Sunday, July 17, 2022

Bolero in My Head

You know Bolero by Maurice Ravel? It's an orchestral piece with lots of repetition and a glorious build, so when it gets stuck in your head, it gets really stuck! I have been listening to it while directing a one-act play for Heartland Theatre, Running Uphill to Smooth Criminal, by E.K. Doolin, which, as you might guess, also references "Smooth Criminal," a Michael Jackson song! The play, about a woman's nervous breakdown as her entrance into middle age, is delightful, and the playwright was delighted with our enhanced staged reading of it on Friday night! Today, the Sunday matinee, is the closing performance, but I think Bolero will stay in my head for a while! Pictured is Ida Rubenstein, who commissed the piece as a ballet for her to perform, and whose flowy attire inspired some of our costuming!

Whenever I am acting or directing, my poetry writing and submitting gets set aside for a bit, but 1) I imagine it will resume soon 2) I have been writing goofy little quatrains in response to Shakespearean sonnets in the meantime. Part of a pleasant email sharing thingey.

And, despite and sort of side by side with my Marie Kondo cleaning, which included the recycling, donating, and, alas, necessary trashing of many books, I am steadily reading. Sometimes simultaneously, fiction downstairs and nonfiction upstairs, or vice versa. My simultaneous reading often produces some fascinating correspondences, making it a Random Coinciday in the blog! I read Bastard Out of Carolina, by Dorothy Allison, side by side with Mermaid by Eileen Cronin, one a novel and the other a memoir, but linked via first-person narration and marvelous honesty and frankness. And, in comparing the novel's plot with Allison's own early life, one might find memoirish connections, as well. 

I found Cronin's book on the library display table on behalf of MarcFirst, books by and about people with disabilities. Cronin was born with partial legs and tells us about her childhood "squiddling" for locomotion, learning to live with artificial limbs, and tracking the mystery of why she was born that way, a story she tells while also showing that disability was not actually the main focus of her life. Living was, and is!

Now I am reading books that go together very well: Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man, by Emmanuel Acho, and Horse, by Geraldine Brooks. Acho is educating me on racism, implicit bias, and how and why to have these important conversations. He has a video series on this, but, as I am a reader, this is the perfect way for me to listen to his points! I recommend it to all, and love his further recommendations for reading and viewing within chapters.

Horse is about an actual horse, a painting of it, and about racism and race relations through time--as the horse is raised and trained in the 1850s in the South, the painting is re- discovered in 1950s America, and the horse research continues in the 2000s. The book is by a white woman and contains main characters who are Black, so there has been some controversy, but I am glad to see that Brooks uses the term "enslaved" (not "slave"), as Acho advocates, to show that no one is really born a slave as a human attribute but is instead enslaved by the people in power.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always wanted to see the stage version of Dorothy Allison’s novel, which was such a good read. I’m also reading the Geraldine Brooks. Thanks for your lists!