of course Bacon wrote Shakespeare; but so did everybody else, including (luckily) Shakespeare

“Yes, O.K., a lot of people could see similarities.”
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG, a professional horse jumper and the daughter of a billionaire mayor, speaking of her new book, about an award- winning equestrian with a billionaire father.

I had to laugh (just a little, not a full-blown LOL) because the New York Times can be so bitchy. The accompanying article was in the NY Region section, not the Books section or even Arts. And really, poor Georgina. I mean, if I wrote a novel featuring a Jewish woman from New York, with some kids, whose house was under construction, would anyone give a shit or cast aspersions on my writing or creativity? I  think not. I mean, doesn’t everyone say, “Write what you know”? Did anyone snidely say anything to Fitzgerald when he wrote about rich Princeton guys? How about Sylvia Plath writing about depressed chicks?

What do you think? How far do we have to travel from “real life” in our fiction? Do you consider pure fabrication “more legitimate” for fiction?


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11 responses to “of course Bacon wrote Shakespeare; but so did everybody else, including (luckily) Shakespeare

  1. Rhona

    Ophelia was a Shakespeare?!

    Forget that.

    Ophelia was real?!


  2. Hi Linda, I’ve been thinking about your question and it is or it isn’t. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and so weird that folks you share it with will think you are full of it. Then there are times when boredom or silly putty in your brain does its number on you and this gross exaggeration slips right through your teeth and it is believed or at least accepted. I think the real question is .. what stops some people from shunning “Boring”??? Why do we need to shock or entertain with fabrications? I actually think that putting one over is kinda fun (but with a confession following). I’m old school.

  3. Rhona

    You know, one thing I would love to do, is to research the whole, ‘Did he or didn’t he?’ question with regard to the works attributed to Shakespeare. Everyone has a theory. The popular one at the moment seems to be that they are the work of a few different authors. I always go back to giving William credit though, and then, last month in Vanity Fair, the British actor Derek Jacobi said he didn’t believe Shakespeare wrote the plays! Silly I know, but I still can’t stop thinking about it now! I mean, he’s Derek Jacobi, right? He should know, shouldn’t he?

    With regard to ‘writing what you know,’ I believe it depends very much on the writer, and how deeply immersed s/he can get into the subject. How much they can suspend disbelief in their own mind. That and doing a whole lot of research. But I would say that, wouldn’t I, Linda? 😉

    Think of it like this, would we have cell phones if Gene Roddenberry hadn’t given one to Captain Kirk? So many engineers/inventors have credited Star Trek for their inspiration. (Okay, so I’m still holding out for a replicator that can give me anything I want at the flip of a switch.) And would we have sent a rocket into space without Jules Verne?

    Who knows that in fifty years, we won’t have moving staircases courtesy of inspiration provided by JK Rowling in her Harry Potter books?

    So I’m going to stir the pot a little here, and say, ‘Those who do, write what they know. But those who imagine, write a whole lot more.’

  4. Of course you can only write what you know. And of course Georgina Bloomberg’s novel, which so closely resembles her life, gets written up in terms of its autobiographical, rather than its literary elements. That’s not because she borrowed from her own life. It’s because she’s the daughter of someone famous. If it had been written by anyone other than a Bloomberg, it’s highly unlikely that this young adult novel would have garnered a single sentence in the Times. And though I can’t really say without having read the book, it’s also quite likely that the manuscript would have ended up the same way as the vast majority of other debut novels in today’s publishing climate — unpublished.

    • Rhona

      Ruth, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Cecilia Ahern, but she is the daughter of Ireland’s former PM, Bertie Ahern. When her first novel (chick lit) was published, everyone said the same thing: it was only published because of who she was. But then she had a movie deal, then another huge book, and another, and before you could say, ‘Self-publish or be damned!’ she had a tv show here, and three more movies in development. It created quite a scandal a few years back when she was voted as one of Ireland’s best writers. Ever.

      I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised if Bloomberg’s daughter’s career didn’t follow a similar trajectory.

      Oh, and just when you thought the industry had enough to deal with, I saw a headline recently that the Kardashian’s are also turning their attention to writing fiction.

      We may one day look back upon the Ahern’s and Bloomberg’s as literary giants. (Please, no!)

    • I’ve got a book idea! Here’s the pitch: Professional horse jumper & daughter of a billionaire meets the daughter of a former Prime Minister of a small green island in the Atlantic Ocean. They get together and write a fictitious novel [sic] about an Armenian family who are famous for being famous. Whaddya think?!

  5. Kitty

    If Bacon didn’t write Shakespeare, he missed the chance of a lifetime.