I’m glad to have a Teens Can Write Too! prompt for today. I was up past midnight and, foolishly, on Twitter, which meant I heard about Robin Williams’ death and then couldn’t get to sleep. That, combined with all the awful things that are happening elsewhere in the world (Iraq, Gaza, and on a smaller scale elsewhere), means I’m feeling a little low, a bit too serious for the usual tone of this blog. We all have days like this, I guess.
But I have a TCWT question to answer and I’m determined to do it on the right day this month, so here we are.
Prompt: “What characters are you most like?”
This isn’t a difficult question, in that I know a character I’m very like, but the prompt seems to be asking for more than one answer. That’s a first — usually I’m the one giving multiple answers to a closer-worded question.
I’m like Dee Monaghan from Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, except without the magical gifts or the intense musical talent. I play the harp (badly), wear Dr Martens, have a friend who plays bagpipes (though we haven’t met in real life yet), and when I was fifteen/sixteen I made some bad decisions involving romance. In fact, back then I was basically Dee without any of the awesome parts, because I didn’t have the harp or the DMs or the bagpiper buddy.
I wish I were more like James Morgan instead, but the parents won’t let me take up bagpipes and you can’t have him without those. I do write all over my hands, though. I feel an affinity with anyone who does that.
I’m Meriadoc Brandybuck. I’m sensible and I tell my friends to be careful, but I’m never actually around when they get into trouble, i.e when they get rather drunk and start dancing on tables. Don’t think that’s what Merry’s like? Come on, mate. It totally is.
I’m Anatoly Sukhanov, with creativity bursting out of me that I can hardly suppress at times, even when I can’t afford to let it out, and I’m Stargirl, who made enemies by being just a little bit too weird for school, and I’m Katniss, who wasn’t good at feelings and at times was remarkably selfish in a refreshing way (I even have some archery skill, though not a lot).
But there’s a much easier, in-depth answer to this question: I am Hamlet. I bet none of you saw that one coming.
Let’s start with the obvious ones. Hamlet’s an intellectual, caught up inside his own brain — trapped there, frequently, among thoughts that overwhelm his capabilities for action. He wishes he were more spontaneous, of course, but that’s not who he is. He’s melancholy, bad at dealing with emotions, sassy, sharp-tongued… and maybe there’s something else we have in common, too.
Man delights not me – nor woman neither (II.2)
I want this on a t-shirt in the colours of the ace flag. I would wear it as often as was physically possible.
Hamlet is bad at emotions. Though he often wants to feel, he’s unable to express those feelings in any socially conventional way. At the loss of his father, he doesn’t cry, his voice doesn’t crack — he says nothing, and is unable to show how he feels. We have this idea that grief manifests itself as crying, but when my grandma died a couple of years ago, I could hardly bring myself to cry. I tried. I kept searching for tears, and they weren’t there. I felt like a monster because I didn’t know how to show my emotions in any other way.
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing.
What’s Hecuba to him, or he to her,
That he should weep for her? (II.2)
In fact, Hamlet resorts to the only thing he knows how to use: his words. He sits there and he talks to himself, because he doesn’t know what else to do. Had Hamlet lived in the modern age, it’s incomprehensible not to imagine him as a video blogger, with possibly the angstiest YouTube channel ever; no doubt his friend Horatio would be roped in to hold the camera.
(Please, somebody, create this adaptation before I do. I don’t have time for that kind of endeavour and yet — and yet I want to do it more than almost anything. But if you do it, can I be Hamlet?)
I talked before out my closeness to Hamlet when he says that I […] must like a whore unpack my heart with words. As a poet, or even as a novelist, all you end up doing is spilling out your deepest darkest emotions onto the page, selling your soul to anyone who will have it. I can identify with Hamlet because his words are both his attack and his shield. He hides behind them, and uses them against others.
But oh, he’s such a doubter, so afraid — looking for a way out that he’s too terrified to take, clinging on to a faith that’s been dismantled by the appearance of his father’s ghost and, you know, I can identify with that. Not the details, obviously, but his questioning nature, and his fear of stepping out without knowing what’s coming.
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come (III.1)
There’s one aspect in which Hamlet is exactly like me, though: he procrastinates. Even when he wants to do something, he finds himself doing something else. I have a terrible habit of ‘productive procrastination’ — publishing poetry collections instead of writing an essay, for example, the kind of thing you congratulate yourself for but it’s still not what you were supposed to be doing. People think I’m organised, but actually I do everything in completely the wrong order.
I do not know
Why yet I live to say ‘This thing’s to do’,
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do’t. (IV.4)
Hamlet, I know those feels. I am a chronic maker of mental to-do lists, and a repeat offender when it comes to totally ignoring them and writing multiple blog posts about Hamlet all in a row.
So really, when it comes to which character I’m most like, there’s no argument. It’s Hamlet. I guess that’s why it made me sad when my classmates said they didn’t like him while we were studying it, why they condemned him for his wordiness and his procrastination (and then they spend all evening watching Netflix… hmm): because in my head he was me and I was him. And that’s why I love the play. Oh, it’s got some beautiful words in it, some lovely lines, but it’s the character that makes it for me.
The melancholy Dane. I’m not Danish, but Hamlet is more like me than any other character I can remember coming across.
Here’s the rest of the chain! It’s a long one, this time — we’re even doubling up on dates.
5th – http:// semilegacy.blogspot.com/
6th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/
7th – http://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/
8th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/
9th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/
10th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/
11th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/
12th – http://finnlongman.com/
13th – http://uniquelyanonymous.wordpress.com/
14th – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/
15th – http://novelexemplar.wordpress.com/
16th – http://nutfreenerd.wordpress.com/
17th – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/
18th – http://writers-place-for-you.blogspot.de/
19th – http://roomble.wordpress.com/
20th – https://taratherese.wordpress.com/
21st – http://thependanttrilogy.wordpress.com/
22nd – http://freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/
23rd – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/
24th – http://theweirdystation.wordpress.com/
25th – http://teenageink.wordpress.com/
26th – http://www.adventuringthroughpages.wordpress.com/
27th – http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/
28th – http://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/
29th – http://dynamicramblings.wordpress.com/
30th – http://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/
31st – http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/
and http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain)