February 26, 2015

Catching Up on Homework and Stuff

The last performance of our play was on Tuesday, and it was amazing. Any actor can tell you that different performances always have different levels of energy, and that helps give the show a good or bad outcome. A lot of the time, opening night is the night of highest energy. For us, that ended up being the last night of the show. As a cast, we were excited, and there was the thing about being watched by two judges. There were awards on the line! And our audience was a bunch of college theatre people from other schools, so they were feeding us really good energy because they were rooting for us. The show wasn't perfect by any means. There were some little glitches here and there, but the audience and the judges didn't notice. It was great for  a last night.

Yesterday morning, at 9:30, we had our critique. They said a lot of good things, and their things that could use improvement were just little nit-picky things. Then we were supposed to spend that day, today, and tomorrow watching the plays of the other colleges. I watched two plays yesterday, out of the four that were performed. Oedipus Rex, which I didn't care for so much, but then again I don't really like Greek Mythology. And The House of Blue Leaves, which was a great dark comedy and their set was amazing. It was the size of a house! There was even a fridge and a couch and a stove and a television and a sink with running water! And everyone had an accent. It was hilarious but also made me feel like crying.

I went home after that. I didn't want to stay at school until the last play finished at like 11:00. And I'm not going up there today or tommorrow if I can manage it. Unless the director offers to pay for my gas there and back. I don't want to drive 45 minutes there and the same amount of time back. And try to find a way to pay for food. And gas. I use a quarter of a tank of gas each day! I kinda wish I lived closer to the college. But that's Texas for you. I'll be back at the school for the awards show on Saturday. Attending which, I might add, has cost me an Elsa gig. OPPORTUNITY COST! I lost fifty bucks by participating in this, More actually, if you count the other gigs I've had to turn down because of rehearsal.

Today, I get to spend the day catching up on the homework that I've been putting off that is due on Saturday. I hate government homework. And I get to clean the house some. Since apparently out of five people, I'm one of the only ones that does chores. I feel for the maids in the book I'm reading, The Help. Although, I know that I don't have it as bad as they did. I also know that they were way better at cleaning than I am.

I have been working more on writing Letters Home, or rewriting as it would be. I made a huge change, but its going to add a lot to my word count. I just have to take the time to write it all. After that, I'm going to see about getting an agent. I feel like I'm just diving into the deep end without knowing how to swim. That's why I'm going to get an agent. That's going to take a whole lot of weight off of my shoulders. I'm not too concerned with ever being famous, but I do want people to read the things that I write. And  writing is something that I love to do and that I can do while having other jobs. Anyway, I'm hoping that I can see about sending my stuff to an agent by this summer. Aside from attempting to clean/detail my car the week after next (SPRING BREAK! WHOOT!), I plan on doing a lot of writing. I kinda miss nanowrimo because I HAD to write every single day. I want to do it again next year. I've already got a book idea going for it. I just need November to be here. But not too soon.


February 23, 2015

The Last Performance (almost) and a Day Off

Last night was our last public performance of AND THEN THEY CAME FOR ME. We have one more on Tuesday for the Play Festival, and then we're done. We originally had rehearsal planned for today, but it was cancelled and instead I'm at home, lounging around in leggings and a tank top as I drink tea and eat animal crackers in an attempt to push the dream I had last night from my mind.

The performance wasn't the most high energy performance ever. Everyone was kind of tired from performing it so many times.There were also some family things that were happening to some actors that made an impact on their performances. Not to mention, it was the next to last performance and we were all kind of sad about it. When you're in a play, the cast becomes like a family. You don't think you'll ever have to leave each other. There are inside jokes and caring for each other when you're sick and going out to do fun things before and after rehearsals and performances. Its really sad to have to depart from such a great group of people. We've all got each other on Facebook for the most part, but its not the same as seeing each other in person on a daily basis. Some of them are leaving the college after this semester, so I'll be lucky if I ever see them again. But such is life.

"Don't cry because it's over, smile  because it happened." -Dr. Seuss
The dream I had last night was kind of terrifying. I dreamed that I had a younger sister. She was maybe eight years old or so. And somehow she died. And I was left to hide the fact that she ever existed. I woke up terrified and with a headache. I hate dreaming about death. And I've always wanted a little sister, so the idea of this nonexistent sister dying sucks. I was tempted to try to write a book or short story about this, but I think that might be a bit too scary. There's a reason that I'm not going into detail about the dream here. And I don't think that doing so for a story would be very nice, on my brain or the brains of readers.

I've started reading the book "Afterworlds" by Scott Westerfeld. I got a signed copy at Barnes and Noble a little while back and was putting off reading it. It is SOOOOOOOO good. Its actually like two novels in one that go back and forth every other chapter. The first and main story is of Darcy, who is a newly contracted author. She wrote her book in the month of November (NANOWRIMO!!!) and managed to get an agent and got the book bought by a publishing company. She moves to New York and starts rewriting to finish before the next November and is supposed to write a sequel. The other book is the YA fiction book that Darcy "wrote", Afterworlds. Its about death and ghosts and psychopomps and a love story. Its great, but I don't enjoy it as much as I enjoy reading about Darcy trying to write.

This book has brought me back to editing and rewriting my Nanowrimo novel, Letters Home.  I want to have it sent off to an agent or publisher or both by November. That would be AMAZING. I just recently made a huge change in it though, so I have to finish the rewrites from that. In Afterworlds, Darcy says that she found out that when you write 2,000 words a day for a month, you get a 60,000 word novel. This is a lie. Even at 2667 words a day, you only get a 50,000 word novel in a month. That's the length of The Great Gatsby. This is not long enough to be a novel on its own, really. Not in the current times. You need to double that to make it good, in my opinion. Short stories are lovely, but they make the reader hate you for not writing more. Oh well. I'm going to try to do some writing today on the novel and write an essay for Theatre class and work on homework for Government class.


February 19, 2015

Opening Night!

Today, I come to you from a comfy place at home with a bible in my lap and a cup of ramen noodles right beside my laptop on the desk. Today is the opening night for And Then They Came For Me: Remembering The World Of Anne Frank. I had class this morning, which was supposed to be scene rehearsals with the director, but the guy who I am doing a scene with was sick, so he wasn't there. I sat in the hallway and chatted with my classmates for an hour instead. And since I didn't want to spend five hours sitting at the school, I decided to, for once, come back home before tonight's festivities. I feel like I need a power nap and a shot of espresso or something. I know that you're not supposed to have caffeine or dairy products before a performance, but I could really do with a Starbucks Frappuccino right about now. I almost stopped on the way home and got one.

The show starts at 7:30, but I have to be there at 6:30, which means I need to leave the house at like 5, to give myself plenty of time to get there. We have a show tonight, another tomorrow, two on Saturday, and another on Sunday. Then we have play festival next week and another performance that goes along with that. After that, I'm free for a little while, aside from two days of auditions before spring break. Then rehearsals for the short plays (one of which I'm directing!) begin after spring break.

I love Professor Skiles to death, but he does do some things as a director that I don't like. Mainly, he waits until the last minute for costume stuff. This meant that he didn't fix the low back on my dress, so I had to spend yesterday, rushing around before rehearsal, trying to find a tank top and a sports bra that were skin colored. I finally found them at walmart, but the tanktop had too high of a back. So, the two very hurried costume changes that occur backstage end up with me in tights, shorts, and a sports bra for about two minutes total. So much for modesty.

I'm really not too terribly scared about the performance though. Not yet anyway. An hour beforehand might be a different story. A lot of people that I know are coming to see this play. I'm not sure which night everyone is going to be there, but that doesn't matter so much. My parents and brothers will be there tonight. So will Sarah and possibly her family, though I'm not sure about that. My spanish teacher from high school was supposedly interested in coming, as was my theatre teacher. Ellen might be coming, though I'm not sure. Andrew might be coming one night. And some of the people that work with my parents will probably be coming too! Its crazy!!!

Yesterday, after I finished getting costume stuff, I cooled down by going thrift shopping in a couple of the shops in our town. I was mainly looking for books, and I found two. One is "Eat Pray Love", which looked like it might be good. That may be because I like books about food and travel and finding yourself though. Like Julie and Julia. I also found a new translation of the bible. New to me, though not too new in general. Its "The Message//Remix". I like it, although its not strict interpretation of the scripture. Its more like the bible put into common, everyday language. A little earlier, I was looking through it and found this verse:

Clear the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins,
from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed,
scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.

The thing about the message is that the verses kind of blend together, so I'm not sure if this is Psalm 19:12, 13, or 12-13. Doesn't matter too much though. I really like this verse. Like, I want it on my mirror whenever we move or something like that.

Well, I'm off to start an etsy shop and work on homework and read and possibly take a nap.


February 5, 2015

The Painted Girls: A Review

So, today I finished reading a book that I bought the last time I was in Old Town Spring as Ariel. I came across this tiny little book shop tucked in between several other businesses, called "Glow Worm". The place was packed with used books, many of which were in great condition. I definitely want to go back there, but in the meantime I have other books to read. The one that I picked up the one time that I went there was "The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan.

I had heard about this book before, but just a little bit. I thought that it was a story based on a painting of ballet girls that is part of the cover of the book. It wasn't exactly like that, however. I did end up loving the book regardless.

The book is based on a work of the artist Edgar Degas, the little dancer of fourteen years. The sculpture is of a ballet girl, Marie van Goethem. About half way through the book, I ended up looking up the sculpture to see what the main character was supposed to look like, and I was surprised that the facial features of the figure are more masculine and, as said in the book, "ape-like" than what I would have expected. The sculpture is made of wax, which was more of a temporary medium. The tutu, hair, and hair ribbon are real though, although the hair is covered in wax to preserve it. There are apparently many replicas that have been made and the tutus of the replicas vary. The actual sculpture resides in Washington DC at the national gallery of art, if I'm not mistaken. I think it would be neat to go and see it some day. That is one of the few reasons that I would ever want to go to Washington DC.

Anyway, this book tells the tale of two ballet girls who were sisters, Marie and Antoinette van Goethem. I don't want to give to much away from the plot, but these two girls in the book have a rough life. They go through extreme poverty and abuse and all kinds of terrible things. Antoinette doesn't make it far as a ballet girl and circumstances cause... Never mind. There's just too much that I could give away by saying anything about the plot.

This book is really unique in both that it is written about an existing character and that it is written from the perspectives from both of the main characters. The chapters go back and forth between Marie and Antoinette telling what is happening. Unlike many books with this style of storytelling, this book doesn't get boring in constantly re-telling the same events in different perspectives. There is also another layer of interest added to this book because it takes place in Paris in the 1870s and has a lot to do with ballet and the opera. There were quite a few words that I had to look up, but I am all for this! I love when an author actually uses the proper language when discussing a subject matter. In the Acknowledgements, it is obvious that this author did her research.

This wasn't a book that I could read really fast because of the amount of information and new vocabulary that I was coming across. I spaced it out over a couple of months with some other books thrown in the mix as a break from it. It is definitely a higher reading level book. I would say that this book is appropriate for a high level, mature middle schooler or a high schooler. The subject matter can get kind of intense at times too, which makes me think that a high school level person would be better for reading this book. I'd rate it PG-13 if it was a movie. But the thing is, it attempts to accurately portray how life was at that time. Life, even today, isn't always pretty and nice.

I'd give this book a 4 of 5 stars, just because I felt like I needed a background with ballet to fully understand parts of it. There were also a few pages here and there that were just blah and I felt myself just skimming it, not really taking in the words. It was a very wordy book. But if you can get past that, its fantastic. I would definitely reccomend this book to someone interested in Opera or Ballet or dance of any sort. Or even someone interested in famous artists, since that plays a large part in the plot also. Happy reading!


February 3, 2015

Into the Woods

Today is yet another rainy day that I am spending at school. January and February are just rainy months for Texas. I kinda hate it right now though. Its super cold and wet (although it hasn't flooded, thank God) and I have to stay indoors, especially since I'm finally getting over this stupid cold.

My day started at 7:00 this morning, when I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep when my parents left the house. And then, thirty minutes later, my alarm went off. Just a little while back, my phone charger died, so my mom bought me a new one. Sadly, it doesn't reach to my bunk, like the last one did. So, to turn off my alarm, I have to actually get out of bed now. It sucks. But I suppose that its good, since I'll be getting out of bed faster than I normally would. I did spend an excess amount of time on my phone today though, which meant that I had showered and gotten dressed, but not packed or done my hair or makeup with 30 minutes until I needed to leave the house. And, in all of this rush, I remembered my water bottle and my cup of tea, but forgot half of my lunch. I made it to school and then to class though.

Class today consisted of rehearsing a scene a few times with a classmate, Gigi, who is this gorgeous dancer, about a year younger than me at the most. I swear, she makes me feel like an ogre who was dressed by a colorblind grandma. She's fabulous and her clothes make her look like she belongs in a magazine or something. She's not a bad actress either. After rehearsing, we performed along with a bunch of other groups in front of the class and received a bit of a critique for the scene. We perform again on Thursday, but for a grade.

After class, I retreated to my car and enjoyed a solitary lunch of crackers and salami slices and water and a granola bar. I spent at least two hours in the car, reading and playing ukulele and texting Andrew. At that point, it was getting too cold to stay in the car and I didn't feel like starting the car to warm it up, so I walked across campus to the cafe above the library, where I am now. I spent an hour or so writing. I've gotten almost 7 pages handwritten of the newest novel idea that I have. I'm kinda wandering around in the story idea, blindly trying to figure out what happens next and what has already happened.

Think of when you were an unborn infant. You couldn't see anything, but at some point, you became aware that you existed. Your brain had formed to the point that you could respond to external stimulus like your parents' voices and whatnot. But you're still kind of in the dark, so you're feeling around with your unborn hands and feet, trying to figure out what your existence is. And suddenly one day you get born and you have this whole new universe to explore and figure out, but you kind of have people to guide you along the way. I'm still at that point of unborn curiosity with my story. I don't understand much of anything, I just know that the story is there and that something is happening with it. I'm trying to get to the point where the writing will really start and the ideas will really start forming a definite outline of a story. Did that make any sense?

I think I might have to get some kind of snack from the snack machine some time soon. Stupid self. Why did I have to leave half of my lunch at home?

In other news, I went to see Into The Woods this weekend with Sarah and spent some time afterwards at the mall. I have fallen in love with the musical again. I watched a video of the onstage version when I was in high school in theatre class. I loved it, but everyone else in my class hated it, or at least acted like it. People in college don't hate it though. We go around singing and listening to the songs during rehearsals. I'VE FOUND MY PEOPLE. I've got the soundtrack and have been listening to it in my car as I go back and forth from school. I get to listen to it basically one and a half times each day, approximately. My favorite song has to be Agony. Or maybe just the part of Into the Woods with little red riding hood. Or the part on the stairs of the palace. There are lots of little parts that I like more than the whole.

OMG. There's a janitor/custodian lady who is cleaning up right where I am. Apparently, sweeping right by/under people's feet is okay now. Or maybe I'm rude for not being somewhere else. Idk. Its an awkward thing. Sorry.

Oh well. I'm probably going to go to the theatre building in a little bit and watch a movie on my laptop or memorize lines or write or read or listen to music or something.


February 2, 2015

Highlights and A Book Review

Good morning ladies and gents who read this here blog. Gah, I have some strange ways of starting a blog. This morning, I am coming to you from my kitchen table. I've got a cold and my youngest brother has a stomach bug, so he and I and my mother are all at home today, which is why I'm at the kitchen table, getting highlights put into my hair. I figured that this would be the perfect time to sit down and write my review of "I Am Malala" by Malala Yousafzai.

Malala Yousafzai is the girl who was shot in the head by islamic terrorists a while back and ended up surviving. This book is her retelling of the events and those before and after in her life.

Let me start off by correcting myself to some extent. Something that Malala states in her book is that she doesn't want to be known as the girl who was shot by terrorists. The whole reason that she was targeted was that Malala was an activist who spoke out for girls education. You see, Malala's father ran a school in Pakistan, where they lived. This school was special because it allowed for girls who lived nearby to get an education in a world where most girls stayed at home until they were married off. Malala loved school and, as the book tells, was quite good at it.

However, there came a time when girls were now banned from attending school. This was because of the terrorists that were in control of the country. It became dangerous for a female to even go out in the streets without her whole body covered and a man by her side. Many were beaten to death and even shot because of this. Still, Malala and her father worked to let girls be able to get an education.

Malala ended up doing interviews and a blog and other things speaking out for girls rights to education. This, of course, did not please the Taliban, which is why she and her father became targets and Malala was shot on the school bus on the way home from school on October 9th, 2012.

Her story didn't end there, though. Malala spent quite some time in the hospital, going through surgeries and getting better. And none of this hindered her from wanting to work for children everywhere to get an education. She speaks about it and has written books about her story. She was even awarded a nobel peace prize in 2014!

This book tells her story, and it is a really inspiring and eye opening story. She was just a normal kid, but she's made a huge impact. I ended up reading the "young readers version", which is put into language that can be understood by a fourth or fifth grader. There is more than one version of the book. My version had pictures in it also. I'd give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It would probably be appropriate for someone in fifth grade or older. It was really interesting to read her story and know more about it than was told in the news. I'd recommend this book to a younger reader. I would say to be warned that some of this book deals with very serious, scary issues though.

I enjoyed it and I hope you do to, if you choose to read it. My next review will probably be of the book "Painted Girls".