"Sweet are the uses of adversity, which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; and this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stone, and good in everything." - As You Like It
Shakespeare always gets it right. These words from As You Like It found me today, reminding me that there is good in every situation and circumstance. It is always worth taking a moment and remembering that one has much to be thankful for.
Spent much of yesterday, outside on the deck, in the sunshine shaping my course schedules for the Autumn term. I'll be teaching for two very wonderful university programmes in London. Both have great students, incredible support and terrific colleagues. The work itself is freelance and contract-based, which means it's not permanent, but also mean that I have the freedom and flexibility to be mistress of my own time.
Sure, I'll never make a fortune, and I do tire sometimes of being a "roaming Shakespeare scholar", it would be nice to have a permanent place to pitch my academic tent. But - at the end of the day, I get to do what I love. And, that is worth everything.
Throughout my time here in Britain, I have sadly felt "lead up the garden path" on a fairly regular basis. From early in 2009, I was invited in for a number of meetings with the BBC about the then forthcoming "Shakespeare Season" for 2012. I met with seemingly countless development people and producers, who seemed keen and interested in my ideas and thoughts.
After a series of personnel changes in the BBC's development area, I was, along with my ideas, lost in the shuffle. I have since had a very kind apology from a chap wasn't involved this fiasco, that was in fact much appreciated. That was balm to my troubled soul. At the very least there was an acknowledgement that I had been taking for a ride. It did not, however, make it any easier for me to sit and watch as the current BBC Shakespeare Season has carried on and passed me by. A great cultural moment. I have not be able to stomach it.
The next great cultural moment will of course be the big Shakespeare anniversary in 2016. I am determined to contribute to that in some way. And, perhaps, it will be a way that I create for myself.
In the meantime, I must find peace, solace and comfort in what the wonderful opportunities that I have had and have. Shakespeare has led me on some truly incredible adventures: from Alaska to Romania. I have this very morning received confirmation for a Shakespeare lecture I'll be giving at the British Council in Hong Kong next month, and am currently discussing the possibility of a Shakespeare lecture tour of India in October.
As Shakespeare suggests, one should always be on the look out for the good in everything.