Hamilton, Musical, Powerful, Soul Imprinting

Don’t believe that you can truly understand more than one thing at a time. Not 100 percent if you are multitasking. Not even mothers will have 100 percent understanding as they deal with work, commute, screaming child, sick child, obnoxious child who learned how to blow chocolate milk through his nose. No, each of those things can balance the others, some outbalance the others, but you can’t experience the whole picture. If most cases, you don’t want that whole picture. But then there are musical performances, books of a pure truth, insights that leave you momentarily undone. So it is with Hamilton.

It’s the sound, the pulse that bleeds into your awareness. Music is the novel of passion, played upon a stage that requires your ‘mind’, body and soul. Great operas ripped the tears from the ones who got it. Madam Butterfly, The Telephone, Bernstein’s Mass, 1776, Westside Story, these will catch you and leave you breathless feeling that you have felt or learned something great. They are stories. Novels.

With greatness that we miss in our busy days filled with office, school, ball games, little league, ballet lessons, commutes, and tae Kwon do, because we don’t pause to see. Great novels make the soul weep. Flowers for Algernon, the first time I read it out loud to students ripped into my consciousness and left me crumpled in front of fifth graders. When the principal walked in on the weeping, he backed out and never said a word. The Reprieved Reformation about a safe cracker who found a reason to change, to lose his greed and save his humanity. AS I Stand Here Ironing, a look at a mother, whose daughter once again is in trouble. Whose teacher wants the parent conference (hear the drumroll of fate calling), but who is HER daughter, HER creation.

Hamilton, a poor boy, orphaned, witness to plagues and treasuries, a man hated and reviled, clung to by women and worshipped, a man against odds, the man who created the treasury, and a duel. It plays like a Shakespearean Novel on the top 20 list of the BOTM  (book of the month) club. And it’s the presentation.

I performed in Bernstein’s Mass (what does a Jewish composer know of Catholicism?) where the priest who loses his faith, his congregation and his soul was portrayed as a young priest starting out and the disillusionment, the delusionment, the despair he felt that tore him to shreds balanced on notes that are harmonic in their disharmony. It tore us as performers apart, it silenced the audience and they left quietly, thinking. I saw it at the Kennedy Center the same way. It was beautiful and framed perfectly. I saw it at Lord Albert’s Hall where the priest was portrayed as a pedipiile and that WAS WRONG. It made me sick to watch or listen to it. The tenor changed the entire message. He was a tenor. Really. A European, a German tenor with a skeptical look at any chance of purity in the Church. A tenor who thought that Bernstein was mocking the church. No really, a German tenor trying to understand a jewish composer’s view of the catholic church as the congregation took and used…never mind, it just didn’t feel like what I had performed and seen performed. Granted I am from the upper MidWest where even the atheists have a feeling of respect for some concepts of church and community, except for pedipiiles.

That’s what we are trying to do, isn’t it? Trying to effect our readers and public with our vision of the world at that instant. Music takes the instants and compounds the eyes with ears, the blood with pulse, the soul with wonder, fear or hatred. I should have put my two careers together before this, the narration of exploring a saga by pace made so much clearer to me now.

I’m an intellectual, know as a nerd in this time and place, and I am attempting to write the great novel of my time. Arrogance in the least application. No, not arrogance. I want to be a writer to leave a footprint that I understood something beyond what I am now. I want to be for the future to seek guidance from and to turn that which is bloody and awful to a tale told by a fool about the purity of man.

It’s the sound, the pulse, the overwhelming focus on one incredible thing at a time. It’s a message that must speak of itself. It’s the dark calling to the nightmares, setting them into patterns. It’s why children put their noses under the covers while their eyes search the shadows.

Then the man from Hamilton speaks of his upbringing in Puerto Rico, an American territory. He tells of the tragedy of poverty, of exploitation by hedge funds who now attempt to topple the people by placing demands for payment against a government not allowed to file for bankruptcy. He speaks in the language of the musical Hamilton. He appears on shows including John Oliver’s. We know John Oliver as a man of intelligence and integrity who has a campaign against cigarettes internationally with Dave, a diseased lung. We know him as the exposer of lies and corruption. That he sides with Hamilton in his pursuit for justice for his home gives it credence.

The sound of children crying from hunger, orphans, health care costing twice for the same system we have on the mainland. They became a territory as a result of war. They have an honor roll of US Veterans of War and believe in the US as part of their nation. They still see the our hope as theirs. So we walk away and leave them adrift in a world of greed where teachers can’t teach because there is no money.

Hamilton. Novels, Operas, Comedies, Lies, Justice, Defeat. Ultimately, in order to understand life, you have to stop and focus on just that. You have to let go of what you think and what you feel without the experience and open your heart to the message. Hamilton has a focus for today. It’s powerful. I hope to write a novel with that kind of power of exposure someday.

When Trouble Came

When the grass was short,
Knees were barked and
Giggles lasted through the day.

When the weeds grew wild,
Skirts were short and
Glasses magnified the world.

When the leaves fell,
Streams were colored,
Work was life endowed.

When the ice blew,
Snow drifts suffered,
Adult eyes grew jaded.

When trouble struck,
Murder most cruel,
Debts buried mountains.

When color drained,
Blood was forgotten, but
Genocide prevailed.

When liberty hid her head,
Shamed and lonely,
Safety became an illusion of the past.

When false men screamed in anger,
Children met death,
Streets rained red with blood.

When jealous greed drank a draught,
Slowly sip by sip, glad
Blindness filled our eyes.

When police dressed in shrouds,
Denying other’s truth,
Armed repressions stole freedom.

When children looked for justice,
Winter came early,
Paris was set aflame.

I’m Happy

I caught a glance of myself from the corner of my eye this morning and had to stop and look. I looked…happy. Not the usual answer to people who look at me and say, “Are you happy?” but an unbidden, unjudged slightly smiled unthinking happy. It took me by surprise. I was in full thought about the book I’m writing and had put the dogs out for a break. Surely, that was an optimistic moment. I was writing and working through new thoughts, trying to put them in words that weren’t too redundant. And I had been thinking that I had missed Renkian’s birthday two days ago, summer was coming, shh, don’t wake the daddy, dogs. It was all in a rush, just as I typed it, but I was happy.

My trees behind the house are still filling in and suburbia has disappeared. The flowers in front are blooming with no assistance on my part. The kitchen is clean. I should have expected the happy feeling. There are enough trials I’ve gone through and difficult times that I smiled though, but that isn’t the type of thing that brings my inner happy out. It’s simplicity.

When I was small I would sing to the fairies who lived in the rose bushes. I would dance for my springer spaniel and enjoy the tea I served her. I took naps with the puppies she had so they would not be lonely. I followed my mother wanting to move with her mysterious knowledge of what was important in her life. I would pretend to be asleep so my dad would carry me in from the car, jealous that I wasn’t younger still. I would look at snowflakes for hours through the window and be the great SNOWMONSTER in my blue snowsuit and red boots. I knew the names of all of the ladybugs that swarmed in my yard searching for aphids for dinner. I found the inside of boxes most fascinating and would sit in them for hours just looking at things.

People say they don’t understand women. I’m so simple though. If a thought bends toward the color of the sky, rose, rainbow, I’m full of the happiness that small things bring. Bring me a cup of tea, happy. A dandelion, happy. Spring rain, happy. A book, happy. Let me make you something? Happy. I want to share things with the world. I want the world to understand that today, I’m kind, sweet, silly but most of all I’m happy.

Give me a moment to watch a ballgame and I’m so happy for the young men who play and try to keep that game focused on Baseball. They’re happy. I watch Rendon on TV hit the ball with a graceful swing, I’m happy. It’s not things in life that make life important. I believe it’s enjoying the moments of life. So, today I found myself happy as I hadn’t been in a long time. My reflection spoke in loud whispers. I can’t hide the fact that my nature will not dwell for long on the sad, worrisome or terrible. Somewhere that little voice will call from, just loud enough for me to hear, and I’ll see that little smile in the mirror again. I’m happy.



I was young and foolish once.
I was wise beyond my years.
Strong and powerful
A new mother
A fight to save my love
I was a prizefighter too.

Now I look back and smile,
I was powerful once,
I am alive now
Because of those memories.
Looking back, gives
Me pride, a surge of resilience,

And I can make it through


My Secret Garden

In winter, my yard survives with drab browns that have ten thousand shades, and yet still seem the same. My husband paces, back and forth, thinking of all the work we need to do. It’s too cold, windy, or just depressing in winter, so we stay inside and warm ourselves with sweaters.

I have secrets about my backyard. Sometime at the end of January, snowdrops lift their cheery white bonnets and lean towards each other to whisper that Spring will come. They keep me from feeling lost with all the browns. Even though I can see my neighbors behind me, little things start to happen. In March, we had the grape muscari lift  blooms taller each day. The lilacs budded, cherry trees bloomed, pear trees followed, then the lilacs opened and the smell in the evening like the sweetest perfume. My azaleas always bloom after the rest of the neighborhood’s have finished. Green creeps along the branches, maples flower, seed, then leaf. And all of the time, when small things are growing, my house begins to disappear. Oh granted, there is weeding to be done. Trimming has to start sometime, but I stall. I like the violets in the grass. The yard needs sprucing, who am I to complain. I need sprucing myself.

The tall black locusts, once used for main masts on sailing ships, thrive in the common ground where no one bothers to mow. Blooming every other year, they are trailing white pea flower shapes that chart the wind for me. Pawpaws, dogwood, four red buds, two towering plane trees fill in the missing puzzle pieces.

The iris sprung straight from the ground in April. Hurrying to be counted, they stood straight and tall in the rain. Sixteen days of rain, which turned the yard greener than I remember it. It’s like this every spring. Daffodils, roses, everything bloomed before its time this year, and I’d not give it up. So many different colors beaming at me.

The best of all, though, are the small green tree frogs that sing every day at sunset, into the night, until exhausted, they sneak away to hide until the next evening. Their song cheers me when nothing else can. It’s only May, and the garden has had its own thoughts of bluebells, zinnias, geraniums, and fuchsia. Looking down the back hill into a small runoff of water, to small for a stream, there will be fireflies. And the yard hides the world of worry away from me until November returns.