Weekly Obsessions

Life update, because why not?

My weekly obsessions are:

  • Being stressed
  • Hamilton: An American Musical
  • HALLOWEEN COMING

I thought there would be more but apparently that’s it. I hope your week has gone well.

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Tuesdays With ____________

I was recently assigned to read the novel Tuesdays With Morrie for my English class and I fell in love with it, as I do with all of the novels my teacher assigns. After the class finished the novel, we had a discussion— arguably my favorite part of class— on the book’s central topic, the one that no one ever wants to approach: death. Several students shared heartbreaking stories that gave insight into their lives as well as life in general, and the whole class grew closer because of it. Because of the fact that I happened across it this morning, that we watched the Tuesdays With Morrie movie today in class, and that it happens to be a Tuesday, I have decided to share what was on my mind that day, a little paragraph that my teacher told me to call Tuesdays With Sabine.

I think about death a lot. I think about what I’ll have accomplished by the time I die and if it’ll be significant. I ponder over whether if I died the next day or 60 years into the future if I’d be able to say that I accomplished everything I set out to do. I wonder what will happen to my possessions. Will they be distributed to my loved ones, or will they remain undisturbed except for the occasions when my mother blows the dust off of them and cries as she remembers me? I think about my funeral. Who will be there? Who will speak? What color will the casket be, and what type of flower will lay on my grave? I wonder if I’ll have a grave at all. Sometimes I think that I want my ashes to be turned into fireworks so that I’ll go out with a bang. Other times I think I want to be turned into a record of all my favorite songs so that even when I’m gone I’ll still bring music. And sometimes, I consider becoming a tree so that I’ll grow and be a useful source of air and wood, but then I think of how many dogs will try to mark their territory on me and I think better of it.

There was more to the paragraph, but not much. I didn’t get to finish it, but I began to write about my family and friends and how I’d react to their deaths. It would have been nice if I’d completed my thought, but now as I’m typing this my eyelids are drooping and my body is begging me to sleep. Maybe one of these days I’ll continue this thought, probably on a Tuesday, because after all, I’m a Tuesday person.

 

Superior

The following is a true short story that I was asked to write for my English class. I may be updating it soon with any suggestions my teacher has for it. I hope you enjoy! 🙂

“You okay?” my friend Yvette asked. “You don’t look so great.”

“I’m fine,” I replied, “just a little nervous.”

That was a lie. I was more than a little nervous, I was so anxious that I felt physically ill. My nerves had progressed throughout the day and by 5th period when I saw Yvette my stomach was knotted so severely that I thought I might throw up. It made no sense, the competition was so many hours away and yet still I was already a nervous wreck.

That day, Friday, February 20, 2015, was the Solos and Ensembles evaluation for band students in all of Florida. It was my 8th-grade year and I’d already been to the event once before, but I didn’t do as well as I hoped and I was so sure the same would happen that night. I put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed because of the songs I was playing and how important they were to me. The first song I would play was Habañera from the opera Carmen, and I wanted so badly to play the piece well because years before my sister and her friends played it, as per the tradition at Miami Lakes Middle. I had planned to play the song in the previous year’s competition, but the other two flutists in the trio didn’t come through, so I had to wait another year to play it with new teammates. That year, I’d be playing with two 7th graders—  something unheard of at Miami Lakes because it was always the 8th graders who played the song—  but I had faith in Yvette and Nayeli, the only person I worried about was myself.

“Guys, would you mind running it again?” I asked my teammates.

“Yeah, no problem,” Nayeli replied. “Just let me finish setting up.”

Yvette, who had already assembled her flute agreed to play with us and went to get herself a stand.

We moved into the hall to get away from the noisy band room so that we could hear ourselves better, and when we were all settled— with tuned flutes, properly adjusted stands, and annotated sheet music— I led the group in playing one of my favorite pieces. We ran through it perfectly. And then again. And again after that. We’d played through the number perfectly a million times before, and we did it a million more times in that hour we took to practice. After the two millionth perfect run, when I was slightly more confident in myself, I broke apart from my group to practice my solo.

As nervous as I was for my ensemble, I was 10 times more nervous for my solo. My solo, called Air Gracile, was a lyrical piece— a challenge because of its high notes and slow pace. It would be the true test of my talent as a musician. Not only was I on my own— meaning there would be no one else to carry the melody and cover me up if I made a mistake, and there would be no one else to blame for a bad score— I was also playing the piccolo. While technically I played flute for three years (but if I’m being honest with myself it was only two) I had even less experience on the piccolo. I had begun playing in 7th grade, but since I had to share it with two other players it was difficult to really develop the talent for it. When I picked it back up in 8th grade I didn’t have to share anymore, but I still had a rocky start. Transitioning from flute to the tiny piccolo was strange, and it was all the more difficult when you factored in all of the piccolo’s mechanical issues that I had to work around. All of that combined contributed to the queasiness I felt when I contemplated playing my solo.

I practiced and practiced until the bell rang, signaling the end of the school day, and then for several hours after that until my mother picked me up to go home. Because of the fact that I lived so far from the venue, almost as soon as I got home I had to leave. I just barely had enough time to get dressed, sporting my formal band uniform— a tuxedo shirt with matching tuxedo pants and bow tie, accented with a maroon and gold vest that showed off my school’s colors and mascot— before running out the door to avoid being late. My mom told me to sit down and eat something but I couldn’t, there were too many butterflies in my stomach for me to have an appetite.

On the ride over I ran through my pieces a few more times. My sister who was in the car was delighted to hear me play her old piece.

“I’m so proud of you,” my sister squealed. “Hold on, I have to send a video of you to the old squad.”

I was all prepared to play for my sister’s old flute friends, but when I tried playing the first note, there was no sound.

“OH. MY. GOD,” I screamed. “The flute’s not working.”

I panicked. It could not be happening, not then, not less than two hours before the competition. I would definitely fail. Even if I could borrow a flute, I didn’t have enough time to get to know it, and there was no guarantee that it worked as well as I needed it to. I kept trying and after endless excruciating seconds, I got it to work again. I hadn’t realized that my heart had stopped beating until that moment when it started up again, beating so hard that I thought it would leap out of my chest.

The rest of the ride went fairly smoothly. I packed away my flute after the scare and I managed to get my heart rate to a pace that was only slightly abnormal. When I arrived at the venue, on time for the first time in my life, I spotted a sea of maroon in the middle of the courtyard and headed for it. I met up with the rest of my band and we walked in together carrying burdens much heavier than our instruments. My group and I got together and rehearsed the song one last time, and then it was showtime.

“Relax girls, you’ll do fine,” my band director said. “You’re capable players and if you play like you do in practice, you’re sure to take the superior title.”

With those words of encouragement, as well as some from our families followed by hugs and kisses, we stepped into the room where our judge awaited. I expected a dragon lady, but she was quite nice. She greeted us with a smile and a warm hello and waited patiently as we set up. When we were finally ready, we all took big breaths and started on the count of three. We played flawlessly and received compliments from the judge when we finished. Finally,  it was over. Or most of it anyway.

My solo was next, but the judge asked me to go get Yvette who had left the room because she’d be playing after me. I had to play in 5 minutes and it took way longer to find her, so when I did I rushed back to the room. Except the venue was a large and unfamiliar college campus, so I got lost on the way which stressed me out beyond belief. When I finally did get to my room, I was out of breath from running so far and my chest rattled with each intake of air.

“Are you ready?” the judge asked. I nodded in reply. “Alright, take a deep breath.” And I did, or at least, I tried to. I tried to suck in as much air as I could but my lungs couldn’t take in enough. I began my solo with a shaky breath and every other breath after was shallow and gave me just enough air to hit each note. Once again I received compliments from the judge when I finished, but this time I didn’t run off to find Yvette. Instead, I stayed to hear her play her solo, a difficult piece that my sister had played in the past, and she did so well that she made my sister and I extremely proud.

After that, to pass time before the results came out, I watched some of my other friend’s performances. I listened and applauded to several wonderful performances until it was time to see our ranks. All of my fellow bandmates gathered around the double doors where the scores were posted and waited patiently, for the most part anyway. I was so anxious that I paced and squirmed and stayed in constant motion just to give myself something to do.

“I’m starving,” I announced suddenly, realizing that my stomach had been begging for food as it had been eight hours since my last meal. I got a slice of pizza and a can of coke, the go-to band performance dinner, and continued pacing. What was taking them so long? I thought, and as soon as I did, the question was answered. A man stepped out from behind the double doors and said “Sorry, we’re having trouble with the printers. The results will be out soon.” They were not out soon. I waited forever before I finally heard the door cracked open again and the same man emerged with a group of helpers. We backed away from the door and allowed them to post the ranks, and as soon as they stepped back inside to safety, we pounced.

It was a like some kind of jungle fight. There were people biting and scratching and elbowing all trying to wiggle their way to the front to see how they’d done. When I finally got to the front I scanned the sheets quickly for my name.

It was a blur of names until I made out Yvette’s and saw superior next to it.  How great for her I thought, she deserved it. Then I glanced back at the same spot and realized something else; next to Yvette’s name was Nayeli’s, and then right after was mine. It couldn’t be. The score I saw wasn’t for Yvette’s solo, it was for our trio, and we got superior. I was so excited. I had lived up to my sister’s legacy and proven to myself that I could do it. Now, all that was left was to find my solo score. I knew it wouldn’t be superior, my mom and sister told me I that I played well, but also softly because I was short of breath, so I knew that would cost me major points. I went further down the list until I saw my name, but I couldn’t bear to look.

My sister took the burden upon herself and stepped up to the double doors. She looked at the spot that had my name and remained expressionless. I got more worried, if it was even possible at that point. Was I that bad? Did I get below an Excellent? Spit it out woman!

Finally, she turned to me, looked me dead in the eye and said just one word: “Superior.”

Photo credit: Google Images 

Every Vote Counts

Amen. I couldn’t have said this better.

A Series of Fortuitous Events

I would vote for Hillary Clinton.

Why?

I feel as though the American Citizen has the obligation of fulfilling their civic responsibility of voting.

The right to vote is one that many in other countries couldn’t even fathom having, so it is one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Citizens should take an active part in their government, for it is a democracy in which We The People can select who we want to run this country, rather than having a self proclaimed dictator or no voice in government like in some other countries.

In this election, voters must pick between the two most hated candidates in American history. However, voters shouldn’t opt for not voting because lack of voters at the polls is a large threat to democracy.

Lack of voters at the polls shows hypocritical apathy, especially in this election, as it is filled with attention, controversy, arguments…

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Spirits of the Dead

I know that there have been recent scandals involving the presidential candidates that I have yet to address, but I’d like to hold off on commenting until after the debate tonight. Instead, this post is about another event I have yet to address which is the coming of fall. It’s been fall for a while and though I wanted to welcome it with a poem, either my own or one I really enjoy, I haven’t done so. So, I’d like to share a poem that welcomes fall, not in the traditional sense, but in my own strange one. While I love fall for many reasons including the changing of the leaves (though we don’t get that here in Florida) and the scent of spice in the air, I especially love Halloween, and that’s what I’ve decided to focus on in welcoming fall. This poem, Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe, gives those Halloween vibes that I so love, and I’ll probably share another of his works when Halloween is upon us.

Spirits of the Dead

Edgar Allan Poe, 18091849

Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

This poem is in the public domain.

Photo credit: Google images

Law of the Jungle

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I wanted to share this poem because I read it in the book I’m currently obsessing over, The Moral Instruments: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. In the paragraph following the poem it was mentioned that the poem was by Rudyard Kipling, but I didn’t make the connection to “The Jungle Book” until I watched the 2016 film. At first, I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the movie because of the fact that all of the animals would be CGI, but I was proved wrong after watching it. I thought that it was a wonderful adventure and it made me look forward to reading the book (once I get through the towering stack of books already waiting for my attention).