September 30, 2009

don't stop believin'

It's official...I'm a "Gleek."
I absolutely adore Fox's new series Glee.

I sing along. I cheer for the music geeks. I hiss at the Cheerios. My heart breaks every time Rachel gets drenched in the face with yet another neon-coloured big gulp. I feel her pain...I really do.

"Glee is set in Lima, Ohio. (Ryan) Murphy chose a Midwest setting as he himself originates from Indiana, and recalls childhood visits to Ohio to the Kings Island theme park. Although uncertain why he selected Lima specifically, Murphy recounts that the location stayed in his memory as: "when I was a very little kid, there was a series of tornadoes that swept through Lima on Mother's Day" and his grandparents would often discuss the event.[7] Lima Senior High School choir members were able to view an early release of the pilot episode, but found that it contained few references to the area, and commented that the depiction of the city was largely implausible and negative." From the Glee TV series Wikipedia page
Well, good for the real life members of the Lima Ohio HS Choir...glad to know life's peachy for them. I'm thinking maybe Ryan Murphy should have set the show in his home state - because as a former member of a high school show choir in Indiana I can tell you that he's getting a LOT of things painfully, hilariously, brilliantly, heartbreakingly right. (Take it from this Rachel, we had our share of Quinns and Pucks - the Tigerettes who joined choir for one semester their senior year because they needed another extra-curricular activity to add to their college applications, the basketball player who joined choir and S.A.D.D because he'd gotten caught drunk by his parents and was going to get his car keys taken away and his letter stripped off his jacket if he didn't do what his mother said.) Oh, the drama.

Yes, that's me...

On a recent trip back to my hometown to visit family, I came across a box of old pictures from my high school years. There were photos from marching band and show choir, madrigals, and Jr. Miss. When I got to the snaps of my graduation ceremony I burst out laughing. When my dad asked me what was so funny, I said, "All the boys look bored to death and all the girls look so sad. But I look downright giddy. I couldn't wait to get out of there."

My dad frowned at me and said, "I thought you liked high school. You always seemed so involved."

"No, Dad, I hated it."

"Really. Guess you had me fooled."

That's because I was smart enough to crank up the showtunes before crying my eyes out behind my bedroom door.

So here's to all the Rachels, Kurts, Arties, Mercedes and Tinas out there, struggling through your HS days. Take heart. It will get better. You'll get out of there and away from those kids you've been lumped together with and compared to since kindergarden. You'll go someplace where no one knows your name and become who you're meant to be. You'll sing your songs and write your stories and find other people along the way who feel the way you do about the world and fairness and art and love.

Don't stop believin' ...

This is Petra Harden - ONE woman singing all the parts, even the instrumentals!

September 07, 2009

The Kind of September

The other day, I handed in my manuscript for The Virgin Cure. There's still much to be done in the year before publication, but now the work becomes a collaborative effort with other voices and talents entering into the process. It's an exciting time, full of possibility.

So, it's seven days into September and this one's been lovely and good so far. And that's important - because I've had at least a couple of Septembers that have left me wrecked. One in the late 90's that ended in a personal upheaval of the heart and of course September of 2001 when I was, like the rest of the world, left fearful and lost.

Last year at this time I was in New York City, hoping to figure out what was missing from the story I was trying to tell in The Virgin Cure. I logged many hours at the library of the New York Historical Society (one of my favourite places on the planet!) I walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my budding artist of a son, both of us awestruck over the J.M.W. Turner exhibit. I spent a beautiful evening with the NYC Buddhist community and people of all faiths setting lanterns afloat at the water's edge.

Then, I walked the streets and sidewalks that had once been travelled by my great great grandmother in her work as a medical student and physician in the late 1800's. As I went, I did my best to conjure up the memory of the women and children she served. I stood on Second Avenue, staring at the place where the Blackwell sister's infirmary once was. I went to Third Avenue and Thirteenth Street, to see where Peter Stuyvesant's great pear tree had lived for over 200 years. In those steps, on those streets that day I found my answer. I found the voice I'd been waiting for, the voice of my story, the voice of a little girl who wanted to become New York.