Losing My Shakespeare Virginity With Hamlet

“To be, or not to be: that is the question…”

Shakespeare Collection

I’ve never been interested in reading Shakespeare. Now, before Shakespeare disciples and doyens of all things literature come for me, I do have my own reasons.

I was not exposed or introduced to Shakespeare until later in life (in my twenties). I did African literature in high school and when it comes to literary legends, I’ve only been exposed to our own – Achebe, Soyinka, Thiong’o, Emecheta, Mphahlele and the likes. Although these are writers whose works are not as old as Shakespeare’s, these are the authors whose great works I was taught, have read and hold great respect for.

Complete works of Shakespeare

I recently had to discuss parody and pastiche in poststructuralist theatre, and I referred to Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. This tragicomedy is a parody of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and so I had to read both to be able to conduct my analysis.

Hamlet

This loss of Shakespeare virginity was not as bad as most first times go. I did enjoy Hamlet and read it in such a short space of time, enjoying the plot, the writing itself, all the way to the end. However, I wasn’t as blown away as I was told I’d be, that if I read Shakespeare I’d discover the greatest works of all time. Whether you’ve read his work or not, we know that in the literary world, his work still holds great importance and relevance but personally I have read works that have left a greater impression on me.

It’s a preference thing, isn’t it? We can’t all fall deeply in love with Shakespeare’s work, we don’t have to. I’m pretty sure there are people who absolutely hate it, and then there are people like me who appreciate it as good writing but not the most mind-blowing work in history.

Another important thing is that to be interested in literature, to participate in it or to show an understanding of it, does not require an obsession, reverence and passion about Shakespeare.

After breaking my virginity, I might consider revisiting his work. Who knows, I might actually find something to go crazy about.

My Writing/Reading Spots: The Library

“The simple act of sitting here sipping this cappuccino is its own testament to my commitment to living the writer’s life. Which is to say: doing nothing but doing it exceedingly well.”
― Sol Luckman, Beginner’s Luke

The Library booth

Since Covid, I haven’t been going out to write, or pretend to write, in cafés and restaurants as often as I used to. Now, I go once or twice a week. Nairobi has some great spots in malls and some hidden gems in residential areas.

I decided to go to Sarit today, the aim was to go to this small, coffee shop. Just on the next level at the food court, these gorgeous black and orange chairs caught my eye. I had to go see, you’d never know where the inspiration to zhoosh up your place will come from. Then, I discovered this new spot that’s less than a month old – The Library.

The Library

The booths caught my eye, social-distancing style, one could say.

The orange and black chairs, and the booths.

They got this tiny space and used it so well to create this charming place with soft music and a laid-back ambiance. When you go upstairs you find that it does live up to its name. There’s a large bookshelf with some interesting titles, a cosy sitting area and a place suitable for working.

The Library’s Bookshelf

They really put some creative thought into it.

The menu and bill box designs:

Menu and bill box.

Even the names of some of the items on the menu – I had The Novel, a satisfying cucumber, mint, and orange juice. The food is pleasant, my vegetarian smashed avocado sandwich was filling and tasty. My friend had chicken wings with shoestring chips, and I’m guessing from the clean bones left on her plate that the dish went well.

It’s also placed on the best level of Sarit, an open, airy and light space with trees and fresh air, you can easily forget that you’re in a mall.

I’m definitely adding it to my list of coffices, to work, or simply enjoy coffee with one of their books.

Where: The Library, Sarit Centre (Nairobi), 2nd Floor

Writer’s Corner: Advice for Freelancers

“Discover the power of your own success.”

Book: Brilliant Freelancer

Author: Leif Kendall

Brilliant Freelancer

Brilliant Freelancer is a simple guide to beginning or continuing with freelancing, and includes answers to some questions that usually come up when you want to start or wondering if you should keep going.

This is a guide for different kinds of freelancers and writers can greatly benefit from it.

He makes the distinction between freelancer and contractor:

Freelancer: “A self-employed person who sells their professional services by the hour, day, or projects.”

Contractor: “A self-employed person who sells their professional services for contracted periods of times (anything from a few weeks to many months.”

The book answers questions that you may have when thinking of starting freelancing, whether as a side hustle as a main source of income. He also gives examples of why you may choose the freelance route, such as; to determine your own career, if you were made redundant, or not wanting to continue being cocooned in a company. There are, of course, other reasons you may have.

It gives advice on how to check your readiness for freelancing by, for example, showing good vs bad motivations. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both freelancing and permanent employment. There are also things to consider such as the impact it can have on family life.

Working from home.

Look at freelancing as a small business and look to traditional businesses for advice on solutions to challenges you may be facing.

You will also find guidance on finding your first clients, retaining and managing them, dealing with difficult clients, and declining clients. There is also plenty of information on things such as charging rates, budgets, and quotes. There is also more on becoming a company and the different types you can choose from, marketing, having an online presence, blogging, finding a gap in the market, specialising, and networking.

Working from a restaurant.

Brilliant Freelancer is an easy guide to helping you thrive on your freelancing endeavour, making it work and dealing with all sorts of challenges that come with it. Going freelance can be a scary leap and this is the sort of book that can help you overcome them and make the best decisions.

Leif Kendall: Kendall Copywriting

Leif Kendall is a freelance copywriter who offers SEO copywriting and content marketing services.

Website: Kendall Copywriting