On Shakespeare, Sonnets, and Pop Songs

popsonnets

I love sonnets. And Shakespeare. And music.

When I was in college, I heard and fell in love with the music of Ralph Covert and the Bad Examples. Many of the songs come back to me time and time again, and one in particular comes to mind when I feel myself getting frustrated with a scene or character while writing:

“Every poet wants to murder Shakespeare
We’re just pissing on the grave of what went on before
And everyone invents the world the day that they were born”

~Ralph Covert, “Every Poet Wants to Murder Shakespeare”

So speaking of Shakespeare; and sonnets; and music…

When Stephen and I were at BookExpo promoting Geek Parenting, we picked up the book Pop Sonnets by Erik Didriksen. While he may not murder Shakespeare, Erik gives Shakespeare a run for his money. 🙂

We had so much fun taking turns reading the sonnets and trying to guess the original pop song. It’s such a fun and clever book. Here’s a sample:

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(You can read a few more on the @popsonnet tumblr page.)

And here are the Bad Examples for your listening pleasure:

If you’d like to hear the Bad Examples on vinyl, check out their Bad Is Beautiful deluxe vinyl release.

And to conclude, fourteen lines of iambic pentameter by the Bard himself:

Sonnet 30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.

—William Shakespeare

From Awkward to Awesome

For those of us who grew up in the 80s and early 90s, the brainy Encyclopædia Britannica kid from the tv commercial was an iconic image of what a nerdy kid looked and sounded like. For those of us who *were* nerdy kids in the 80s, it was an extremely familiar image. (I certainly had the big glasses.)

It’s likely no surprise that my Geek Parenting coauthor, Stephen H. Segal, was also a nerd; and when he was young, he shared enough of a physical resemblance to the Encyclopædia Britannica kid (played by Donavan Freberg), that he was quite often mistaken for the awkward commercial know-it-all.

Much later, Stephen met and befriended his adolescent doppelgänger, and Donavan turned out to be a kindred spirit. We hear enough about how people fall from great heights and notoriety, but sometimes the story is better than that. Sometimes people take the gifts they have been given and work to make this world better and more beautiful.

Click here to read Stephen’s blog post about how “This iconic geek kid “had a report due on space.” Spoiler alert: He grew up to be awesome.

(Be sure to also follow the link in the story to read the entire interview with Donavan about his legendary comedian/ advertising creative director father, Stan Freberg.)

I love the way that Donavan’s story shows how creating a space for your kids to figure out who they are can help them to eventually embrace their authentic selves. It’s a valuable reminder, and it’s a really good story.

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Geek Parenting on the Positive Parenting Podcast

Photo by Kyle Cassidy, 2016.

Stephen Segal and I talk about our new book, GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family, with Armin Brott, a.k.a. Mr. Dad, on Positive Parenting, followed by an interview with Deborah Heisz of Live Happy.

(I like the message of our book covers beside one another. 🙂 We have some interesting overlaps in our books’ messages: the importance of play, finding your tribe, being grateful, nurturing creativity. )

Click here to listen: GEEK PARENTING Positive Parenting Podcast

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