Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In Response to "Sure Thing"

Plays are an interesting sort of literature.  Many are acted out from the direction of the playwright's detailed stage directions and carefully spun dialogue; others are left to the inspiration of the director.  One of the most famous playwrights is William Shakespeare.  Full of long soliloquys and social implications, Shakespeare's plays are long studied and appreciated. 

Sure Thing is not like a Shakespearean play.  A fairly short, one act play, it has few stage directions other than the continuous use of a bell to symbolize the alternate interactions between the two characters of Bill and Betty.  Bill interrupts Betty's reading, which is a dumb move to begin with, and proceeds to try to dredge up a conversation between the two of them.  For anyone who knows or is a book lover, you know this is a futile and painful reaction.  However, David Ives creates an interesting dialogue that keeps backtracking and changing into something else entirely.  At first, the conversation ends as well as one would think with Betty blatantly ignoring Bill until he leaves. After the play backtracks a second, a single difference changes the direction of the outcome from complete and utter failure to Bill and Betty sharing a movie interest together. 

Ives experimentation with the possible alternatives of the conversation interested me.  Through the constant rewriting of the dialogue, Betty and Bill had a completely different experience than they otherwise would have had, playing with the notion of time and chance.  Questions that usually plague people like "I should of said that... could have done that... would have changed that..."  all fit well within the brief act.  Plus, the characters were as relatable as their situation.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been unnecessarily bothered by someone when I was trying to enjoy a good book or two. 

I am not one to write plays, but if I were required to write one, I might be inclined to mimic his minimal pattern and play with time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

So Many Books, So Little Time

Books have been my companions since I was in elementary school.  Many recesses were spent with my back pressed against the bricks of my school as I propped a book against my knee.  I fell in love with the crinkle of thin paper between my fingertips and the smell of pages brushing against my nose.  The worlds that authors spun for me became my playground, inspiring dreams and games to play with my friends. 

I was an avid reader in middle school and high school.  I remember in seventh grade how my Language Arts teacher, Mr. Hutchinson, assigned reading sheets to us students for documenting how many pages we read every day.  Each time we started a new book, we were required to start a new sheet.  Long story short, the biggest pile had my name proudly on it.  More than once, he handed me the pile of reading logs and told me to sort it because he knew I would claim the vast majority of it.  I was very proud of my pile and enjoyed talking to him about what I was currently reading.  

Mr. Hutchinson warned me that when I continued on to high school and college, I would not have as much time to read as I had then enjoyed.  I thought he was joking.

But he was right.

I still made time in high school to read for fun, but now that I am in college, it is more difficult to carve out a space of time and declare it reading time.  Yes, it is proven that devoting some time to reading for pleasure helps with the upkeep of mental health.  Sadly for me, I don't devote enough time to it.  So far, I'm still sane.  At least, from what I can judge, the duct tape holding my mind together is still holding true.  The real contest of that will be at the end of this college semester. 

Currently, I have Roseblood by A. G. Howard on my bedside with the intent to read it.  After two weeks, I am on page twenty-six.  In middle school, I would have finished long ago.  More than likely, this will be my book for spring break.  From what the point I reached in Roseblood, I am enjoying the fact that the main character, who is a young teenager, knits for fun, like me!  As soon as she whipped out knitting needles, I inwardly shrieked YES!  When I finally sit down and read this book, I'll be super pumped.  I've been stalking this book for awhile now, because A.G. Howard has a fantastic grasp of voice and does a phenomenal job of world building.  I loved her rendition of Alice in Wonderland  called Splintered.  If you haven't read it yet, go do so now.  The world she creates is dark, whimsical, and will kidnap you from the first chapter.  Roseblood is A. G. Howard's revamping of The Phantom of the Opera, which is my favorite play, so I'm excited to soon fall into the story.  I'm sure I won't be disappointed. 

Now a book that has actually inspired me is a toss up of my favorite books from middle school.  In sixth grade, I read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke in a day.  To be fair, I was homesick when I read it and needed to distract my fever stricken brain somehow.  I did so by reading Inkheart.  On the off chance you have not read the book or seen the movie starring Brendan Fraser, the book is about a man who repairs books and his young daughter, Meggie.  Both are the definition of a bookworm.  However, they run into troubles when Meggie finds out her father can literally read characters out of their story books.  These characters chase the two down as they try to grapple with the consequences of liberating stories' voices from their books' bindings.  It's a longer book, but I've worn my copy down.  Whenever I need a pick me up, I'll return to this story.

Another book that stands out in my mind for inspiration is called Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.  I read this over the summer into sixth grade and thoroughly enjoyed it.  This novel follows the story of Kendra and Seth as they spend a summer with their estranged grandparents.  Originally, they resign themselves to a boring summer, but that changes when they discover that their grandparents are really the caretakers of fairy tale creatures.  The story follows them through this new fantastical world that is hidden on the grounds of their family's estate.  Again, my copy is well worn and beginning to be held together with scotch-tape.  I loved this book series so much that I read a chapter or so from the books to my little sister almost every night.  She goes back and borrows them from my bookshelf too now that she's older and doesn't want me reading to her as much.

Many other books and series captured my attention.  For instance, I devoured the series Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Mortal Instruments, Harry Potter, Splintered, Beautiful Creatures, Spiderwick Chronicles, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, The Iron Fey, and many more.  The two books I focused on are my more worn copies that I have returned to time and time again for nostalgia and comfort.  I'm sure I'm going to fall in love with many more books over my lifetime.  The trick will be making time for reading again.  As the famous saying goes, "So many books, so little time."  And yes, I have a t-shirt with that saying too.