Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Play, A Snow Day, and (Not) Mockingjay

Well, this has been a week full of disappointments. Sorry to start off on a negative note like that but, wow.
First was Sunday, when I went to what was called "A Very Potter Tea Party." Or, at least, I went to the pub, where I had read that an event called "A Very Potter Tea Party" was occurring. But naturally, there was no such event. Not even the slightest hint that it had happened or was going to happen.

Next was the very underwhelming "blizzard" of Monday and Tuesday. That was less of a disappointment, and that, I would say, is one of my new experiences of the week. Now I'm not really sure how this resolution is going to work, exactly, but I think that the only new experiences that should really count are ones that I seek out for myself, not ones that are sort of thrust upon me. So no class field trips or family vacations count for my new experience of the week. And neither does an event that I only experienced because of the weather. Nevertheless, I think that even though they don't "count," I can still write about them here because you know, why not. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out this post.)

So my first new experience of the week was my very first Sarah Lawrence snow day (Sarah Lawrence being the college I go to). In the middle of poetry class Monday morning, one of my classmates announced that she had just gotten an email saying that all classes after 3 pm Monday were cancelled, and Tuesday was going to be a full-on snow day. This was pretty exciting for me, seeing as my next class of the day was at 3:30. After poetry, I got a salad for lunch (don't think that this is some sort of regular occurrence for me- I guess I just got swept up in the celebratory mood and decided to be nice to my body for once) and then went straight to my apartment to sit my butt down on the bed and watch Pushing Daisies for several hours.
The panic over "Snowmaggedon" led hordes of students down to the convenience store, where I too went because it was a nice excuse to buy too much chocolate. Then I stationed myself in my room to eat said chocolate and listen to the howling wind outside.

After the snow day, I had two pretty busy days. Wednesday I had a morning full of meetings and homework, and an afternoon full of classes and Ch1Con online stuff. Thursday I had a cozy afternoon in the teahouse on my campus, doing French homework, and then class, before I headed off to my official New Experience of this week.
Unfortunately, I can't tell you anything about this new experience. It was a play, staged by a student-run theater company at my school, and when I entered the small black room where it was being held, one of the producers informed the audience that we were to tell anyone who asked that we had seen a beautiful rendition of A Streetcar Named Desire. But I've already cheated on this rule three times in telling people about the play, and so I'll cheat one more time and tell you its name: White Rabbit, Red Rabbit. Absolutely mind-shaking play- I really recommend it. It's very cool and experimental, so if you're into that sort of thing: see it.

After the play, I went to an Open Mic run by my school's Hillel (that means "Jewish club"). There was free pizza and great singers and funny comedy acts, which was good. But after the Open Mic I thought that, due to the biting cold and falling snow, I would take a shuttle back to my dorm, rather than braving the long walk. 40 minutes of waiting later, I gave up on the shuttle and angrily stomped back to my dorm on my numb legs.

Yesterday was fine, and today I went out to finally go see Mockingjay: Part 1. Yes, I still haven't seen it, because I am cheap and lazy and not much for going to movie theaters. But my college's Activities Council was playing it for free tonight, and since I do like the Hunger Games, I thought I'd finally go see it. But surprise, surprise: another disappointment. Evidently the movie had been cancelled, or the people running it forgot about it, because no one was there. Another girl had shown up hoping to see the movie, and she called some people she knew who were supposed to run it, but they didn't answer. So I trudged back through the cold night to my dorm, where I am now, writing about a snow day, a play, and (NOT) Mockingjay.

Oh well. Being let down sucks, but it's the sacrifice you have to make sometimes for new experiences, and new, exciting experiences are worth it. Like seeing a great play or getting free pizza.

Hopefully, next week I'll have an experience that I can actually tell you about.
See you on Wednesday for a regular post!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Snow: A Little Scrapbook in Art

As you have probably already learned from every news station in America, a snow storm hit New York yesterday. And, predictably, it was not the Life-Ending Worst Snowstorm in the History of the World. It was maybe five inches of snow. But I did get a snow day and a half off from school, so that was nice.
Despite the underwhelming nature of the "blizzard," it has still made my campus look like an enchanting winter wonderland. I just got back from a long day out in the cold, and just before heading back into my dorm, I walked through the woods, which were covered in a soft, silent blanket of white powdery snow. Through the bare branches above my head, I could see the blue-black cloudless night sky, speckled with shining stars and a glowing, silver half-moon. It made the biting cold, the dryness, and the runny nose a little worth it.

I've always liked the winter, because I've always liked all of the seasons. I enjoy watching them change. This year, I've been taking a poetry class for which watching the earth change is one of the skills we've been learning. And our assignment this week was to write a poem about the blizzard. I haven't got any idea what my poem's going to be like just yet, but I thought it would be fun to gather up some snow-themed art works anyway, and to create a little, digital art scrapbook about snow.

By "art scrapbook" I mean that I'm going to put together a (small) collection of my favorite poems, prose, paintings, photos, etc. that are about snow (and winter in general, in relation to snow). Keep in mind these are ones that I like, not necessarily "the best ones." I just thought I'd create the snowy mood.



Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (by Robert Frost)
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
  (Carin Olsson)

The Snow Storm by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

Come see the north wind's masonry.
Out of an unseen quarry evermore
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer
Curves his white bastions with projected roof
Round every windward stake, or tree, or door.
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work
So fanciful, so savage, nought cares he
For number or proportion. Mockingly,
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths;
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn;
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall,
Maugre the farmer's sighs; and, at the gate,
A tapering turret overtops the work.
And when his hours are numbered, and the world
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not,
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone,
Built in an age, the mad wind's night-work,
The frolic architecture of the snow.

  (Eiko Ojala)
("Falling Snow" by Lotte Kestner)

Snowstorm by Ariel Kalati (yeah, me; I wrote it in tenth grade)
There’s going to be a snowstorm tonight, I know there is, just because of the uncapturable calm inside during winter, away from the biting cold wind, and the flashes of golden sunlight against the green grass and the colored glass and the brown papery leaves flying in the wind, the snowflakes whispering, singing, the spring blue sky and the sunset violet-gray clouds; all this I can see from my clear doors against the main street and the gnarled naked tree across from the library.
And it goes from the on-and-off flurries of the morning, with white snowflakes and cold awakening-air flying in from the window with the burst of brilliant light behind me, and the beautiful deep evergreens remind me of the golden sunrise in the courtyard in fall, when there aren’t flurries of fairy dust to shake our laughter out of us, but only sunlight to warm our worlds.
It goes from this to dark blue afternoons in the dungeon and colors and music, outside so dark, inside so warm, howling ghostly winds rattling our world, and to afternoons in perfect brilliant cold and light, this is the very essence of winter, it is why I feel, why I love, it is the snow and it is the winter.
And I step inside to see the frost covered air through the window of books and pages and fresh new shelf-carpets.
White, white, white, white sky white wind white air white snow, and I see it all from my watching-place in the dim storycraft room, oh ever so dim against the symphony of violently, rapidly, thunderstormly flying, sea stormly flying snowflakes, whirring past me, riding the waves of violent wind that takes with it clear, new-made sunlight, illuminating everything so my heart and my mind and my soul are exposed in the clear glass window, next to their twins in brilliant colors.
And all too soon it dies, it sleeps, it drowsily drifts in wintry spirals down to the cold, shaken earth, as the world restores itself to normalcy and wellness.
And soon there is no snow at all, as though it had never been there.
But I know still there will be a snowstorm tonight, if only in my dreams and my heart and my soul.

  (Jim Salvati)

("Vuelie" from Frozen)

(Little monks having a snowball fight in Shaolin Monastery Henan, China)

The Protracted Winter (a traditional Tlingit story, recorded by John R. Swanton)
One time some boys pulled a piece of drifting seaweed out of the water on one side of their canoe and put it in again on the other. It was almost summer then, but, for having done this, winter came on again and snow was piled high in front of the houses so that people began to be in want of food. One day, however, a blue jay perched on the edge of a smoke hole, with elderberries in its mouth, and cried, "KîlnA'xe." This was the name of a neighboring town. So the people took all the cedar bark they had prepared to make houses out of and went to KîlnA'xe where they found that it was already summer and the berries were ripe. Only about their own town was it still winter. This happened just beyond the town of Wrangell.
I tell you this story to show how particular people used to be in olden times about things, for it was only a piece of seaweed that brought winter on.

  ("Monastery Graveyard" by Caspar David Friedrich)


I hope you liked these. If you want, recommend some of your own favorite artworks about snow and winter in the comments! And now I'm going to go get some rest- trudging through snow and cold all day was exhausting.
Join me Saturday to find out what my new experience this week will be.