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Yesterday's quotation got me thinking about the various Shakespeare plays I love. Many of them I have read or seen or listened to, over and over. The quotation about sleep made me wonder--

I'll bet Shakespeare, as he ambled about town, stopped into his favorite brew at his local pub, hung out with his homeboys, ruminated in the back of his head about many topics, even played with them as banter back and forth.

Then when home and wrote down a few lines, a sonnet, a speech that he might use some day in a play when the topic came up.

So you have Macbeth, in the darkest of plays, and the talk of murder of sleep. Shakespeare plugs in this glorious paean to sleep,

"...sleep, the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast" (2.2.35-39).

and then moves on with the plot. His plays are full of this kind of stuff--almost asides--as though he were writing modularly, inserting pre-written lines being kept in his back pocket (did they have pockets in his day?).

I went through a similar process when I wrote my thesis. As I did the research, noting citations on 3 x 5 cards, phrasing would occur to me, sometimes whole paragraphs, and I would write them down on my yellow tablet.

Then, when I came to the actual writing of an analysis of Indian politics and social events in the years leading up to Partition, during the analysis, I had lots of paragraphs of thoughts and insights to insert that had occurred to me earlier, during the research phase.

This was before computers, so at the end I had a manuscript (literally) consisting of sheets of yellow paper cut apart, taped together, notes written in margin and at top and on back, and then had to sit down to type it all, no mistakes allowed. Mistake on page? Had to type the entire page over again on my little green portable typewriter. Agony!

Thank goodness for computers!

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