My Ever-Ending Hiatus

It’s Time

My decision has been five momentous years in the making. Or maybe 64 years in the making—from when I was just 1 year old—because the words that ultimately moved me to click the mouse and upload this page onto were spoken by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1960.

Five years ago this month, I had just concluded the Shakespeare Canon Project: 42 Plays, 42 Theaters, One Year (2018). I still had a lot of work ahead of me writing the bulk of the project's reviews and getting the 310 interviews and a year's worth of journal entries into book form. Those tasks have yet to be completed.

Instead, my life boarded a haunted roller coaster ride mixing chills into thrills.

By the end of January 2019, we saw what we thought was relief. Sarah had attained a referral to a neurologist at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, and I was tapped to serve as editor of the National Commission on Military Aviation Safety. However, not until May of that year did the Department of Defense complete my hire for the commission, a notice I received at the very time Sarah finally was undergoing her weeklong electroencephalograph (EEG) exam at Johns Hopkins.

More thrills and a big chill.

I determined to put on a three-month hiatus.

Ah, spoke too soon. At the end of those three months I determined to continue the hiatus another three months. I finally resumed posting to the site at the end of that six-month absence.

Ah, spoke too soon. The end of those six months turned out to be the beginning of the Covid pandemic. With the intensity of Shakespeareances pandemic coverage coinciding with increasing intensity of my Commission job, I returned this website to hiatus status in April 2020 and determined to return to Shakespearancing after the Commission's December 2020 deadline for delivering its report to Congress and the President of the United States. On January 13, 2021, I announced the resumption of Shakespeareances.

Ah, spoke too soon. Because on August 8, 2021, I again announced the resumption of Shakespeareances. In that interim, I didn't post anything; instead, I had begun working on a total rebuild and redesign of, which I thought I would unveil with my return from hiatus. That task has yet to be completed.


As for that August 8 resumption of Shakespeareances, you guessed it, I spoke too soon.

Diane Carlson Evans speaks at the ceremony marking the 30th Anniversary of the Vietnam Women's Memorial (background) on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., November 11, 2023. Evans, who served as a combat nurse in the Vietnam War, founded the memorial after a 10-year campaign. Photo by Eric Minton.

One of the people I worked with on Camp Legacy programming was the indomitable Diane Carlson Evans, an Army combat nurse who served in Vietnam and founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. She spent 10 years of her private life overcoming obstacle after obstacle to establish the first monument on the National Mall that specifically honors American women’s service in war. Even after I left the Commemoration last July to focus on Sarah's care, I continued doing pro bono work for Diane publicizing the Vietnam Women's Memorial's 30th Anniversary this past Veterans Day. Working with her has been one of the most inspiring privileges of my life, especially her keynote speech at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) on Veterans Day in which she related why she never gave up during those 10 years, recounting the response and buy-in she received from fellow Vietnam veterans and non-veterans, too. That speech would be one of two influences she has had on this tale.

Back in May, days before we kicked off the "Welcome Home" event, Diane, intrigued by Shakespeareances, wondered if Shakespeare had anything to say about the Vietnam veterans' experience we were addressing with Camp Legacy. I'm sure he did, I replied: Shakespeare has something to say about every aspect of our lives. Out of our discussion came my essay, "Henry V's Vietnam War: A True Band of Brothers and Sisters," that I posted May 27 on for America’s Memorial Day weekend. It was my first update to the website—not counting those premature returning-from-hiatus notices—since January 20, 2021. It led to an intermittent succession of posted reviews and a Q&A interview through the end of last year. I also attended 22 of the 23 events that comprised Washington D.C.’s “Shakespeare Everywhere” Festival from October through December, and I'm actively writing my reviews and reports of those productions and programs (two already are posted, The Folger's Winter's Tale and Shakespeare Theatre Company's As You Like It).

So, the worst year of my life personally was the greatest year of my life professionally. Already, within its first week, 2024 is on track to succeed ’23 as the worst year of my life.

2024 could well succeed '23 in professional success, as well.

With all that going on, I have to decide once and for all if I should resume If not now, then when? Or, if ever?

I’ve written " is back" prematurely too many times over the past five years, but this site has proven a necessary respite in my caretaker lifestyle. Furthermore, Sarah insists that I keep it going, just as she insisted I finish the Canon Project after she began having her seizures and our lives boarded the haunted roller coaster ride.

So, on Christmas Eve I announced to my subscribers my intention to end my hiatus. I've since drawn up an operational plan for rebuilding and maintaining Beginning this week I’ll start posting new material regularly (weekly, if possible). Much of it includes yet-to-be-written reviews and interviews from the past two years in addition to the "Shakespeare Everywhere" material, but I’m also attending a half dozen productions in D.C, Virginia, New York City, and Cincinnati over the next two months. I’ve begun rebuilding the Bard on the Boards list, adding “What’s Playing When,” to go with “What’s Playing Where” and “Where’s Playing What.” I’ll also be resuming the Shakespeareances Play Popularity Index. I’ve begun working on the site’s redesign and reorganization. One new section will be “On Line” to go with On Stage, On Screen, On the Air, and In Print. Another new section will be dedicated to covering the range of stage work in the Capital Region, one of the world’s great theater destinations.This will widen's subject matter to include works across a wide spectrum of genres, ethnicities, and eras, including world premieres. My timeline is to unveil the new site in the spring.

Ah, spoke too soon. Common sense rushes in, my hand pauses, my fingers disengage from my mouse.

The fact is, I live on Alzheimer’s time, which means no day goes according to plan, let alone no week, month, season, or year. Over the past year, I’ve learned to live moment to moment and focus on each moment in that moment. I’ve also come to cope with the need—not just the desire—to look beyond Alzheimer’s vise grip on my life, a struggle I am detailing in the Perseverance book. Yet, my priority remains my devotion to Sarah and my dedication to her care, comfort, and security. True, that devotion includes her inspiring influence on my life’s outlook and my respect for her dedication to service. Both have been telling me it’s time to start living not just on Alzheimer’s time but Shakespeareances time, too.

But do I realistically have enough time of any label to do all of that? Paralyzed in indecision having finished editing this essay a day after I wrote it, I take a walk to consult God and the cosmos. What comes to me is Martin Luther King Jr.'s April 10, 1960, speech to students at Spelman College in which he laid out his blueprint for a successful life. His speech ended with this:

Life for none of us has been a crystal stair, but there is something we can learn … that we must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.

It may be at a crawl's pace, but is back. It's time to move my mouse to the icon that will upload this manifesto.

Eric Minton
January 13, 2024