Thursday, August 4, 2016

Wanting to scream--but it's good!

Have you ever loved something so much that you just want to scream? Like you have so much love and feeling inside of you that it can't be contained, you feel it overflowing and you just want to burst? Well, long story short, that's why I'm doing musical theatre. Because nothing in my life has created this sensation to this degree before. And this sensation--I'm certain that there isn't an English word for it--I'm going to call it the zenith of being alive.

Creation is what makes humans great. And musical theatre is one of the greatest elements of creation, because it's music at its finest, poetry at its finest, story at its finest, singing, dancing, acting, all of it.

Okay, so here's the deal. I watched a movie called To Save A Life tonight. I've watched it once before, but it's been many years. I actually remembered a lot of it, so there weren't many revelations. Except that this time, though I knew what to expect, I cried a lot. A lot more, given that I don't think I cried at all the first time. And I think I felt like watching this movie because, thematically, it's very similar to one of my very favorite musicals (pop operas) Bare.

Bare: a pop opera (not the musical! Suck my ass!) is incredible. In my top five for certain. The music has always astounded me (Role of a Lifetime, No Voice, Bare(!!!), Cross, Are You There?, One; all amazing musically). The story struck me as a little contrived...and it still kind of is. Gay boys in Catholic school. Teen pregnancy. Fat girl. Popular girl. Popular boy. The usual.

But that doesn't make it any less important. Or profound. And these characters, despite whatever prototypical nature they have, are still very real. Too achingly real.

Anyway, I watched this movie (and then took a shower) and then watched the documentary for bare for the third or fourth time. And I just...I just. I am struck with three things.

1.) I want to be a way better friend. A way better person. A friend even to those I don't know. And I wish that there were an easier way to let everyone know that, but really, the only way to do it is to always be the best person that can be. Be giving. Be whole. Be friendly. Don't assume things about people. And if when you do, quiet those assumptions.

I feel like I'm pretty good in this department. I'm not disappointed with myself. But there's always more to be done. And I would just ache to see someone hurting that I could have bonded with. Or shared their load with. Or anything. Really anything is enough. And I need to remember that above all, that's the kind of person that I want to be.

2.) This hungry urge to create. And that's why I'm making this, because this is one of the few things I know how to do. I wanted to watch these to get my creative juices flowing so that I could write (fiction) but now I feel so remarkably untalented that I'm dealing with it by writing this first.

But it's not just wanting to create. I want to be able to create a physical manifestation of this show. I'm not a person that needs a whole lot of stuff, per se. Not a whole lot of extra clothes (not to say that I'm wanting for clothes...I have plenty) or a handpainted vase or a fancy car. But if there's one thing that I like having a lot of, it's physical representations of the things that I love that are in my mind that I want out of my mind. That's why I have so many Pokemon plushies! Things in my mind that I love that are now real that I can hug! (Or sleep with. Shhh.)

So I want art. Or plushes. Or figurines. Or tee-shirts. But I don't know how to make any of those/aren't very good at them. But I still want to do it. And, you know what. Who gives a damn if I'm not good at them. With creation, the most important thing to remember is not to be afraid. So while this fire is all but burning me down, I'm going to create something!

3.) That screaming thing. Still very struck by that.


My point is this: Find the things that make you want to scream. Things that make you feel alive and lucky to be human. Because even in your most lonely moments, these things are there to inspire feeling, evoke emotion and memory and empathy, and bring you to tomorrow with love and art in your heart.

I know I sound fruity, but not all that is contrived, or fruity, or even something we've all heard before isn't bad. Because it can strike you just the same. Just let yourself be open and feel it. And scream.

(But not right now because it's 8 minutes to midnight and everyone's asleep. Except for my dad, who isn't home yet, #daddyissues.)

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July TBR

And here I am coming to you from the (dis)comforts of vacation! I'm not sure if this will give me more or less time to read, but I'm going to make the same list either way, so what does it matter?

 The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek by Seth Rudetsky

 As it's now the 2nd of July, I've already finished this one. Yesterday. But it's still a July book!

Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

 ...Already read this one too. But only about an hour ago, so it's fine.

 The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

 This one I want to read because it's my mom's favorite book and I never read classics. And it's one of the only books I brought with me so I have no choice. Probably going to start it tomorrow.

 The Zoo Story by Edward Albee

 Mostly because the only plays I brought with me are an anthology of Edward Albee plays. And Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is one of my favorites, so I have high hopes for this must-read.

 More Than This by Patrick Ness

 I've heard this is really good. But mostly, it's because it doesn't really belong on my color shelf because of the  black and white, but it doesn't belong on my black and white shelf either because of the bright yellow. So I need to move it onto my 'read' author last name organized shelf.

Then, lastly, (the list will be longer once I get back home and have more to work with) I'm putting a fanfiction on here. Why? Well, because it's 347K words and it's been taking me months  to read! And so this month, I am going to finish it. The fandom is Pokémon and the title is The Sun Soul by 50caliberchaos. And honestly, that will probably take up more of my reading time this vacation than most of these books. But we'll see.


Friday, July 1, 2016

June Book Wrap Up

Once again, just going to hop right into it. There's a lot of books, so...

I Used to Write On Walls by Bekah Brunstetter

A short play about a bunch of girls who all happen to be in love with the same boy or at the very least have some sort of relations with this boy. They're all kind of crazy and he's stoned out of his mind.

Unfortunately, we're starting off on a bad note. This may very well be the worst play I've ever read. I just read it to get through it quickly so that I could move on to the book I wanted to read, I regret buying this. The monologue in it isn't even good. Don't read.

1 out of 10 stars.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

This book has been pretty famous lately, so I'm sure you've heard of it. It's a sci-fi book about a man who relives the same life over and over again. Like Groundhog Day but for your whole life. There are others like him, but Harry August is special. And that's why, at the end of his 11th life, he is told by a young girl like him that the world is ending sooner and sooner and he needs to find out why.

I had high hopes for this one. Perhaps too high. It had a similar theme to a book that I've loved in the past (My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares) but it's nothing alike. I wrote a lengthy review for this book on my Goodreads page, but I'll say a little bit here. There's a fundamental error with the basis of this book. All of these people reliving their lives shouldn't be on the same timeline as each other. They shouldn't be meeting each other within their lives because they all die at different times. So they shouldn't be born to the same universe. Aside from that, it kind of bothered me that events weren't in chronological order, though in the end it makes sense. Just a lot of the scenes were kind of needless...again, it makes sense because at the end you find out what the book really is but...It just wasn't my favorite. The science, psychology, and history seemed to be on point, though.

7.5 out of 10.

The Crucible by Arthur Miller

A play about the Salem witch trials. I believe it borrows the stories of actual people in the time period. It follows much of  a town, but largely one man and his wife, who are eventually accused by a young girl that the man had a short affair with.

Unfortunately I didn't get to this one before the Tony Awards, because I fail, but I got to it nonetheless. Not a particularly enjoyable read; I just read it because it's an important play. I find worlds where people are motivated to do what they do almost entirely because of religion infuriating. So of course I wasn't going to enjoy this. But I do think that it has an important message at the end. Also, there were just too many characters to be able to keep track of while reading a play.

4 out of 10 stars.

Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

You get to choose which events of Neil Patrick Harris's life are your own and how you end up living! Or dying...

I'll admit that the choose your own adventure aspect wasn't my favorite personally, but it did add whimsy that is so quintessentially NPH. I read it as an audiobook, which I loved because it adds so much personality. And who doesn't want to listen to NPH talk to you? If you love him, you'll love this. Also, I gained soooo much respect for him as an actor that I didn't have before, because I hadn't really thought about it. But now I have things that I hope to carry with  me as an actor forever.

9 out of 10 stars.

The Eight: Reindeer Monologues by Jeff Goode

Monologues from all 8 of Santa's reindeer, telling stories about him, each other, and their lives. Note: their lives aren't what you think. They're dark.

This...wasn't what I expected. I thought it would be funny in a sick, twisted kind of way. Well, it was sick and twisted, but mostly not funny. It seems like a lot of this stuff was for shock value. And I have to commend Mr. Goode's creativity here but it seems some things went kind of too far. It still was interesting, though, and it would be interesting to see put on its feet. I can't exactly recommend this, but if you're in the mood for something different...involving reindeer rape, pedophilia, and some actual important feminist notes, then go ahead.

4.25 out of 10.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A novel about a girl named Cath who writes very popular fanfiction about a fandom that is this world's Harry Potter. Her first year of college with her twin sister drifting away from her and her unstable father left alone for the first time and...boys.

Thank god. This book was incredible. I mean, I love fanfiction (reading and writing) so this was something that I needed in my life. And the fact that Ms. Rowell seems to have such a true understanding of the community added a lot. (I mean, there was a story within entitled Five times ____ and one time he didn't. You have to be an insider to know that subgenre of story!) Cath was like a more extreme version of me and so I empathized with her a lot. Literally my only gripe with this book was that 'Cath' is heavy on the tongue and unnatural to say/read. That's it!

10 out of 10!!
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

As usual with Mr. Williams, a play about a southern family. This one circles around a couple living on the husband's father's plantation along with the father, mother, brother, sister-in law, and 6 nieces/nephews. This couple, though, is barren, and the husband is throwing his life away to the drink, setting any chance of inheriting the plantation ablaze.

Whoa, bad summary. Good play. Enjoyable even to read and I liked this as much if not more than Streetcar. Maggie was endlessly sympathetic and relatable and Brick was tragic, yet understandable. Big Daddy was more than you originally would have thought him to be. The characters, as predicted with Mr. Williams, were amazing. But this time, there was a little story to it as well. The plot was alright. I would love to see this in person.

8.75 out of 10 stars.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

You've been living under a rock if you haven't heard of this one. A play about two black maids and one upper middle class white woman in the 60s in Jackson Mississippi and how they join forces to tell a story.

(It was a pleasure to read this after reading Cat because their settings are so similar. It was a treat. Just saying.)

Oh man. I thought that this book would be a chore to reach. Something from a reading list circa 2012 that I never got to, but my god. This book had all that hype for a reason. It's so good. Some of the most amazingly touching moments that I've ever read were here. And it provided so much insight to the time and it felt like you were really immersed in it. Each character's voice was interesting and never did I feel like I was rushing through one section to get to the one that I found more interesting, because it was all equally amazing. I couldn't believe how good this was, but I knew I was in for a treat only after the first page. You can tell that early.

10 out of 10!!

Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar

Last one. This is about an ex-Muslim lawyer and his white wife, who loves Islam. They and everyone else in the play disagree greatly on Islam and at times it gets very heated and people's lives begin to fall apart.

This was sensitive to me. Beyond just living in a post-9/11 America, it hit me very personally. My father is Muslim and immigrated from Bangladesh when he was 12. I, therefore, was born Muslim and have since...defected. It's just not for me. A similar situation to our main character Amir. Except I don't seem to have this anger that he has...thankfully. But I sympathize with many of his early sentiments. That being said, I think I would need to see the play or at the very least read it again to get a decent understanding of what I feel about it. What I will say, though, is that I loved the author's note at the beginning on how to read plays. That was worth the world. The interview after was also great. Read those!

7 out of 10.

That it. This month was an uphill climb, but it ended on a very strong note; now I have 2 new favorite books. That doesn't sound like much to most, but it's a dream come true for me.

Anyway 9 books and plays this month. I'm probably going to finish my next today. Ps--it's not good. I'll post my TBR tomorrow, hopefully.