Saturday, November 5, 2016

What's Your Name Man?: A Hamilton Review

Hello friends!

I know, I know, I haven't been on here in forever, but I hope you look past that fact enough to read this post. I've had severe writer's block, I suppose you could say? But I finally feel inspired enough to get back on here again, to share something very special with you.

Weeks ago, I was introduced to a Broadway show called Hamilton. Before then, I'd only seen the album on the iTunes charts. Like most things, it had to grow on me, but in days, I was obsessed. I can't get enough of it. And I know why understand many feel the same way I do.

ABOUT: Hamilton is a Broadway Musical "about America now, told by America now", hence the amazing African American and Puerto Rican actors playing our respectable founding fathers. It tells the story of a less well-known American,  our first Treasurer Alexander Hamilton. Most people know him from being on the ten dollar bill, if that. But most people aren't aware that Alexander was a orphan from the Caribbean, was George Washington's "Right Hand Man" and literately "wrote his way out" out of nearly every tragic situation he faced. The play and the music was written by a musical genius named Lin-Manuel Miranda, who spent eight years writing it.


ALEXANDER HAMILTON (Lin-Manuel Miranda): Right away, we learn that Hamilton has come from a tragic past. His mother died with of a fever that almost killed him too. A hurricane destroyed his home-town in the Caribbean. Since his mother died, he had no family until marrying his wife Eliza. (Philippa Soo)

As much as I love  everyone in
this play, Hamilton was my favorite. First of all, he's a headstrong writer.  At least in the play, he's a lady's man. You'd expect him to marry a woman with a fiery heart like his. Instead, he falls in love with Eliza, who's just about as good as any person can be.  It's not a cheesy story: Hamilton truly came from nothing and worked his way to finding a family, a country, and something worth fighting for

Favorite Line: UGH EVERYTHING. But I think he had me at, "I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory."

AARON BURR (Leslie Odom Jr.) : Don't know his name?  He was the Vice President under Thomas Jefferson. Pretty quickly, we learn that he was the one who killed Hamilton in a duel. "Well, if you love Hamilton, you hate Burr, right?" Actually no. Like Hamilton, Burr's an orphan who's basically lost everyone in his life. He wants to do great things, but he refuses to make a move until he's sure it's the right one. But he's so elegant and poetic and I just love him too, ok?

Favorite Line: Life doesn't discriminate between the sinners and saints, it takes, and it takes, and it takes...

From hip-hop to show-tunes, this musical has everything genre-wise. But the lyrics are the best. Here's just a taste of the poetry I'm talking about:

"You built me palaces out of paragraphs, you built cathedrals." -Eliza Hamilton, "Burn"
"If you stand for nothing, Burr, what you'll fall for?"-Alexander (Actually a real quote)
"Dying is easy, young man, living is much harder." -George Washington (also real. May I mention that this play was extremely well researched?)
"We dream of a brand new start, but we dream in the dark for the most part."-Burr, "The Room Where it Happens
"What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see." -"The World Was Wide Enough)

The catchiest songs include:
My Shot (CLEAN VERSION) (basically Hamilton meeting his friends and his philosophy on life)
The Room Where it Happens (This song is legit the coolest song in the musical, with Aaron Burr, of course)
Guns and Ships (about Layfette, this song contains the best rapping)

The Sweetest Songs include:
Helpless (the song about Eliza meeting Alexander
Dear Theodisa (This is sung by Alexander and Aaron Burr to their children; it's basically the prettiest thing)
And of course, the theme song "Alexander Hamilton" is amazing. though it does include a few mild words. Look up a clean version for that one.

First of all, it portrays every character with their own music style according to their own historical character. For example, we have Layfette, who's from France. At first, he's stumbling around with his English while rapping in this awesome French accent. And then a few songs later, when he gets the hang of the language, he's suddenly busting out these really fast, cool lyrics that are awesome, doing a better job than the English men.

Also, I love the feminism. A lot of times, I don't agree with how our culture has presented it. "Yeah, strong women know martial arts and can body slam anyone!"  That is not the case here. The girls aren't telling everyone women should leave their children and join the frontlines asap. They're simply saying that women's ideas should be respected just as much as men's are. I think that's something we all can agree with.

There's no clear bad guy in Hamilton. In fact, most everyone believes in the same thing. They all want America to prosper; they believe in freedom and justice. They all have different ways of going about it. No founding father is perfect, as we learn, even George Washington. In any other form of literature, he's portrayed to be our all-knowing leader of our country. But in Hamilton, he's just a honorable man trying not to make the same mistakes. At one point, Washington tells Hamilton that he led his men into massacre in his younger years.

But I think the best message Hamilton offers is its lesson about legacy. From the first song, Hamilton's goal is to "die in glory", to leave his mark on the world. As it turns out, his own ambition spurs him on to make his biggest mistakes. His biggest fear is rejection, so  much that his actions to avoid it nearly destroy his family. In the end, he dies for what he believes in, killed in a duel that not many people remember. He saves America from debt, though he is rarely credited for his efforts. If this musical teaches anything, it's this: We need to let our legacy take care of itself. We can't control what how people will react; all we can do is choose to do what's right.

Unfortunately, Hamilton is not without faults. In fact, the biggest one is the language. Since this musical is hip-hop influence, it does include some pretty bad profanities. Fortunately, there is a clean version of the album that blocks the worst stuff out. So, if you chose to listen, make sure it's the right album.  There's a catch to this too: It doesn't block out everything. The album is basically a little better than an Avengers movie. But if you overlook that, the musical is still a poetic, unique take on America history.

So what do you think? Have you heard Hamilton? Do you like it? What's your favorite song? Do you agree with the messages I presented, about feminism, legacy, etc. Comment! I'd love to find fellow Hamilton lovers.

Here's a few of the best songs (no bad words included)

If you've made it this far, I applaud you! I hope you like this post; hopefully, I'll get back on here soon:) This is a review of the album, not the actual musical.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Tell Them

If you are a writer of any sort, I'm sure you've heard the familiar advice, "Write what you know." There are articles both promoting and criticizing this quote. When taken literally, it can scare anyone out of a writing a book they're passionate about. Someone might not want to make their main character blind, just because they feel like they don't know enough about being blind. On a personal level, I often shy away from showing my stories about school to others for the fear of disapproval since I’m homeschooled.

I agree—our experiences differ from our stories. I’ve never been a police officer or have gone to public school. However, I believe the emotions in our story should be similar to than ones we’ve felt ourselves. Your parents might have never left you, but I’m sure you’ve experienced the pain of someone leaving, whether it was the death of a family member or a friend who stopped talking to you. Of course, these are different situations, but they cause the same type of emotions: anger, sadness, depression.

Whether it’s a story or even a poem, the emotions are critical. Recently, I reread The Book Thief, one of my favorite books in the world. I differ significantly from the main character, Lisel. I’ve never been in the foster system. I wasn’t alive during World War II. Even so, I felt like I could have been her best friend. She had a rare love for words that I have felt. She had the similar, deep relationship with her father that I do. And because of that, I loved Lisel. Not especially because I connect to her, but because she helped me understand my own feelings. I don’t know if the author himself had the same adoration for words that she did. But because he explored the sensation so deeply, I was able to relate to it.

It’s hard to write about personal situations, much less show them to others. There’s always that fear that it will be taken the wrong way, or *gasp*, the person who inspired it will read it. I’ve published a few poems that were inspired by a few people in my life. And yes, I was afraid that the wrong person would read them. But you know what? Each time I found the bravery to hit publish, I got a lot of feedback. Comments like: “I can really relate to this. Thanks for sharing.”

Sure, those people might not have had the same problem I did. But they still were impacted by my words because they were similar to their own feelings. There is nothing more powerful than the ability to connect with people. An action movie might keep your attention for two hours, but if you can’t connect to the characters, what’s the point?

So I encourage you. Don’t be afraid to write what you know. Write the emotions you have experienced, no matter how painful or personal they are. Write about the anger that comes when someone mistreats you. Write about the joy that comes when you move on. Tell others how you feel. 
And then, maybe they’ll understand how they feel.  Maybe they’ll realize that they can overcome the pain.

What are you waiting for?

P.S. I posted for the first time in forever a month ago. Back then, I had 47 followers and no guarantee that anyone would read it. On that silly post of mine, I got eight comments and now I have 54 followers. I don’t know how to thank you guys. I hope you liked this more serious post. What do you think about my advice?

Friday, March 25, 2016

How Can We Comprehend?

Through Your death, death has lost.
Through Your blood, we are saved by the cross
How can I ever comprehend?
'Cause through Your pain, there was victory.
By a plan we could not see.
And now we wait for the time,
You will descend.
And now I wait for the day,
I will ascend.
"For He was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. On Him, was the chastisement that brought us peace. And by His wounds we are healed."  Isaiah 53
Remember what Jesus for you, today and always.

Monday, March 14, 2016

5 Little Things I Can't Live Without

Why, hello. Before I say anything, I want to say a late public thank you to Allie at Sincerely Ally for making this amazing new blog design for me! Allie has great talent and it was so nice of her to put time into my blog. Be sure to check out her blog.

To keep me in check, I've decided to try to post every other Thursday since that I usually don't have to do much that day. Thanks so much for having patience and not un-following me.

Not much has changed since you last heard from me, so I won't go into another introduction. Instead, I'm going to talk about the little things I can't live without, which is an unusual list.

1. Library cards. Whoever came up with the idea of a library, I love you. You might know that I am still a committed bookworm, but I am also a broke bookworm. I don't have the money to buy all the books I want because, well, that would cost more money that my college fund. But the library is a place of endless possibilities. I can basically request any book I want from any library and they come usually within a week. Even new releases, though those tend to take longer. Right now, I am in the middle of reading a few high-anticipated new release without a dollar out of my pocket. How cool is that?

2. Spotify. For years, I relied on Youtube for most of my music, until I discovered Spotify. It took time, but I got over Taylor Swift taking her music out of it. Now we have it on computer so we don't have to shuffle it anymore. My need for Spotify is similar to my need for library cards. If I bought all the music I enjoyed, I'd be in debts by thousands.

3. Oreos. I adore this cookie, but we don't buy them often, so it's always the best treat. I was able to  buy a family pack in honor of Mid-Terms week and they helped me a lot. The double-stuffed are my favorite:)

4. Flash-drives. You know, the little thing you use to move your documents to different computers? If I didn't have those, my writing life would be destroyed, plus a lot of assignments would be overdue. I don't want the thing is with me and flashdrives, but every time I get a nice one, it breaks. Last Christmas, I got a sturdy one and I learned that you can name your flash-drives. Mine came from a brand called "Gorilla" so I named it George. George the Gorilla. I am so clever like that.

5. Pockets. I am not a purse person. I carry around books, not purses. Besides, I have no idea what how'd I'll fill it up anyway since I still don't wear makeup. So obviously, pockets come in handy for me, to keep library cards and flashdrives, ironically.

There you go! What are some little things you can't live without? Do you have a deep love for Oreos? As always, thank you for reading and stay tune for more!

I heard this song for the first time at a time I really needed to hear it. Lauren Daigle's music is simply wonderful and God-inspired.
When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Well... I'm Back

Hello again.

Wow, I haven't posted on this blog in nearly two months. I've never taken that long of a blogging break. I honestly didn't even mean to do it. Time just escaped from my fingers. But I'm planning to get back. Because I still love writing and you guys are awesome.

Meanwhile, my sister, Ellie has been a busy, blogging bee. (Haha, alliteration)  And I must admit, she is a much better, more consistent blogger than I am. If you haven't checked on her blog, with a new, awesome name, you must. It's called A Bounce in Your Step, which is not only adorable, but fits her perfectly.

Back to me, I can assure you guys that I have been reading your posts. I just don't always comment because I read them on my slow iPod. I can't promise that I'll post a lot, but I will post more than I have been. Oh, and I'm taking classes at my local junior college so I've been pretty ecstatic. And busy. Lots busy. But I don't mind.

Quick Update...

I've recently read... I just finally finished The Sword of Summer, the first book in Rick Riordan's new series. It was beyond amazing and probably one of my favorites.  I liked it so much I might even review it in detail. But I laughed aloud so many times. As a huge Riordan fan, it was one of his best.
And Winter, the final book in the Lunar Chronicles. Which was so good, but left me asking, "What is life now?" when I finished it.

I've listening to... With Taylor Swift slightly faded in the background, I've been discovering some new artists. Alessia Cara is a new favorite. She's such a classy musician. Of course, I've been jamming to Rachael Platten's new album, since I've adored her since "Fight Song." And there's also been a lot of Tori Kelly music playing in my house too. So, if you're looking for great music, click on the links:)

I've been watching... A lot of Marvel movies, since we're getting all prepped for Civil War. Also, When Calls the Heart season 3 is coming out very soon.

I've been thinking... There's been a lot of distractions, when it comes to my relationship with God. But through it all, I still hear his voice speaking to me. Every day, I'm learning over and over again that God's word is much greater than anything I could ever consider.

Dat's about it. How are you? How is the school year coming? Thanks so much for reading. And I will be back, pinky promise. Maybe even with a new blog design. :P