We were on a road trip this weekend. We ended up in Clear Lake, Iowa.
Do you like road trips? My husband is an interstate man. We do not see the lovely scenery: we see cars, construction, and rest stops. So, no, I’m not a fan of road trips.
But every summer there are Shakespeare festivals in small university towns. And so we were on our way to Winona, Minnesota, to the Great River Shakespeare Festival to see Richard III.
How many times have I seen Richard III? Thrice? Four times? We’ve seen good productions, and bad productions. The bad ones are fun, too. Actually, the best I’ve seen was not in Stratford, as you might think, but in Winona in 2005. I remember Jonathan Gillard Daly hunching around with a sinister, yet mesmerizing manner. As the Winona Daily News said, “Richard is one bad dude. But he’s kind of fun.”
Why do we enjoy Richard III? Years ago, in a very smoky Shakespeare class (everybody chain-smoked then), I wrote a paper on Richard III and the Richard III-obsessed detective in Josephine Tey’s mystery, The Daughter of Time. Long before my blogging days, I gambled on pop culture treatises, guessing that a light essay would be a relief from the paraphrases of the Pelican Shakespeare. (And by the way, I reread The Daughter of Time a few years ago and posted about it here. And I appreciate Detective Alan Grant’s obsession.)
Anyway, there I was this weekend, sitting in a hot car, on the way to see Richard III. It got hotter, hotter, and hotter, and suddenly my head felt as if it were splitting. I moaned, “I’ve got heat stroke.”
My husband explained that if that were the case my whole body would go into shock and I would be dead.
We stopped in Clear Lake and got Advil. It did nothing. I lay down on a picnic table. It did nothing. I wondered if coffee would help. And so we went looking for a coffee shop in Clear Lake. It was kind of like William Burroughs looking for a fix in Pleasantville, Iowa.
But we did find a place called Cabin Coffee. The coffee was weak and there were no sleeves for the cups.
So we missed our Shakespeare. We turned around and drove home. Hours later, I diagnosed my illness (online!) as a migraine. I took more Advil, sinus pills, and brewed up various herbal teas. The head-splitting feeling went on well into Sunday.
Now that my migraine is gone, I think I’ll read my Shakespeare. But first, look at this charming photo of Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) holding his copy of Shakespeare on Star Trek: The Next Gen.
As a lifelong sufferer from migraine (now, fortunately, outgrown in old age) I understand why you couldn’t go on. If you have them a lot, ask your doctor about trying a triptan. Taken early, they can abort the headache, for some people at least.
Thank you for the advice! It was a dreadful experience.
On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:13 AM, mirabile dictu wrote:
I’ve had this sort of experience: you set off for something one is not sure one wants to go to, and then there is a battle-fraught attempt to get there and somehow you don’t manage it. Perhaps the ambiguity of the goal, certainly the journey . In his book on travel, Fussell reminds us that travel is close to travail. Nancy (above) is right to: once our body and mind tell us no, we should listen, we have to.
Izzy and I have had a couple of disappointments this summer. In both cases we seemed not to realize the “great event” was happening: I missed out on the all day (from 11 am to 4 pm) reading aloud of passages from Joyce’s Ulysses at the OLLI at AU; this Sunday she forgot her once a summer pool party with her social group was happening. Maybe we didn’t want to go as badly as I at least felt when I realized I had missed it.
At both OLLIs I teach at there are Shakespeare courses this summer, and one is on Richard III and the other Macbeth. What is this fascination with violent harmful male monsters?
Yes sometimes reading our poetry in a book in the quiet in a lovely spot at home is best.
Travel can be hard in the summer, especially in this extreme heat.
Sorry you missed Bloomsday!
Yes, reading Shakespeare is very different from watching the plays, and I am glad to have been inspired to reread.
On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 6:26 AM, mirabile dictu wrote:
Sounds awful and such a shame when you were on a trip! I tend to agree with Ellen about the book in a quiet spot – often the best option!
Yes, travel in the extreme heat was a bad idea. Thank God for books!
On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 9:24 AM, mirabile dictu wrote:
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I finally read The Daughter of Time this year. It was a great favorite of my mother (who also loved Daphne du Maurier, by the way). I initially enjoyed it very much but part way through began to feel the detective and researcher were as “narrow minded” as the historians they loathed (Richard was a saint v. Richard was the devil incarnate). Hopefully you won’t have another migraine experience; sorry that you missed the Shakespeare.
Oh, it’s one of my favorites! But all tastes are tastes. Hated the migraine: my first and last, I hope.
I melt in the heat. My husband and I hibernate in the summer and my family knows I’ll be a no-show at almost any summer event or gathering. I used to get ‘sick headaches’, extreme pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and nothing would make them go away except sleep, when it eventually came. Fortunately, I haven’t had one for year and my body has found a new way to punish me for stress! I hope you don’t have any more migraines.
I do think it was the extreme heat and sitting in the sun the whole way. (How is it possible for the passenger to be in the sun both coming and going???) Sick headaches are the worst!