Monday Earworm: Garbage

Today is going to be our last earworm for a little while, because Wednesday is April 1st, and like every year for quite some time now, I’ll be doing a Poem-A-Day series here on the blog in honor of National Poetry Month here in the U.S. The daily poem is possibly the most loved series among this blog’s readership, and there’s some excellent stuff in the line-up again this year. I hope you’ll check in daily — or just subscribe — to get a dose of poetry. But I fully anticipate earworms coming back in May, and in the meantime if you need more music, just play some from the blog archives. Reply in the comments if you want me to host an online earworm dance party some time.

And honestly? I’m only kind of joking about that. Social distancing is hard on many people. My son likes to say this is the kind of national disaster he’s made for, because left to his devices he’d just play online video games with his friends all day every day anyway. And we are definitely lucky in our household because we have enough space for all of us to work or school from home without being in the same rooms with each other, my husband and I are stably and gainfully employed (knock on wood), and we have everything we truly need. We also have cats and daily human in-person interaction.

For my friends and family members and colleagues and everyone else out there who lives alone in an apartment with no pets and who may be starting to feel worn down by having interactions only via screen, I see you. Seriously, I will host a dance party from my laptop. Just say the word. I can’t guarantee it will help, but it might at least be funny.

(For what it’s worth, I’m also considering hosting an online reading in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for that.)

Also, if anyone would like a free copy of the 1st edition of Finis. to add to their reading list (or to put in their local Little Free Library) while they have some enforced downtime, I’m mailing them out to the continental U.S. right now. (I can’t do international mail at the moment due to pandemic closures, but if you want to get on the list for those as soon as things open up, just drop me a line.) Send me an email to to get a book, and put “FINIS. giveaway” in the subject line. (I’ll be wanting to know where to send it to, as well, of course.) Look for more giveaways in the near future.

So, social distancing getting you down? Missing connection with people? I get it. I stood on my parents’ front lawn yesterday and had a conversation with them while they stood in their front doorway. I drove half an hour across town to do this, too. It’s hard, but it is temporary, and the more we adhere to the stay-in-place rules, the sooner it will be over.

Here is today’s earworm: “#1 Crush” by Garbage. The video contains footage from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, which was, in some ways, both excellent and bonkers. But then, the play is also both excellent (in its artistry) and bonkers (in its tragic boneheadedness). And the song is such a mood. And also? It totally reminds me of Bas from Rainbow Rowell’s highly entertaining Carry On. (I recommend reading her Fangirl first, but you don’t have to.)

Stay safe. Stay home. Wash your hands. Listen to the scientists and doctors and nurses, and not (for Pete’s sake, NOT) the politicians. (That’s good advice always, by the way, not just now.)

And let me know about that dance party.

National Poetry Month — Day 24

For Shakespeare’s birthday, I’m sharing a fragment from Romeo and Juliet that never ceases to amaze me. It’s from that glorious balcony scene — no, I’m not a romantic at all, why do you ask? — the scene that made me want to take up acting when I was very young.

Also, this fragment is one that gives me fits, as an English teacher and general lover of language, because people get its meaning wrong all the time. Here’s a hint to help this fragment make actual, logical sense: “wherefore” means “why,” not “where.” If it meant “where,” that would suggest Juliet knows Romeo is out in the garden, and part of the point of the start of this scene is that she does not. He completely surprises her when he climbs up that trellis.

Also, if “wherefore” meant “where,” the rest of the lines would be a somewhat confusing non sequitur.


Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
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.


Notice the lack of direct-address comma after “thou” in the first line? Yeah, me too. Its absence means she isn’t addressing him a third time in that sentence, but that his name here is a direct object of “art” (“are” in modern parlance).

As it turns out, Juliet is musing on the misfortune of the boy she likes being a Montague, and thus a member of the family her own family is feuding with and sworn to hate. This moment of pre-rebellious reverie is important, too, because she’s deciding that if Romeo won’t renounce his family, then all he has to do is swear his love to her, and she’ll give up her family, to be with him.

Hijinks ensue.




And just for fun, here’s an amazeballs flow chart from to help you decide which of Sheakespeare’s plays you might want to watch to commemorate his birth- and deathday.