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The Big Shake's Day Job

Here's my very, very favorite thing about William Shakespeare: He had a day job. He was a glover in his father’s shop, pulling the leather on a post to make fine kid gloves. Later, in Twelfth Night, he spun a gorgeous analogy about stretching the truth like a kid glove, one which might never have existed had he spent his life locked away in an ivory tower.  


Sometimes we are wrapped in discontentment, furious that we aren’t where we want to be. Doubtless young William would rather have been on the stage or eating meat directly off the animal, or whatever they did at parties back then, instead of glove pimping for his wealthy neighbors. But notice how he turned what was likely a frustrating chapter in his life into a moment of high art.

Expect, then, a world-class sonnet about A Life Without Internet shortly.

appointment pending at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

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Reader Comments (5)

Perfect timing, as usual. Just this evening I sat whining with a few of my fellow English majors about our how our current jobs writing technical manuals or editing computer ads or living the drama of mixing coffee at Starbucks is so OBVIOUSLY standing in the way of the next great American novel. Can I repost this on my blog - full credit and a link included?

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSarahBeth

Link away, for we -Beths have to stick together. I thank you for the compliment, as all linkbacks are.

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Exactly right. Someone like Shakespeare could have never been born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Sarahbeth - as an end user of technical manuals, I know that a good technical writer should be paid their weight in gold! I realize that's certainly not nearly your salary but there's a least one major fan out here!

July 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstarnarcosis

I've also just become a technical writer--somehow, comparing stretching the truth to an overly long-winded passage on washing machine knob usage doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Maybe I need to get a job making hats!

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKittybrunette
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