How It Began
I saw a thick, hardbound copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare sitting on a bookshelf at my sister’s house. She had found it at the local thrift store.
I picked it up and looked at it. The thought crossed my mind, “How awesome would it be to be a person who had read the complete works of Shakespeare?”
I had experienced Romeo and Juliet in junior high school—I say “experienced” because not only did I study the play in English class, I was also surrounded by lovestruck, Romeo-quoting female classmates swooning over actor Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo in the new film adaptation Romeo + Juliet.
I had also studied Hamlet, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and some sonnets in high school and college. I had seen more than one performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as performances of As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew and All’s Well That Ends Well. And I had seen film adaptations of Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing.
Altogether, a pretty scattershot reading, viewing, and screening of Shakespeare works.
So there I was, holding the book.
My sister kindly let me borrow The Complete Works. I took the book home and checked the table of contents. Then, I did a little math. If I read one play per month and then read all the poems, I would be finished with The Complete Works in three years.
That’s a long time. And it was scary to think about being three whole years older and to think about where my life would be three years in the future.
I told myself, “The time is going to pass anyway.”
Would I rather have three years pass and have done it or have three years pass and not have done it?
I started reading in January of 2011.
Don’t be afraid. Set a long goal. The time is going to pass anyway.
Read Part II (How It Ended).