My Obsession With Romeo and Juliet


The Reconciliation of the Montagues and Capulets over the Dead Bodies of Romeo and Juliet: Frederic Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Reconciliation of the Montagues and Capulets over the Dead Bodies of Romeo and Juliet: Frederic Leighton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I have not always been a fan of Romeo and Juliet. I was an early overachiever and first read a version, not Shakespeare’s, of the tale when I was in the fourth grade. I voraciously read anything I could get my hands on, and I didn’t like everything I read including Romeo and Juliet. They seemed to me at the time as two people who had poor decision-making skills. And why would you throw your life away for something as silly as love?

In the ninth grade, because I think everyone has to read Shakespeare’s version around that age, we read the play in school. I was not excited. We had to memorize part of the play and perform it in front of class. I was not excited. But I dutifully memorized Juliet’s part in Act II, Scene I. I didn’t dislike it after that. I understood what she was experiencing more. Then, we watched Franco Zeffirelli’s movie version, and I enjoyed it. I still didn’t necessarily like Romeo or Juliet. They still displayed poor decision-making skills, after all.

The change came as a senior in high school when we were, not excitedly, forced to perform Act 3, Scene 5 – a play about a group of teenagers rehearsing Romeo and Juliet for a school production. The play breaks down act 3, scene 5, and Shakespeare’s work is performed in its entirety within the play. Doing that play, and against performing as Juliet, I finally fell in love with the source material. I still thought Romeo and Juliet could have done things differently and had their happy-ending, but I no longer loathed them as individuals.

That began my consumption of every Romeo and Juliet production I could find. I have seen the play many times. I have seen the movies multiple times. I informed my husband that I would be seeing Romeo and Juliet with Hailee Steinfeld in the theater a few years ago. He surprised by taking me and holding my hand as I cried when they (spoiler) died again.

I particularly enjoy derivative works of the story. So it is should come as no surprise that I love the anime Romeo x Juliet. It is a loose adaptation of the classic tale, so the story does not always unfold in an expected way. (Spoiler) Though it does still have a heartbreaking ending.

The image I have been toying with to make the perfect cross stitch.

The image I have been toying with to make the perfect cross stitch.

The past six months or so, I have had this idea that I want to do a Romeo x Juliet cross stitch.I made a few that weren’t quite right. I tweaked the image I wanted, played with color, and manipulated the design to near perfection. I even bought all fifty colors I would need for my design. I started working on it. It has been slow going because the center just happens to be Juliet’s cheek and lip. I made it a bit complicated and didn’t pay attention to where the center ended up. Sigh. So it has been very slow. I started mid-June and have given it maybe four hours. Then, one of the cats ruined my pattern sheet! And I don’t have a backup because of the hard drive crash. Now, I basically need to start over. Create a new pattern and match the colors I have already purchased to my new design. This is a down side to wanting to create stitched art. If I stuck with pixels or small projects, I could remake this easily like I did with some other designs of mine. Due to the large size and complicated color palate, redoing this is going to be murder. At this time, I am considering reducing the colors to 20. This will reduce the detail considerably, so I am torn.

What do you think I should do? Try to remake the 50 color design or simplify it so I can get back to work?









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