Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Book of Mormon - The Hottest Show on Broadway





Called the hottest show on Broadway for the past 2 years, the musical was certainly a spectacle. When something that popular and well-reviewed comes to town, it is a must see. Although I'm not a big fan of musicals as a rule and very skeptical of anything related to religion and in particular the so-called Mormon faith, I felt compelled to go and see it.
Knowing that the producers of this musical are the makers of the animated comedy South Park, it won’t come as a surprise that The Book of Mormon is a religious satire musical. Warning: the musical is not for the fainthearted or those who see it as blasphemy to make fun of religion. However, it is an equal opportunity offender as it playfully pokes fun at religion, sexuality, poverty and race. The show plays fast and loose with explicit language.
The Book of Mormon tells the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent to a remote village in northern Uganda, where a brutal warlord is threatening the local population. Na├»ve and optimistic, the two missionaries try to share the Book of Mormon, one of their scriptures—which only one of them has read—but have trouble connecting with the locals, who are more worried about war, famine, poverty, and Aids than about religion.
The musical is loud, the singing sometimes hard to understand, especially when spectators around you are almost rolling in the aisles laughing or practically dancing in their seats. In spite of its blatant irreverence and disrespect of the religious book the spectator walks away on a positive note. The musical conveyed the idea that these young missionaries are dedicated and kind people who also spread the message of being kind to one another.   Although the Ugandans made up their own version of the Mormon religion by skewering and changing the message, it had a positive effect on them and improved their lives.
On approaching and leaving the theater, Mormon missionaries offered people who wanted to attend the musical a free copy of the real 'Book of Mormon'. I was surprised that the Church doesn’t boycott performances but on the contrary, does see it as an opportunity to cultivate relationships with everyone. Compliments to the Church that they have such grace and tolerance -  especially  in the light of Charlie Hebdo.
The Book of Mormon earned overwhelmingly positive critical response, and set records in ticket sales. It was awarded nine Tony Awards, one of which was for Best Musical, and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album. The original Broadway cast recording became the highest-charting Broadway cast album in over four decades, reaching number three on the Billboard charts. It has staged two national tours since it premiered in the West End in 2013.

Book, Music and Lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone


Sunday, February 22, 2015

BIN TO BESTSELLERS: THE IMPORTANCE OF OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR WRITING LIFE

Making money writing is the hardest job on planet earth, however, there are people who do it effectively and make a living out of it. Being not one of them is not your problem, but aspiring not to be one is.

Is finding a publisher the best option for you as a writer? Richard Bach once mentioned in an interview; it’s not a publisher a writer searches for, but an editor. This relationship is one that should last for a lifetime. An editor understands where the music of words has to be slowed down or where it must run faster. But to get one worthy enough, you must do a lifetime’s waiting.

As a beginner in freelancing and in professional writing, how do you get an editor whose service can be worthwhile? Beginners are always stuck with the same problem; lack of funds. This in turn hampers your look out for an editor. Good editors are sale items with relatively high price money. There are many writers’ communities that offer editing services. Even some literary agencies offer you with editing services. However, if you are a first timer and one without enough weight in your bank account, hiring an editor for your book or manuscript will not be, normally, easy.

The best way to tackle this situation is to find reliable and easy options for editors. One need not go much farther for this end. Just look around and you will find yourself to be blessed with many minds, gifted with the one serum of eternal life—love—around you, ready to help reading your manuscript.

Showing your manuscript to your friends and family or girl friend would be a better option. In such a case, the money spent would be much close to null on editing services. The best editors are those who actually care for our work. You must be open to their criticisms; however, in harsh criticisms you can always rely on their lack of professional experience as the hideout from humiliation.

Stephen King, when he wrote his first novel, Carrie, did not think it would make up to the publishing standards and threw it into the bin. But his wife Tabitha King accidentally discovered the manuscript and read it. Thinking that it would be something worth of a quality, she put it back on the table and later helped King to rework on it. The novel went to become a best seller of its times and was made into a successful Hollywood movie.

This is one real life example from the life of America’s most celebrated and enthusiastic writer, Stephen King. This could be yours too. A relationship not just helps an individual to maintain one’s emotional health but the creative output as well. Now wait your sweet heart to tell you where to put the period.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anu Lal is the author of Wall of Colors and Other Stories. His latest book is Clenched Hands, Bloody Nails.  You can catch up with him in Facebook too.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Three Crows

THREE BLACK CROWS STAND SENTRY
THREE BLACK CROWS MOTIONLESS
WATCHING THE WAVES AT A DISTANCE                 
AT A DARK, BLACK, TIDAL DISTANCE
THE WAVES THREATEN THEM AS THEY WATCH
ROLLING IN, THEN ROLLING OUT AGAIN

THREE BLACK CROWS STAND ON THE TIDAL LINE
LOOKING WARILY, WHAT ARE THEY WAITING FOR ?
WOULD YOUR EYE'S HAVE NOTICED THEIR VIGIL ?
I SAW THEM, WHAT ARE THEY PLANNING ?
IS THERE GOOD VICTUALS TO BE HAD ON THE TIDAL LINE  ?
OR IS THIS THEIR MASON DIXON ?

THREE CROWS WAITING DRESSED IN SUNDAY BLACK
IT'S A DARK CLOUDY, RAINY DAY FOR WAITING
IS THERE SOMETHING COMING, SOMETHING DARK ?
SHOULD I BE WAITING, WATCHING WITH THEM ?
SHOULD WE ALL BE WATCHING ?
WHAT IS THE VIGIL FOR ? A BEACH VIGIL

THREE BLACK CROWS ONE ON A BRANCH
JUST OFF THE FLOOR BY ABOUT A LOOK-OUT FOOT
AS IF IT WAS HIS TURN TO BE THE LOOK-OUT
AS IF THEY HAVE DONE THIS BEFORE, HIS TURN ?
I WATCHED UNTIL IT RAINED HEAVILY AND THEN RETREATED
BUT THEY STAYED, I LEFT , BUT THEY STAYED WATCHING

MAYBE THEY'RE STILL THERE, MAYBE NOT
THREE BLACK CROWS MOTIONLESS ON THE ESTUARY WATER-LINE
WATCHING, WHY ?
Tim Williams
Tim Williams was born and brought up in the coal mining valleys of south Wales and did various jobs over the years mainly in the antiques trade. Has been a singer songwriter for 35 years, 3 years ago tried his hand at poetry as opposed to song lyrics; having a little success started performing his poetry at festivals and gig's around Wales. He has had a few poems published in books and on websites both here in UK, won an award in Milan Italy in 2014 and has had a few published in USA on websites there. He has his first book of poems due out this spring entitled " Are you reading that poetry book your sitting on ". He has a Facebook site Tim Williams Welsh Poet and features on Cosmofunnel an American poetry and writing site.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

When Truth Hurts: The Nonfictioneer's Dilemma


Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.

~ Franz Kafka


Kafka, you haunt me.


Whenever I read these words, I am divided. One half of my heart swells in awe of your insolent wisdom, at your unabashed defense of the artist's impertinence. You forbid us to whitewash, to pretty-up the ugly corners of life. Do not tread lightly on reality, you insist, but delve deep, and without apology. Show life with all of its thorns, no matter who objects. Where inspiration leads, the writer should follow with frenzied passion.


The other half of me spits at you.


I don't believe my heart was made for fiction. It goes against everything that has made me a writer -- a love for daily life, a quiet belief that every "normal" person, including myself, has a story. The little struggles we encounter each day say much more about our humanity, I think, than some grand, fictional misadventure. The truth is, I long for nonfiction. I long for its contemplative nature, its ability to find meaning in the mundane. Most of all, I long for its potential to highlight reality, and say, "There's no need for fiction. Life is dramatic enough on its own."


But I need fiction, Kafka. I need it terribly.


With nonfiction, there comes a risk. There are many things in our lives that contain all the elements of a good story -- a mother's coldness, an uncle's cancer, a best friend battling alcoholism. If we stop to look around, we realize that the people we interact with everyday have tales begging to be told. But this fascination with the trials of others is dangerous. It requires us to investigate and speculate about people's private lives. The nonfiction writer must intrude -- often without permission -- upon someone's darkest, most intimate secrets.


What is wrong with us, Kafka? Why is it the darkness in people's lives, that which makes them most vulnerable, that inspires us most? We are sadists and parasites. Our work thrives upon the draining of others for our own gain. We delight in their shame, their injury, their deformities, exposing them for general entertainment and "the sake of art." We cannot see someone's wound, and leave it be. In our sick fascination, we pick at the scar, peek beneath its stitches, until it bleeds. Because as a writer, as an artist, we must know what’s inside.


You did well to choose the word "mercilessly," my dear Kafka. To write directly from reality, we have to adopt a kind of indifference. We can't care too much about our subjects; otherwise, we'd always feel guilty, and never write anything for fear of violating their privacy and soiling their reputation.


This is why I write fiction. It was never because my life was uninteresting. My family life has been rocked by death and mental illnesses. My friends have been torn by scandal and abuse. There are always things to write about. But my conscience is my weakness. I don't have the stomach for trespassing onto others' lives, for being an invader. For you see, the greatest danger of being a writer is not the lack of things to write about. It is the risk of someone getting hurt.


Did you ever love anyone, Kafka? Or did not loving give you the freedom to write?




 
Image Courtesy: Emma Moser
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Emma Moser is a lifelong New England resident currently balancing her lives as a college senior, local musician, and emerging writer. Her writing pursuits include blogging, poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming at several national venues, including Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, Zoomoozophone Review, Thoreau’s Rooster, Sweatpants & Coffee, and Fuck Fiction.

For more articles, links to publications, and information about the author, please visit her blog at: antiquedwriter.blogspot.com
Find me on Twitter
[Image courtesy: author, google, and  haaretz.com]