Thursday, January 31, 2013

Abigail 1702

I am absolutely fascinated by anything that has to do with the Salem witch trials, so when an original play titled Abigail 1702 came to Cincinnati's Playhouse in the Park, I couldn't wait to see it.

Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Broadway playwright and writer for Glee, Abigail 1702 explores the life of witch accuser Abigail Williams ten years after the infamous witch trials.

I wish I could say that all sorts of storylines rushed through my mind, but in fact, none did. I was curious to see what Aguirre-Sacasa would come up with. I actually don't know what happened to anyone involved in the aftermath of the witch trials, so whether this was fact or fiction didn't matter to me. I was just ready to get back to the witchcraft.

The play started with the awesome set that I snapped in the picture above. In fact, I was so distracted by the set that I almost couldn't pay attention to what was happening. It was deliciously witchy. I wondered whether I could re-decorate my family room to look like this?

Then I realized that I was easily distracted by the set because I didn't really like the course the play was taking. There was a sailor and talk of pirates. I remembered that when we visited Salem, Massachusetts, there were a lot of pirate displays alongside the witch attractions because Salem had a pirate history, too. I started to think the play was going down this angle and I was disppointed. There was almost no mention of witchcraft in the first 20 minutes or so.

Then a mysterious stranger from Abigail's past appeared and I was hooked. I'm not going to give anything away. Let's just say that I was satisfied with the rest of the story. And I'm even more excited about trying to recreate this set in my house.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Escape as Inspiration

Hemingway's desk
Key West, Florida
I'm in writing mode. I have millions of ideas for projects. I started working again on a novel that I'd abandoned. I shared it with my husband for critique, took his comments and started making pages of notes for revision. My friend is sending me bits and pieces of her novel. I make my suggestions and she sends me her rewrites to read. All of this is wonderful, except...

I am swamped at work. New management has caused frustration, low morale, and busy work. I'm putting in overtime and don't see an end in sight until May. I contemplate finding a new job every day. In short, work is miserable.

My renewed zeal for writing and job misery may seem like they have nothing to do with each other. But in actuality, they have everything to do with each other. I've turned to writing as my escape.

My novel is my way to leave work mentally and venture into a world of my own creation. All the extra projects/ideas/queries give me hope that I can do something I love for money. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and worth in sharp contrast to my perceived lack of being valued at work. Most of all, returning to my novel restores my dream of publication and living the life of a writer again. It lets me fantasize that I could walk into work and hand in my notice.

I'm grateful that my downward slump at work hasn't wreaked havoc with my creative juices. I'm almost surprised. But now I realize that writing provides something more than personal satisfaction for me. Like reading, it gives me a much-needed escape.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Private Language of Movies

Maybe I'd have better luck being Scarlett if I wore this dress.

I think most couples and families have inside jokes; phrases they say that have particular meaning to them. What I've come to realize lately is that many of these sayings come from movies. One of my co-workers and her husband often quote a line from "Elf" to each other. Perhaps you know the one?
Buddy Elf speaking. What's your favorite color?
They use this as their phone greeting to each other, so I hear it several times a day. Another co-worker says this line every time she wipes off her glasses and puts them back on:
I can see again! It's a miracle!
I didn't realize it was an obscure movie quote until she told me it was a scene in "Ferngully" and she and her family say it every time they do anything involving hiding and unhiding their eyes. We have a few of these inside joke quotes in my family, too. Probably more than a few. My mom and I are fond of quoting Katherine Hepburn from the movie "On Golden Pond." In one scene, daughter Jane Fonda pulls up to the cabin in a rental car and Henry Ford starts questioning her about what make it is and what kind of engine it has. Jane, like Mom and me, has no knowledge or interest in cars and replies, "I don't know. A green car?" And Katherine Hepburn clasps her hands together with joy, trying to smooth the tension between father and daughter and trebles,
Oooohhhhhh, a greeeeeen caaaaarrrrr.
We say it like that, too, any time someone asks us a car question. And at home, I can't resist using one of Scarlett O'Hara's lines. Whenever I'm hoping someone will do something for me (because I'm too lazy to get up and do it myself), I try to use Scarlett's Southern belle charm that worked so well at the barbeque. As the men fight over who can fetch her dessert, she finally alights on Melanie's brother and says,
I think Charles Hamilton may get it.
He thanks her profusely and rushes off to retrieve her dessert. My family is not as quick and eager to do my beckoning, but I try it anyway. What about you? Do you have movie quotes that have become common inside language/jokes in your house?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Startling Discovery

I am a person who seeks out new experiences. I'm not afraid to try new things. I'm always on the lookout for adventure. I rarely work in the same role for more than 2-3 years. I am a person who really, really craves change.

So when I started answering questions for Year 2 in my Q&A: 5-Year Journal, I was a little taken aback. My life was not as new and fresh as I'd thought.

Product Details
(Photo from Amazon)
The idea for this little journal is that each day you are posed a question and you write your answer for that year. Each page holds the space for five years' worth of answers. Innocuous questions like:
  • What is your favorite television show?
  • What was the best part of today?
  • Who annoyed you today?

and more meaningful questions like:
  • What do you think is your biggest shortcoming?
  • What would you like to say to your father?
  • Is there anything missing in your life?
I had a blast filling in my answers for 2012 and was excited to start answering in 2013 and see how my answers compared. I decided I would read the question, write my answer without reading last year's answer (so it would not influence me) and then read last year's answer. I couldn't wait to get started.

The Jan. 1 question was not very surprising: What is your mission? I answered it in conjunction with my New Year's resolution this year more than the broad life statement I made last year, but the two answers are pretty similar. Then I moved on to Jan. 2nd and chuckled at the fact that my 2013 answer was exactly the same as 2012. Kind of ironic, really, since the question was Can people change? (My answer was no, and I seemed to prove my own point.)

January 3rd asked what book I was reading that day. Naturally, that answer was different.

But on Jan. 4-7 my answers were very much like my answers from the year before and they were questions about the last restaurant I went to, and whether I feel lucky. The last restaurant I'd eaten at, both years, was in Corbin, Kentucky on my way back from visiting my son. And then I mentioned the Bengals playing the Texans in the playoffs -- both in 2012 and 2013. Was this some kind of twilight zone?

I wasn't too concerned until I got to questions about what inspired me that day (Jan. 10th) and what I felt I lost on January 11th, and my answers for 2013 were the same -- again! Frankly, I was startled and little bit disturbed. I'd thought my life was full of new experiences and I was starting to see it in a different light. If the same things were inspiring me and disturbing me on the same date a year later, was my life that unique after all?

I'm starting to get scared to open the little journal and answer the questions. I feel like I fell into some kind of year-long rut, and I don't know how it happened. I don't mind so much that the good things remain the same, but if the petty annoyances and let-downs are consistent, then I need to do something about that. I'm determined that I will not open the book on January 2014 and start writing the same answers again. But I never thought that it would have happened in the first place. It's been a startling discovery to say the least, and it's only January 13th!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Moonshine Mania

Lately, every time I turn around I’m hearing the word “moonshine.” I don’t know when it became so popular. I have two long-distance relatives who make it. There’s a show Moonshiners devoted to it on the Discovery channel. On a recent trip to Gatlinburg, there was a moonshine distellery shop on the main drag, complete with a live band and free samples of ALL the different kinds. And if that wasn’t enough, there was a “Moonshine Murder” mystery dinner theater show.
Has anyone else noticed its popularity? Or am I the only one surrounded by all this grain alcohol?