O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou* Romeo? –Juliet, Romeo and Juliet
Julian McElroy, wherefore art thou* such an a$$hole? –Romy, Bittersweet Creek
Okay, I gave in. I melded my English major’s love of literature with my country girl’s desire to write a story about the rural area where I grew up. One of the things that’s always struck me about Shakespeare is how we view his works as highbrow now, but they were written for the common people. Shakespeare’s plays are full of wit and puns and carefully crafted dirty jokes, and there are very few things in this world that I love more than wit and puns and carefully crafted dirty jokes.
In Bittersweet Creek I give you Shakespeare. . . . with cows. I had a lot of fun with this one by translating feuding families to the south. The Satterfields drive Fords and like cats. The McElroys drive Chevorlets and prefer dogs. The Satterfields are by the book folk, but the McElroys like to bend the law. The Hatfields and the McCoys set off their feud with a stolen hog, but the Satterfields and the McElroys are going to finish their feud over an illegitimate calf. Romy and Julian have been drawn to each other since they were kids, but can they overcome the animosity of their families?
What’s your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet? Is there a Shakespearean play that you think deserves more love? Or can you share your favorite Shakespearean dirty joke? Answer any one of these questions in the comments below and consider yourself in the running for a copy of Bittersweet Creek. I’ll have one of those random number generators pick a name.
*A lot of folks think Juliet was asking where Romeo was. Really, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?” is closer to asking “Why do you have to be Romeo?” That should help you understand Romy, my heroine. She conducted her balcony scene, it should be noted, from the barn loft.