Here, There be a Writer

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve 2013

I got the party hats, the holiday crackers, and the cheese and pepperoni trays.

I can't believe it's the end of 2013. It feels like 2013 has only barely begun I know it's just another day, but there is something about seeing the New Year birthed (into a fire of drunken bodies and confetti). Okay, that's a bad image, but seriously, it's a new yea, something to celebrate. It's a fresh start for everyone; whether you have had the longest year ever, or just are ready for a change in numerals.

I had a pretty good year overall. There were thing I could've done without (car repairs, money being tight, or the passing of my furr-baby); so, I am looking forward to a year of new challenges and opportunities, everything from getting my writing of the ground to meeting new writer friends and colleagues. Looking to take trips to places I haven't been to or at least hardly ever get to. Catching up on reading books (that's probably won;t ever happen) and watching television shows (via Netflix and DVD). Spending more time with friends. Enjoying the State of New York. Maybe even get a new car (that might be wishful thinking there).

I certainly hope that some of my friends have a bit better luck in 2014. There were struggles, speed bumps, and the like all around me (both things in my life and my friends). I hope to help alleviate some of the struggles, not that I can fix everything, but gonna help where I can.

I am going to heal myself of some of the hurt that 2013 has given me, build stronger foundations, and enjoy life completely. It's a fresh start, filled with possibilities, and that makes me feel pretty good (even though it's winter and this is NEW YORK STATE and freezing outside. I live in central New York, and it's freakin' cold here.).

Happy New Year, Dear Readers! I hope you have a wonderful New Year's Eve and a awesome start to 2014. I will be starting my poetry month with a villanelle about sandals tomorrow (1/01) and on January 6th, "A Round of Words in 80 Days".

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cindy's Poetry Corner: Morning Moment

Morning Moment

It's a little bit quiet
in the early hours of morning
When the light quietly  filters in.

Through cloudy damp ridden skies
the light still finds its way
to awaken the world.

The moment is ready
as the world turn from night
to day
this is the time when anything can happen.

The same can be said
of the deep night,
where the dark enfolds
you is a cold embrace.

There is a blood beating pulse
that courses through one's veins
in that coldness.

I feel more of my fingers and toes
when it's cold
and dark
and there is nothing confusing my senses.

There is an awareness
with the night
that is often pushed aside
and left for warm beds.
The night is far more alive
than the morning,
when the sleepiness rests
against your eyelids.

To me,
both are equally aware
and equally alive, especially during winter,
when the cold blows much harder
and you steel yourself from the bite
of Winter's teeth;
one is just arising
beating with a youthful exuberance,
while the night is a slow, demanding
rush to finish
before one gets too cold to move.

Either is valid
and just as strong in it's compulsion.
I am just glad to know both as I do.

12/26/2013   6:58 pm

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What made 2013 Awesome?

Sometimes it hard to see the Silver Linings in the Clouds when you are faced with the 'WORST' things in the world.

This is not so much for me, because when I look at my year, I had a pretty AWESOME year. 2013 was a full year filled much much greatness. In the same vein as 2012 was with the moments that made me feel lucky to be alive. I also found that a number of my close friends were having a rough ride through 2013; it hurts me to know that these friends, all of whom have been rocks to my sometimes shaky, not always stable life in the past. I want them to knows that they are loved and I will do what ever I can for them.

Even if 2013 hasn't been the best year, the promise of a fresh start is right around the corner. 2014 is a fresh new face, youthful, and full of promise, something that I have tried to remind myself of everyday; that everyday is the start of a new day, new chance, fresh start. It hasn't been all easy, but I do keep trying. For my friends struggling, please know that you are not alone. For everyone, it's New Year's, the best of promise and hope.

I might not have that million dollars or the best selling novel on the shelves, but I do have a better picture of what I what with life. I fill my days with activities and people that make me happy. I also am trying to help others to see their potential and rise above the difficulties.

I have had a few things happen to me to help push me through the rough speed bumpy times of 2013. This is my list of the most awesome, really amazing times of 2013. I don't feel like ranking them, so the I won't. These are the things that made me happy, that made 2013 a pretty darned good year, and reminded me that I am heading down the right path, my path.

*Getting to see Celtic Woman in concert. After being a Celtic Woman fan for number of years, I vowed to see them live. They came to Elmira, to the Clemens Center and I bought a ticket the day of. Very last minute, but very worth it.

*Got to be in one of my favourite musicals, "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with some of my best theatre friends and met some new theatre friends and fellow Whovians. I really do have the most fun when I am in the chorus. Wulla Jean's Whores Forever!!!

*I got to see the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who and the Christmas Special is real time (1 hour before folks with BBA). This means I now have my first Doctor in real time, Peter Capaldi! It was a good episode (I think so anyway).

*I finished my second novel during NaNoWriMo 2013 and added to my writer's circle both through NaNo, but also Twitter. I feel more connected to the writing world now and with a greater conviction to write and keep writing. Even have test reader for my next new project, revising the 2011 NaNo Novel, "Tale of Memories".

*I got to meet my mentor, James Owen at FaerieCon East. That is probably the biggest event of the year. It was a fantastic weekend all the way around, but getting to meet and talk with James was the best part. He is definitely the reason I have really taken writing more seriously. "If you really want to do something, no one can stop you. But, if you really don't want to do something, no one can help you." 

*My writing! I have writing short plays that have been performed. I love seeing words that I have written being performed. This is truly what I want to do.

*Organizing my first theatre event, The Lake Country Players 1st "24 Hour Theatre" in March of 2013. I have directing before, but never have I tried to organize an event. Also, not to be forgotten, but I have an
Improv Troupe "Lake Country Improv" with LCP and a season of Improv, that I hope to improve upon.

*Got to see Great Big Sea on their 20th Anniversary Tour with Laura, enough said!

*I got to see only 1 movie in the movie theatre, but it was the best one I could see in the theatre, "Frozen". I feel that Disney finally got it right (future review on this).

*I am leaving 2013 on a positive note. Even with the curve balls in the last 2 months. Even with the friends in need of support. I leave 2013 full of positive energy and ready for new challenges!

*Oh, and I got to enjoy my 'sister' Sara have her second daughter, Daphne Love! I am not nearly afraid of babies now. Just don't ask me to change a diaper! :-)

There were points within 2013 that were hard to bear. Things that hurt. It's inevitable. The hardest was losing my Winkin. He pasted on the Solstice, which was really hard to deal with. But, I can still say me made it to 10 Solstices/Yule/Christmases; and he went peacefully over the Rainbow Bridge. There was also the biggest betrayal with my own theatre family. The loss of a great deal of the organization's money at the hands of a friend. Trust is a sacred thing with me and when you break/lose my trust, don't expect to get it back (at least right away). But, on the other side I refuse to name names. She knows what she did. Sometimes I want to shout to the world what has happened, but then I realize that is not the most productive course. We, as an organization are stronger and have a greater convictions. We have risen to the crisis and started to bounce back; we had a very successful fundraising charity auction. We are strong! I am strong!

It's been a full year, 2013 has been exciting to say the least. Now, it's time for 2014...

What are your goals/resolution for 2014? I know I am going to write more. There will be some exciting new things rolling out from "Here, There be a Writer", revising my first novel (looking at the possibility of getting it published), trying some new things, learning other new things, and keeping in touch/and staying in touch with all of my friends. I'm sure that there are more, but those are the stand out goals currently.

Leave me a comment and some love. Remember, I love all of you! Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Writing Prompt: At the Funeral (goddaughter / vim / intrepid)

I didn't blog yesterday.

I know, it's a bit disappointing, but I had kitty fall asleep on my chest and didn't have the heart to move her for over an hour and a half while watching Access Hollywood (that's a crime).

I have been collecting and writing from various writing prompts over the last couple of days. Trying out new ideas, images and putting them into cohesive thoughts. Some days it's not as productive as others. Today's prompt is the beginning of a story, which I am not sure where will go, but I feel that it's more a of mental cleanser, having lost Winkin last week and knowing that a few friends are struggling with weighty issues and I cannot do more for them.

So, I am writing today...about death and fresh starts. Dost that mean foreshadowing?

I chose: goddaughter / vim / intrepid #amwriting. So, I present my little scene that I started about two hours ago.

Murielle stood in front of the casket, eyes cast down at the still form of her Godmother, Rayelle. She couldn’t believe that she was gone. It seemed like a dream, at least the last few days did. Rayelle was so very still, lying in her casket. Murielle looked up and glanced at the preacher who was intrepidly holding some sort of court over Rayelle’s wake. He nodded a signal that she wasn’t being rushed.

She lowered her head again, in a mock prayer. She didn’t really pray, she never really prayed, even when Rayelle brought her to church every Sunday. It was a promised that had been made years ago by Murielle’s momma and Rayelle, to always take Murielle to church.

She laughed, not out loud; she didn’t need the congregation to swarm her for laughing at her Godmother’s funeral. She hoped it looked like she was silently crying. The church felt cold, it didn’t surprise her, as she mumbled words. It wasn’t a prayer, but something that Rayelle had taught her. Rayelle had known how much Murielle hated church; hated dressing up, taking communion, and bowing heads in prayer. It wasn’t for her; there wasn't this sense of divine power watching her, guiding her. It just felt uncomfortable and the church pews hurt after sitting for so long.

It wasn’t like Mickey’s church, where she felt like she belonged. She remembered the time when she had gone to his church one Sunday, there had been singing and dancing. He was African American and here in Atlanta most churches were still segregated even after all this time. It bothered me to know that Mickey who had been my friend since she had moved to Atlanta four years ago couldn’t come to the church that she attended with Rayelle. Yet he had invited her to his church. and she was sure that Mickey liked her and that was why he had asked her to come see his church. But, after the service when they went to get ice cream, Ray asked her if she’d like to go to the movies next week over ice cram sundaes and really terrible jokes that he, his mother, and sisters told. He really did like her and she felt like she might like him.

When she came home, bursting through the kitchen door, Rayelle was baking and singing an Elvis song. She asked Rayelle if she could go out with Ray next Friday. Rayelle smiled as she sang, “…only fools rush in…”

Murielle lifted her head and thought about that, she snuck a glance around. Everyone was still bowed in prayer. She continued her mock prayer, “Biscuits as wise, because they rise very early in the Morning.” She smiled and remembered, church was not for her and after seeing Ray’s church she asked Rayelle about why their church, her church didn’t do more fun stuff like singing and dancing.

That launched Rayelle is a lecture about the Bible and God, but when she saw the eyes of her Goddaughter glaze over, she switched to something different.

“I know you don’t like church, but it’s important to me.” She stopped mixing the dough and tried to wipe her hand on a towel with marginal success. The kitchen fan was blowing the warm air around the tiny kitchen making the curtains dance in swirls with such vim and vigor as she and Mickey had been dancing earlier. The thought made her smile. “I also know that you are not the church type, Murielle.” Murielle looked up at Rayelle, she tried to smile, and she felt bad just then. “Muri, if you promise to attend church every other Sunday, I will let you go to Mickey’s on the off Sundays,” that made me smile, just thinking about him. “If you don’t really want to pray, then you can make up words to pretend that you are praying. It’s used to do that when I was younger. It helped get through the long service. I eventually grew out of it, but I know that you and your Momma weren’t church folk, but I am glad for you joining me.” She reached out to hug me, her arms folding around me, “My favourite mock prayer was ‘Biscuits as wise, because they rise very early in the Morning’, and I would mummer that during the service and my momma never knew the difference.” She pulled Murielle’s chin up to meet her eyes. The crisp green in her eyes with a hint of gold smiled down at her. “I love you Muri.”

“I love you too, Auntie Ray.”
Where does your inspiration come from, Dear Readers? How do you find a story with a prompt of three words? Let me know. Leave me a comment and some love. I love to hear from my Readers, to know what is going on with them.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cindy's Poetry Corner: Time's Treasure

Been in a poetry mood lately. I feel freer when I write poetry, like I am not bound by the laws of the English language, especially if I am emulating e.e. cummings.

I have been getting my writing prompts lately from a twitter account Writing Prompts, one of many that post prompts daily or weekly. It's a really good exercise in thinking outside the box. The prompts can be used for poetry, prose, stories, drama, you name it. Give 'em a peek! They are good tweets (peeps)! :-)

Today Writing Prompt: Middle West / candy / will

Time's Treasure

Somewhere in the middle
between the real and profane;
there are few things that are
sacred and rare.

Between the east and west,
in the lands that one seldom wanders;
sits the most honoured of treasures,
that of the rarest kind, time.

A precious artifact
that few really understand,
yet it is most sought.

Time's sweet taste;
a nectar as sweet as candy
to those weary travelers
that constantly seek it's bounty.

Yet, those who always chase after this
buried wealth, will never find
that they seek.
Like a distant mirage,
they cling to a hope they will reach,
but always falling short.

Yet, those who do not seek
the booty of the sacred god,
will find that they are
overflowing with a trove,
an never ending fountain of

12/26/2013 5:54 pm

Picture courtesy of MorgueFile

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas and the Kitty - 2013

It's Christmas Eve!

Only a few days past the Solstice, or Yule. The shortest day of the year. We are now half out of the dark.

I had a particularly rough solstice this year, with the passing of my Beloved Sunshine, my Winkin. My beautiful kitty that I have had the pleasure of enjoying his company for almost 11 years. I don't really want to go into details, but the week prior he hadn't been feeling well and I think the Rainbow Bridge was too much to pass up for him. He is now buried in the yard, near one of his favourite windows and we will have a flagstone with his name engraved into it, and I think Daffodils planted around his grave. I love my baby and miss him terribly, but such is the way of life. I know he was a happy cat and that he is not suffering anymore.

Gooseberry Green Cat's Eyes
There are so many memories I have had with Winkin; he loved windows, rolling on cement, catnip and treats and long brushings. He always seemed to shed, but his coat was the most beautiful shade of greyish brown, with a hint of silver. His eyes were the most gorgeous shade of green, I called them gooseberry green. He loved sunshine, being in the basement, and playing tag with Lucy (his sister). He was a fat, but totally happy cat. His purr was loud like a motor boat and hearing it always made me happy.

I am going to miss him terribly. He was my baby, straight from Texas and part of my heart. I love you , will always love you Winkin!

Winkin on the Stairs
Since then, the healing has begun. I have been celebrating the holidays with friends for the last 2 days. Life is starting to return to normal. Christmas is a scant 42 or so minutes away. I am so amazed that 2013 has passed so quickly. It's been a full year. I have been lucky, my year has been full of many amazing and awesome things. Some of my friends have not been as lucky. So have remained firm in the belief that 2014 will be a much better year for them, and that is the best thing that a person can believe in, that there is hope in the future.

My hope?

Oh, I hope for many things, but that which I always hope from is that those friends and family are happy.

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers! Also Blessed Yule, Festivus, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia and all those holidays!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Poetry Corner: the World is Asleep

The World is Asleep

The colours keep changing
The earth keeps rotating
in the gentle sweep of the year.
Soon it is wintertide
when the world is asleep.

None but the pine trees
that keep their green needles year round,
when the world is paled and brown
naught even the geraniums bloom
it's as though the world is asleep.

I can sit here
in the bleak early dawn
with the moaning wintertide wind rustling
through the spindly Box Elder branches
even when the world's asleep.

The best time of day
when  nary a soul moves
and my mind awakens
to the chill of the wintertide
when the world in still asleep.

7:03 am

Use the following five words: color, earth, geranium, moaning, sweep. #amwriting #writingprompt #TCPrompts

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The top 5 Really Horrible, Totally Awful, NOT so Great Xmas Songs Ever, Really!!!

There a many a yuletide tune that play on incessant repeat from thanksgiving to Christmas. I get irritated by the repetition many a days (it doesn't help that I listen to one station on my radio at work). This week's blog features some of the songs that you've probably heard on the radio or in the shopping malls. These are the ones that bug me to crazy after the eleventy billionth time.

The top 5 Really Horrible, Totally Awful, NOT so Great Xmas Songs Ever, Really!!!

5. Jingle Bells - Frank Sinatra
Spelling in songs is really silly, unless you are on a kid's show such as Sesame Street. This songs is based on a classic holiday song, and yet I am reviled by it's very existence.  I probably would be more forgiving if I hadn't heard it suck on endless repeat in a Wal-Mart last year. It's greatest crime is being to damned hokey. Note: This is not a slam against Mr. Sinatra, just the song.

I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells
Those holiday J-I-N-G-L-E bells
Those happy J-I-N-G-L-E B-E, double-L-S
I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one-horse open sleigh, oh

4. Santa Baby
Please tell me why this is a good song? I mean really. It's about a greedy self centered girl, who thinks that it's cute to act sexy to ask for gifts. I really dislike Madonna's version. I hear Taylor Swift cover this song and am glad I haven't hear it yet. Eartha Kitt is the closest singers to not make me vomit when I hear it, because she actually sounds sexy. Either way, this song is one I would prefer to never hear again, if I could help it.

Santa baby, just slip a sable under the tree for me;
Been an awful good girl, Santa baby
and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue
I'll wait up for you dear, Santa baby
and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good...
if you'd check off my Christmas list

3. Christmas in Your Eyes - Gloria Estefan
I can't really say this song is the worst lyrically, but it reeks of schmaltz and an over saccharine filled melody that get overly done. Too many artist seem to want to record this kind of song. I personally find the song nauseating when it comes on the radio. The song is filled with a pleading to be youthful and innocent again, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it feel like the author is looking to live through a younger person's life, almost vicariously. It fall into the schmaltzy category of songs. I don't do schmaltzy! 

I wanna see Christmas through your eyes
I want everything to be the way it used to be
Back to being a child again thinking the world was mine
I wanna see Christmas, Christmas through your eyes

I see the rain, you see the rainbow hiding in the clouds
Never afraid to let your love show
Won't you show me how
Wanna learn how to believe again
Find the innocence in me again
Through your young heart
Help me find a way, help me try

2. Do They Know it Christmas Time at All? - Band Aid
I vaguely remember Band Aid in the 80's, it was a bit before I really started to understand the that the world had places where life wasn't as easy as what I had to deal with in my small town America. I was 5 in 1984, when Band Aid was originally formed. it wasn't until YEARS later when I began to hear this song ad-nauseum on the radio. The thing that really bothers me is the lyrics scream of pretentiousness, assuming that the peoples of Africa know of Christmas and focusing on the suffering of some of these peoples. I understand the intent was to raise money for ending hunger in Africa and raising awareness. But, really, it comes off the wrong way. What's worst is that Band Aid reformed in 1989 and then 2004, also the Barenaked Ladies cover this song. I am sorry if i some bitter, but this song rubs me the wrong way EVERYTIME!

And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it's them instead of you
And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmas time at all? 

1. Christmas Shoes - NewSong
I have talked about this one before and it will always be on this list. If not for the horrible vocals, but the tear jerking, asshat, poorly devised lyrics that make you want to vomit repeatedly. It's bad enough that we live in a world full of cancer, poverty, and war, but really. Do  we need a reminder that a dying woman needs stylish pumps before she goes? Patton Oswalt does a BRILLIANT bit on the lyrics. You'll be dying on the floor with laughter.

Sir I wanna buy these shoes
For my mama. please
It's Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry sir
Daddy says there's not much time
You see,
She's been sick for quite a while And I
know these shoes will make her smile And I
Want her to look beautiful
If mama meets Jesus tonight

Okay, are to sick of them yet? I cannot torture you Dear Readers...So, here's a Christmas/Yule Kitty and Hannah-Rei singing!!

Hannah-Rei's "Christmas Time is Here"

Leave me a comment. Oh and and what are some of your most despised Xmas songs?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Writing Prompt: I'm removing from my bedside table all the things that burn.

Prompt: I'm removing from my bedside table all the things that burn. From Sione Aeschliman

I love to try writing prompts; sometimes it's a real challenge. I get many of my writing prompts from Toasted Toast Literary Journal. But, lately I have been utilizing the social media and a few new site and twitter friends I have a new source for writing ideas. Sione (see link to blog above) posted the writing prompt above, yesterday. I found her on twitter today and had to check out her blog. Give her a read, she is quite fascinating! :-)

It really good practice to just write. It's the only way I am going to improve. Sometimes it's not easy to get an idea started, especially if you don't have any idea what you are writing about. The writing prompts give you a boost, at least that is what I feel it's like. Here's what I wrote just now. I am not sure if I will write more, I might. I have an interesting scene set up here. Not everything that I write is destined to be shown to the world, but I think that everything I write is worthy of consideration. Maybe it'll be part of an 1 act, or a story story (I haven't written a short story in a while), or maybe I won't touch it again. But the point is that I am writing.

I give to my scene. Dear Readers, what do you think? Leave me a comment below! Christmas is fast approaching and I may not get to posting much next week, we'll see. Have a Happy Holidays and Blessed Yule, from me to you!!

She lain in bed for what seemed like hours. It's not like she had been tossing and turning, she was well aware that she wasn't going to sleep anytime soon. She just looked up at the ceiling, peering through the skylight in the roof. There was a faint trace of moonlight pouring into the bed room. It tinted the blankets a light silver. She glanced down at her feet, they were sticking out from the tiger blanket that she had wrapped herself into a cocoon. She pulled her feet back under the covers and rolled over.

The green glare of the alarm clock hit her face and made her blink back the tears that had dried to her cheeks and eyelids earlier. The clock said 2:37. It was late. She knew it, but that didn't the sleep come any faster. She was pretty sure that she would not be sleeping tonight.

Her eyes followed to the floor where the contents of her night stand were laying on the bedroom floor. She felt the rush of emotion from earlier. She wanted to yell, to scream, but her Father would hear her from downstairs, and she didn't really want him involved. Not that he cared much, lately anyway.

She saw the wooden faerie lying sideways facing her closet and her journal which had landed spine side up and looked like a little tent on her floor. She looked back at the clock, 2:39. She had almost reached for the book of matches that that been lying next to her cigarettes, both of which were almost now residing on the floor. 

There was to be no burning shit tonight, she thought, no setting fire to the faerie or burning the pages of her journal. The emotions that ran through Sophia's mind earlier would have made her light the pages a glow. It was only the gentle purr of her cat, Lucy who had made her put down the matches and threw the journal and the faerie across the room.

It was a good thing that Darrell wasn't home yet, or she would have have another lecture on the treatment of personal items, especially since she was just staying her for the winter months. Darrell was an ass, but she had to listen to him. He was her step brother and the eldest of the kids in the house. She was surprised that her Father hadn't put up more of a fight about her coming to stay at his place during winter break. Her Mother was just as animate that she go.

It was enough to make her angry and sometimes when she got angry, stuff got burned.

It was better to have the night stand empty, except the alarm clock. Heck,even her cigarettes weren't with reach. She figured it was probably a blessing that they were now hidden in the closet, where she had thrown them.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Top 20 songs I remember from my Childhood!

Okay, so I am taking it easy today. The plan is to write and do some much needed housework. And after an epic battle to download photos from my phone I now writing; a few hours later, but whose counting. Maybe me.

In the search for something to write about; am a bit tapped for ideas after writing dialogue for the yearly Christmas Show in Hammondsport, NY (Christmas in the Park). The yearly Christmas festival in the center on Hammondsport, NY where the Keuka Lake Player (KLP) put on a 45-50 minute Christmas show to the festival goers. It's great fun and the shows vary from year to year.  On my first full day of nothing to do, I was cleaning and found an incomplete script for a vlog I had wrote sometime last year, or maybe late 2011. Since, I am more comfortable writing blogs, I figured why not adapt it in a written piece for the blog. 

So, I give you: Cindy's top 20 favourite songs from the 50's through the 70's

I grew up on many of the classics from that time period. My parents actively listened to a wide variety of music including Elvis, The Beatles, Heart, The Monkees, and the like. Many of these song I listened to repeatedly and often singing quite loud. And usually if I am in a mood and want to be uplifting, then I will turn to many of these songs and/or artists. 

I feel a person's music choices is reflective of their personality. I love you learn want people like and what songs or artist are the ones they turn to often and of various reasons. I have certain artists that I listen to when I am sad (one of many mix tapes), angry (Meatloaf), frustrated (Dar Williams), or just in a jovial mood (Great Big Sea). Many of artists from the 50's through 70's are songs that I go to when I am extremely happy or want to rock out to music while cleaning (music help me cleaning, strange, I know).

These are the songs that I remember from my youth and the ones that stick in my mind the most. The songs I dance to, sang with, and just flat out enjoyed listening to.

20. Greased Lightin’ (1971) from the musical Grease: as sung by John Travolta and company. I know what your thinking, JOHN TRAVOLTA? Really? Well, I grew up watching the movie, A LOT! When CD’s came out (oh, dating myself a bit) that was one of the first CD that was purchased in our house (well one of the first, anyway). I spent many a weekend afternoon listening to the CD and/or watching the movie. I will admit that I did the dance as the guys sang. I was such a dork (still am though)! But I loved this song. It was just so catchy that you couldn’t help but sing along.

19. Frankenstein (1973) The Edgar Winter Group
The only instrumental to make the list that I know of! I not sure why I really got into this song, but my Dad was awfully fond of this classic rock number from the 70’s and it’s pumping guitar I could fight not enjoying it when he put it on. Says Winter: "When we were editing it in the studio, back in those days when you edited something, you physically had to cut the tape and splice it back together, so it was all over the control room, draped over the backs of chairs and the couch. We were making fun of it, trying to figure out how to put it back together, saying 'Here's the main body; the leg bone's connected to the thigh bone... ' Then Chuck Ruff, my drummer, says, 'Wow, man, it's like Frankenstein.' As soon as I heard that, I went, 'Wow, that's it!' The monster was born." I think I started to air guitar to this song, maybe.

High Noon
18. Purple People Eater (1958) Sheb Wooley (Website)
"The Purple People Eater" tells how a strange (alien) monster ("one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater") descends to Earth to be in a rock 'n' roll band. I bet you didn’t know that Sheb Wooley (born Shelby F. Wooley) was an actor too. He actually started out as a cowboy and rodeo performer growing up in Oklahoma [bursts into Oklahoma!] In 1945 Nashville, he sang on the radio station WLAC in Nashville, but later moved to Fort Worth, TX to further his music career. By 1949, he moved to California to get into television and movies Throughout the 1950’s he starred in a number of westerns from “Little Big Horn” (1951), “High Noon” (1952) with Gary Cooper, “Rio Bravo” (1959) with John Wayne and later was a regular on “Rawhide” as Pete Nolan for 6 seasons. Whoa, quite a history Shelby!

17. Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In (1969) 5th Dimension
Never have I seen a production of Hair, but I still loved this song. Something about that enchanting groove at the beginning of the song just get to me. This is another that I just loved and still always sing along to.

16. Oh Pretty Woman!  (1964) Roy Orbison
Maybe I got this from the movie of the same name that delightful chippy love story with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, or maybe my parents turned me onto this song, or both. The point is I love this song and Roy’s voice. His was not the most refined, but I love the rough sound of his voice.

15. The Rain, The Park, and Other Things (1967) The Cowsills
The Cowsills were the inspiration for the show The Partridge Family. Why did they not get to be the actual family for the show? Well, the actress [picture of Shirley Jones] to play the mother was already signed. They started with 4 brothers and over time grew to a band of 7 family members. This song always made me think of goods things, such as the items mentioned in the title. It was a fun, fresh, and simple song and made me feel good. Fun Fact: the Cowsills were spokes persons for the America Dairy Association.

14. Benny and the Jets (1973) Elton John
I will say this about Bennie, it is a fun song. I would play the CD of this song and sing along, ever though I barely understood what Elton was singing about. “…electric boots and a mohair suit…” you have no idea what I actually thought the words were (Electric Boobs?). How’s this for unique, the “Bennie” in the song is a futuristic “Sci-fi Rock Goddess”. Bernie Taupin said of the song in a issue of Esquire: 'Bennie And The Jets' was almost Orwellian - it was supposed to be futuristic. They were supposed to be a prototypical female rock 'n' roll band out of science fiction. Automatons."

13. Witch Doctor (1958) David Seville
Featured the voice of singer Ross Bagdasarian (yes, that’s his real name), Sr. as what would become Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks. He wrote and sang the song, Witch Doctor. Yup! Bagdasarian was born to Armenian immigrants in Fresno, CA in 1919. Did you know that Ross Sr’s son, Ross Jr. took over his work after this father passed away in 1979? I would mostly sing the chorus when I was a kid; over and over. “Ooo—Eee—Ooo—AhAh! Ting Tang Wadda Wadda Bing Bang! Ooo—Eee—Ooo—AhAh! Ting Tang Wadda Wadda Bing Bang!”  Somethings will never get old!

12. Teddy Bear (1957) Elvis Presley
I don’t really know why this ended up on the list. It was on a tape that my mom had in her car. Of course she ALWAYS listened to that tape, thus etching Elvis’ hunka hunka burning vocals into my brain and my early years; that and Jailhouse Rock. I still prefer Teddy Bear though.  Fun Fact: A modified version of the song has often been used for Teddy Graham’s commercials in the 80’s.

11. Wake Up Little Susie (1957) The Everly Brothers
Another song for the aforementioned tape, Billboard’s top 10 of 1957. Hmmmm, see a pattern here? Fun Fact: Rockapella parodied this song in an episode in the kids game show, "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?",  "Look Out, Double Trouble"

10. My Boyfriend’s Back (1962) The Angels
As I said earlier, there are many songs on this list that come from my mom’s collection of Billboard tapes from the late 50’s and early 60’s. I always like singing to this one. I would get all sassy while singing; in my awkward thirteen and fourteen year of self. Too bad my mom never had a video camera.  Fun Fact: The rap group Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s track "Guess Who's Back" borrows heavily from the structure and lyrics of "My Boyfriend's Back" .

9. It’s My Party (1963) Lesley Gore
Another favourite to sing along to and maybe this song is why I eventually got into acting. It’s quite the dramatic scene. Fun Fact: Because of the pop cultural obsession with the song and its tragic nature, Gore recorded a sequel titled "Judy's Turn to Cry". In this song, the teenage girl narrator gets her revenge on Judy after all the pain and humiliation she caused her. In the lyrics the narrator explicitly finds "foolish" how much she cried when she saw Johnny and Judy together, and seems determined to start anew. She kisses another guy in front of Johnny and Judy during another party, which causes a jealous Johnny to jump at and punch the other boy, then get back together with her. Though "Judy's Turn to Cry" was not quite as popular as "It's My Party", it did reach #5 on the Billboard charts in the summer of 1963.

8. Take Me Home, Country Roads (1971) John Denver
I got introduced to John Denver’s music when in elementary school (there were 4 clusters of six classrooms in my elementary school) during the morning 'Opening' of the day, as it was called (I think): the pledge, then one patriotic and one other song non-patriotic song was sung. Often these were folk songs and “Take me Home, Country Roads” was included in the rotation. Fun Fact: The song was used by NASA to wake up astronauts aboard space shuttle missions STS-5 and STS-41-G, both times on the last day of the mission before the crew returned to Earth.

7. Blue Bayou (1977) Linda Ronstadt originally done by Roy Orbison (1963)
Most people know that Roy Orbison did this song first, but I think more people recognize that Linda Ronstadt covered it. I fell in love with Linda’s vocal on this one. Every time I heard it, I would get transported away to that same bayou where she was. Her voice was and is one of the few voices that I can truly say is melodic and soothing down to the core. Fun Fact: she performed this on the Muppet Show.

6. Dreams (1977) Fleetwood Mac
Has to be my absolute favourite Fleetwood Mac song ever! Maybe it’s because of the wispy sound to the music and ready to go lyrics. I sang along to this one on more than one occasion. Even though I love the original, I have to say that I haven’t heard a bad cover of this song yet. This song, like “Go Your Own Way” from the “Rumors” is all about the breakups that where occurring within the band. “Dreams” is Stevie Nicks song to Lindsay Buckingham; while “Go Your Own Way” was Lindsay’s message to Stevie. Fun Fact: The Corrs (Irish band with the hit "Runaway" and "Breathless", covered this on their album, the remixed version of “Talk On Corners” and 1998-1999 and got to perform with Mick Fleetwood at their concert at the Royal Albert Hall on St. Patrick ’s Day 1998.

5. Puff the Magic Dragon (1963) Peter, Paul, and Mary
Not sure where I heard this first, probably on a cassette tape from the Barker Library back in Fredonia, NY. I know that it was everywhere, usually played on the local oldie station, or on countless children’s compilations of the tape and record variety. Everyone from The Cowsills, Dolly Parton, and Jason Mraz has covered Puff in some form. Even back then I was dragon crazy. I wanted to meet Puff so bad, still do! Puff was written by Pater Yarrow and Leonard Lipton, after seeing a friend’s poem about a dragon in his typewriter. Yarrow has even gone out of his way to give Lipton songwriting credit for Puff.

4. Happy Together (1967) The Turtles
“Happy Together” is a song that makes me Happy, even with the overly whiny lyrics. It’s not that it’s sad, but there is a sad quality to the song. It’s a good example of how beautiful longing and sorrow can be.

3. Band on the Run (1974) Paul McCartney (Wings)
This is such a weird song. Not even sure what to say. I mean, Paul McCartney’s “C-Moon” lyrics make eve less sense, but I just accept it as is, but as least it was so catchy that the words never got in the way. So, why then did I choose “Band on the Run”? Well, because musical it’s so damn catchy, that’s why! Fun Fact: Did you know that the Foo Fighters covered “Band on the Run” in 2007?! I didn’t until I did this list.

2. Daydream Believer (1967) The Monkees
Ah, The Monkees, this is a part of my childhood and watching re-runs of The Monkees on Nickelodeon. Their songs I grew up on and sang along to. This one and "Last Train to Clarksville" top the list of favourite Monkee Songs. I love discovering new cover to songs that are at the heart of my soul. Fun Fact: Shonen Knife did a really fun bubble gum pop version that is just plain fun.

And the number 1 song from my youth:

1. Let It Be (1970) The Beatles
I guess this shouldn’t be a surprise. Even before I met my husband, I loved The Beatles. I always connected with this song. Something about it rings very true. I also realized how much more I love this song after watching "Across the Universe" with their gospel version (video).

Hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. I had a lot of fun looking up information and factoids about these songs. It was a good time to be a kid. When music was music, and you were free to listen and enjoy. There were a lot less preconceived notions about what kids could and couldn’t listen to. Of, course the music back then was A LOT tamer than some of the musical selections of today, and I think a bit more creative. That is why I still like these songs, and why I still listen to them.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

O Christmas Show! O Christmas Show!

Here's a question for you, Dear Readers.

Can you imagine putting together a show in 2 weeks? Start to finish, from brainstorming to writing, rehearsing to performing.

It's kind of difficult to imagine, right (well, if you are familiar with theatre, maybe not as much)? Not really for me though. I have done 24 Hour Theatre (theatre created in 24 hours) and the Keuka Lake Players Christmas Show. In both cases you need fortitude and a bit of faith.

For me, the challenge to put a show together in two weeks time has become second nature. We meet and brainstorm an idea and build a show around a story and/or concept using Christmas Carols, Broadway Show Tunes, and pretty much any music that would fit into a situation. This year started a bit different. It started with Patty's idea and with the help of Sara, David, and myself a script was born in a week's time. A pretty darn AWESOME script too: about a Mall on Christmas Eve. I got to write two vignettes and some dialogue for other characters with the help of Patty (the director) and Sara (Producer), and David (fellow writer). After a week or so, my dialogue bits and David's narration and transition bits, plus Sara's tweaking and Patty's concept we had a script.

Now, in the second week we have been rehearsing the show; rehearsing the music, and making the show our own. Most actors will tell you that when they play a character they make the character their own, with help from the director. I have been through this many a time as an actor, but also I have helped others find their characters (as a director). It's a gratifying experience to say the least. The pitfall of this kind of show is that it only get performed once. But, on the other hand, you get the chance to be part of something wonderful that was created together. And for the village of Hammondsport, for the Christmas in the Park has become tradition since 2007.

 I did not join in this festive tradition 2009, but I have been involved in it since. I get to work with my extended Keuka family (I have several theatre families: Lake Country Players, Keuka Lake Players, Centre Stage Community Theatre, and Elmira Little Theatre). Some of the past shows include "The Tailor of Gloucester", "Christmas on the Prairie", "Christmas Day in the Morning."

This year I really got to flex my writing muscles. See, since 2011 I have made writing an core part of my life. I write and blog about almost everything (So far. Give me time, Dear Readers, I will get to everything in due time).  I compose poetry and write plays or I pen novels and short stories. The chance to really stretch my writing was too good to pass up this year. The best part is knowing many of the people I am writing for and working with. That kind of gives me a boost with what could write about. It also fun to welcome new faces and talents to the mix. This year's show, titled "Mall I want for Christmas" I hope will be as good for the audience as it has been for us the actors and director. It has all the feeling and heart that is normally put into a show and more because it done in two weeks. I think that speaks volumes. This show (and past shows) is one of love and good cheer!

I will say one more thing about the Christmas show. It is a very organic experience. One that changes and evolves as it grows; and that is part of what draws me to it, as an experience. You have to be open and willing to work outside what sometimes you take for granted. I love doing theatre because every show teaches me. The KLP Christmas Show is no different.

If you are in the area of Hammondsport, NY on Saturday, December 14th at 4pm, come on down to the Presbyterian Church for a free show of "Mall i want for Christmas" written, directed, and performed by the Keuka Lake Players.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"The Day of the Doctor" Review ~Spoilers, Darling~

I never thought that there would be a moment where Moffat seemed to get it right, but the 50th anniversary is simply stunning, gorgeous, and awesome all rolled into one. I think that the reason is because I didn’t have any expectations of what the 50th should be. I just watched it and enjoyed it, from acting to story. Everything about the episode is full of AWESOME.


What we got was a strong story about the last day of the Time War and a nice dialogue with the Doctor and “The Moment (Galaxy Eater).”

I find it fascinating that the 50th anniversary episode has brought Whovians from all walks of life, together. It really is a celebration of all things Whovian. I also think that everyone involved in the 50thseemed to have a lot of fun making it.

I could good through each and every point in the special and dissect it, but I want to talk about my favourite points of the episode. Maybe even talk about the things that raised a few eyebrows. Every Whovian with whom I have talked is-in general-in agreement that the episode stand well on its own; from example, I have two friends who went to go see it in 3-D at the movie theatre the following Monday. They had seen very few episodes of the New Who or only episodes of the Doctor they grew up with (that be you Mr. Baker). Yet, when they talked about it, it was only with a sincere joy and pleasure. Mel and Dee really enjoyed watching it. How many TV series can say that, that folks who have only seen a few epsiodes can still enjoy watch the big 50th? It means there was stellar writing to back up the story and lots of care too. Yes, there are nay-sayers and pessimists, but on whole some most seemed to honestly enjoy it.

First, I give Steve Moffat credit for finally making Clara into a character, a real character. So many times I wanted to like Clara, but was left feeling that she wasn’t a part of the Doctor and his life. Her part-time status always felt like it weakened her as a character, even when she did the most impossible things, "The Name of the Doctor" or "The Rings of Akatan". This time, I felt that she is worthy of the title the Doctor’s Companion; to have her question the choice of the Doctor’s decision on the fate of Gallifrey? It was brilliant! It worked. It feels like Clara was the next generation of Companion. I can only hope that continues into Peter Capaldi's time as the Doctor. As touching as it was to have 10, 11, and the War Doctor to share the burden of that choice; there was something equally fantastic about Clara asking if there was another way.

Second, the choice of Billie Piper in the form of Bad Wolf as “The Moment”, the sentient Galaxy Eater was rather confusing. It left me wishing there was a Rose sub-plot, as I never really got over the Rose in an alternate dimension world story arc. I was a bit frustrated, not at Billie Piper, but that hole in my heart after "Doomsday" wanted it to be Rose Tyler. But after watching the 50th a second time that I realized that the choice to use Rose as the interface of "The Moment" was the better choice.  By having Bad Wolf there (even only in form alone) made John Hurt’s War Doctor that much stronger. Billie Piper did an excellent job as “The Moment”, fun and mischievous, yet sad at it's role in the story of the Time War.

There were many a moments of SQUEEING and fan girlness, which included Peter Capaldi's eyes in the battle to save Gallifrey, the introduction of the Curator Doctor,Tom Baker, and (my personal favourite) the machine that goes DING!

Those eyes!!!
I loved seeing how Tennant, Smith, and Hurt worked off each other. There was this energy that linked them all together, whether they were mocking each other or working together. "This is what I am like by myself," Matt Smith Doctor. Or seeing the man behind the stories of Jim Henson's "The Storyteller" in the garb of the (War) Doctor It was touching when it needed to be and dark  when it need to be. He is every much the Doctor as is Smith, Tennant, Baker, or Hartnell, even though it's a grittier Doctor. He is the War Doctor after all. I couldn't have picked a better Doctor (well except maybe Hugh Laurie. Hey, a girl can dream, right?). You should check out "The Storyteller" and "Greek Myths: Storyteller" DVDs.

A girls' dream! (borrowed from Tumblr)
The biggest enigma and what EVERYONE seems to want to talk about is what number in Matt Smith's Doctor and what it means for Capaldi's Doctor. Is Matt Smith 11 or 12? Do you count Tennant's mini regeneration at the end of season 3? Can there be more than 13 lives of a Time Lord? What can we see in season 8? 

Some things are pretty obvious, to me at least. The search for Gallifrey? I think so. It's sounds like the next great adventure. I bloody well excited!

Now I have 24 more days before new Doctor Who, the regeneration of Matt Smith, and all of that good stuff!! I might have to watch the 8th Doctor's movie and review it....Stay tuned, Dear Readers!!