Diva Rambling: Shakespeare Inspiration…

Shakespeare inspired….

Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year—King LearMacbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.

In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare’s great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn—King Lear—then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

It was a memorable year in England as well—and a grim one, in the aftermath of a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry that had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation’s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom.

It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra.

The Year of Lear sheds light on these three great tragedies by placing them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.


Diva Frumping: Writing…..

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down to a typewriter and bleed.”

Earnest Hemingway

As you may have guessed, I’m into nurturing the muse this week. I liked this Hemingway quote, that’s how I feel of late. I want to share words of wisdom and grace and inspiration. Not happening. As my great auntie use to say….”I’m dragging a long behind!” It’s snowing today after being nearly 50 degrees yesterday; life in the South. My muse seems to have gone shopping and refuses to return.

We are filming a couple of scenes for my murder mystery this afternoon and I am so not inspired to do so. The Magnolia Sorority is having a tea party. Hopefully we will all rally in spite of the weather and make it work.

I wish I had some of you here with me to inspire and help direct the show. I do have 2 or 3 brilliant, former students, helping, but they also are having the winter doldrums. I need to take my own advice and breathe and dance. I’ll go do that and let you know how that worked.

Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Musing: Baked Onion Dip…

Baked Onion Dip


1 Cup Diced Vidalia Onion

1 Package Dried Onion Soup Mix

¼ Cup Water

1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese Or Shredded Swiss Cheese (about 4 Oz.)

1 Cup Real Mayonnaise

1 Clove Garlic, Minced

Hot Pepper Sauce To Taste


1 Preheat oven to 375°.

2 Combine well, all ingredients in 1-quart casserole. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite chips and crackers or crostini.

Diva Musing: Ding Dong the Muse is Dead…

Ding Dong the Muse is Dead….

I was recently speaking with some young college friends and we discussed how we currently have a bad case of writers block. To anyone creative this is not death, but a near death experience. Even blogging has been a stretch for me lately.

When your creative energy bank account is depleted, with no sign of a hefty deposit coming anytime soon, you are in a hell of numbness and back paddling.

This empty energy account is also called writer’s block for writers, screenwriters, and poets and bloggers. It is even more of a hell for performers, painters, musicians, composers, singers, dancers, the list goes on….

You put a few notes on the sheet music and then angrily toss it. Write a few words maybe even standing like Hemingway….still nothing comes. So now we have writers/artistic block and immense frustration as well.

What to do? Breathe! You heard me breathe. Take a few deep cleansing breaths, meditate for fifteen minutes, if you know how (if you don’t learn). Then, even if you are an extreme introvert, get out in it! I mean…life. Get out in your world where the inspiration came from in the first place and feel it again. Getting out around people, seeing the sites around you, getting pissed at bad drivers (personally I feel controlled road rage is good for the soul). Weather you are a writer, painter, or musically inclined…. Dance…, even if it is only spinning around at home or in nature. Dancing usually loosens up all the clogs and gets things flowing again.

I need not remind the people in any of the arts, your work gives to the world a special gift of remolding a reality. It is different for each person who receives your gift. But always remember it is your gift to the world, and the Universe created you with very specific gifts to make the world a better place. You owe it to the Universe, the world, and yourself not to disappoint. So do whatever is necessary to unclog the flow and get that energy bank account full again.

The point is, to live and keep the arts flowing we have to step out of our shells and experience the world. In the city, in nature, at a lake, at a spa…anywhere that resonates with your sense of creativity. It’s all up to you to choose; but do choose and get with it. I look forward to the results. Let me know how it goes.

Namaste, The Queen Cronista.

Diva Tasting: Beef Egg Rolls Baked…

Beef Egg Rolls Baked


  • 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef Cooked
  • 1 Small Bag Of Slaw Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Carrot
  • 1/2 Cup Thinly Diced Onion
  • Salt And Pepper, To Taste
  • 1 Pkg (7 Inch Square) Egg Roll Wrappers
  • 1 Cup Canola Oil (Or As Needed) For Basting.


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray lightly with oil.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the beef, slaw and onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay the egg roll wrappers out on a clean dry surface a few at a time. Place about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of each wrap. Roll up into logs according to the directions on the package. Wet the edge with water to seal.

  4. Baste all sides of the rolls with oil. Place on parchment and bake until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven). Remove and place on towel lined plate to cool. Serve with dipping sauce.

Diva Dancing: The Weekend…


I love Friday! It is the new opportunity to make the best of 3 whole days. It is the signal for us to unwind, start an adventure, read, play in the kitchen, or just play period. It is a time to feed the soul with some passion, laughter, art, theater, any soul food we choose. It is a time to balance the soul and feed the spirit.

Friday Called: She is bringing the wine!!!! (anonymous)

Namaste, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting: Alfredo and Broccoli…

Angel Hair Alfredo with Broccoli


  • 1 (8 Ounce) Package Angel Hair Pasta

  • 1 Serving Cooking Spray

  • 2 Pounds Raw Peeled And Deveined Shrimp, Slightly Thawed If Frozen

  • 2 Cups Chopped Broccoli

  • 1 Large Jar Alfredo Sauce (3 Cups)

  • 1 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook angel hair in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

  3. Cook and stir shrimp in a skillet over medium heat until slightly pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broccoli; cover skillet and let broccoli steam, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. Spread angel hair pasta over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with shrimp and broccoli. Pour Alfredo sauce over shrimp and broccoli; cover sauce with Parmesan cheese.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is slightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Chocolate Eclair Cake


  • 2 (3.5 Ounce) Packages Instant French Vanilla Pudding Mix

  • 1 (8 Ounce) Container Frozen Extra Creamy Whipped Topping, Thawed

  • 3 Cups Half N Half

  • 1 (16 Ounce) Package Graham Cracker Squares

  • 1 (16 Ounce) Package Prepared Chocolate Frosting


  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping, and milk.

  2. Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.

  3. Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours before serving.