Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spiritual Sundays 1

The BIG Why? (A Psalm of Sorts)

What caused the Creator of the universe
To create a creature
Who often forgets to praise?
For even the flowers of the field
Open up to smile at the Artist in the sky,
And mountains exalt the Name
Of the One Who their peaks point to.
And when the birds' sweet cantabile
Echoes from the trees,
There's not a single doubt in my mind
That they sing of their Creator.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Playing With Plays

Act One of a Currently Nameless Play

  • Miles Rhode: the oldest, trouble-maker, musically talented, charming, more bravery than brains
  • Chuck Rhode: the youngest, low-maintenance, taller but skinnier, smarter than he is brave
  • Dr. Jedadiah Morgenstern: Mysterious and suspicious psych ward doctor
Act I, Scene I

A purple VW Corrado driving down a road in Ohio. Forest and mountains are on either side of the road. Two brothers ride inside it. The one in the passenger's seat is holding up a map.

CHUCK: (puts down map he has been studying, still looking at it) Dude, I dunno. I think we're lost.
MILES: (scoff) Your big brother never gets lost.
CHUCK: Oh, yeah? Then where're we goin'? (raises eyebrows at Miles) Huh?
MILES: Well, we're um... (peers at a sign on the road, chuckles, points) We're 15 miles from Celeryville, dude. Come on! Get it together, Chucky!
CHUCK: (sighs, frowns) Me? "Get it together"?! I didn't even wanna go on this stupid trip with you anyway, Miles! And stop calling me "Chucky"?
MILES: Aw, why not?
CHUCK: Because! Because I'm not some stupid, murderous doll!
MILES: But you do have his hair color. (reaches over to twirl his brother's hair) What number is that? L'oreal 6.66? It's sinful.
CHUCK: (smacks Miles's hand away) Hey, man, I'm already pissed at you!
MILES: Chuck, look, I'm sorry I dragged you along, dude.
CHUCK: "Dragged me along"? You snuck into my dorm room, Miles. You-you freaked the heck outta my room mate--
MILES: You mean--uh--Bob Marley back there? (points behind him with thumb) Nah, the guy was in the middle of an MJ trip.
CHUCK: --covered my head with a blindfold-- (holds up a blindfold)
MILES: You tellin' me you still haven't been hazed yet?
CHUCK: --cuffed my hands together--(holds up cuffs in other hand)
MILES: They're just toy handcuffs, dude. (cautionary sideways glance at Chuck)
CHUCK: (puts both items down, staring angrily at Miles) AND?
MILES: AND anyone could've broken out of them! (under breath) Well, everyone except for you, Wimpy McWimpstein.
CHUCK: I cannot believe this! I can't believe you!  (shoots brother angry look, has a sudden idea, holds stomach) Miles. Miles, could you pull over, please?
MILES: What? Why? You gonna arrest me, cuff me with those crappy things. I'm telling you, man. Everyone but you. Even this one chick that I--
CHUCK: Dude, just pull over unless you want Acid Chowder all over your seats! 
MILES: No way, man. Just got Shirley here detailed. (starting to pull over)
CHUCK: (frowning at Miles) Shirley?
(Car stops on the side of the road. There's a few feet of dusty, pebbly ground before the forest starts.)
CHUCK: (opens door and steps outside, still holding stomach)
MILES: You don't need me to hold your hair, do ya, sweetheart? (gets out of car and joins Chuck)
CHUCK: (turns around and punches Miles in the face)
MILES: (stumbles, turns back to Miles, holding face where punched) What was that for?
CHUCK: What wasn't that for?! You-you legit kidnapped me to go on a friggin' road trip with you one week before finals! Are you insane?!
MILES: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy, bro.
CHUCK: No, man! Everything was going great for me until you showed up! I've been working so hard for my GPA! I made a few friends! I had a hot date tomorrow night, Miles! I've never scored better in my life.
MILES: A date? A week before finals? I've taught you well, my brother, haven't I? (sigh) I can now die peacefully.
CHUCK: (rolls eyes, holds up a fist) Do you want another one?
MILES: No, man, I'm good. I'll admit I deserved that first one, though. Where'd'ya learn to hit like that anyway?
CHUCK: (holds palms up and out, drops arms) When you're a gangly ginger, you learn a few things.
MILES: (nods thoughtfully) Hey, we even?
CHUCK: Yeah, sure. But you'd better make this road trip worth it.
MILES: Hey, what'd'ya take me for, huh? (puts an arm around Chuck's neck) Beers, girls, and the world's greatest music festival with all the newest hits! This is gonna be the best, most epic trip of our entire lives!

Act I, Scene II

The lights are low. Chuck is sitting on a chair in the middle of what looks like a hospital room, dressed entirely in white. His hair is outgrown and his face is somber. The door opens and in walks a middle-aged male doctor with a white lab coat.

DR. MORGENSTERN: Charles? Charles Rhode? (hesitates for an answer, doesn't get one) Hello, Charles. My name is Dr. Morgenstern. (sits down on bed, facing Chuck) Charles, do you know why you are here? (waits for response, none) See, the thing is, Charles, we think you may have hurt someone, but we don't really think that you meant to do it. So you are here so we can help you get better. So you don't have to feel like you need to hurt anyone ever again.
CHUCK: (whispers) You son of a bi--
DOC: Charles, why are you using those words with me? Those words, this attitude, they're not going to help you get out of here.
CHUCK: I'm not the murderer, a-hole. You are. (Chuck gets up, tries to attack the doctor.)
DOC: Easy, there (sticks him with a syringe)
CHUCK: (passes out)
DOC: Easy. (Lays him on the bed, exits room, calling for a nurse.)

Trying My Hand at Terza Rima

Literary Wingmen

I think I fell in love that day;
And though it happened fast as light
I fell in love, it's safe to say,
Although I thought I never might.
Those honest words, that friendly smile
Forced fear of love to shrink so slight,
And as we sat there all the while
In minutes' time turned out our souls.
We heeded neither clock nor dial
Nor he who our "adieu" cajoles.
He knows it not, the way I feel,
The way my heart his being extols.
The way my mind spins like a wheel.
My wingmen, Lewis, Dickens, Wilde,
I thank you for my bookish zeal.
Though scarce I listened as a child.
Now do I seize your themes so dear
And stand amazed as one beguiled,
One seen as one with thoughts so clear,
With mind so made, with soul refined,
That one out of my league might hear.

This is based on a day I met a young man and had literary conversations with him. I immediately found him interesting when I learned he reads Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde "for fun". Though I did not actually "fall in love" with him (he was, indeed, way outta my league), I felt like I could talk to him about themes in classic literature forever. We even exchanged must-reads from our "favorites" lists.

Terza rima is a lot of fun to write in. The set rhyme and meter made it a little constricting, but it tested my lexicon and ability to arrange the words in creative ways.