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Tag Archives: Wizard of Oz

NaNoWriMo, holidays, and Oz

I know, I know.  I should have written sooner, but I truly have been busy.  Let’s catch up, shall we?  My previous post was an update on NaNoWriMo so I’ll start there.  In case you didn’t already guess, I didn’t finish the month – or even the second week – of writing.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have any ideas, but because of exhaustion.  I work retail and this was one of the busiest holiday seasons my store has had since I started working there in 2003.  I work odd hours, some days going in at 7am, some at 2pm, and am on my feet all day.  By the time I get home, I’m tired and in need of mental decompression – and that’s just a normal day.  Add on the crazy demands for Christmas shoppers and the constant running around with very little down time, it’s no wonder that I wasn’t up for the task of writing after work.  Days off were spent restoring my energy and mental health.  It was too much for me to do what I was obligated to do, let alone an ambitious project on top of it.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t go back to it.  NaNoWriMo is officially November, but can be done any month.  I can pick my manuscript back up in, say, March, when work won’t be very demanding and yet the weather still not so great that I will be distracted by wanting to play outside.  Should I continue with the novel I started, I will relay my progress on this blog.

Outside of work, I had a lovely holiday season.  Fred and I spent Christmas day with his parents and a little of his extended family.  It was nice to finally meet some of them and talk more with others I’d already met.  For New Year’s we went to a friend’s house for a game night and fireworks display over the lake.  It was fun, but I was mentally exhausted from the “go-go-go” of work since Thanksgiving.  We left shortly after midnight.

I’m not a fan of making many New Year’s resolutions since many times I (and people in general) set myself up for disappointment.  So, this year, I just have three simple and attainable resolutions:

1. Start getting allergy shots.

I know, this sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m really tired of constantly blowing my nose and sneezing.  Last May I got allergy testing done and I’m allergic to many things under the sun, including the two cats with whom I live.

2. Beat one of the Mario games on my own.

Fred has beaten all of the Mario games at least once on our Wii.  He grew up playing these games and has said that a lot of it is muscle memory.  I, on the other hand, never played these games until just a few years ago so I don’t have the reflexes he does.  I would like to complete one of the games without his help.  

3. Read 6 classic novels.

For having an English degree, I’ve read very few classic novels.  Ones like Jane Eyre, that I was supposed to read in college, but didn’t finish, I don’t count as having read them.  I have over 80 classic novels on my e-reader and even more on my bookshelves, and it’s high time I read some of them.  I only decided on 6* because: (1) they take a little longer to read and (2) there will be new, shiny books by which I will be distracted.

On that note, I’ve started reading The Annotated Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum and Michael Hearn.  While I’ve been reading diligently for 3 days, I’m still in the introduction (it’s a pretty big book).  I find it fascinating, though, to learn of Baum’s history as well as the history of the books and its multiple versions (stage and film).  One of the things that I found most interesting so far is that after the book was released, a “musical extravaganza” was written and performed on several stages, including Broadway.  It parallels with Wicked, which was first a book by Gregory Maquire and then a musical on Broadway and then on tour.  It, too, tells of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but from the point of view of the “Wicked Witch of the West”.**

 

*For Fred: “Six is good.”

**An absolutely fascinating play.  I have the book, but I haven’t read it yet.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in About me, Literature

 

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No rest for the wicked

For my birthday and Christmas, Fred bought us tickets to see the musical Wicked.  It’s a twist on Wizard of Oz, from the viewpoint of Elphaba (aka the Wicked Witch of the West).  Basically, the first half of the play tells why she is green and how she came to be known as the Wicked Witch and the second act brings about her demise (and the making of the Tin Man and the Scarecrow as well as the ruby slippers).

[While I don’t want to spoil anything for those who want to see/read it (yes, it was a book first), I do want to share my thoughts about it.  I will do my best not to spoil anything but my apologies if I do.]

The set and costumes were beautiful.  I can best describe it with the word “steampunk”.  The set was made up of clock gears and hands.  A metal dragon resided over the stage and was brought to life by the flying monkeys at the start of the play.  Glinda floated in on a “bubble” in the opening song, wearing a sparkling ball gown and waving a wand.  I was awestruck as soon as the first chord was struck and the metal dragon opened his mouth.

This was the first time I’d heard the music and, while some of it was hard to understand, I still enjoyed it.  Among my favorite songs are “Popular” (sung by Galinda) and “Defying Gravity” (sung by Elphaba and Galinda).  But what I loved most about the play was the underlining themes: be yourself, stand by your beliefs, and fight for those who can’t.  Elphaba was cast as wicked when all she did was stand up to those who oppressed animals.  Personally, I love stories like this, people rising above their oppressors or fighting a small group that holds all the power.  So, when Elphaba belted out the last chorus of “Defying Gravity,” chills ran down my arms:

And if you care to find me, look to the western sky.
As someone told me lately,
Everyone deserves a chance to fly.
And if I’m flying solo,
At least I’m flying free.
To those who’d ground me,
Take a message back from me.
Tell them how I am defying gravity.
I’m flying high defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown.
And nobody in all of Oz,
No wizard that there is or was,
Is ever gonna bring me down!

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Entertainment

 

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