Okay, so…this is embarrassing.
I spent four years studying theatre at a university that I selected specifically for its excellent theatre program. I worked as an actor for some five years. I wrote a book about a playwright–in the first person–and then what did I do?
I MISQUOTED SHAKESPEARE.
In RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES, which is on shelves and available for all to see, I misquoted William Shakespeare. And not some obscure quote that no one but the foremost dramatic scholars would recognize, no, I misquoted one of the most famous lines in the canon. This is a move worthy of Liza Weiler.
Just to be clear, whether you’ve already caught my gaffe or not, I make a reference on p. 161 to a quote from Act V, Scene 1 of Macbeth. Liza is getting ready for bed and Dr. Tim notices the dress she was wearing when she kissed George at the New Year’s party hanging on the back of her door. He asks about it and a guilt-ridden Liza brushes him off. It reads like this:
“”Oh, no, I just picked it up from the dry cleaner’s.” All the perfumes of India, etc.”
Liza is referencing the famous “Out, damned spot!” scene, in which Lady MacB also utters the line:
“All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
I said India. I meant Arabia. And the thing is, I know better. I know the line. I did the scene in college acting classes, and I know the difference between India and Arabia. So I apologize heartily to all of you for bastardizing it in the first place, and for not catching it during any of the innumerable times I read the book while revising. It’s a lame, dumb mistake.
I suppose there had to be at least one line that I would always wish I could go back to and edit. And if you think about it, there’s some irony here. In the theatre, there’s great superstition surrounding “The Scottish Play.” We don’t speak the play’s name within the walls of a theatre, except during performance, for fear that its supposed curse will wreak havoc. So isn’t it only appropriate that a former actor screwed herself trying to quote the play in a book? And Lady Macbeth is agonizing over a choice she can’t unmake, a judgement call that will haunt her. Frankly I’ll take my mistake over hers any day, but it’ll haunt me just a little.
Sincere thanks to the very wise gentleman who pointed out my error in the gentlest way possible. And I hope Bill will forgive me. I’m pretty sure it happens to him all the time…