An Ode to October

I maniacally hammered this out with my thumbs while waiting for class to start on October 31, 2017. I decided that now (as November draws to a close) would be a good time to post it on this blog.

Today is Halloween. I’m sad to see October go; she has always been good to me. I firmly believe with all of my heart that October is the best month of the year for many reasons, most of them baseless.

I was born in October and I remember having birthday parties when the weather outside was crisp and cool in a tender way. I remember sitting in our old rusty screened porch, now replaced by a streamlined, white sunroom. I remember inviting childhood classmates to my party simply because I liked them and wanted to be friends with them without doubting or second-guessing myself. It used to always rain on my birthday, but not in a depressing way. It was a gentle rain that stopped by to celebrate my completion of another year.

October is the month of change. The fall season itself is representative of change as leaves turn orange and the air turns chilly, but October is the month that truly ushers in these changes. Here in College Park we have a beautiful blue sky that somehow turns deeper blue and deeper orange with the turn of fall, providing a beautiful backdrop for red orange leaves rustling in the wind. I go outside and breathe deeply and the air is distinctively October air. This air will continue to evolve into November air and December air and pick up the scents of muddy ice on asphalt and cinnamon notes and gingerbread spice and dusty Christmas decorations that get taken out of their boxes every year when the days become shorter and darker.

October is the month of creativity. Perhaps you would say that March is the month of creativity when the sun comes out and plant life makes a reappearance. But October is the month when people carve playful yet elegant designs into gourds. They look around their rooms with intelligent eyes and see endless potential in old t-shirts or ordinary scarves and create costumes. October is the month when people remember how to wear sweaters and scarves and zip up their jackets while holding a cup of hot coffee. College students decorate the doors to their dorm rooms and get excited over free pumpkins.

October is the month of making art. Consider Inktober, or consider the coziness of snuggling up with cat butt socks and a mug of Trader Joe’s autumnal spice tea and a notepad where the world is your oyster to create, create, create. Consider the shows that open in October as the performance season begins.

In October, anything is possible.

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October sun on October flowers on an October afternoon.
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bernard.

smokey days when i thought i knew myself but it only drifted farther from me and I, inhaling the fumes of euphoria couldn’t stop laughing and sprinting towards that infinity of something Unknown and yet Grand. Head bowed the whole time, unaware of who or what or when or safety or logic. Only feelings. Only excitement. Only perceived passion and jumping and clapping and yearning, oh, yearning for that which I could not name.

everything seemed to disappear into a haze and I, eyes open, forgot how it looked to be nothing but feeling, feelings. What sensational tactility it was! To venture out into uncharted lands knowing absolutely nothing but guts. Viscerality. Broiling emotions that landed in a thick, murky broth – indigestible.

Yet, I have not changed. My gut is larger than ever and I, eyes glazed, press onward towards the inexplainable tugs of feeling. Illogical, unsound, indescribable, completely absurd. Let me be this, this is all that I am; all that I know how to be. A formless mass carried by the wind into places high and low, unable to control any of it, enjoying all of it. When the wind blows past in teasing tendrils, open your jaws and try to catch it. Feel the breeze on your face, your skin stretched taught and pores thirsting for moisture. I can’t help but be carried on the wind so I might as well enjoy the ride.

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Things, Vol. 1: Fall & Feelings

Welcome to volume 1 of Things! Aka, things that I’ve encountered/experienced that I feel describe my current state of being. 🙂 Actually, this title brings up some interesting philosophical questions about who we actually are – am I just a union of my experiences and senses? That’s a subject for another day…

Current Obsession: Steven Universe

Music:

Life:

  • Wearing scarves
  • Mobility in my cervical & thoracic spine + scapulae – it feels loooovely and I recommend it.
  • Drinking tea instead of coffee – what a difference. Tea feels so much gentler on my body.
  • I am STUDYING what I LOVE and it feels SO fulfilling. #findyoself #followyodreams #butconsiderrealityaswell #whatdidieverseeinstem #itsachitariverareference but actually though if you’re stuck in a rut in terms of your major or career direction I think you should start with something you love or are passionate/excited about and study it broadly. Explore things related to it, look at what people are doing related to it, take classes related to it. And keep an open mind and pay attention to the things that make your heart go loopy and reflect on why they do. I will probably write more on this later…

Things to Work On:

  • Being okay with being seen
  • Putting myself out there and being okay with being vulnerable and embarrassed
  • Just talk to people…
  • Allowing myself to do what makes me happy
  • Taking care of myself (aka not running my body into the ground (aka actually going to sleep at a reasonable hour))

What’s Bothering Me:

  • Digestive issues. WTF, dairy?!?
  • My own scrutiny of my own inauthenticity
  • The fact that the approaching winter means I can no longer wear my Chacos
  • Sadness

Next Steps:

  • Give and request more hugs from people. Human touch is lovely.
  • Make EYE CONTACT and DON’T LOOK AWAY! Own that eye contact. Own your space.
  • Actually talk to people and hang out and make friends.
  • Go to sleep at a healthy time, and maybe eat breakfast in the morning.
  • Expect dissonance, expect to be nervous, learn to work with it.
  • Practice grand jetes with attitude back en tournant, and figure out how to not bruise my knee all the time.
  • Make more art.
  • Buy some winter shoes.
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a pretentious selfie to capture the physicality of my current state of being

An Obsession

Is there anything that's worth more than peace and love on the planet Earth? 🍁🍂

A post shared by Hana Huie (@mighty_jalapeno) on

I’m going to tell you about something that is a bit silly and a bit embarrassing, but also an undeniable part of who I am.

I attach meaning to things in an incredibly subjective and almost arbitrary way. I ruminate on those meanings, and ruminate, and ruminate, and ruminate, and ruminate, and ruminate until I am able to articulate those meanings and they suddenly become less significant than they were before.

I live on excitement. When it’s 1:00 am and I am dead tired and I have work to do and I would really rather just disappear into the void, I watch videos of Broadway divas slaying the stage until excitement bubbles up inside of me so excessively and uncontrollably that it crowds out any of the lackluster fatigue and nothingness that actually dwells there. It’s a choking feeling that comes from the inside that sends me into convulsions of excitement.

I am obsessive. I live for things and they rule my mind and I let them. I listen to the same album for weeks on repeat without listening to any other music. Those lyrics loop through my head and rule my thoughts the instant I wake up and while I walk to class, shower, brush my teeth, do homework – I become the obsession and it becomes me and I become unsure of who or what I am. Am I an idea? a thought? an action? Am I whatever I believe or want myself to be? Am I the thoughts that run through my mind? Or am I nothing at all, and do these things that I give meaning to comprise who I am? Is it the meaning that creates my identity?

Collegiate existential crises are so cliche but honestly, at this point, they aren’t even crises anymore. I am just a big ball of existential questions and I’m learning to be okay with not knowing the answers. This goes for my future as well. It would be no fun at all to know exactly where I’ll end up in 10 years, so I’m just taking it one day at a time. Even if the days lead me to a cardboard box under a bridge, or the dreaded office job that so many creatives shun.

All this to say, I am thoroughly obsessed with Steven Universe – yes, the children’s cartoon show on Cartoon Network. I would explain to you why I’m so obsessed with it but then my obsession would be logical and reason-based and it would no longer be an obsession. I would be a third-party viewer of the obsession, and I am currently enjoying being wholly submerged in it. I have no desire to lift my head above the water to reason with myself about it. Besides – explaining an obsession generally entails explaining the arbitrary meaning I attach to that thing, and I feel these meanings too deeply to be comfortable wrapping them up in boxes with neat little bows of explanations.

Here’s a list of Steven Universe things that make my heart swell up with bubbly obsession:

  • Filipina actors
  • Deedee Magno Hall’s voice
  • Rebecca Sugar’s voice
  • “Love Like You”
  • “What’s the Use in Feeling Blue”
  • Patti LuPone as a guest star
  • Susan Egan’s voice and she is a real life goddess
  • I love Pearl more than anything
  • “Peace and Love on the Planet Earth”
  • Peridot’s character arc
  • Just everything about Garnet
  • Garnet’s songs
  • Pink and blue color schemes
  • Star eyes
  • Lion
  • The entire “Mr. Greg” episode
  • Honestly just every single scene or song with Pearl in it
  • Relationships
  • Communication
  • Authenticity
  • Simplicity
  • Love
  • Rebecca Sugar is from the same area I’m from, so there are a lot of subconscious elements in the show that just feel like home to me
  • Handling complex themes in a kids’ show that is really helpful to me as a college student
  • The art is so so so beautiful
  • Badass and complex female characters

Well, I wrote about why I didn’t want to explain my obsession or quantify it into words but I did it anyway. Hmm. This list is infinitely incomplete and forever expanding – so it is just a list of a few things that are in my head right now. No explanations on what those things are or what they mean to me.

“Life and death and love and birth and peace and war on the planet Earth. Is there anything that’s worth more than peace and love on the planet Earth?”

Unedited pretentious ramblings about the struggles of making art

I really just want to watch Steven Universe and I’m so confused about so many things and I’m scared and embarrassed and lonely and insecure. I don’t know who I am, who I am supposed to be, who I am to the people around me that I care so much about yet cannot express to them. I do not know how to kick my ass into gear and actually get some stuff done instead of just sitting and thinking about how I have to do it and the best way to do it. The Elizabethan Hamlet-esque conflict of action vs. inaction, cerebral vs. instinctive, spiritual vs. intellectual is too relatable in the life of a 21st century millennial Asian girl college student.

I long so desperately to create something meaningful, impactful, but most of all true. I long so deeply within me to evoke emotions and ideas and experiences in the humans around me who see my work. I long so desperately to look back on my life and see that I have created beautiful art that means something, impacts people in some way. Yet I do not know where to start. Grand images and scenes and stages play out in my mind in a way that is extremely clear to me, but I do not know how to translate it from my mind to physical space.

I know beauty, I know suffering, I know pain, I know curiosity, I know excitement, I know passion, I know obsession. But I do not know how to express it through words or music or dance or painting or space or structures or lighting, in a way that does it justice.

I long so desperately to make beautiful and important art. But I am so afraid of being bad at making art that I do not even try to make anything.

I think the answer is making ugly art. I need to make as much ugly art as possible and let that teach me how to make beautiful art. For there is beauty in ugliness and quality in quantity and one only refines one’s skills through practice. I must strive to make beautiful art but accept the ugliness that I will make, and trust that hopefully I will someday be able to make beautiful and true art.

As you have probably inferred, I am a fan of polysyndeton – and Ira Glass.

The Soundtrack to my Freshman Year of College

Note: this was written in July 2017. I never finished it and decided to leave it that way – thus, some of the albums have descriptions, some do not.

I finished my first year of college! To be honest, it was one of the hardest years of my life. I struggled a lot, though I also made some of the greatest friends and had some of the most exciting experiences. It all makes for a very interesting year, and today I want to share the music that got me through it all. I’m not sure I would have survived this year without some of these tunes.

Strangely enough, I barely listened to anything besides showtunes and cast albums this year. I’ll run through the albums/phases I went through this school year and the musicals I saw. At the end of this post I have a specially curated playlist of songs. Enjoy!

I generally listened to these albums in this order because the way I listen to music is strange (I listen to albums I like until I “wear them out” by knowing them too well, then I move on to another album).

  1. Anything Goes. Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone are both fabulous and I want to be them. I remember unpacking to this album. I was such a frightened child then. (What has changed, really?)
  2. Sunset Boulevard. I was super into the music last fall. I watched the movie this spring and I am no longer super into the musical. I still love the music for Patti LuPone though.
  3. In the Heights. Wepa! It’s such a mood booster, I swear the sheer energy of it got me through so many tough days. Lyrical genius + superhuman energy + warm Latino culture = perfect recipe for a pick-me-up. Also, lots of ear-bugs.
  4. Rent. I guess it has to be said. The most influential songs for me were Rent, One Song Glory, Today 4 U, Out Tonight, Another Day, Santa Fe, La Vie Boheme.
  5. Thoroughly Modern Millie. The musical is racist af, but hey, I liked some of the songs. They were also mood boosters (Not for the Life of Me, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Speed Test, Forget About the Boy). Love the lyrics. Barney Schreiber CPA forever.
  6. Waitress. Such a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful album. I remember listening to this while coding and having to stop working because I was so emotional. I also fell in love with Jessie Mueller. Love this show.
  7. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. No words can describe it. I used to listen to the first act on repeat all day long. ‘Twas a perfect companion for coding and it’s honestly such a gem of an album. I wish I could say more about it but there’s nothing I could say that could measure up to what this album/show is. Please, just go listen to it.
  8. Cinderella. I don’t know how but when you listen to this album, the magic becomes real before your ears. It made me believe in love and magic (lol). Also, Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.
  9. A Chorus Line. Not much to say, it’s a classic and deserves to be so. It touches on some really relatable motifs for me as well.
  10. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Jessie Mueller! Also, I love old 60s/70s music. It just has so much heart.
  11. Moana OST. I’m not embarrassed to admit that this was a very formative album (and movie) for me. I love this movie and I think its message is so important!
  12. Ghost Quartet. Like the Great Comet, Ghost Quartet transcends any description I could give it. Listening to this is truly an experience and I love this album and everything it explores about life so much. I love Dave Malloy.
  13. La La Land OST.
  14. The Wild Party (Lippa).
  15. Assassins. My favorite song is definitely How I Saved Roosevelt. I remember listening to this while walking from engineering to dance. (Pro tip: do NOT play Ballad of Booth in public, lest you forget to mute it before the n-slur!!! Actually, maybe just don’t play any of this in public.)
  16. Avenue Q. I listened to Avenue Q a lot walking around to classes. I love how catchy it is. Also, Trekkie Monster’s character arc gives me faith in humanity. And he isn’t even human.
  17. The Music Man.
  18. Little Shop of Horrors.
  19. Company.
  20. Sweeney Todd.
  21. Book of Mormon.
  22. Into the Woods.
  23. Sunday in the Park with George.

 

Favorites

  1. Waitress
  2. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
  3. Ghost Quartet
  4. La La Land OST
  5. The Wild Party
  6. The Music Man
  7. Little Shop of Horrors
  8. Company
  9. Sweeney Todd
  10. Sunday in the Park with George

 

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to stay updated on the music I listen to, check out my music Instagram: @whatshanalisteningtorightnow

August 14

Truth be told, I do not know what to write. All I know is that I am writing, and that I must write. It is not that I should write, it is that I must write, for there is something within me – or perhaps infinitely external – that compels me to write. Not for the love of writing, but for the innate gnawing instinct that life must be more than consumption and reactions and that writing is the basis of proactive thought, action, and creation. Let my life be more than I fear it will be.

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Days have been interesting. They melt together like the broken halves of butter sticks left at room temperature before baking, and I find myself covered in splotches of flour that I didn’t realize had billowed onto and coated my black leggings. If only I had worn an apron.

People say summer is a great time to rest and grow and recover. I’m starting to believe that they are right. And I look at myself, and I look at what’s left, and I wonder why I never heard the bells when they chimed in the morning along with the sweet singing of birds lost and found, searching and soaring. I wonder why the morning dew never seemed fresh and inviting, why it clung to my skin like the residue of grocery store labels on glass jars.

I try not to look at myself. I try not to see my gangrene toes. If I just ignore it, it will resolve itself, and we will all be better for it.

How does a kitten feel torn from its mother and sisters and brothers to be placed into the grabby hands of a maniacal animal lover desperate to save such a pitiful creature? Does it miss the familiarity of where it came from and the echo chamber of a genetic pool that can’t help but keep to itself, never daring to explore the outside world full of lunatics and monstrosities? Or does it embrace the new, foreign life that it has fallen into? Does it even comprehend the significance of environment and adaptation? Perhaps the kitten is happy to leave its childhood bubble of comfort in hopes of pursuing a more adventurous and independent life in which it may decide who it will be and why. But perhaps this new world is a world that is rainy and dangerous, not suitable for impressionable young kittens.

And yet, perhaps it is that very danger that allows a mewling kitten to become the majestic, roaring tiger it was born to be, that it once was, that lives in its very DNA which has become so complacent. May we all be tigers, and may tigers be all that we dream them to be.