What is Your Music of the Night?

This morning whilst sorting laundry, I was treated to a rare concert. One of my house guest’s eight children is quite proficient at piano; as such, she was giving our lovely not-quite-as-prestigious-as-a-grand-piano some exercise.

Beginning with “The Phantom of the Opera,” she worked her way through to “The Music of the Night.” -At about an Allegro. I think Michael Crawford, wherever he is, felt a jolt. Heaven help me, I had to stop her.

First I exhorted her to slow down. Then I used words like, “hypnotic” and “seductive.” I finally pulled out YouTube and our portable speaker and let The Master explain it to her.

As a child I would lay next to the speakers in our family room and allow the entire 1986 original London cast to wash over me. Envelop me. Yes, even hypnotize and seduce me. My sister and I pored over the included playlist, read its stage notes, pictured in our minds what the music and speaking parts outlined.

I saw the daring, terrifying phantom descend into the masquerade. I trembled with pleasure at the image of his masked form waiting just behind Christine Daaé’s mirror. And I wept inside whenever I heard his echo to the romantic interchange between Christine and Raoul (skip to 4:03).

My poor visiting piano player didn’t know any of that, of course. How could she?

After I returned to my laundry, I thought about music. I thought about S. Chersis mentioning books as a craving and how that put me in mind of songs that I must listen to until satiation.

Phantom is not the only music I’ve loved. It’s not the only music I still love and still need to ingest periodically. I also cannot live without Chopin, The Pixies, Offenbach, Led Zeppelin, Book on Tape Worm, Evanescence, Weezer, Holst, Eminem, Prokoviev

When I use the word “love,” I do not exaggerate. These songs and others reach a part of me that nothing else can and help me to feel again.

Does anyone else ever get that way with music? What songs speak to you? Have you any that always have and always will?

mpumelelo-macu-9p-DsBtSygA-unsplash

—————-

Plug into your favorites, and read what I wrote this past week:
Wednesday, June 26: Delved into our secret tastes with “Have You Any Guilty Pleasures?

Thursday, June 27: Re-blogged Lunch Break Fiction’s fantastic story, “Where the Wild Things Were.”

Friday, June 28: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Bereaved Single Dad!

Saturday, June 29: Announced the 32nd Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is ‘Little Willie’ poems. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, June 30: Nothing. Still have house guests.

Monday, July 1: Re-blogged The Pale Rook‘s piece about self-value and creation. She’s an amazing writer and artist; check her out!

Tuesday, July 2: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Seven.”

Wednesday, July 3: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “A Return to the Dentist,” “A House Full of Kids is a House Full of Love,” and “A Very Short Parenting Poem.”

 

Photo Credit:
Mpumelelo Macu

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Mystery Blogger Awarded

Thanks to Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Masterfulness for nominating me last week; and on my birthday, no less!

Here are my answers to Beckie’s awesome queries:

  1. Do you collect something, if so, what?
    I just might have a problem collecting books. Yes, I can quit when I -okay; no, no I can’t.

    susan-yin-647448-unsplash.jpg

    may have more than this.

  2. Other than writing, do you have any other hobbies or activities that you enjoy?
    I am a mother and housewife (and regular wife, and taxi, and….) “other than writing.” *Sigh* As such, my other hobbies need to fit between the cracks. They include reading, running, camping, and artsing.
  3. What is your most embarrassing moment in public?
    I puked on several kids at our choir concert in fifth grade.
  4. If you had your choice of sleeping on a bed of nails or eating chocolate covered ants, which would you choose, and why?
    I seriously think this question needs more parameters. I mean; if I only had to sleep on the nail bed for ten seconds, that’d be fine. If I only had to try one ant, that would also be fine.
    Mostly I don’t think I would be able to sleep on nails or chew insects.

    mi_shots-410599-unsplash.jpg

    Cute; but, UGH!

  5. What is your worse pet-peeve?
    I’ve been thinking about this one. My worst pet-peeve is people being selfish, especially at the expense of others. Seriously, people, have some manners if you can’t have empathy.

Some of my favorite posts I giggled to myself over include “Encounter in the Alley,” “Silent but Tardy,” “Everlore,” “My Muse,” and “A Spoonful of Limericks.”

Any stragglers-on to my blog know I’m not a huge fan of this chain mail thing, so my nominees are more a list of blogs I follow that I highly recommend you all check out. If they want to answer the questions, more power to them.

Len of Len’s Daily Diary. Brilliant mind, touching observations, and excellent story-teller.

Treeshallow Musings. She’s a gifted poet and word-painter.

Geoff. If you haven’t read Mr. LePard yet, that may be better for your health.

H.R.R. Gorman. Also an excellent writer; delving into a little sci-fi, a little horror, a little fun.

Beverly Hughes. One of my favorite people. She writes moving and insightful posts about mental illness and her journeyings.

Official Nominees: you may choose to answer my questions:

  • Is there anything chocolate cannot solve?
  • Are fabric softeners really effective?
  • Who is your favorite Disney princess?
  • Which storybook villain would always win a limerick competition?
  • If you could vote for anyone to be leader of your respective country, who would it be and why wouldn’t it be Girl Scout Tagalong cookies?

If interested, here are the rules and such:

Rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.
  4. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.
  8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
  10. Share a link to your best post(s).

Photo Credits:
Susan Yin
mi_shots

Take Me as I Am

Take me as I am

I am
feelings-
They run deep. and strong. and personal.

I am
woman-
I have hormones. and instincts. and issues.

I am
smart-
I love words. a clever joke. or a math puzzle.

I am
average-looking-
With small eyes. a big nose. a few imperfect teeth.

I am
human-
I make mistakes. have flaws. feel embarrassing moments.

I am
capable-
I am! I am! I am!

I am me, and am not another

Take me as I am

And stop apologizing.

20180413_085453

The Sunshine Blogger Award Thingie

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Anisha over at Charlie and the Cerebration Factory nominated me (with 10 others) for The Sunshine Blogger Award. If I understand correctly, this makes me unique just like everybody else.

The rules* are stuck down at the end of this post. If you make it there, you can read them all. First, though, I need to answer eleven questions.

  1. Name one thing unique to your country that you’re proud of and why.
    So… I’m American. There are a heck of a lot of people here, and a wide variety of them at that. I am proud of how clean and functional most things are here. Most things.
  2. Would you rather read a Sci-fi or a medieval fantasy?
    The choice of what to read depends on the day, but I enjoy both science fiction and medieval fantasy. I do not enjoy purely romance stories.
  3. What’s the best quote you’ve come up with so far?
    For today: “(O)ur friends and family don’t have to be idiots.” From Depression for Dummies.
  4. Do you have any life mottos that you abide by? If yes, what are they?
    I do not really have a life motto. I do enjoy a good, inspirational quote occasionally and like to post the ones I’m fond of.
  5. If you could bring back one dead person to life, who would it be?
    If I could animate a dead person without negative repercussions, I’d pick Jesus. No, seriously. We need healing.
  6. Name a famous person you’d like to go on a date with.
    IF a famous person would agree to go on a date with me and be cordial about the whole thing, I’d pick Emma Thompson. I’m married so I can’t pick a dude, after all.
    Sybill Trelawney looking mystically mad from the Prisoner of Azkaban
  7. If you could be omnipotent for a day, what would you do? (And no, you can’t wish to be omnipotent forever, all you Chandlers)
    With all power, I would first play with the dynamics of time so that I might accomplish much more than everyone else in the cosmos. I’d create some light and dark, separate waters, create animals, build people that look like me, then take a long sleep.
  8. List some things you want to do before you die.
    Before I leave this world, I’d like to publish a book and get rich and famous. Really, though, my goal of never having to do housework again might be more attainable.
  9. Would you rather be able to read minds or to control time? Why?
    Given the choice between mind-reading and time-control I’d pick playing with time ANY DAY. Do you know the sick things people are thinking about? Just talk to my boys and they’ll tell you.
  10. Does blogging ever feel like a burden to you?
    When it’s about time for a serial story to be due and I haven’t read my reader’s feed for three days and the dishes and laundry still need to be done EVERYTHING feels like a burden.
  11. What’s your favourite kind of weather?
    love LOVE LOVE the ominous, wild, windy period just before a storm. It’s almost as fantastic as standing in the storm as it rages around me.
    nilotpal-kalita-644451-unsplash

I hope you had fun reading my responses, or at least exercised your skimming muscles. In terms of who to torture nominate next, I’ll give you my list of cool blogs to follow:

  1. Cricketmuse: a highly intelligent writer who will get published before I do and will then send me a signed copy out of pity. (Please?)
  2. Sunshine and Robins: a sweet, talented writer who tells about daily struggles and then shares tasty recipes I can’t eat because she lives on the other side of the world.
  3. Fractured Faith Blog: Stephen (and his family, occasionally) share thoughts on writing, life-ing, running, and faithing in a personal and relatable way.
  4. Beauty Beyond Bones: Caralyn hardly needs the attention, but I like to read her posts because she is also an excellent writer who has spot-on opinions about life and recovery.
  5. Little Fears: The Pun King. He’d argue he was working on his punmanship. He also draws little pictures, narrates them, and is extremely good at the whole networking/blogging thing.
  6. Heylookawriterfellow: Mike doesn’t need the attention either, but he’s a funny guy and you’ll like his posts. Just try him.
  7. Myths of the Mirror: Diana is a (darn good!) published author whom I don’t know very well but whom I respect. She always responds to comments and is always the nicest person for it.
  8. Lunch Break Fiction: It is what it is, and they are interesting stories.
  9. Trefology: Short, odd, and possibly to a point.
  10. Read After Burnout: Yet another great writer. You watch: he’ll be published before me, too. Yes you will, Mike.
    You may want to fix your header, though. I can’t read a thing.
  11. Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50: LA has astute and engaging observations of her daily life in New York City. I enjoy reading her perspective.

If you felt left out not being named, don’t. I already named a few last award thingie, plus I need to save some in case it happens again.

If those who were named feel like it, here are my questions:

  1. Why did the chicken cross the road?
  2. What’s black and white and red all over?
  3. Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?
  4. Where do you see yourself in five years?
  5. What would you say is your greatest weakness, and how have you learned to overcome it?
  6. Why is 6 afraid of 7?
  7. Why am I here?
  8. Why is the sky blue?
  9. Why do bad things happen to good people?
  10. What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back?
  11. What is the meaning of life?

I may have plagiarized a bit, but you get the idea.

 

*The rules

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger(s) asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Just Go to Bed

It’s time, once again, to discuss one of my favorite children’s picture books. For those who’ve been here before, you know I’ve covered King BidgoodTinTin, and Where the Sidewalk Ends already.

After putting four rambunctious children to bed -and again, then two once more, and now one I need to carry up because he fell asleep on the couch- I somehow felt inspired to talk about Just Go to Bed, by Mercer Mayer.

Some books hit the golden mark for me: perfect word flow, good illustrations, appeal to their audience, and great message. This picture book, published waaay back in 1983, is just such a one for me.

In fact, it’s another nostalgic work because I owned it as a child. I listened to it on audiocassette, with the *ding* to turn the page, and the occasional audio effects that went with each page’s pictures. Reading that same copy (sans cassette) as an adult, I find it even more appealing.

The book begins with Little Critter outside. He’s playing dress-up. “I’m a cowboy and I round up cows,” he says. A calm father, with the toy lasso round his person, says, “It’s time for the cowboy to come inside and get ready for bed.”

Each page spread shows yet another step and/or excuse Little Critter has to get through, with Dad’s help. Dad, meanwhile, is clearly getting less and less playful and patient.

Bed Bath
Kinder Books

By the end, we see poor Daddy in his chair with his newspaper, exasperatingly pointing and saying the book’s title, “Just go to bed!” Mom is opening the door to see what’s up, bearing a look of surprise but understanding -or, maybe I just project myself into her furry critter feet now that I have experience.

It’s a very simple book. I mean, it is a children’s picture book. In a few pages and with a few penciled cartoon expressions, Mayer gives us an entertaining story for both children and adults.

If you’ve ever had to wrestle a cowboy, general, race car driver, bandit, space cadet, zookeeper, and bunny through bedtime routines, this was written for you. And, it was written for your own little critter(s).

Now, I’ve got to pull one of my bunnies off the couch and hoist him up to bed. Good night.

Which Side Will Ye Choose?

Introspection has left me a bit concerned.

It comes from Disney movies, really. Those seemingly innocent graphical displays for children planted a seed in my developing years, one that was never really meant to flower or even grow. This is because the packets I was attracted to, amid the vast array of smiling Princess Tulips and Prince Charming Roses, were always those meant to shrivel and die.

I speak of The Villains.

Just think: if they were to be represented by some sort of vegetation, would it be a healthy variety? A pleasant green thing? A flower?

Rafflesia
“The Rafflesia is considered one of the ugliest flowers in the world and on top of that, it smells like rotting meat… It feeds on other plants to survive.”

Maybe the sort of healthy, living thing that could EAT YOU.

No, villains are the scapegoat. They’re the blame for good, noble characters ever needing to do something questionable. Unfortunately, they must also suffer the worst typecasting, character motivations, and evil characteristics.

Does one really need a maniacal laugh to be considered for the job?

Strangely, I am not attracted to villains because of concern for any of these things. I’m not out to get them sympathy, a decent backstory, and equal rights. I’m pretty sure I like the dark side because it’s awesome.

I threw Disney under the bus initially because those are the earliest memories I have of being drawn to the films’ antagonists instead of the ones I’m supposed to like. I’m talking Maleficent, Snow White’s stepmother, or Mad Mad Mad Mad Madam Mim.

Maleficent of the 1959 animated film is so purely cliché, but this doesn’t phase me. I can only respect a villain who is clearly evil for evil’s sake; bestowing a curse, cackling, destroying her own minions, and transforming to a dragon to finally kill that pesky prince.

As one can imagine, my aberrant obsession has just gotten worse over the years.

I’ve been drawn to The Goblin King of Labyrinth, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers, and Darth Maul of Star Wars, Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Really, though, one can’t blame me when it’s David Bowie, Tim Curry, and Ray Park we’re talking about.

Maul
Darth Maul, himself

I like Qui-Gon. Really. And I knew Obi-Wan was supposed to live long enough to instruct a whiny Luke in the future. But couldn’t Darth Maul have lived longer than a few double light saber scenes as well?

I think I’ve gotten distracted.

Ah, yes: my distractions. In my defense, I am not drawn to lame villains. You can keep your Ursula, Jafar, Gaston, Yzma, Prince John, Governor Ratcliffe, Judge Frollo and the like. In adult films; I just can’t enjoy Raoul Silva, The Merovingian, or Richmond Valentine.

Are you thinking of pointing out a redeeming characteristic of mine? One that involves me clearly thinking a bad guy is cool only when he is? Maybe I like the ones that have something likeable so that is my motivation?

If so, thank you. BUT, the problem is that I do not like the hero in most films. If it’s likeability that draws me in, shouldn’t I extend that attribute across to the brighter side of things? I’m sorry; good guys just aren’t that interesting to me. Woohoo, they did the boring thing and saved the day -right? Yay.

As such, one might bring up Ocean’s ElevenThe Italian Job, or Batman in general. No luck. Even “heroes” who break the law, and are therefore villainous, don’t quite do it for me.

I can’t help but feel a fangirl crush at the sight of a depressed, conflicted, powerful soul. He or she destroys the weak, one-sided protagonist with a cleverly-contrived trap. Then, he turns to the camera and intelligently delivers his Monologue of Evil with a British accent.

Maybe I just need to watch more foreign films?

Or, maybe I am -as I suspect- slightly evil?

peter-forster-373964-unsplash
unsplash-logoPeter Forster

The Adventures of TinTin

Tin Tin
(From Beyond the Marquee)

About exactly a month ago, I listed seventeen children’s picture books I was fond of.

Today, I wish to journey across Egypt, the ocean, America, and even the moon -with TinTin.

First, I must have you young ‘uns travel back to a time before graphic novels were so prevalent; back when Americans just didn’t get it, though other countries did. Picture a world without so much variety, but still with motorized transportation and microwave ovens.

The world of my childhood.

Occasionally, my mother would bravely venture into The City with all three of us rambunctious children. After finding parking, we’d pile out of our station wagon and walk up the steps to the Salt Lake Public Library.

This was also before they’d built the big, fancy building there now. Ours was a more modest setup -a large, square structure with odd exterior walls of cement.

Never you mind how long ago that actually was. (If you ask my six-year-old, my childhood was around the time electricity was invented.)

The point of all this rambling nostalgia is that Hergés’ TinTin was a very special treat.

We didn’t live in Salt Lake County, so the library card for my mother was an extra cost. We didn’t own that many books. I’m certain we had no comic books or graphic novels around the house.

So, we each felt a mounting excitement as we literally mounted the stairs up to the children’s section, ran quietly through the main area, and turned left into the section of special, out-of-country books.

There, on the wall, the librarian would have set out all the TinTin books they had. It was like a candy store of literature.

My mother would finally catch up to us, note us sprawling on furniture with a book each, and sneak off to the adult section. We were good for a solid ten minutes.

What was The Adventures of TinTin to us?

As I said, those books were a special treat. They were also adventure, expression, art, and European humour. We were enamored with these silent cartoons we controlled.

Later, I would discover Astérix. That’s a story for another time. These days, graphic novels are everywhere. I pick up a few for my children from our own public library whenever we go.

Heck, they even have some with action-packed tales like The Laws of Motion: the story of Isaac Newton.

This old hipster says that’s all well and good, but classics like TinTin need to be read. If you haven’t ever, look into getting a copy. They’re still around, and they’re worth the time.

Petites Boîtes

When I was but a francophiliac teenager, we learned a song titled “Petites Boîtes.” The first stanza of lyrics is as follows:

Petites boîtes très étroites
Petites boîtes faites en ticky-tacky
Petites boîtes, petites boîtes
Petites boîtes toutes pareilles.

Translated back to the English version written by Malvina Reynolds from Graeme Allright’s fun-sounding word-rhymes, it says:

Little boxes, on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same.

The obvious gist of the song is that everyone goes through life staying in these boxes that look the same, that they’ve always been in: growing up in the same neighborhood, attending university, making children, their children follow exactly the same path; we even die and are put in boxes in the ground.

I hate boxes.

When I converse with people, I begin squirming at social categorization. Ironically, I have (of course) already placed the other person into neat little groups in my mind. Ah, he’s wearing a camouflage coat and just got out of his jacked-up pickup truck. As he strokes his mustache and stubble, I can tell he must be in favor of: hunting animals, no gun control, and (perhaps) being suspicious of all authority figures.

Meanwhile, I feel like parking down the block so no one sees that I came by minivan. I dislike discussing religion or politics. When asked about favorites, I sweat.

Thing is, I may fit into many of these boxes (petites boîtes -it’s so fun to say!). I just don’t like the idea that someone places me immediately into one, only one, and assumes I’ve all the associated characteristics of someone else who also might behave in a way that places him or her in there.

So… I tend to introduce myself in a way that shakes up typical introductory patterns. “Hi, I’m Chelsea and I can write with my toes,” or “My favorite food? Good food, definitely.” Or, most often, I’m going to just sit and nod and pretend I also like what’s-her-name-Gaines and that I actually watch TV and so they assume I can hang out in their little corner of interests.

Mature, I’m sure. Perhaps you, the reader, have a better approach.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get into my mom-van and pick up children from school, as part of a carpool. I’ll be listening to alternative music on the way and acting like I own a much different vehicle.

I’ve always wanted a lifted pickup truck and camouflage jacket…