Or words to that effect. That was the first note given to Tboy since, oh, 1984 or so.
You'll recall that Tboy, having extended a blue-enameled toe (really--haven't you noticed?) toward the perilous waters of Acting Shakespeare, has been instructed to choose a sonnet (Tboy picked No. 23) to get cozy with, internalize, and otherwise perform.
(And no, luckyspinster, opening night will not be a public occasion. Alack.)
On the first read-through at band camp a coupla days ago, Tboy hurried through his sonnet, and didn't let it breathe nearly enough after line 8. The first words of line 9 are where the speaker turns, stops beating his breast, and reaches out, making a plea to the beloved for a kind of understanding that takes the speaker's nature into account. There's another one, just before the last two lines. Thus “Don't underplay the pivots,” which Tboy is now trying mightily to remember.
Because now we're trying to get off book. Oy.
Also, in the afternoon lab that meets in, oh, 15 minutes from now (Lackaday!) we're thinking about stakes and intentions and questions like “Why these words?” ... “Why speak ? -- Why now?” Also: “Who is the beloved?” Again I say, Oy.
But here goes:
I the speaker speak, and speak now, because I live a life dominated by my uncertainty about my own gifts, my ability (or lack of it) to communicate, to connect, even (self-lacerating bastard that I am) to love another properly. “Unperfect” and “fear” and “dumb” and “weaken” because words like these are the words that inform every choice I make -- or don't make, out of a paralyzing anxiety of making the wrong choice.
And because I (the speaker) have suddenly become conscious that my fear may just cost me the one thing that now and again helps me to transcend it -- my beloved, who's begun to suspect that my silence speaks of disinterest, of taking-for-granted, of selfishness in me and staleness between us. I'm always a little afraid to speak, but right now I'm more afraid not to.
As far as who the beloved is, Tboy's still working on that. For now, the beloved is everything the speaker has ever wanted and never asked for, every goal never moved toward. That'll need a little sharpening up. It'll need a face.
Now Tboy's off to see if there's a shrink loitering about at Student Health. He picked this sonnet for the “unperfect actor” joke, or at least he thought he did. And now he's so depressed he can't get up off the floor...