Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Adventures in the English Language.

I was talking with a guy at work, and I forget what the conversation was about, but he quoted Romeo and Juliet, the Juliet line "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo."  Of course, he quoted this line under a mistaken assumption of what the word "Wherefore" actually means.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that about 99% of the English speakers in the world today do not actually know what this word means, or how it completely and utterly changes both the context of the line from Romeo and Juliet, but also Juliet's character herself, entirely.

Most people believe that the word "wherefore" means "where".  It does not, in fact, mean "where".  It is actually a contraction of the phrase "What is it for"  which, in Elizabethan English was what you would say when you wanted to ask "why?"  At the time, the word "why" had not yet been invented.  You asked either "what is it for" or "wherefore".

Juliet is not asking WHERE Romeo is.  What she is ACTUALLY asking is "Why do you have to be Romeo?"  Or, more simply, "Why does this man that I love have to be the heir to the enemy of my family?"  (reading the rest of this line "Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet." makes the meaning pretty apparent, but most people don't realize that line continues)

The importance of the correct meaning of the word "wherefore" to the character of Juliet is pretty huge.  Most people think she's being a silly girl in love, because they don't understand what she's saying in this line.  They think that she's just daydreaming about the hot guy she met, and not paying attention to anything else going on around her, because she's so infatuated with him.  But she's actually a lot deeper a character than that.  She knows exactly what sort of situation she's in, and she's lamenting to herself about it.

Another common misconception with this play is the meaning of the phrase "Star Crossed Lovers".  Many people think that it means that they were meant to be together.  In fact, it means the exact opposite of that.  Again, in Elizabethan English, "Star Crossed Lovers" Actually means lovers that are crossing the stars, or crossing the heavens, or, in plainer English, two people god doesn't want to hook up with each other.  Having the added connotation that their love is a sin, and will be punished as one.  And, of course, if you know how the play ends, yeah, that happens.

Also, in Shakespeare in general, if anyone says the phrase, "I am here."  They are not actually saying "here I am".  In Elizabethan English, "I am here" is short for "I am here with you" or "I stand with you" or in modern English "I agree".  It may sound generally like the same English Language that we speak today, but even Elizabethan English just 400 years ago, was basically an entirely different language than the one we speak today.  It's a language that we can generally understand, or puzzle out the meaning of most of the time, but it is not the same language.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Life, the universe, and everything...

So, for about the last year or so, my mail route at work has been overburdened, meaning that the route has grown so large that it should have been cut down to a more reasonable size about a year ago.  However, I have been in an epic and continuous battle since that time just to get management to acknowledge the fact.  They have repeatedly refused to update my documented and official number of deliveries (which determines what size the route is rated, and, in turn, how much I get paid for it.  I'm salaried based on the size of my route, not paid hourly) and as such I've been hugely overworked and underpaid for almost a year now.  And, my route is growing.  It is getting bigger every week, making even more work for me that I'm not being paid for.  You may have noticed that I haven't exactly done a huge amount of writing during that time.  Well, the reason is that I'm working 12 hours a day, and getting paid for 9 of them, then coming home and just crashing in exhaustion.  I've been just burnt out, and supremely frustrated with knowing my route it bigger than they say it is, not being paid what I should be for it, and being completely unable to get management to do anything about it.  In the last year, I have probably been shorted about $10k in pay, in addition to being just completely worn out all of the time.  Luckily, I finally managed to complain my way up the chain of union reps until I finally got  one powerful enough to basically crush my postmaster under his heel to notice my plight.  If they have not straightened my route out within the next two weeks, and cut it down to a reasonable size, my union is prepared to utterly destroy my postmaster's career over it, which they are more than capable of doing.  I may, or may not, receive back pay on it, but it's looking more and more like not.

Meanwhile, I'm not as young as I used to be, and the strain of working so long and hard for so many months is really taking its toll on me.  I'm having back problems.  I've had a sinus infection for about 10 months that my doctor just can't seem to help me kill off.  I've had two separate colds and strep throat in the last two months, and I'm generally just miserable and exhausted all of the time, and I have almost no time in my life lately for anything but work, sleep, and frequent doctor visits because all I do is work and sleep, and that's not healthy.

Anyway, as for my work on my latest project "Memories of What Never Was" I've been juggling around a few ideas for some edits I want to make.  The biggest of which is that I feel Kriss needs more motivation as a character to do, generally, anything.  And she needs something more to her that gives her an edge no one else has in killing the Seven.  So I've been working through a few different ways of doing that in my head as I've been horribly worked to death, and I've finally settled on the idea I think is the best of the bunch I've been able to come up with.  Hopefully, in 2 weeks, when the deadline my union gave my postmaster to get his butt in gear and fix my route comes along, I'll finally not be so dead tired exhausted all the time, and can start getting some much needed editing done to the story, and see how my new idea for Kriss' character works out in the story.  I think it's going to be awesome, and give her quite a bit more depth and motivation.  I just need to have some actual free time when I'm not so tired I can't think straight to get it done.