The Necessities

National Novel Writing Month update!

Words written:  19,899

Words behind schedule:  11,767 (yikes)

But at least I’ve got my noveling necessities:

necsessities (Tea with kitty, please.  Thanks to Tennessee Smoky Mountain honey and my baby Dagny for all their support.)

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Other Forms of Insanity

November is a crazy busy month – so why not make it more interesting by writing a novel in the midst of all the craziness?

National Novel Writing Month is here, and I am partaking.  Please excuse my blog absence as I frantically scribble 1700 words daily that (so far)make no sense at all.  =)

And if you are so inclined, please join me in this particular form of insanity!

Starry Night with Kitteh

There an artistic trend about that I have just discovered that combines two of my FAVORITE (non-ballet) things: 

Art and Wine.

The idea is that anyone can be an artist, and anyone who wants to be an artist should be able to consume alcohol whilst exercising their creative muscles.  Studios have cropped up where painters instruct a group of non-artsy of age adults to recreate simple (and sometimes not-so-simple) works of art.  Think of it as a fancy paint by numbers.  With wine!

There are no fewer that 5 of these such studios in my immediate area, and I got to partake for the first time the past week.  And it’s FABULOUS.  Our theme for the evening was a pared down version of Van Gogh’s iconic “Starry Night.”  I decided to put my own (feline) spin on the work.  I call the result “Starry Night with Kitteh.”

 

Image (by yours truly, KitTeaCat)

If you have one of these studios in your area, I highly recommend it.  Even if you have never touched a paintbrush.  Especially if you’ve never touched a paintbrush.  Because everyone should have at least one piece of art on their wall that is self-made.  Happy painting!

Flight

I have loved this song for years, long before I started ballet. It is hauntingly melancholy, yet hopeful. Sutton Foster and Megan McGinnis are FLAWLESS, especially together. Their harmonies are painfully beautiful. (Side note: I was fortunate enough to see them together as Jo and Beth in Little Women on Broadway several years ago. In the front row. And I wept like a child. Why that show closed after only 5 months, I’ll never understand).

I was driving home from ballet this week, joyfully jamming to Sutton Foster’s Wish CD, and this song came on. And it hit me. This song perfectly describes how I feel about ballet.

I could give a line by line interpretation to say how the song makes me feel. But I don’t think it needs it. So there it is. Listen. If you like to read lyrics while you listen, here they are:

 

Let me run through a field in the night
Let me lift from the ground till my soul is in flight
Let me sway like the shade of a tree
Let me swirl like a cloud in a storm on the sea
Wish me on my way
Through the dawning day
I wanna flow, wanna rise, wanna spill
Wanna grow in a grove on the side of a hill
I don’t care if the train runs late
If the checks don’t clear
If the house blows down
I’ll be off where the weeds run wild
Where the seeds fall far from this earthbound town
And I’ll start to soar
Watch me rain till I pout out
I’ll catch a ship and it’ll sail me astray
Get caught in a wind I’ll just have to obey
I’m flying away
Let me leave behind
All the doubts in my mind
I wanna wake without wondering why
Finding myself in a burst for the sky
I’ll just roll
Let me lose all control now
I wanna float like a wish in a well
Free as the sound of the sea in a shell
I don’t know but maybe I’m just a fool
I should keep to the ground
I should stay where I’m at
Maybe everyone has hunger like this
And the hunger will pass
But I can’t think like that
All I know is somewhere in a clearing
There a glare of sunlight on a river long and wide
And I have such a river inside
Let me run through a field in the night
Let me lift from the ground till my soul is in flight
Let me sway like the shade of a tree
Let me swirl like a cloud in a storm on the sea
Wish me on my way
Through the dawning day
I wanna flow, wanna rise, wanna spill
Wanna grow in a grove on the side of a hill
Wanna shift like a wave rolling on
Wanna drift from the path I’ve been travelling upon
Before I am gone

 

“Flight.”  Written by Craig Carnelia.  Performed by Sutton Foster & Megan McGinnis.  Adored by KitTeaCat.

Call Me Old-Fashioned . . .

I was reading some New Year’s posts, and one over at Knit Two Pointe Two Bake Two made me think.  The number I gravitated toward was the “books read.”  (Side note:  Girl, you read 221 books this year and said there’s room for improvement!?  That’s almost a book every other day!) I’ve been meaning to keep track of my reading endeavors for several years now, and just never seem to do it.

Until now.  This is the year.  2014: The Year of Books.

And my book reading adventures will be chronicled . . . not here.  In an actual, leather bound, real paper journal.

I love blogging.  But I also love writing,  HAND writing with a pen and paper.  My husband’s grandmother always gets me a beautiful journal for Christmas, and this year’s is a lovely red one.  I cannot leave the pretty young thing empty and sad.  In it I will keep track of my books read for the year, and some thoughts on said books.  First entry: Re-reading my way through the Harry Potter novels.  Because they’re awesome.

So call me old-fashioned, but I need to keep some of my writing out of the technological sphere.  It may be a new year, but I’m getting back to my roots – wrist cramps and all!

Read! About Ponies!

This isn’t about ballet.  But art is art.

I love books.  As a kid, I thought my books were friends.  As an adult, I can’t honestly say I’ve ever outgrown the notion.  But it wasn’t until I grew up that I learned to love talking about the books I cherished.  Let’s be honest – I was selfish kid, and I wanted my friends to myself. =)

The last book I read is The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton DiSclafani.  While reading it, I remember questioning whether or not I actually liked it (never a good sign, if you ask me).  But then I noticed that I kept thinking about the book when I WASN’T reading it.  Replaying scenes, wondering what the characters would do next, interpreting what the author was doing when she added a certain passage.  So, overall, I’d say it gets the KitTeaCat seal of approval: Good.  Book.

I demolished this book in a few days.  It’s an easy, quick read.  The story is set in a North Carolina girls’ boarding school during the 1930’s.  The jacket blurb describes it as a “coming of age” story – which I hate.  Someone says “coming of age” and my brain immediately goes to Cather in the Rye.  I am the only person on the planet that is not in love with Cather in the Rye, so this is not a great association.  But the narrator is a 15 year old girl growing up and figuring out the world, so I guess it is an apt, if oversimplified and overused description.

I won’t go into plot details and ruin it for anyone.  But here are some things I liked:

  • The characters had substance.  Some of the girls at the girls camp are described superficially and flatly – but that’s how a 15 year old girls describes other girls she doesn’t know, so it works within the story.  Thea (the main character and narrator) and her family are flawed, and it makes them real.
  • The treatment of the time period.  Great Depression stories (and any period pieces, actually) can be predictable – because I, in 2013, know what happens next.  But a young girl doesn’t know anything about economics.  The period is at the same time not important, and always coloring the action.
  • The title.  I didn’t even read the plot summary or blurb before I chose the book.  The title sold me.  I proudly admit I judge books by their covers.  If you want this girl’s attention, get a snappy title.

. . . But even though I like the book, there were some things I did NOT like.  I love books, but I’m also pretty judgmental.  Don’t want your book judged?  Don’t publish it!

  • The title.  I know I just said it’s why I picked up the book, and it is.  But after finishing it, I have a huge problem with the title.  I once had a theatre professor who told me that the best way to figure out the theme or point of a play was to ask yourself three questions:  What happens at the beginning?  What happens at the end?  What’s the title?  As a result, I put great stock in titles (Read: I am a Cover Judger).  And if you name your book for the setting, it has to be more than a setting.  The place actually has to become a character itself (See Alice Hoffman’s Blackbird House . . . brilliant book, brilliant writer!).  And the riding camp of title fame is just a riding camp.  The novel could have been set somewhere else and it would be the same novel.
  • Anachronism.  Or rather, the author’s pains to point out that she is avoiding anachronisms, especially at the beginning of the book.  I would much rather you made a researching error, or accidentally put a television in 1932 than for you to explain yourself.  There’s one part where the narrator goes riding without a helmet, and then explains it is because no one wore helmets then.  It took me out of the action.
  • The horses.  I think I am just being picky here.  The author explicitly states that Thea loves horses several times in the book, but I would have preferred her to show me rather than tell me.  There are a thousand little ways to show that love of horses, but I didn’t really believe it.  It’s like when someone says “Trust me.”  I automatically assume you’re a lying snake.  Because honest people are never touchy about being trusted.
  • The ending.  I feel like the author was trying to tie up all the loose ends, like a movie that runs “updates” on all the characters so you can see that everyone go that they deserved.  Through the whole novel, Thea is learning that things aren’t neat and tidy in life . . . then the story is wrapped up, all neat and tidy.  It’s not a bad ending.  It’s just too clean.

So please, read for yourself.  There will be more book discussions to come . . . for I am a nerd.  =)