Hamilton

Stories Matter

It has been awhile since I updated, but every time I thought about it, I didn't know what to say. Sometimes your thoughts aren't there, the words just don't come. That's kind of been the story of my life for the past six months. And I'm not sure why, but I feel like I'm holding my tongue about so many things out in the world that I can't turn it off when I sit down at my computer. This world is turning into a place that I'm not sure I want to be a part of. The hate, the anger, the tragedy, this was not what America stands for, and yet, it feels like it's so much of what it's become. Adults need to learn the same lessons I teach to my third graders, there is never a reason not to be kind to someone. It takes so little effort to be nice, show kindness. You don't have to agree with them, you don't even necessarily have to like them, but you do have to be kind. Who cares what they look like, what color skin they have, what they dress like, what religion they believe in, who they love? Does it affect your life personally? Because it doesn't. It's their choice. That's the foundation that America was founded on. Not just freedom, but the freedom of choice. You have no right to tell someone else how to live and you have no right to be mean, push, call names, discriminate, shoot someone because of it. Kid President says, "If you don't have something nice to say, then you're not thinking hard enough."

"Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love." -Lin Manuel Miranda

Also, Hamilton has taken over my life. I was lucky enough to have seen it in March and I wish that I could explain how life changing that two hours and forty-five minutes in the Richard Rogers Theatre was. I have been learning about the formation of American since I was 9 years old (the perks of living in Virginia) and I have never realized in the past twenty years just how amazing it actually was that this democratic country formed. We came out of a rebellion and not one other time in history previously did a new country form with a government by the people and for the people. Washington and Jefferson and Adams and Madison and Mason and yes, Hamilton, were wise beyond they're years in being strong enough to form this country that would one day become a super power. All out of a rebellion.

 

Being in that room (where it happened, couldn't help myself) with hundreds of others as excited as I was to see live theatre was amazing. But the performance itself, the way it interweaved several musical styles, the way the staging drew you in and never let you go, the way the choreography was somehow its own character, it was something that I will never forget. A man who never got the credit he received is now getting his chance in a whole new story.

Stories are important. Stories matter. We are made of stories, and everyone has a story to tell. It is one of my favorite parts of being an author, because I get to share a story. Maybe it changes a life. Maybe it opens up a new perspective. Maybe it's just an escape from reality for a few hours. But words matter, stories matter, people matter. All people.

You just have to be ready to listen.

In the Presence of Greatness

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Do you ever get that feeling in your chest, like your heart is going to explode, when you find something that you love, that you're passionate about, that makes you tear up? Like you are just so overwhelmed with emotion, and you know you can't put it into words, but there's a feeling, just behind your heart, and you know that your life won't ever be the same. I don't get the feeling often, but every time I do, I love it and loathe it at the same time. It almost feels like I'm in pain, like it's so good that it hurts. Usually, it's art that makes me feel that a way. A song, a play, a picture. Isn't it amazing that art can do that to us? Art can change our entire worlds. It's something we take for granted, but how amazing is it, when you take a step back to realize you're in the presence of greatness?

Things that have made my chest ache in the best way recently:

  1. The cast album of Hamilton. It took me a few times, and I really had to listen to the lyrics, but it really feels like I'm in the presence of greatness. Lin Manuel Miranda has woven such an intricate story that you can't help but sink right in and get lost in the rhythms and stories. There are no words to describe it, you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't listen to it. Seriously. Do it. Right now. Helpless and Satisfied are sheer brilliance, and Wait for It is beautifully sung by Leslie Odom Jr. Seriously, what are you waiting for?
  2. Watching Misty Copeland dance across the stage, overcoming her upbringing and her injuries, and being a new face for ballet, one that lets girls know it's okay not to look like "a perfect ballerina." She is perfection.
  3. Kate's face when Leo won the Oscar. Seriously, that's what OTPs are made of. 

Art. Something that has been around for thousands of years, from the first civilizations, because even those people realized the need to express, the need to communicate (RENT anyone?), the need to transcend. There is nothing better, nothing greater, nothing more powerful.

Except maybe Leo.