6 Great Reasons to Visit Grenada in the Caribbean

Grenada is a beautiful island that sits close to Trinidad and Tobago. Most famous for it’s beaches, almost perfect weather and people, it’s also got a ton of great tourist delights. There are many incredible reasons to visit Grenada including the beautiful vegetation, the carnival and laid back vibe. Whatever your motivation, here are the top 6 reasons for visiting the Spice Isle.

Beaches

If you want beaches and you want them with white sand and warm crystal clear waves lapping on the shoreline, then you’ve got the right island. The strongest point of most islands, you get a lot of beaches! Grand Anse is beautiful but then so are the other beaches further north such as Levera, Sauteurs and the one on Sandy Island is truly unbeatable!

The People

Friendly, polite and generally very considerate, the locals like to meet tourists. They are very helpful and will go out of their way to ensure that you know where to go and what to do. Their warmth and generosity of spirit will come across rapidly.

The Food and Drink

The fresh produce is fantastic on this very fertile island. Of course, the climate has a bit part to play in this. Make the most of trying the more exotic items on the menu such as friend breadfruit, avocado juice, soursop and papaya. You’ll get a true taste of local life – and it’s good for the body!

Grand Etang

This nature reserve is part of the rain forest. You can opt to hire a professional guide who will show you the most interesting points of the reserve. Look out for Mona monkeys, hibiscus bushes, hummingbirds and other rarely seen fauna.

Sandy Island

Truly a paradise island, this trip should not be missed. It’s a 40 minute boat ride away but you’ll think that you’ve landed on a tropical nirvana. Whilst you snorkel your fish will be seasoned and cooked on the open fire. There is also a hurricane damaged resort. Take sun protection with you.

The Leatherback Turtles

These astounding pre-historic marine creatures will blow you away. They swim up to 10,000 miles every year to feed and mate. They weigh over a tonne and will land on the beach, dig a hole for their eggs and then make their way back down. If you want to be touched with nature – this is the trip for you.

Grenada is a beautiful island and is one of the quietest large Caribbean islands. Be sure to visit and enjoy it’s wonders.

Common Pitfalls of a Career in Commercial Real Estate

When you start your career in commercial real estate, you will soon know the common pitfalls that prevail in the industry. They are nothing special and unique, but they do require specific focus and action to resolve.

The pitfalls that most agents and salespeople come across are some of the following:

  • Finding new clients in the local area is not as easy as it originally seemed. The process requires hard work and daily diligent focus. Prospecting is one of the most important things that you can do in your career.
  • The competitive nature of the industry means that you will be up against other agents continually in presenting and pitching your services. It is easy to believe that you will win a listing, however the motivations of clients are many and varied.
  • Agents and salespeople with local property knowledge are useful, however the agent that usually wins the listing will be the one that shows the greatest level of confidence and solid negotiation skills. Clients like to work with experienced achievers that can solve their property problem quickly.

These three points would indicate that you must be prepared to work hard and to a plan. The most successful agents in the industry achieve their results through diligent focus and daily hard work. I go back to the point made earlier; you must prospect daily regardless of how much other work you have currently. Failure to prospect today means that your business will slow down within about two or three months.

Here is a good business model that can be used in most commercial real estate agencies. This is a personal model that should apply to sales people.Research the new business leads and opportunities every night before you commence the next day. On this basis you will have new people to contact. A big part of your job is to create a new leads and new opportunities. That is how you will grow your market share.

  1. Start your day early and always with the prospecting system and process that is relevant to your property type. Generally speaking this will mean lots of cold calls within a defined system that you feed with new leads and opportunities.
  2. The prospecting process should take about two or three hours every morning. By the time you get to the middle of the day, you will have achieved two or three meetings from those calls made in the morning.
  3. Do your property inspections and client meetings in the afternoon. That then leaves the late afternoon for you to do your paperwork and marketing.

Organisation and focus will turn your career in a positive direction. This does take time, however diligent daily process should see positive results within about one month. When the results start to come in, you simply keep the process moving ahead. Do not change the rules, and remain consistent.

Smokeless Cigarettes And Vaporized Nicotine

E-Cigarettes are known for containing not a single trace of tar. Smokeless cigarettes emit zero second hand smoke, and they never burn any kind of substance or use any forms of combustion. There are actually quite a few models of E-cigarettes that have built in safety features that are used to prevent a person from consuming too much nicotine. The device that is inside smokeless cigarettes is known as a smart chip, and it actually turns off the electric cigarette if there has been too much nicotine that has been delivered in a period of time that is unhealthy for users. When it comes to E-cigarettes there are refill cartridges that can be used for people who are trying to cut down their total consumption of nicotine.

These cartridges contain zero amounts of nicotine and produce only the harmless vapor. Many people require different dosing levels of nicotine, and that is ok. There are cartridges used with electronic cigarettes that range from zero, medium, and high amounts of nicotine content in them for those people that want lots of nicotine or none at all. Another added benefit for those people wanting to try out smokeless cigarettes, is the price of the refill cartridges. The price for the cartridges that E-cigarettes use is much less than what a person smoking tobacco cigarettes would pay.

Starter kits containing electric cigarettes are much less expensive overall than the price of tobacco cigarettes. Smart chips built right into the e-cigarettes shut down the device before a person smokes too much allowing for even more savings. One of the most beneficial reasons people choose to smoke smokeless cigarettes is simply because of the flexibility allowed with them. This flexibility allows an individual to smoke virtually anywhere they want because the smokeless cigarettes do not emit any kind of second hand smoke. This allows individuals to smoke indoors so they don’t have to abide by various smoking bans put into place for tobacco cigarettes.

Anyone who works at a job around people who smoke tobacco cigarettes know how obnoxious it can be. Smoking with smoke-free cigarettes improves the overall working environment. Getting a nicotine fix is economical now in places like airports, bars, clubs, and restaurants. Smoking alongside a person who is smoking tobacco cigarettes is also possible without worrying about emitting second hand smoke to other people. The main reason electric cigarettes do not bother anyone when smoking indoors is because they do not burn tobacco, so this makes them safe to smoke around other people.

E-cigarette510.com is an online e-cigarette store that combines quality hot selling smokeless cigarettes and low prices so everyone can join the new smokeless era. Now everyone can afford E-cigarettes and save money doing it. A typical smoker spends $5 a day on a pack of smokes which adds up to $150 each and every month with no end in sight. But with smokeless cigarettes you spend $29 to $69 once then maybe another $15 on some e-juice to refill your cartridges. Even if you continue to use e-cigarettes for the nicotine a typical smoker spends only $15 a month on e-juice refills. Huge savings no? It’s smart to check into it…

The Benefits Of Internet Marketing

Whilst it is fair to say that Internet marketing has certainly had an effect on offline trading figures, the comparisons are not directly proportionate for the simple reason that the Internet has opened up huge new markets which were not feasible before this ‘information superhighway’ was born. The interactive nature of Internet marketing, and the low costs involved in distributing information and media to a global audience, makes a very attractive platform for any business model, regardless of size. Latest figures from credit card companies report a 15 billion dollar turnover from Internet sales in the last year, and rising rapidly. So it is not surprising that budgets for Internet marketing are taking a bigger slice of the advertising cake and the numbers of individuals earning their living directly from Internet marketing are ballooning off the scale.

Internet marketing draws together all the creative and technical aspects of the Internet, which include design, development, advertising and sales, and the techniques used in Internet marketing include search engine marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, online advertising and more recently, social media marketing methods as employed in blog marketing, and viral marketing.

Internet marketing is the process of building, growing and promoting a business individual or organization through any online activity including websites, blog sites, article marketing, press releases, online market research, email marketing, and online advertising. In order to fully comprehend the huge benefits offered by the Internet marketing process, it is difficult not to draw comparisons with offline marketing methods, but it has to be remembered that one is not a replacement for the other. Internet marketing and offline marketing will both have an important part to play in the future of any business, assuming it is not purely Internet based. Let us now look at the benefits that Internet marketing has to offer..

Low Cost

Since the Internet can be regarded as a ‘free for all’ activity center where information is shared freely with all interested parties, the cost involved in the overall Internet marketing strategy is relatively low. Apart from the obvious expenditure incurred in operating a web site, a large proportion of the budgets set aside for Internet marketing will typically be swallowed up by services and resources offering expertise in the various marketing techniques that fall under the Internet marketing umbrella. For example, Search Engine Optimization plays an important role in the positioning of a web site in search engine rankings and the larger organizations will often employ the services of a search engine optimization company to carry out this duty. Equally there are Internet Advertising Agencies available to handle all aspects of online advertising. Smaller companies or sole traders may carry out their own search engine optimization and advertising campaigns and would need only a few hundred dollars budget for marketing software tools. Either way, the overall cost of Internet marketing is much lower than the cost of a similar offline campaign.

Work From Any Location

All activities that fall under the Internet marketing banner can easily be organized from a laptop computer. Most communications are made using online contact forms, email or instant messenger, and payments for items such as web site hosting, internet marketing software tools and resource fees can all be paid online using a credit card. Web site design and management is also another area of Internet marketing easily managed from a laptop computer. The versatility of the ‘laptop’ means that these duties can be carried out from any location and therefore those involved in the Internet marketing fraternity can easily work from a simple home office, or even when away from home. Commuting is totally unnecessary.

The Level Playing Field

Unlike offline commerce, the use of Internet marketing techniques now make it possible for an individual or sole trader to compete with the larger organizations in his online business. It’s true that a larger company whose name was on everyone’s lips would have a head start in the marketing of their web site, and a larger presence in the search engine pages, beyond that the doors are opened and it’s quite common to see a smaller commercial outfit riding higher than their much larger competition in search engine results. Yes the online advertising budgets would be much bigger for the national companies, but there are many Internet marketing techniques and resources available to the solo marketers that would help them to stay in touch. There are literally hundreds of new Internet millionaires developed on a daily basis.

There are also many niche areas with good benefits derived from Internet marketing, but generally the process is attractive all round as a method of promoting any business, recreational or personal projects across the Internet. Internet Marketing is where the future lies for businesses large and small. The Internet has arrived and no-one can deny it!

Trevor Taylor

Bad Credit Cash Advance Loans – Get Instant Cash With Flexible Terms

If you are looking forward to instant credit, then cash advance loans can be your ultimate destination. These are the fastest ways of arranging desired cash, as these loans do not bother the borrower for arranging unnecessary details. These can provide you with smart cash within the least possible time; in fact, with these loans, you can enjoy fastest approval and instantaneous processing of your loan request. These cover credit requirements of every borrower section; therefore, people who are facing rejection due to their bad credit history can also manage suitable cash with cash advance loans. Bad credit cash advance loans are specially tailored for people, who have troubled credit history, so that they may also avail finest credit facilities to meet their requirements.

If your credit statement includes bankruptcy or foreclosure, then also you can get the desired loan amount with bad credit cash advance loans. The biggest benefit of these loans is that you get the cash instantly without wasting time on unnecessary documentation. Since these are for bad credit borrowers, lenders do not check your credit statement to approve the loan. Usually, these loans are based on the repayment capability of the borrower therefore, you need to have statement regarding steady source of monthly income. For getting an idea about the repayment capability of the borrower, lenders verify income details by contacting his or her employer. Income verification is the only term that a borrower need to fulfill for getting approval, as income statement of a borrower helps the lender in determining whether the borrower is eligible or not. Therefore, if you are employed and in need of urgent cash then bad credit cash advance loans can settle your emergency expenses without making any further delay.

People, who use credit card to meet emergency financial requirements, may find these loans expensive, as these loans charge higher interest than credit cards. However, bad credit borrowers hardly get the privilege to cash their credit card benefits but with bad credit cash advance loans they can also obtain desired cash. In fact, these can provide bad credit borrowers with excellent financial benefits. Since there is not any provision regarding usage of loan amount, you can use these loans in paying off your due bills and short term debts.

Basically, these loans are paid back by making a lump sum payment, as there is not any provision for installment. The repayment amount includes interest and is automatically deducted from the salary account of the borrower on due date. If you are going to take bad credit cash advance loans for the very first time, then carefully compare all available loan deals in the marketplace. Comparing rates will definitely help you in getting a more reasonable loan with lower interest rate thus compare schemes to make sure that you are getting a rational loan deal. Therefore, if you are struggling to arrange for desired cash for settling your emergency financial requirements, then apply for bad credit cash advance loans to get smart credit within minutes.

Finding The Best Car Remote

A remote for a car is simply a key less system of entry. You have an electronic lock that gives you access to the car without making use of a traditionally cut mechanical key. It is basically an electronic remote control that can be used as a key. This kind of a key is used a great deal in vehicles. It gives you the basic abilities of a car that gives you the ability to access the car without actually touching it.

One of the first remotes for cars came with the French Renault in 1982 and it then went on to several other American brands to now becoming a staple with most cars. Car remotes have a radio transmitter that works on a short range of 15-60 ft. When you press the activation button it sends a signal to the car which is mechanically interpreted and the car can be unlocked this way. In general American cars work on a 315 MHz frequency. Car from Europe, Japan and Asia has cars that operate on high frequencies of 433.92.

The general practice is to have the lock beep twice when it is unlocked and a single time when it is locked. If you hear four beeps it means everybody in the car has not buckled up. One long beep will be for the trunk as well as the power tailgate. A single sharp beep is meant to indicate that the system is set and everything else is secure.

All of these functions with a remote key less entry are placed on a key fob. In some cases it is placed on the handle of the ignition itself. You will have buttons that will let you lock doors and also open trunks and check on the tailgate. You could even get the remote to open some sliding doors for you or hold them in place. There is always a red button on the remote that you can press on in the case of an emergency like a theft. It will shut down the car and not allow it to be moved at all.

It is one of the most interesting things to have a when you are dealing with the automatic keys is that you will find it on every brand conceivable. When you choose your car remote, weigh in all the relevant factors and make a choice for the best.

Essential Bathroom and Kitchen Remodeling Tips

The real sign of a remodeled home is how well the bathroom and kitchen have been renovated. These days’ buyers will judge your home by the look of your kitchen as well as the bathroom. Some homeowners prefer an open concept where their kitchen is on the display for all visitors and guest to see. In this article we will discuss various important kitchen and bathroom renovation tips to help you with your project.

There used to be a time when homeowners did not pay much attention to these rooms. These areas were simply utilized for their function. Today the kitchen is the central gathering where all family members join one another after a hard day at work to share a meal and socialize. In the same way the bathroom is seen as a place to relax and be comfortable. Below are some tips to consider before venturing out on your home improvement project.

Clarity and Budget

You need to measure the size of your bathroom and your kitchen so that you can determine how much room you have. Knowing this information is critical as you can determine what can be added and what does not fit. You then need to determine what you are trying to gain from your kitchen renovation project or from your bathroom makeover. Are you looking to add more cabinets, perform a simple make over, or are you looking at knocking down walls and do a full renovation. How much are you willing to spend and how much can you accomplish with your budget. Being clear helps you to get to where you want to go.

Where to Find Ideas

Start looking online as there are various sites that provide you with kitchen renovation ideas and bathroom remodeling ideas. You should also flip through the pages of home improvement magazines to see what style and ideas you would like to deploy. These designs will provide you with the theme that you can use in your renovation project.

Be Honest and Be Willing to Learn

This is not a time to let your ego get the better of you. You need to be frank with yourself and asses your skills. Ask yourself what you can do on your own and when to call in a hired hand. There is certainly some work that you can take on, such as painting the walls. You can also learn other simple tasks by taking advantage of various online training videos or free training classes provided by some suppliers such as Home Depot.

These trainings can assist you on doing some of the work that is not so difficult. For instance, if you are only replacing your existing counter top or bathroom sink, you could take advantage of these DIY training to reduce the cost of your renovation project by doing some of these work yourself.

Get Your Family Involved

Bathroom renovation or kitchen updating should not be a grim task. You can turn this to a family event by giving your family members a to-do list and making it fun. Working alongside one another to improve the overall quality of your life can be a fun and fulfilling activity.

What Should You Ask Your Contractor About Your Bathroom Remodel?

One of the best ways to make a noticeable change in your entire home is to remodel one or more of your bathrooms. Although the process may seem a little intimidating at first, you can make everything go as smoothly as possible by asking the right questions before you get started. If you want to avoid unnecessary interruptions and confusions throughout the process, you will to make a list of important points to discuss with your contractor before they even start the job. Here are a few things that you should talk about:

What Type of Remodel Do you Want?

Before you even pick up the phone to start shopping for a contractor, think about what type of remodel that you want. A simple remodel can consist of a new coat of paint and new fixtures, while a complete bathroom overhaul is much more extensive. Decide how extensive you want your remodel to be, determine your budget and then call your contractor to talk about the specifics. They will be able to help guide you through the process from there.

How Much Will It Cost?

While this is a very important aspect of conducting a remodel, you should always make sure to balance cost with the quality of your contractor. You will want to choose someone who is reliable, skilled and has extensive experience working with bathroom remodels. That being said, make sure that you talk with your chosen bathroom remodeling company about the total cost of the project. They should be able to provide you with at least a very close estimate to what the total cost should be. Some will even provide you with a firm bid after doing a full assessment. Always be up front with how much you have to spend on any given project, so that you can be on the same page from start to finish.

How Long Will It Take?

In addition to a cost estimate, you should also ask your builder for a time estimate. While a simple bathroom remodel could take just a few hours, a total overhaul could take several weeks. Because the bathroom is a very important room in your home, you will want to have a fairly clear idea of how long it will be until you can use it again. After you have an idea of how long it will take, come up with a plan to make sharing the other bathroom or bathrooms in your home much easier while you remodel.

In the end, completing a hassle free bathroom remodel relies on constant, clear and honest communication from both you and your contractor. To make sure that you are getting what you want, at a price within your budget, you must communicate these needs to them. Because your bathroom is such an important room in your home, you can’t afford to be vague, unsure or silent about any of the aspects of the remodel. If you follow these tips, and work closely with your chosen remodeling expert, you can expect a bathroom remodel that meets your expectations from start to finish.

Commercial Real Estate Marketing Plan – Key Points to Win the Client

In giving a client a marketing proposal and strategy to sell or lease a commercial property, a number of things need to be well detailed in the proposal itself. Here are some of the main ones that should never be overlooked in your property proposal.

  • Why Should I Use Your Agency? It is an important question and hopefully you have a very clear idea of the advantages you bring to the sale or leasing process. Generic statements like ‘we know the market’, ‘we are the best agent in town’, ‘we have been here for 50 years’, and ‘we will serve you well’, just do not cut it in competitive markets. Consider why your real estate agency can stand clear and separate to other competitive agencies in promoting the property. Make sure that the client knows without any doubt why they should choose you as the agent of choice. Do not base your marketing point of difference on low commissions or agency paid advertising; that just does not work in this market and will put you out of business fast. Your agency must have something that is special and not copied from other agencies; it should also be so unique that you are the first choice as the real estate agent to take on the listing. If you do not have this clear mindset, then welcome to the world of the ordinary real estate agent that has to fight for every listing. Be separate than everyone else, create your point of difference and then market it well.
  • Happy Existing Clients & Recent Sales: Evidence of market activity and positive results will always come in handy as you attempt to advise the client on the right strategy to adopt for their property. In this property market with an abundance of available property stock, you should never take on overpriced listings. On average it is better to walk away from them and work with listings that are closer to the market price or rent. Your time is a valuable resource and must be protected from unrealistic vendors. A realistic property owner that works within the property market is far better than a property owner that is trying to set their own property market.
  • Prospective Buyer Activity on a Property: Telling the seller or landlord of your current and prospective sources of enquiry is a worthwhile part of your marketing plan. This lets the owner of the property know that you are really on the right ‘wavelength’ when it comes to locating tenants and or buyers. Some agents also adopt the strategy of getting a series of inspections done quickly with potential buyers from their database even at the early listing stage. It is surprising how many listings are sold or rented even before they reach the market officially.
  • What is Value? What is a Property really worth? Whilst exact prices and rents are hard to pinpoint, you should have a reasonable idea to within 5% as to what price or rent you could achieve with any given property. If you have no idea of the rent or the price then it is better to put the property to the market on the basis of ‘expressions of interest’. In that way the market will tell you what they think. With some very unique properties this is necessary given the limited pool of buyers that can participate in the purchase.
  • Methods of Sale and Timing: The main possibilities when selling a property are usually sale by auction, sale by tender, sale at a price, sale by negotiation, expressions of interest, trade or exchange. Knowing the best one to choose is the key to success. Putting the property on the market at a price is the less successful way of property marketing. The reason for this is the market will judge the property and try to reduce the price; if the property is too highly priced it will ‘kill’ any genuine enquiry before you even hear about it. One other fact needs to be remembered and respected here; a property will become ‘stale’ on the market after about 90 days. If it does not sell by then, it is better to remove it from the listing books for some reasonable time, to freshen the property for the next stage of marketing that you need to go to.
  • GANTT Model: For those of you that may not be aware, this is a way of graphically displaying activity. It is a common graphing process. It just so happens that it is a very powerful tool when you put it in a commercial property proposal for sale or lease. The display shows the client exactly what you are going to do for them and when.
  • Question and Answer: As part of your property marketing proposal, it is wise to have one or two pages that handle the concerns and questions of the client. From the preliminary meeting with the client you will have ascertained what matters concern them; you can merge these concerns and your answers into a Q&A format within your proposal.
  • Executive Summary: Always use an Executive Summary at the front of your document. It should be no longer than 2 pages, and bring all the main points to the front of the proposal. Adults generally do not want to read a lengthy document, so all your great work may largely go unread unless you can get the key points to a place that interests the client to read further.
  • An Exclusive Selling Agency Agreement: Why should you do one? The obvious answer is that you can best serve the listing and the client; you can also control the competition agents that may be chasing the same property. Open listings are not desirable and are essentially a waste of time unless you specifically have a purchaser that is a strong contender to take the property immediately. Occasionally I come across an agency that has a business approach of listing everything they can regardless of agency type; whilst this method can work, it does require you to have a very large number of listings and plenty of signs on properties. In only that way will you get the enquiry and conversion numbers that you need for KPI’s on commissions.
  • What are the advantages to a Vendor in having only one Agent when selling a Property? Tell the client why one agent is the best way to go. Multiple agencies working on the one property do not allow focused communication of offers and marketing coordination. Tell the client how you will connect with them on marketing, negotiation, due diligence, and property settlement.
  • Advertising: Yes advertising is expensive and it is still necessary, although you can be selective. You need to get the property message out to the market in the most efficient and direct way. How you do that is really property specific, although the conventional processes of newspaper marketing (expensive) are becoming less necessary. The internet is taking over as the main advertising channel in commercial real estate sales and leasing, and offers your client far better and cheaper ways of putting the property to the market. A key strategy for property marketing is to create 3 different levels of marketing for the client to consider (gold, silver, and bronze), as it gives them the feeling of control when it comes to spending on vendor paid advertising.

So these key points should be well handled in your property proposal. When you get the points clearly set out, the client knows what you can do and why they should choose you as the property agent of choice.

Shakespeare on Addiction: Sonnet 129

Something interesting happens every time I teach Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129. I’m reasonably certain the term “sex addiction” didn’t exist in his day – and neither did 12 step groups for it, with Elizabethans turning up in their flamboyant garb – but that doesn’t mean that the problem, and its attendant degradations, didn’t exist. Just ask Shakespeare about his Dark Lady.***

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

All this the world well knows; yet none knows well

To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Why am I thinking about sonnet 129? Shakespeare’s sonnets beg for interpretation, and it’s not just because they are formal masterpieces that we should, as intelligent folk, feel compelled to dissect for dissection’s sake. No, there’s more to them than that. His sonnets are relevant today and I’m going to show you why.

A few years ago, I came across an hour long documentary made about Vancouver’s notorious downtown eastside. The area has been ravaged by an influx of drugs and its victims, earning it a reputation for being something of an elephants’ graveyard: it’s where addicts go to die. The film was called Through a Blue Lens and was shot, mostly, by two beat cops who wanted to portray the lives of the addicts living there. It’s not a warm and fuzzy film about drug addiction, but it’s not condemnatory either. Here’s an excerpt:

The plight of those living in that part of Vancouver became a minor cause célèbre in 1999, in part because The Globe and Mail published a photo essay of its denizens that left a lot of Canadians gasping. It made us aware, in a none-too-gentle way, that we had inner city problems just as bad as some cities south of the border. Vancouver’s port is a gateway for the drug trade and it seems at least some of these drugs don’t travel far: they form the lifeblood of those immiserated souls living in the downtown area.

So why look at Canada’s Skid Row when we’re talking about Shakespeare? It’s because his definition of addiction is one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s relevant today and that’s because when addicts talk about their suffering, they report (albeit less eloquently) many of the same things. And when I say things, I mean they report having many of the same feelings and experiences described by Shakespeare. Those haunting sounds of agony — the addict’s anguish — are distilled, painfully and thoroughly, in this poem.

It begins:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Shakespeare believes we forfeit our spirit – our soul – when we engage in addictive behaviour. The expense, or the price of the addiction, is paid with it. Waste here is used literally (implying that lives are wasted by addiction) and also symbolically to denote a place. This double meaning is made obvious by the use of the preposition in, as “in” a waste of shame. Waste as a place bookends neatly with that other inferno, hell, mentioned in the closing couplet.

Lust is Shakespeare’s drug of choice and the belief is that it was aimed at the infamous Dark Lady, that promiscuous creature that had Shakespeare, and others, utterly intoxicated.

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame

Is lust in action; and till action, lust

Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,

Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust

What are the signs of Shakespeare’s enslavement? The form of a sonnet is strictly prescribed: it is made up of three quatrains — three groups of four lines — and a closing couplet. The rhyme scheme tends to alternate lines, meaning the first line rhymes with the third, the second with the fourth, etc. The lines are usually made up of phrases that go towards forming sentences. However, in this quatrain, the last half is simply a list of adjectives or adjective phrases, enumerating Shakespeare’s agonies. And these agonies are stated strongly, with words like murderous, bloody, savage and extreme.

This is a man in the throes of an obsession, an obsession that won’t even allow him to form coherent thoughts; instead he spits out a list of adjectives to convey his feelings. Shakespeare the wordsmith created this list for a reason. It’s there to denote a burst of feeling that can’t be contained.

But does this fury of Shakespeare’s capture the state of those sad and emaciated souls wandering the downtown eastside? I would argue it does and the key word here is shame. Ask any active addict how they feel about their life and you are bound to discover, underneath the anger and street braggadocio, a deep and murky well of it. That shame is what keeps them using; it’s what keeps them from wanting to feel.

After Shakespeare establishes his narrative voice, he turns to the cyclical nature of his malady. In the second quatrain, he states:

Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,

Past reason hunted, and no sooner had

Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait

On purpose laid to make the taker mad;

Here we see the structural and thematic rendering of the cycle of addiction. Let me translate: the addict no sooner enjoys (uses) her drug when she starts to despise its consequences straight (right away). However, beyond all reason she continues to hunt for it, and again, as soon as she consumes it, she hates it beyond all reason because she can’t stop. Then Shakespeare expands the subtle animal imagery and lays blame on suppliers and enablers. Her drug is like a trap laid on purpose and it makes her, the taker, mad. Mad here is being used in the British sense of the word, meaning insane.

It’s usually at this point in my class that I stop and ask students to think of an activity, any activity, they do to excess. Do they spend too much time online? Eat too much of the wrong kind of food? Text incessantly? And it’s also here that I tell them my own little story of addiction, the one that had me frequently rushing to the neighbourhood corner store, in Toronto, when I was a student.

I had an addiction and it was to Swedish Berries, those soft red candies that taste heavenly but are of no nutritional value whatever. These darlings came in handy at midnight when I had an essay to finish and needed a sugar boost. However, the problem was that I didn’t know when to stop. The store sold them in bulk and I didn’t have the discipline to buy only a few. My reasoning, as I stood in front of that bin and ladled in scoop after scoop, was that I would save some for later.

Right.

So I would eat them until I felt sick and this process, over the last two years of my undergrad degree, repeated itself more times than I care to remember. But it was the sequence of events in this process that was important. I would come to the realization it was late. I knew I had to keep working but didn’t want coffee. Then I would think: Hey! Swedish Berries! Great idea! And I would haul myself off to the store, come back and eat way too many of them. Only afterwards would I say to myself: “Did I really have to scarf down that whole bag?” Or: “Good idea? What was I thinking?”

So too goes the cycle of addiction: there is the chase, the consummation and the aftermath. In other words, the anticipation, the imbibing and the remorse. This cycle will be expanded upon in the next quatrain.

Mad in pursuit and in possession so;

Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;

A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;

Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.

The first quatrain establishes, through the use of enumeration, Shakespeare’s lo
ss of control. The second establishes the cyclical nature of his addiction. This last is significant because it does not provide new information. However, it does repeat the three part cycle and repetition in Shakespeare is always significant: he uses it to let us know we need to pay attention. Here we are told, again and with more emphasis, that an addict is mad while chasing the drug and mad while consuming it. And of course it is that madness — that inability to reason — that starts the cycle all over again.

But take a look at the second line. Shakespeare reverses the order of the cycle: he starts with the aftermath: had, moves to the consummation: having, and then moves to the first stage of the cycle, the chase: in quest to have. He does this to create the impression of a back-and-forth motion: the addict moves forward and backward, forward and backward, ad infinitum. Why? Because that’s what happens when one becomes addicted: life stalls.

At the start of this article, I said something interesting happens every time I teach this sonnet. Here it is: after I read it out loud, I tell my students to look closely at the panhandlers, especially the young ones, when they pass through the Atwater metro, the metro that services Dawson. I almost always get the same reaction: the class goes silent, the flow of air in the room stops, and these young people, with their futures ahead of them, pay closer attention. This suffering, rendered so poetically by Shakespeare, is only steps away.

And it happens elsewhere. When I drive home, I stop at a busy intersection leading onto the highway. That’s where I often see a young woman, her blonde hair in dreadlocks, holding up a sign asking for spare change. I always give her some and now she knows to come to me. If the traffic light permits, we may even exchange a few words.

I’ve been criticized for doing this — “she’ll just spend the money on drugs” is what I hear — but I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know how we can stop people from “committing suicide on the installment plan,” as a good friend of mine puts it.

Shakespeare didn’t know either, but luckily for us, that didn’t stop him from looking deeply into that darkness and writing about it anyway.

***I will be, for the sake of brevity and compression, be referring to the narrator as Shakespeare.