There are quite a few I am very familiar with having both seen the plays and read them as well. I am looking forward to reading the essays and scholarly pieces on those plays and perhaps picking up information I have missed in the past. The Arden editions shall be my primary resource for my challenge.

Which edition do you prefer?

Challenge Accepted.

September

Before I decided to go back to school I had been out for almost 10 years. Even after all that time September would still cast its spell on me. At the time of year where nature is filling the world with a riot of colours before it rests for the winter, I find it a time of new beginnings.

This year was especially weird because I graduated in June. A year and a half of Culinary school (Take my advice and try to avoid taking condensed programs!) finished and I found myself back to work full time and searching for…something. I wanted to learn something new.

I have a subscription to The Great Courses Plus which is basically the Netflix of university lectures. They have a wide range of topics from arts and science to history and statistics. One course in particular that made me want to subscribe was How to Read and Understand Shakespeare taught by Professor Marc C. Conner, Ph.D. After the first two lectures I was hooked and that snowballed into my current quest.

The task I’ve set for myself? Read, watch, and study The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare Challenge PinMy goal originally was to simply read and watch the plays but after finishing the first one I was left unfulfilled. Would careful study of his works bring me to appreciate them more than I already did? The answer, after watching a lecture about the play I had just finished, was a resounding yes.

The Past

I have always listed William Shakespeare as one of my favourite authors. I remember in high school studying his plays were both my favourite and least favourite part of the English curriculum. Favourite because it provided me a new play to read, least because I was one of the few people in the class that felt this way.

My first years of high school we did The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dream is still one of my favourite plays to date, despite the awful experience I had in class with it. The Merchant of Venice came next, which was my least favourite of the plays I read in high school. Looking at the scholarly text now, I see that a lot of the issues surrounding it and particularly the character of Shylock weren’t touched upon. More on that when I get to the play. Hamlet restored my love of the Bard and then in my final year (Ontario high school went up to Grade 13, also known as OAC, in my time) King Lear. My final year was special because of the teacher. I had the privilege of being taught the play by a woman who had her doctorate in English, specializing in Shakespeare.

I left school fired up to know more, read more, and write more. And then…life happened. Life events and different priorities made the flames go dormant. Until I found that lecture series.

Challenge Accepted

I am well aware of the arduous task I have set for myself. Not only will I be reading all 37 plays, reading scholarly essays and opinions, and watching productions of them in the hopes of gaining a better understanding; I will be writing about it on here as well. I’m using this as a way to keep accountable as I often find myself fired up to do something only to quickly move onto the next shiny. It’s also partly a notebook. A place to record my thoughts and progress through this journey.

 

What’s your favourite play? Is there anything I should know about starting this self-study journey? I would love to hear your thoughts!

That’s an odd name…

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Inspiration for the name.

I’ve wanted to blog for a while. Actually I’ve started and then fell away from numerous blogs and ideas. Sometimes life situations would change, sometimes I would change, or sometimes I was caught up in perfectionism and things needed to be exactly how I pictured it. I came to focus more on aesthetics than on the content.

I also found I jumped around on different blogs because I have so many interests. In the numerous posts I’ve read about blogging and getting an audience, most advocate finding your niche and staying within it. I can’t even say my interests change daily as the same day might find me working on a sewing project, reading one of Shakespeare’s plays, and then watching a lecture on The Joy of Science. I wanted a place where I could document and share everything that I was up to in my little corner of the world and I’ve created it.