Saturday, February 23, 2013

reguarding william shakespeare. and danica patrick.

Listening To: Little Pink Houses by John Mellancamp
Quote I can't stop thinking about: "Now I'll be bold as well as strong. And use my head alongside my heart. So tame my flesh and fix my eyes. A tethered mind freed from the lies." - Mumford & Sons

All week, I've been looking forward to this weekend. Mostly, I've been excited about the following events:

1. Watching Danica Patrick win the Daytona 500. And ...

2. Watching a PBS production I recorded a while back called Shakespeare Uncovered: The Tempest.

Does this make me a well rounded redneck?

Also, there's some crossover fiction in there somewhere, right? "A NASCAR retelling of Shakespeare's The Tempest..." I can't believe that hasn't been done. (sarcasm)

Pondering Shakespeare and NASCAR has me thinking about one of my college lit classes. We had to write three-part papers after each reading assignment, and one part had to be a tie-in. We had pick the central theme, or character motivation, or pretty much any aspect of the story we wanted, and tie it in with a random element in some other field of study. I mostly stuck with visual art and psychology, because that seemed like a scholarly thing to do. But once, in a rush to finish writing my paper, I compared some unassuming British man's moody poem about a restless, heartsick yearning for change to ... the John Mellancamp song "Little Pink Houses". Surprisingly, I got an A. (Even though my professor scribbled a note in the margins about how she'd never interpreted "Little Pink Houses" to be a song about restlessness, but more about the comfort you find in the place that always feels like "home" to you - the place that, through it's unchanging-ness, gives you a sense of stability. An anchoring place. She interpreted that kind of sameness as a comfort, whereas I interpreted it as bored stiff. However. when I listen to the song now, I would say she's definitely right. It's about the home you want to go back to; maybe a longing for a season in life when you felt most peaceful, more settled. I didn't get that at 22. Probably because I so bad wanted to launch and go and do. Crazy how familiar songs sound different as you get older, isn't it?)


John Cougar ... was pushing it. I don't know how my professor would have reacted if I tried to compare Will Shakespeare to NASCAR.

But I think Will would consider Danica Patrick a worthy heroine.

I watched her interviewed this afternoon, and she talked about how, for her, being a woman racing in the Daytona 500 wasn't necessarily as important a legacy as this (I'm paraphrasing):

"If you have a talent, don't be afraid to follow through with it."

Even if it seems impossible.

Even though it takes years and years of hard work to be deemed an overnight success.

Even though criticism is fierce.

Even though the risk is great, and only gets greater.

Even though the odds are stacked against you.

Even then ...

Start your engine. Follow through with your talent. Because talent by itself isn't enough to sustain much long term.

She went on to say all sorts of other cool things, but I really liked that initial quote. Honestly, I'm not much of a NASCAR fan. I'm pretty neutral over most sports. (But Tennessee people: do you remember when the Knoxville corn maize was in the shape of Trevor Bayne's head?)

But I do think it's a little bit fantastic that Danica Patrick is racing the Daytona 500. And I really, really love that she's inspiring other girls to aspire toward careers that might be more traditionally held by men. That's a pretty darn awesome legacy as well.

This year, at Halloween, I hope lime green racing jumpsuits become as popular for girls as princess costumes. Or I home some really industrious kid combines the two.

Because who needs a white horse and a sparkly coach when you can drive your own race car? 

What are y'all into this weekend? Are you watching the Oscars? Or the Daytona 500? I actually do have one other goal and that's to find some Girl Scout Cookies. Because they've been out for weeks, apparently, and I still have none. HOW did that happen?

Happy Weekending to you ;)


  1. I sadly have a horrible assignment to pick a book on the US government, read it, and write a major paper on it in only 72 hours. So that is what's going on in my weekend! I'm over halfway though, I can do this! :)

    You missed the cookies?! So sad. I bet they're still out though! In my family, each family member gets their own box of thin mints (we only get thin mints, I remember once when I was 8 eating a peanut butter one and this year someone at school gave me a lemonade. we are faithful to our cookies :) ) and based on an incident a few years ago when a certain little brother ate the last of my cookies (while we were in italy, so there was no buying more), each box is clearly labeled and sometimes hidden by each family member. I think I'm the only one who has managed to make their box last until now! haha There's an ice cream shop here in Austin that will mix in girl scout cookies into your ice cream and they even have a think mint shake! Besides Valentine's Day, girl scout cookies are the major redeeming factor of February. haha :)

  2. I might watch a bit of the Oscars. We just got an antenna this past week, so we have (local) TV for the first time in probably nearly two years. I'm glad about this only because of PBS (I won't have to watch season 4 of Downton Abbey online next year! :) and the occasional awards show. I'm thinking this year's host might be a bit crude for my taste, though. Besides, I don't really care about any of the nominated films (except maybe Les Miserables, and I'm not a fan of that yet...I'm just curious to see it). I'm more interested in the categories like animated feature film, costume design, and a couple of pretty obscure ones that The Hobbit is nominated for. :)

    I wish that I was watching the Oscars back in the golden days of Hollywood when the nominated films were actually ones I loved! :)


  3. We hardly ever buy Girl Scout cookies anymore but this year my mom got two boxes of my very favorite - thin mints. My healty eating habits have suffered a bit.
    I think I'll watch the Oscars. Although I'm just going to make myself mad when my favorites don't win, and annoyed at the fact that award show banter is actually considered humorous. But there's pretty dresses and Jennifer Lawrence, so, yeah.