Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Paradise Creek

My sister and I went out for a walk today and got pleasantly lost in a very small sort of woods—wherever I went, I could see the fence rail on the hill above me, and the tennis courts through the trees below. (We would recommend it very much for Pooh, as a thoughtful place to think, or else a very comfortable place in which to get lost, if one must get lost.)

It was an upside-down sort of walk, from the moment we set out in a half-inch dusting of snow. Snow? Yes, it was actually the wet white stuff that turns everything cold and slushy. Fortunately for our walk, it disappeared once we got down the first hill and into town. From there on, we noticed—and photographed—all the anomalies we discovered along the way, and they were many.

We started by finding Paradise—Paradise Creek, that is. Aren’t we sometimes optimistic about our names?

Should the name be considered a simple irony? Does it hint at the sort of hope that ‘springs eternal,’ to which we are all prone? Can it indicate that this dingy rivulet is, in fact, far better than it looks? Perhaps it suggests the road to Paradise—unpromising at times, but far pleasanter in the end? Or else it just looks nicer in the spring, when the grass is green and the trees have leaves.

We left the question and Paradise Creek behind, wandering our way up the road, passing castles along the way, and dodging cars and pickups at every crosswalk.

Once we entered the woods, though, we entered the stillness where cars could not make their way and dogs were prohibited…

…as were also, apparently, upside-down bicycles. If you find your way here, make sure your bicycle remains in an upright position at all times. (No, I still don’t have a camera. The photos are courtesy of my sister, along with a few of the random thoughts.)

We also found some odd-shaped flora.

We could have stopped for lunch, but we were a little early for that, and the picnic table had just enough snow on it to make things uncomfortable.

So, since—unlike Pooh—we did not have to wait for Tigger to unbounce, our walk soon ended and we emerged from the woods—into another galaxy.

I'll let you know if we manage to find our way home again.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cinderella: Afterthoughts

Stunning, spectacular, fantastic…now with photos!

Yes, we went to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. No, the audience was not all girls, though we saw quite a few princesses scattered through the crowd.

A family affair. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

I never knew before that there were so many ways to take off and try on a shoe.

From the crowded marketplace to the stately ballroom, Corban Theatre staged an elegant and impressive performance. Nothing dragged. Nothing stopped moving for a moment, even when the entire chorus froze behind Cinderella and Prince Christopher for their romantic duet.

 The ballroom at the palace. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

The stage design and theatrical effects shone, with moonlight lamps, magic fires, and a rotating set. Still, as amazing as stage effects can be, this is theater—the most amazing thing that can happen on stage comes from the actors. It’s what happens when an actor loses himself in his role or an actress focuses the audience’s attention so intently on this cute pumpkin over here that it actually becomes the elaborate orange coach rolling there across the other side of the stage. In movies, it’s called CGI, but on stage, it’s magic.

And then, there were the king’s attempts to reassure his wife that they don’t need an expensive ball—“Our son isn’t unhappy. I asked him if he was happy, and he said he was fine!”

Not to mention that this is an utterly naïve king, who believes that “Of course, they love me—I’m the king.”

Slight pause.

“They do love me, don’t they?”

As with contrasting view of happiness, the play can be seen through two different interpretations.
The Normal View would consider it an unbelievably lovely and romantic story. Cinderella and Prince Christopher marry and live happily after! (Should I call that a spoiler?)

The Contrarian View, on the other hand, would feel sorry for the stepsisters. I mean, here they are, stuck with an incredibly pushy mother—“…because even if you don’t get the prince, you are going to get married this year…”—and personality quirks aside, they hardly get a fair chance, the way Cinderella sweeps in with help from her Fairy Godmother. I know most women want to be Cinderella. Sometimes, though—lacking the fairy godmother—life seems more to follow the tune of “why must the prince love a girl who is merely lovely…why can’t the prince love a girl who is merely me?”

Besides—even if you get to be Cinderella, even if everything is so beautiful you think you’re dreaming, do you really want a guy to say something like “I suppose you’re dreaming now that I’m about to kiss you?” Really?

Prince Christopher and Portia. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News.

Much better was the Fairy Godmother’s folderal and fiddle-de-dee, “No, I’m not going to the ball. I’ve been to thousands and I couldn’t possibly stand another one.”

Apart from the Normal View and the Contrarian View, Director Tammy McGinnis introduced a third view, presenting Cinderella as the story of an abused woman, who manages to escape her situation with the godmother’s help. McGinnis used Corban’s production to draw attention to women caught in human trafficking, specifically through the Cinderella Campaign and a partnership with Share Hope International.
Getting ready for the party. Photo/Jacob Bowdoin, Hilltop News

P.S. For slight change of pace, Corban Theatre is already planning to stage The Hound of the Baskervilles in March.

(Edited 12/1/2011, by Audrey)

Monday, November 14, 2011


Later this week, my family and I will be heading over to Corban University for the fall play—Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella! I’ll let you know how it goes, but if you are in the area, you should drop by and see it yourself. Corban's drama program has always put on a stellar performance. Cinderella show has only four performances left, on Thursday-Saturday evenings at 7:00, and also Saturday morning at 10:00. You can find more info about tickets and prices at the official site.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Areaex I, cont.

A few days after Anna and company set out from Jicswia on their journey, they enter the mountains and encounter a late-spring snowstorm. They're able to keep on through the snow, but the journey becomes very tedious, and they're relieved to see the end of the snow. More later on the challenges of creating a convincing series of events. (This section comes from Chapter 10, but I'm planning to finish Chapter 18 in a couple more days.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cameras and Writers

I’m a writer—I think I’ve mentioned that fact before, so it should come as no surprise when I mention it again here. I’m a writer, and I would never have thought to call myself a photographer until now.

Yes, I have had a camera, a Sony DSC H2—I owned said camera for about six years before leaving it lone and forlorn in the Seattle Airport. (Somebody please make a joke about cameras and lost in Seattle.) I had six years of pretty good practice with a camera, but still, a camera does not a photographer make any more than a goose quill pen turn a lousy grammarian into a stellar writer.

At the same time, I found the little gadget quite handy when I wanted to post something with only minimal description—“…and the clouds were so, like awesome! (as you can see:)”

I didn’t realize how handy that camera was until I lost it.

Now I walk down the street—or drive a few blocks—and look at the trees wishing I had some way to get a picture of that lovely gold and silver fog wreathed around them. No camera, no photo, though. I’ll just have to go back to being a writer and describe them. (Oh, wait, I just did.)

I suppose I’ll have to revise my description of myself: “I’m a writer and sometimes a photographer, so sometimes I’ll write about things and sometimes I’ll just take pictures of them, though pretty often I’ll write about them after I’ve taken the pictures of them, because I’m still mostly a writer, you see.”

Or else, until I find a new camera, I’ll just stick to saying that I’m a writer. It's simpler that way.