Thursday, July 28, 2011

Prose-colored glasses.

The show last night was a hit!  If you haven't heard, Spinner's End had our big debut in Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice at the Princeton Public Library last night, as part of their Page to Stage series. It went so well and the audience loved our musical spin on the story!  I'm fairly sure there are some pictures and videos floating around out there, so as soon as I get my hands on them I'll post them to the blog for all of you lovely people out there to see.  It looks like some Important Theater People may have liked the show enough to give us another staging opportunity.. fingers crossed!  If we get to produce the show again, I'd love to expand on the music we wrote and maybe even involve some more musicians in the process.  We shall see!  Either way, a nice relationship has been established between our band and the amazing people that work to bring art programs to Princeton's gorgeous library.  Hopefully more opportunities will follow!

I'm so jazzed by how well things went that I've decided to be a little brave and post some of my prose on here.  I'd like to include some of my writing from time to time as a feature on the blog here, so consider this the first of many.  I don't normally write prose, I'm really more of a haiku poet and lyricist, but in the name of bravery I figured I'd jump right out of my comfort zone with my first post.  However, since I've been working furiously for the past few weeks on Eurydice, I don't exactly have anything new to share.  So this is a piece I wrote about three or four years ago that I'd love to share with you all.  Feel free to let me know what you think, I encourage constructive criticism and would love to discuss the piece in the comments with anyone who has something to say.  I call it "the boy in the car behind me."  Check it out after the jump.

"the boy in the car behind me."

the boy in the car behind me is singing.

through my rear-view mirror, i can see him.  he's belting out the long notes at the top of his lungs, his curly hair bouncing to the beat.  his bright red car speeds up behind me, almost racing along to the music.  he has a great big grin on his face as he sings out every word.  i can't hear his music, but i already like it.

its a monday morning in october.  i'm practically on autopilot, driving down the garden state parkway on my way back to college.  its a relatively quiet morning.  there aren't many cars on the road; there aren't many thoughts in my head.  however, this boy's enthusiasm has caught my eye, and i can't help but glance back at him every few moments.

suddenly, he passes me on the right.  speed demon that i am, i'm driving at least seventy-five miles an hour in the left lane, much faster than anyone else on the road.  but thats not fast enough for the boy in the red car.  he zooms past me, accelerating with the music.  he's still smiling.  he's still singing.

my mind drifts.  i wonder where he's coming from.  i bet he's on his way back from a crazy party.  there were dozens of people there: old friends and new friends.  everybody was reunited for the weekend, just hanging out, drinking beers, listening to music, and enjoying each other's company.  the boy in the red car was the hit of the party.  he stayed up well into the night catching up with everybody, sharing stories of new lives and reminiscing about the past.  at the end of the party, as the crowd began to dwindle and day began to break, he was struck with the overwhelming feeling that he and all his friends really are going to be okay.  though their lives may have changed and they may have gone separate ways, their friendships are still as strong as ever.  he is so content with life that, driving home after this great weekend, he can't help but sing.

or maybe he's on his way to somewhere great.  maybe he's on his way to see the girl he loves.  maybe the boy in the red car has fallen in love with his best friend.  maybe they had grown up together, lived in houses on the same street.  they had been friends since childhood, and throughout high school he had realized his feelings for her.  however, he never took a chance, never told her how he felt for fear of losing their great friendship.  they had gone off to separate colleges, and at first it seemed that he had forever lost his chance.  but on friday they saw each other for the first time in months.  and it was like no time had passed.  they hung out, just like they always had, but this time it was different.  after so many years of wondering, the boy in the red car finally took a chance and told her that he loves her.  and it turned out she loves him too.  on friday they had finally shared that long anticipated kiss.  it was just as wonderful as he always knew it would be.  now he was on his way to see her again, to surprise her on her lunch break at work with a mix cd.  and this was no ordinary mix.  he had filled it with their favorite songs through the years.  this cd chronicled their friendship.  he had spent hours making it, agonizing over which songs to pick and the order in which to put them, until it was finally perfect.  and now he is racing to see her, singing their songs, so in love he feels his heart is going to explode into a million pieces.

wherever he's from, wherever he's going, he looks happy.

he looks free.

i decide to follow him.

i quickly switch lanes, and speed up until i'm right behind him.  the song must have changed by now, but he's still singing.  shaking his curls.  playing drums on his dashboard and steering wheel.  rocking out.

i feel slightly ashamed.  this is his private, happy moment, and he has no idea i'm watching.  i feel a twinge of guilt at my voyeurism.  this is a bad habit of mine.  i'm always looking around at the people in other cars, imagining their lives.  whenever i see interesting people, i'm struck with the inexplicable urge to follow them.  call me crazy, but people are fascinating to watch, especially when they are driving.  i've done it since i was little.

i always loved long car trips as a child.  whether i was going to the beach or to the doctor's office, the destination didn't matter much.  it was a great excuse to people watch.  when most children were crying and complaining, anxious with cabin fever, i was happy as a clam.  i would sit quietly, my face pressed to the window, looking into the other cars.  when people are driving, its as if they're in their own little world.  they believe they are alone; they assume that nobody sees them.  and as such, people do things they might not normally do in front of others.   sometimes they talk to themselves.  sometimes they pig out on fast food.  sometimes they shave.  sometimes they sing as loud as they can.  sometimes they cry.

i do my best crying in my car.  i've always hated crying in front of other people.  i always try my hardest to be strong in the eyes of others.  fighters don't feel vulnerable.  survivors don't feel weak.  when i'm upset, i hold it in.  i go to great lengths to bury my sadness, swallowing my tears as best i can.  but for some reason, the minute my car pulls out of the driveway i break down.  i guess i assume i'm truly alone.  its the only place i know i can't be interrupted.  its the only place i can really let go.  if my heart is breaking, if my world is falling apart, i take a drive.  and i cry my eyes out.

i'd imagine that there are people out there who have seen me crying in my car.  there are probably other people like me, who like to watch other drivers, maybe even follow them.  there might even be someone out there who has followed me, watched me as i drove.  maybe there's someone who saw me crying and wondered about me.  wondered where i was coming from, where i was going.. why i was crying.  i might have been a big part of somebody's day, and never have known it.

the boy in the red car is still singing.  he begins to weave through the cars, still speeding.  i try to keep up, but a minivan pulls out in front of me. i'm blocked in now, and he's still zooming farther and farther ahead of me.  but i can still tell he's singing.  soon, i reach my exit.  as i turn off the parkway, i take one last look at the boy in the red car.  i wish him well.  i hope he drives safe.  i hope he gets where he wants to go.  i hope he's still happy.

i hope he's still singing.

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