other bits of blog

Sunday, April 25, 2010

over the west side

On Wednesday, I was in New York City. At 1:45, I was in the Palace Theater. At 2:00, the curtain went up.
My family and I had planned to see Billy Elliot, but...that didn't work out. Whenever we go to Broadway, we stand on the TKTS line, to get discount tickets. Billy Elliot sold fast, and when we got there, there were two options. One, get $90, high-up, and partial view tickets, or two, $300 orchestra seats. Neither one was going to work.
While we were on line, we had three choices. So right then, we went to our second choice, and chose to see the revival of 'West Side Story'.
That was probably one of the best choices I've ever made.

We all loved 'West Side Story', but it wasn't one of our favorites. The revival was spectacular, way better than any other version of it that I've seen. It was even partly in Spanish! And it was just amazing. I was hooked for the whole time, and by the end, I was crying. Seriously, it's such a tragedy.
Anyway, it was great. But I can't just blabber on and blabber on, so why don't I show you? Two ways.
One, in words:

This was my day.
Here
Wake
Somewhere strange
A blue bed
More light then usual
A place I don’t know
Then I remember
I am here
Where I should be
At the moment, at least
So I pull the shade up
Letting sunlight stream through the window
Then I jump out
Slip from the door
And in the bathroom
Then back to my unknown room
And into my clothes
I am somewhere different
But this is right
So I keep going
Eat
Walk to the car
Wait
Then walk
And walk
And walk more
Carefully we choose
Make decisions
But the first
Is gone
So we go to plan B
Disappointment
But why be sad
So I push the twinge away
And enjoy this
And that was right
This is right
Days fly
Nowhere
Moments
Go somewhere
But no one knows
So I walk and I choose
And I choose and I walk
There
Here
Where I should be

This was the show.
Story
Red seats
Dark stage
Music
The lights go up on one boy
Then another
And another
They laugh
Then fight
Two groups
One argument
And no way to break it up
Soon there is a dance
Competition
But there are two
One from each side
And they stare
In love
A bridge between the worlds
That night they see each other again
But must part
And a marriage the next night
One hand, one heart
Then there is another fight
Rumble
And he is killed
The right hand man
So the first goes mad
Forgets his love
And kills the other first
He kills the one who killed his friend
He kills his lover’s brother
And she finds out
It seems like they will never forgive themselves
But love takes over
And they dream
Soon her friend comes
A sister to her
And advises her
No
Then there are questions and hardships
Somehow
He gets the message that she has died
But she has not
So he runs
Hysterical
Raving
And he finds her
But not before there is one sound
A sound that shakes us all
The sound of a gun
The sound of a death
And her sobs
Our cries
He is dead
She takes a black veil
And the curtain closes

Two, in videos:

This one is 'America'. We saw Anita's (the main singer in 'America', and Maria's best friend) understudy, and she was amazing as well. This is the...non-understudy.

And this one is probably my favorite song from the show, 'A Boy Like That [Un Hombre Asi, in Spanish]/I Love Him'. The first singer is Anita, played by Karen Olivo in this video, and the second is Maria, played by Josefina Scaglione. Sorry that there isn't the action, but I couldn't find a good video of it.

Go to YouTube to find more.

And she leaves, singing...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

quick quiz (post #2)

This is a quick quiz that I cam up with lately. I didn't want to have a huge, long post (new), so this is post # 2!
If you want to see how much you are like Diana, Larkspur (not-very-introduced character from 'Words'), Niko, Nevada, or Isabelle, then take this cool quiz:

Directions I: Answer each question—a, b, c, d, or e—as well as you can. If the answer is not correct, choose the closest one. Keep track of the letters that you answer. Then follow the directions at the end.

1. What is your personality?
a. Confident in yourself
b. Quiet and different
c. Unknown and shy
d. Sad and calm
e. Funny and curious

2. Where do you live?
a. A big city
b. A forest
c. A town
d. A small town
e. The country

3. How old are you?
a. 15
b. 12
c. 14
d. 16
e. 13

4. What is your favorite color?
a. Indigo
b. Green
c. Light blue
d. Silver
e. Red

5. What color is your hair?
a. Fire-red
b. Brownish black
c. White-blonde
d. Dark, pure black
e. Coppery, brown-red

6. How many siblings/pets do you have?
a. None of either
b. 2 siblings, no pets
c. 1 sibling, no pets
d. No siblings, 2 pets
e. 1 sibling, 1 pet


7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
a. A spy
b. A doctor
c. A baker
d. A singer
e. An actress

8. What is most important to you?
a. Exhilaration
b. The environment
c. Your family
d. Friends
e. Ending discrimination for race, religion, etc.

9. What is your favorite animal?
a. Fish
b. Birds
c. Dogs
d. Cats
e. Horses

10. What is your idea of a good weekend?
a. Traveling or doing something daring
b. Being outside most of the time
c. Reading the whole time
d. Practicing your singing, piano, or music
e. Going to a rally, protest, or march

Directions II: To find out whom you are most like, look below.
- Diana: If you answered mostly A’s, then you are most like the spunky, daring, and confident Diana from ‘Dancing with Thieves’.
- Larkspur: If you answered mainly B’s, that means that you are most like quiet, committed, and intensely different Lark, from ‘Words’.
- Isabelle: Answering mostly C’s means that you are very much like the shy, calm, and unnamed orphan, who calls herself Isabelle, from ‘Identity’.
- Niko: If you are reading this, then that means that you answered more D’s than anything else. You are most like Niko, from 'Songs Left Unsung' [my permanent title for 'Of Notes and Rhythm'] who is quiet, but funny, with big dreams.
- Nevada: If you answered mostly E’s, then you are very much like Nevada, who is a brave and curious young girl from ‘Turn Away’.


I am most like Larkspur...what about you?

new

I don't have time to talk today. We are getting ready to go to New York. Tomorrow we'll go into the city and...see a Broadway show!!!! I know, I'm very excited, and I'll tell you all about it later.
For now, here's my new story, 'Words':


Words

Prologue


She stepped over the soft moss in the middle of the forest. The girl was clad mostly in skins, and her long, black hair flowed around her small, dark face. Her chocolate-brown eyes darted from side to side, watching the move of every bug and animal in the clearing.
Drawing her sunstep out of a pouch hanging over her shoulder, she set it in the green carpet at her feet and stared up at the sky, hoping that the sun was out. It was there. The twelve-year-old glanced at the shadow that her direction finder made with practiced ease.
Knowing that she was going northeast, the girl quickly packed up her things and looked back up at the sky. It was growing dark. There wouldn’t be much time for her to get back to the village. She had to hurry.
She slung the bag back over her shoulder and started running with her long, brown-skinned legs. Only small, thin moccasins made of jaguar skin covered the girl’s feet. They were made for silence. There were tiny rocks and vines embroidered into them. The girl quickly grabbed a vine from a large tree that she passed and used it to tie up her tangled hair, so it wouldn’t be in the way as she ran.
Suddenly she slowed. There was a small figure running toward her. The younger girl came from the village, and had been sent to make sure her older sister was all right.
The older girl stopped and touched her sister, palm to palm. Closing both their eyes, their hands locked onto each other’s, the two of them silently went into their mental, telepathic communication, the younger girl sending pictures into her sibling’s mind. For, the two girls and their village, had no writing system or spoken language. They had no way to speak. They didn’t use words.


1


Jade lived in San Francisco. Past tense. Meaning that he used to live there. The last time Jade had moved, he had been five, and they had only moved to another house. It was even in the same town! Now he was twelve, and not happy about the move.
But both of Jade’s parents were etymologists. They had met each other in an etymology workshop or something, where everyone researched the word ‘love’. Sienna, Jade’s mom, and Aden, his dad, had been placed in the same group. Jade was always sure that this was some kind of match-making scheme, especially since the word historians were supposed to research ‘love’.
Because of their job, Sienna and Aden had been studying certain words, and tracing the word’s heritage back thousands of years. But this year, for their long and hard work in etymology, Jade’s parents had been chosen by the Etymologist Society to go to the jungle. The Amazon Jungle.
Jade was pretty sure they hadn’t even protested on going to only the most dangerous jungle in the world, but they had been glad to accept the offer. Not even a hesitation as to what their twelve-year-old son would say about living in a jungle.
So now, because of his parent’s ignorance, Jade was stuck on a plane from California to Brazil, and he didn’t even know why.
The boy pulled his knees up to his chin and stared out the window. Next to him, Jade’s mom was sleeping soundly while to the left of her, his dad was shuffling through papers, his research about ‘gullible’. Seriously, is there a worse word to research than gullible? Jade thought.
The blue sky was too dull. There isn’t even enough blue to make it seem like a real sky, he thought. Jade was used to California skies, always looking like summer, always bright, always cloudless, always bright, piercing blue.
But now he was looking at the sky over his new home. The Amazon. Why, he said to himself for the umpteenth time, why do I, of all people, have to live in the stupid Amazon Jungle?
He went over and over again in his mind what his new home would be like, if there would be other children there, and where they would actually live. Jade envisioned a small, straw hut in a tiny, damp clearing surrounded by towering, vine-draped trees and poisonous bugs. But maybe we’ll live in the city, he thought. Maybe we’ll live in real houses?
But Jade had a hunch that he was wrong about this. He thought that his theory of the little hut in the clearing was right. He didn’t want to be there. He wanted desperately to be back in San Fran, as he and his friends had lovingly called Jade’s old home.
Jade wanted his soft, four-poster bed to sleep on at night. The boy missed his little studio room, where he drew every day and wished for its yellow and blue walls. He wanted his friends and his pets—Kira, the dog, and Aly and Destiny, his two kittens—whom he had to give to his friends with sadness. Jade had also needed to tell his brotherly friends where he was going.
Jade’s best friends, Neal and Liam, had actually been kind of amazed when he told them of his home-to-be.
“The Amazon?” Neal had asked.
Jade had hesitated. “Um…yeah.”
“Wow! Seriously?” Liam had whispered.
Then Jade had nodded and talked about his growing uneasiness. Neal and Liam seemed to care, but Jade didn’t know if they were just being his friends, concealing their excitement when he wasn’t in the least bit excited, or if they were too amazed to really feel sympathy for their best friend.
Thinking back, Jade scowled angrily. That had been his last encounter with his friends. The day before, when he and his family had boarded the plane, Liam and Neal were nowhere to be seen.
“Jade?”
He was startled out of his memories when Jade’s father called to him.
“What?” Jade asked.
“Well, we’re almost there,” his father answered. “I thought you might want to draw something once we’re out of these clouds. Did you know that the word ‘cloud’ came from the—“
“Okay,” said Jade nonchalantly, tuning his father out.
It was a good idea. Jade was an artist, or so his parents said. But he was good at drawing. Unlike most, though, he preferred pencil to paint. Everywhere he went, Jade carried his sketchbook. Jade slipped the sketchbook out just as the captain of the plane announced in an automatic voice, “Please turn off all electronic devices and go back to your seats at this point. We are going toward Manaus, and we will be there soon.”
Smiling, he turned to the window and opened the shutter as far as it would go. Now was the time for him to shine…in his own way.
Jade stared out the window and down to the ground. The tops of buildings, trees, and roads filled his vision. Surprisingly, there was a city down there! Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Using a pencil, he sketched them all out onto a small, blank canvas. His awakening mother leaned over and looked at the drawing, then out the window.
“I can’t tell the difference,” came his mother’s cool, calm voice.
Blushing at the compliment, Jade smiled and said, “It’s not that good!”
“Oh, but it is,” said his father as he watched Jade drawing. “It’s that good.”
Jade laughed and playfully pushed his dad, but he knew it was true. Somehow he had been born an amazing artist, and he didn’t even have to try.
Finishing up his sketch and ignoring his parents’ compliments, Jade looked at his drawing and smiled fiercely. It did look like the ground below them. He smiled and packed up his notebook carefully, he didn’t want to smudge the pencil.
The plane started dropping, and Jade’s ears popped uncomfortably. But they were landing, and he would be able to get out of this plane. Hopefully, since they were at least in a small city, it wouldn’t be so bad. There would be electricity, and he could call Neal and Liam once they touched ground!
“We’ll be able to go to the bathroom and walk around for two hours,” Jade’s mom said. “Where do you want to go?”
Go to the bathroom and walk around for two hours? Jade thought. What? “You mean we’re not going to live here?” he said slowly.
“Of course not, dear, we’re living in the jungle!”
Jade was heartbroken. His fears were true, they would live in a straw hut with jaguars in their backyard. How fun.
But Jade didn’t have any more time to think, because they were all getting off the plane.

***
They were in the air again. After an hour of walking around and an hour of sitting, Jade, his family, and about nine other people boarded a small puddle jumper that would fly them to a village on the edge of the Amazon River.
Jade leaned his head toward the window, keeping his eyes closed. He hoped that he would see a modern village in which they would live. He opened his eyes.
But when he glanced out of his window, Jade didn’t see modern homes. He didn’t really see anything, but for a small road and some thatched huts sitting in the dirt a little ways away. The road looked somewhat like a runway, but not really. Then he felt the plane drop.
I’m landing in the Amazon Jungle, Jade realized. I’m landing in my new home.

Like it? Me too!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

challenges

Tonight, I have a challenge. It comes from The Aspiring Poet's Journal. I did it, so can you.
1. Choose a word.
2. What and whom does this word make you think of? Write them down (along with the word).
3. Play with the letters of the word. Switch them around, see what you can make.
4. Find words that rhyme with it.
5. Write a poem using as many of the words that you came up with as you can.


My word was 'turquoise'.
My poem is 'Jagged Edges'.


Jagged Edges
Shining under the New Mexico sky
The color reflects it
As we reflect each other
Our differences
Are an infinite void
So blue
And so rich
That we seem to notice all
But know nothing
Under our skin
We are just the same
That makes jagged edges
On the outside
But a turquoise gem on the inside
And then there are those un-sanded edges
Still on the surface of the gems
There are little black lines
Cracks and strands
Tiny streaks
That cut and stop who we are
And make us different
But the differences are unique
We all have two sides
Good or bad
Most of us are neither
And we live with that
Live with the chips and the jagged edges
The un-sanded parts
We live under the poised, jeweled sky
We try to understand
And long for lines of black
To make us who we are
Jagged edges and all


Think about that. Notice your jagged edges. Notice the sides that are lopsided. Should they be there, or should you sand them off? Think for a moment, then decide.
Next think of the challenge. Try it. Comment.

Monday, April 5, 2010

words

We were given five words each. Mine:
• Skin
• Church
• Stoplight
• Plastic bag
• Siren
We each had to use five poetry devices. Mine:
• Metaphor
• Simile
• Onomatopoeia
• Imagery
• Personification
We each had to write a poem at least ten lines long. Mine:
 

Waiting
Running
Breathing hard
I have to get away from the church
Gasping, I remember
Booms sounded and the world was silent
They heard it
I heard, too
I was there
The roof fell on us
Crushing
But I am away and must stay here
Sirens scream
They seem so distant, like plastic bags in the wind
But I keep running
No more bombings
For the color of our skin
I want to fight
But the peace that holds me down is too great
To defeat
I hate them all the same
I saw her
Before I ran
Her blood was a beacon in the grass
She was my best friend
People screaming and clinging to each other
The sky is so blue
The day so perfect
But it is wrong all the same
The noise
Explosions
Fire so dark and high that it destroyed lives
But not hope
So I run across roads
Passing stoplights and signs
Finally I pause
And throw myself down to earth
To cry
Why anyone would do that I have no idea
I don’t understand
I never will
So I just cry in the Alabama summer mud
Squelching and sobbing
I want to weep until the world takes action
Weep until they see
That we are who were born as
And we can’t change that
There is nothing wrong with skin a different color
From them
I cry and cry
Just waiting
Waiting for hope

We each had to use them to form a poem. Write a story, cutting it down to the raw edges. Making sure there is nothing else to say. There isn't anything left to say. They are expression. You can't talk any more than you can ride a bike as you write. There is nothing to be said. Quietness and writing. Soft. Careful. Still, yet brimming over with unopened emotions, like a bulging letter stuffed to the back of your closet. That letter is so full of something. Something unimaginably beautiful. Something magical. Something I love.

Words.

Friday, April 2, 2010

76 and sunny

Q & A ~ Maia: Um, is anyone out there? Is anyone even reading this right now? Come on, I need new followers, and I need you to comment, so I can get your feedback. People, hello!
Readers: We are here! We will comment! [Please, please do so!]

Now, back to the blog.

I'm not really sure what to say here, just that I've been writing a lot. I'm not sure where all this a capella is coming from, but I have a feeling it's from the flowers.
Beautiful. Beautiful. Bee-oo-ti-ful! It was 76°F today. 76°F! I'm just happy. Very, very happy.
And I suspect that you are unhappy because I am blabbering about how happy I am and maybe you don't have weather like this yet, so you are feeling all grouchy about winter and cold. And I suspect that some music (not quite music yet...) will cheer you up. But first, read this. Then this:


Of Notes and Rhythm [the temporary title]
Family


Loud chirps awoke Paige from a peaceful night’s sleep. Peaceful, for once! And those stupid birds had to wake her up at 6:30 in the morning like there was school that day.
Paige lived in a large house with a large family. She had four siblings, two boys and two girls, and two majorly old grandparents. Adding her parents to the mix, the total was nine people in her house. Every morning her grandparents got up at 7:00, exactly, and hollered until someone ran upstairs and told them who they were and where they lived. Her 97-year-old grandmother even forgot her own son---Paige’s dad---and Paige’s mom.
But Paige’s siblings were worse. She had one older brother, Wil, but he was 18, just out of high school, and was searching for a college. He wasn’t that much of a bother, just boring, really boring. The other boy was named Anthony, and he was in fourth grade, the second youngest in the family. Tony was obsessed with every sport he could get his hands on, being with his friends, and teasing the girls that he thought he was old enough to hang out with, even though he was only ten.
Paige’s two sisters were Cassandra and Zoë. Cassandra was in fourth grade, she was Tony’s twin. She was just annoying, convinced that the universe revolved around her, and that she could get anything she wanted. Paige tried to stay away from the annoying Cassandra Adlebird---she wouldn’t be called anything other than that---and her affairs. Zoë was Paige’s favorite sibling.

Paige’s mom and dad had adopted Zoë when she was eight months old. She was born in Indonesia, and looked it. Zoë’s skin was colored a nutmeg brown, with shoulder-length, raven-black hair. Her eyes were black and huge with long eyelashes. Paige’s sister was fourteen and had just started high school this year. She had a bunch of friends, and didn’t need Paige to show her around anymore, but she was still kind and sweet to her older sister.
Paige frowned. Any minute Grandma would be hollering her head off, with Grandpa cowering in their bed, wondering what the heck his wife was doing. She’d best try to be out of the house in time for that.
The girl swung herself out of bed and stepped into the bathroom that she and Zoë shared. She knew it so well that she didn’t need her glasses to see her way into the room. The girl rinsed her face and jumped in the shower, letting the cold water run over her sweaty body. After a second or two, she changed the water to hot, and scrubbed her hair and the rest of her.

In five minutes she was done and hopped out, grabbing her towel. A tall, dark girl was in the room, it was Zoë, at the mirror, brushing her hair.
“Hey, Zo,” Paige said, covering herself with the towel, attempting for it to dry her in seconds.
“Hey,” Zoë answered, clearly not focusing on her sister, but on the huge tangles she was failing at combing out.

Paige just smiled and completed her task. She used her towel to wrap a towering turban over hear head, then scooted in next to Zoë, and brushed her teeth. Without a word, she walked into Zoë’s and her own room. She stepped in front of the closet and opened it, choosing quickly a pair of slightly skinny blue jeans and a skin-tight green striped t-shirt with a v-neck. Paige slipped them on and jabbed her glasses over her nose. She yelled a short goodbye to the exasperated Zoë, threw on her sweatshirt and her sneakers, and ran out the door, grabbing an apple as she tossed off her turban.
When Niko woke up the house was quiet. She was used to getting up at a regular time for school, but she had a week with none. Niko sighed and gently moved her two kittens, Daya [dai-a] and Cedar, out of the way so they wouldn’t be disturbed as she left the bed. They protested by meowing, but Niko ignored them and got out of her bed.
Daya followed Niko to the bathroom as she brushed her teeth. The kitten’s now powerful legs jumped up to the sink and Daya’s soft green eyes followed Niko’s every move. Daya was what most people called gray, but Niko liked to call her shiny coat silver. The female looked very different from her brother, Cedar, as Cedar was a dark ebony cat with bright yellow eyes and one white star on his belly. But, if you looked close enough, you could tell that the two sleek kittens were indeed siblings.
Niko smiled at her companion. Ever since Daya had learned to jump she had been following Niko up to the sink every morning. Cedar, Niko knew, would rather sleep the whole day. He was the mellower of the two, but Daya was as loyal as loyal gets.
Once she was done brushing her teeth, Niko combed out her long, dark hair with practiced ease, then slipped off her clothes and groggily stepped in the shower. She wouldn’t wash, but she needed something to wake her up.
Left out, Daya wondered back to Niko’s bedroom. It was big, with a queen-sized bed about eight inches off the ground, a walk-in closet, a desk, a couch in a window seat, connecting bathroom (the one Niko was in now), and even her own mini adjoining room, which Niko used as a library and study place. Her desk was in that room. Including the remaining space, in which Niko did yoga, played with her kittens and more; there was about 80 square feet in her room.

Daya roamed the room for a while, then leaped up onto the couch. Cedar, annoyed by having no warmth next to him, got up, stretched, and ambled over to his sister. He snuggled next to her, and was about to start grooming her, but decided against it and just went to sleep by Daya’s side.

Meanwhile, Niko splashed out of the shower, laughingly awake. She smiled as she rubbed her towel all over her body, drying herself quickly. Without drying her hair she ran into her room and over to her closet. She stepped in and looked around. Warm. Warm and sunny, she thought, smiling.
The girl turned to the side of the closet where she hung her bottoms---skirts, pants, shorts, and dresses---and grabbed a pair of black denim shorts that were cut off at her thighs. Going over to the other side, tops, this time, Niko chose a three-quarter sleeved black shirt with a hood and gold stitching on the edges. Putting everything on, Niko walked to the end of her closet, the part where she kept jewelry and hairpieces, as well as a full-length mirror. She picked out two hanging earrings, black pearls with gold drops falling from them, and added a matching charm to the gold necklace that she always wore around her neck. The necklace brought back memories.
August, her father, had given it to Niko a year before he died. Grimacing, Niko thought, that was ten years ago! I don’t need to remember him now, I’ll just start crying and then Mom will come and ask what’s wrong. I can’t just talk to her about August, I know we both miss him, but I barely knew him. I have to stop thinking.
But remembering flooded her anyway. Niko’s father---whom she called August because she had only known him for six years---had died in a car crash when she was six, ten years ago. She had been in the car with her mother, but they had survived. A drunk driver hit them. Niko was pretty sure that he had spent three years in jail, and then gotten into another accident within two months of his freedom. That time he had killed himself.
As Niko went back to the bathroom to blow dry her hair, she couldn’t do anything but think. Think of August.

August Cherry had been born in 1969, and he was 30 years old when he died in 1999. That was years ago. He would have turned 40 this year, Niko thought. He looked nothing like her, from what Niko had seen in old photo albums and what she remembered of him, except for that fact that she had inherited her height from him. Otherwise Niko looked like her mother, Sofia, with her black hair and blue eyes.
One tiny tear trickled down Niko’s cheek. Wishing she had known her father more, she put away the blow dryer and tried to push the thought out of her mind. Braiding her hair into one long rope and tying it with a gold elastic, she slunk out of the bathroom and sat down next to Daya and Cedar. Cedar eagerly started purring when she pet him, and Daya got up and plunked down on her lap. Her brother followed suit, and soon both their motors were running at top speed. Niko smiled contentedly and grabbed her book from the shelf near her window seat.
Settling down to read, Niko forgot all about her close encounter with memories, and was engrossed in her book until she actually fell asleep on the couch; a sleep without dreams.