I know, I know. This isn't the etching of him we've all come to recognize (even though that might not really be him, either). And since we won't ever know what he really, truly did look like, he might have well have looked like this, right? He does in my imagination, anyway.
So, why pick him, of all writers, for this project?
Well, I like him, that's why. I really do. Beyond admiring his work, or adoring his work, or even, as we can let ourselves do, becoming temporarily crippled by the brilliance of his work, that we could never hope to match in our own fumbling attempts at literature, I find I really do like this guy.
There's something about Shakespeare the Guy that is weirdly approachable. So many of the Very Greats have a kind of distance around them. They appear otherworldly, or inaccessible, or completely crazy.
Not our man Will.
At least, not to me.
He's seemed like the kind of fellow who would have been fun to know in life, the kind of guy who would have loved to see what we've done with his work, how much he has inspired our culture. Especially in the very meta sense that so much of his work was inspired by the stories that were considered classics to him. He seems... human.
I recently visited the Huntington Library, which has a copy of the first folio on display. It was open to A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I did appear in, once upon a time, as Helena. I was also in two of his other plays, care to guess which ones? Also, if you're a Shakespeare aficionado, what's your favorite of his plays? (sonnets are also acceptable.)