Monday, February 6, 2017

// playlist: favorite sopranos+mezzos //

click here-playlist: favorite sopranos+mezzo-sopranos

my love for opera is no secret- but lately I've really been feeling inspired to try to share the love. so, here's a 2 hour playlist of some of my favorite sopranos/mezzo-sopranos singing well known arias. I'm no expert so I've most likely missed some important singers/songs, but these are ones that I know and love. I hope you enjoy and maybe even get your interest piqued to learn more about the songs! Look up lyric translations and synopsis' of the plot of the opera the aria is from. You'll find that hidden in the foreign languages and virtuosic singing are human emotions and messages, just like you'd find in indie-pop, or folk, or jazz, or... you name it!  I'm convinced a lot more people would like opera if they understood it- which is why I'm starting to learn more myself, not just because I'm interested in going into opera professionally, but also so I can share it with others!! I may start periodically posting a specific aria with a brief synopsis and explanation of the aria, and maybe explain in depth just why I'm so fond of opera- would anyone be interested in that or would it bore you? I'm just not sure where I'm going with this blog anymore and I want to get back into the swing of things and start posting again. anyways, enjoy the playlist!

Monday, January 30, 2017

// flash fiction- the beginning of the end of the world //

The new moon hung low in the sky, a narrow yellow crescent in the dark like the slitted eye of a resting but ominously watchful cat. My breath hit the air in small explosions of smoke. I’d left the flashing lights far behind but I could still feel them in the frantic beat of my heart.

It was the beginning of the end of the world.

The strangest part (it occurred to my mind, slowly) that the oddest thing, the thing that was bothering me most, was the silence. No sirens, no screaming. Just a long, dead nothingness. I was standing in the dark, the edge of a tree branch jabbed into my shoulder. I moved aside a little, staring into the dark with confusion, my arms held out from my body. Then I remembered- I had bolted.

The lights, the men pouring from cars and tanks like beads from an overturned container, helicopters hovering and beating the air like giant hornets, the rush of people through doors and down halls and the rush of blood to my head. Mr. Lee - he’d pressed something into my hand. I clenched my fist onto an envelope. I hadn’t failed him yet, that was a relief. I began walking, slowly, continuing to piece together what had happened.

The lights, oh those lights- the darkness wasn’t a fear but a blessing after those lights. We’d been standing, the last of us, on the steps of the school and all the lights had gone dull as one light, brighter than them all, had suddenly leapt on us like a ghostly bird of prey from the sky. Mr. Lee had put the envelope in my hand, behind my back and then, unable to stand it, I had broken away, into woods where soldiers wouldn’t dare follow. A futile cry of halt, Mr. Lee’s voice calling my name, my own footsteps crunching through the snow as the darkness had welcomed me.

It suddenly struck me how hard my heart was throbbing. I hadn’t run like that since- it was bizarre in that moment to have a flash back to childhood. I could see Christy now- his hair flopping and damp on his forehead as he leapt after me. The sunlight and green, tender yet prickly grass… me laughing and gasping as my hands smashed against a tree-

My hand did collide with a tree, jerking me into the present again. A strange foreshadowing that had been. For it was true again, in some ways. Details changed- no sun, no laughter now. But Christy behind me, somewhere, threatening my victory. And me determined as I’d always been- to win.

xx this isn't inspired by world current events, although it probably would be more worthwhile to address those. anyways, it's inspired by (heartlessly enough) an accident scene earlier tonight that detoured us on the way home. the streetlights gave everything this extra, harsh drama, and then on the other side was that narrow-eyed moon. i transported, what can I say, and words started forming- so this happened xx

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

// untitled //

via pinterest
She stood still, frozen by the warmth of his nearness. She stared a desperate plea into the placid eyes of the painting she faced. Her thoughts darted to the statues in the next gallery and she envied them. Standing in elegant attitudes, sculpted in cool marble- what if they, too, were struck with the sudden breath of a certain cologne, or the way the air shifts and strokes you with a phantom touch when someone moves close by? As her heartbeat called her attention back, her last thought was that the graven images in the next room would surely fracture and melt if they were, like the living beings they represented, cursed with the blessing of sensation.  
He still stood, off to one side and just behind her, She didn’t know what to do- she felt as a bird must feel when it flies, all blithe and unsuspicious, into a closed area and cannot find a window again. He made no sign that he had ever noticed her, not now or ever before, in the hallways and class rooms they shared. She’d noticed him all right- fallen hopelessly and foolishly for his calm, sphinx-like face and dark, vaguely sardonic eyes observing the world from behind horn-rimmed glasses. For the way he held his pen, gracefully, as though it were the natural extension of his long, strongly veined hand as it carved firm script across the page. For the way his voice, quiet and self-assured, answered questions the other boys simply gaped at. Most of all for the time she’d seen him, curled knees to chest with a book (one she knew wasn’t for class, a book of old poems about Kind Arthur) balanced in one hand, and a cup of tea in the other. No, she hated him- almost- she hated herself for loving him, more. 
She was still outwardly studying the painting, but in her minds eye was only his slim form, in his coat and button down shirt. He was in her blind spot but she didn’t need sight to know, in detail, everything about his unwelcome? or was it welcome? presence. She thought sure he should be in class at this hour. She herself needed to be back in 15 minutes and it would take 10 minutes at a brisk walk 
Darn him! She thought half heartedly, knowing full well that this was not his fault, but hers alone. Was it really so hard to just turn and walk by him? Even- imagine- smile at him? The insistence of her own anxiety that any movement would make her stand out like a painted elephant, make her look like a fool, was nonsense and her rational mind knew it. Unfortunately, her mind wasn’t cooperating with itself. 
It struck her that she would most likely be late for class now, and have to face that conspicuous shame on top of the trial she was currently undergoing. Betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, she thought ruefully. She shut her eyes, trying to find a moment of courage. Now or never, she steeled herself and turned, flipping her long hair over her shoulder and facing him to find him turning at the same time. Their eyes met. Against her own realism she thought his face flickered, even show a trace of recognition, or something like it. Her courage failed her and she ducked her head, clutched her pocketbook and hurried away. 
He stood frozen, shocked by the sudden appearance and absence of her. He had seen her, maybe, knew her as a vague form from his familiar life. But never noticed her, really noticed her- until now. His thoughts spiraled as he trailed, hands in pockets, in the same direction she had gone. He, too, had a class to make. He had only come here for a moment of reflection and relaxation, something he did often and always with success. Until today, that is. 
The walk passed without his realizing and as he entered the building he was startled to see her again, slipping with a guilty movement into a class room, heavy book bag in hand. His heart quickened. In that moment it seemed he should have known she was there all along, that they should have been together somehow. Regardless, he knew now. And they would, they must, be together at last.
(what even is this) (I should have written in first person? I guess?) (I really don't know) (at least I posted) (bye)

Thursday, January 5, 2017

// excerpt from a (non-fiction, actually) novel I'll most likely (because it's real and we can read it in the graffiti on walls and garbage dumpsters) never write //

...The tall fence cast fishnet shadows on her legs, her arms, her face. She was so trapped, and in so many ways. A fish in a ever-shrinking net, a girl enmeshed in the perverted cage of her surroundings. A kid stuck behind a chainlink fence at midnight, when the door is locked. But day doesn't come...

Saturday, December 24, 2016

// the christmas ornaments //

The Christmas Ornaments

via pinterest 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to miss little things. Seemingly unimportant things. To hurry by the displays of ornaments, tugging children away before they break something - is that little glass trinket really $12?!

Away you rush, leaving the sparkling trees behind without noticing a little white tulle clad, balletic fairy hanging and twirling on the limb of a silver, tinsel tree. Nor do you notice a handsome, bright nutcracker just across the aisle, standing-or dangling - at attention, on a green tree decked in festive color. It certainly would never cross your mind to look close enough to notice their tiny faces, frozen into wide-eyed stares that had been fixed on each other since the beginning of the season.

Until the day before Christmas Eve. A little old lady wrapped in a thick, warm sweater hobbled in from the frigid parking lot and paused at the dazzling display of trees. She had just found out that her daughter and grandchildren were coming home for Christmas and she wanted something special to brighten up the house. She selected a tube of bright, shiny balls, some tinsel and colorful lights and a twinkling yellow star. Then she looked around for something more- and her eyes fell on the fairy and the nutcracker. A smile split her soft, wrinkled face as she gently took them from their trees and went to make her purchases. Her grandson would surely love the soldierly nutcracker. And her little granddaughter would be entranced by the fairy, she just knew it. 

So, the nutcracker and the fairy went home with her. She lived in a little house on a quiet side street. In the living room, amidst bookshelves, squishy, comfy chairs and old rabbit-eared TV set, stood a little evergreen tree. She set down her bag of trimmings and dusted off her record player. It took her a little while to sort through her stack of old records but eventually she found her Christmas ones and started them spinning. Bing Crosby’s deep, homey voice filled the house as she began trimming the tree, humming along to the tunes in her crackly voice, worn like her records but still lovely. Slowly but surely, the tree was transformed into color. The nutcracker and the fairy went on last of all, side by side near the top of the tree. Satisfied, the old lady brewed some tea, and sat admiring the tree and watching a TV program before heading to bed.

The next day her daughter and grandchildren arrived in a whirl, with all the noise and bustle that holiday visits bring. Bags to be unpacked, presents to be set under the tree, treats to be eaten - but the tree didn’t go unnoticed. The little girl had scampered over to look up at it, reaching up to try to touch the fairy before darting away again. After the hubbub had died down, the grandmother led them over to admire the tree properly, showing them their special ornaments with pride. Even the daughters sad, lined face lightened a little as the tree unlocked memories of carefree childhood Christmases. Before long the sky grew dark and they all dressed up and headed off to the church for Christmas Eve service. Not a sound could be heard in the house. Outside, snow began to fall.

When the family returned, the little girl was asleep and the boy nearly so. They were both put to bed and the mother and daughter soon followed suit. The still, silent living room was filled with the blue light of the moon, peeking in fits through the clouds. The clock was ticking…tick…tick… until it was the last minute of Christmas Eve. Then the hand touched midnight.

We’ve all heard the tales of magical things happening on Christmas night. Animals gifted with speech, a fat jolly man and his reindeer traveling around the world in record time, or Christmas trees growing, wooden toys coming to life and mouse armies waging war in living rooms. And while it’s hard to say whether any such stories are true, it is certain that if any night in the year feels like something special is about to happen-could happen - it’s Christmas. Deep down we all sense the wonder of this night of nights when the supernatural really did touch earth, once upon a time. When stars and angels sang, when kings brought treasures. Is it any surprise, then, that so many stories have been told about fantastical adventures happening? Or that we, no matter what, always hold in our hearts a childlike belief in this ‘magic’ of Christmas? 

What happened as the clock struck twelve? No flash of light or chime of bells. If anything, only a deeper hush in the already silent night.  Then something stirred, barely audible even had there been anyone awake to hear. Like a breath, or the stir of a breeze, the tree seemed to quiver, inhale and exhale. Then, near the top of the tree- a movement. A glisten of moonlight on sparkling tulle. A flash from martial, golden trim. 

With a graceful gentle movement, the fairy stretched her arms to their fullest, then swooped them down like bird wings. The nutcracker briskly brought his gun from his shoulder and then held it across his chest. Both looked around, wondering and blinking, then turned toward each other. 
The strings that had held them captive had melted into nothing, like snow in spring. The warmth now was not that of the season, but of the heart. The nutcracker set aside his gun. The fairy smoothed her skirt. He held out his hand, and she took it. An old music box, sitting on a bric-a-brac shelf, began to play a Christmas Waltz. And, together, they began to dance. The tinsel glistened, a draft stirred the sheer, pale curtains. Outside, the sliver-edged snow clouds parted and the stars in the dark sky were like a mirror to the ice and the lights below. 

They didn’t speak. No words were needed, really. Just the moment- the music-the magic. This brief time would have to last for forever. It was their forever. Even when the gentle ring of the music box faded and they were held fast to the tree once more, even when they were tucked into darkness for another year- in their hearts they would dance together until the next Christmas Eve. And then the next. Just as the world, each year, seems to slow into a loving dance and become blanketed with peace and light, the ballerina and the nutcracker would find the promise of love each year. Just as people, trapped in our endless solar circuit, in wars and tears and darkness, can see- for one moment each year- the star’s eternal light, they would be able to remember what it means to be real. What it will be. What the angels really meant when they sang-

‘Peace on Earth’

xx merry christmas everyone. as a side note, I haven't been able to get out of my mind the awful contrast between our Christmas and that of the people of Aleppo. I can't put words to what this juxtaposition makes me think or feel- but pray for those people.  xx

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

// parable of the tiny kernel //

There was a man who searched for many years to find something that was worth his life's work. He began to grow jaded, disillusioned with what the world had to offer. In disgust, he moved to the country  taking a little, secluded farmhouse and completely abandoning the brilliant, scholarly world he had once inhabited.

While he was cleaning out the barn, deep within the feed bin he found one, tiny kernel. Seized by a sudden impulse, he took it out and planted it, placing markers around it so he would remember its location. He didn’t think much more about it but continued his labors, tending it occasionally when he found many weeds grown up or if the weather was dry. Later in the year, it sprouted and grew into a tall, vivid stalk of corn. He ate one piece and was astonished by the satisfaction he found in its flavor. He saved the rest to plant the next year.

When it rolled around he did so. Instead of just one plant, several grew. This went on over the years until his original kernel had multiplied into enough to feed a village. Then he had enough to spread across the countryside. Eventually, his variety of corn had become so well known it was in demand around the world.

By now, the man had grown old. And he realized that, at last, he had found the truth for which he had sought. 

A little kernel can grow and touch the world. Tiny bits of truth, kindness or corn can have an impact far beyond their size if one only takes the time to cultivate and spread them.