There’s a Million Musicals I haven’t watched… But just You Wait

First of all, props to me for being spontaneous! I had a post on another topic in the works but this felt more like my vibe today. (Don’t worry the other one’s coming soon too) So, unlike most fans of musicals, I didn’t like them at first. I felt like most musical aficionados (though I still wouldn’t call myself one) were the ones performing renditions of classic songs since they could form sentences, because that’s the very image people have in their minds- a group of Broadway crazy theatre kids or weirdly talented high schoolers. (Glee; even though you’re an amazing show, this is your fault) But that’s not true, a musical theatre fan can be someone who didn’t fully comprehend them until she watched Sound of Music in the fifth grade (I know). Soon after, I discovered more movie musicals like Mamma Mia and West Side Story, and I wasn’t as compelled by them as I am now but I knew musicals were something I enjoyed watching.

Before we move on– On 28th September, A Writ Much completed one year of being on WordPress! I love writing on here so much and interacting with my readers. Thanks everyone who’s supported and followed my blog this past year!

Coming back to musicals, let me tell you about the day I like to call my ‘enlightenment’. To my great dismay, I am not a thespian and even though I’d like to be Idina Menzel I’m her raspy alter ego. For this reason, I stuck to lip-synching while seeing musicals. that was of course before I discovered… Hamilton (I’m hearing a round of applause and cheering in my mind right now, even as I write this). I used to wish my love for musicals hadn’t started with a musical as renowned and popular as Hamilton. You know, it could have been an underappreciated but artistic and perceptive musical like The Light in the Piazza (look it up and watch it immediately). But then I realised, what could be more profound, distinctive and confounding than Hamilton?! Ironically, I don’t remember the exact month but it was the day after it came out that one of my best friends suggested we watch it. And my god were we left in awe. After this, I watched it two more times and soon, I was watching all the interviews, belting Satisfied and You’ll Be Back, reading about the hidden messages and loopholes, the history behind the lyrics and characters. The rest is… well history!

An accurate depiction of what my mind looked like after Hamilton

The reason why Hamilton is sort of a milestone and a musical I will always remember vividly is because I was so exceptionally bored then, at the beginning of the pandemic that it was an experience! Reading the endless Hamilton sources on the web and having the epiphany that musicals are more than a bunch of people singing. Broadway isn’t a piece of cake because writing music, a story through music and carefully crafted lyrics is as consuming and challenging as writing a book or a play or a movie. Hamilton was the beginning of this fascinating journey through a field I’d never taken seriously before and I haven’t invested myself in a musical as much after that because well, the sad fact is that I don’t have time to spare peeping behind the curtains (see what I did there) anymore. But, I do watch new musicals whenever I can and read a good amount about them.

I couldn’t stop at Hamilton of course so, I’ve come up with a plan all to discover the magical world of musicals. I started with movie musicals as they were just easier to access. After some quick research, I had a watchlist ready in my notes app, quite a bit behind on that right now but as soon as I can sit and devote two hours (three, let’s not forget rewinding so I can listen to ingenious lyrics) to a musical, I will be unstoppable. I began with basics like In The Heights (2021), then Hairspray (2007), Les Misérables (2012), Rent (2005) and the list continues in chronological order.

But, I couldn’t forget stage musicals that are a whole new world. I’m having a much harder time sourcing them so thus far, I’ve only seen two- one being Dear Evan Hansen just last month. The latest musical I watched was Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (2021) which is wildly underrated, why is the internet not as excited about it as they are about Cinderella??! I guess I’d just like to end this post by saying that, you might consider musicals boring and stupid but there’s a reason people keep making them. Musicals amplify any emotion you feel and when you’re in the grip of that emotion, hearing that song is a freeing feeling. No matter who you are, musicals make you the main character. So, the next time someone can’t stop talking about their love for musicals, don’t rain on their parade. Once you discover the tip of the iceberg we call musical theatre, you can’t stop singing about it.

Down The Rabbit Hole

a glimpse of the very enlightening yet frustrating process we like to call research

Don’t get me wrong! It’s great if you want to learn more about a current issue or a world crisis. The end result is completely worth it when you can understand what’s on the news and have an opinion when people ask what you think of a particular scenario. It’s the process of learning and bringing yourself up to speed that I dread and one you probably do too- unless you like being utterly perplexed for hours on end.

You start with confidence, ‘it’s going to be easy!’ you think. Oh, how wrong you are. You open the first tab- BIG MISTAKE. You should have at least five open! Read the current news on one and look up the terms you’re confused about on the next. Another thing you will be wasting your time on is finding the right website. You see, Google doesn’t take convenience into account. It will always show you the exact opposite of what you’re looking for, forcing you to scour further down the rabbit hole.

Depending on how far back the crisis goes or how complicated it is you could be spending anywhere between all night and three hours doing research. Let’s assume you want to know more about the Israel-Palestine conflict, it’s been on the news lately and it’s definitely great to be aware. No amount of research seems to be enough and as you read article after thesis after statistic, you uncover yet another law or party that is unknown to you.

The cherry on top of that cake of annoyance is when you’re in the middle of reading that godsend of a New York Times article, and an immovable notification pops up on your screen asking you to sign up. Where is Gaza? What’s happening there? I guess you’ll never know. Unless you have a photographic memory, you will probably be coming back to that website of basics multiple times. Swallow your pride and just bookmark that tab, we both know you won’t find it later.

When you think you’ve covered every source and somewhere down the rabbit hole you look up and see where you started, that sense of accomplishment is what Da Vinci must have felt when he finished the Mona Lisa after four years. The next day, there’s an update in the news; ‘A new U.S. approach to HAMAS could be in the making’.  The only question on your mind, ‘wait… what is HAMAS again?’ Oh no. Well, I guess you’ll be spending another night down the rabbit hole.

note: I know this is shorter and different compared to what I usually post. But it’s something I wanted to write about. So, I hope you enjoyed it!

My 5 Go-To Podcasts

Podcasts are something I’ve recently gotten into. I first came across them when one of my favourite YouTubers, Colleen Ballinger launched her podcast and I decided to check it out. In doing so, I discovered a new community full of creators I had never heard of before. This was in May 2020 and I had pretty much exhausted my resources of Pinterest, Instagram and WordPress, so I was looking for something new to pass the time. Podcasts are the same as blogs or YouTube, they are available in multiple genres and I had so many to pick from. It took me some trial and error to find some great podcasters but I think a year later, I’ve listened to enough podcasts to blog about my favourite ones.

Sometimes, I’ll explore the latest suggestions on the app but these 5 I listen to every week without fail:

  1. You Can Sit With Us

I enjoy watching The Try Guys on YouTube and You Can Sit With Us is one of the podcasts on their channel. This is such a fun weekly podcast and it has more of light-hearted content. The hosts Maggie, Becky and Ariel talk about female friendships, current events and just everyday things or what they’ve been thinking about and their lives. Some episodes have guests and those touch on some gripping topics and are very insightful. I love listening to them because the episodes are relatable and funny and I think it has something that can make everyone smile. You can really pick any episode to start with but two of my favourites are Addressing The TikTok Middle Part Controversy and Post-Pandemic Bucket Lists

2. Stuff You Should Know

This podcast is on the informative side. The episodes cover and reveals facts about stuff you didn’t possibly think could have another side. I saw this podcast’s episode about the Stonewall Uprising on my explore page and have been hooked since then. The hosts Josh and Chuck go into detail about each topic without making it a lecture and still manage to keep it entertaining. You can dive into almost any episode with no prior knowledge of the topic and will still have a clear idea of what they’re talking about because they explain its background well. I find myself listening with intense concentration anytime I put on this podcast. My top two episodes are How Auto-Tune Works and The Ivy League.

3. Guilty Pleasures

I follow Kelsey Darragh and I didn’t know she had a podcast before this! Her content is hilarious and that wit and hilarity is taken to the nth degree in this podcast. Kelsey along with hosts Zach and Garrick talk about their favourite ‘guilty pleasure’ movies and TV shows and about its cringe-factors as well as its underrated aspects and finally, why it’s a guilty pleasure. This podcast is incredibly entertaining and each episode has a movie/ TV show that is kind of a classic and its impossible that you haven’t watched them or at least know about them. The podcast has guests like Lana Condor and Elle Mills among others and its a relatively new podcast but I can’t wait to see what they have planned. My favourites include LaurDIY loves Pitch Perfect and Elle Mills loves The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

4. After Hour Happy Hour

I actually came across this podcast on my Instagram explore page where I saw a snippet of one of their episodes and it was the real talk that made me subscribe immediately. In this podcast, the hosts Jamila, Sharon and Vicky like to unwind and recount amusing stories, random everyday things and are all about manifestation. I love their Conversation Starters and Music Session episodes because its fun to hear their very realistic opinions on things. I suggest starting from the first episode for this podcast just because some are in parts and its better when you’re listening in order. The best episodes for me are Growing Up Asian and MBTI Personality Test.

5. The Book Club Review

For the last one, I listen to various podcasts about books but I like this one the best. I take inspiration for my book reviews from here too, how to analyze the books I read and what questions to ask of them. The hosts Katie and Laura talk about the books they’ve been reading in their book clubs and review them. They touch on what they thought of them, did the books spark interesting conversation and in general whether they loved or were let down by the book. However, the ultimate question is, was it a good book club book? I think this podcast is really great in terms of suggestions and even the fact that they talk about what’s on their bookshelf and personal opinions of the book. My top two episodes would be The Postal Book Club and The Booker Prize 2020.

So, that’s my top five podcasts! I’m always looking for more to listen to so tell me about some of your favourites and what you think about these five if you’ve heard any of them!

Is It Over Yet?

To all of those people that said, ”it will be over in no time, we’ll all be back to normal soon and you can go back to school!” Well, it’s 2021 and I’m still here. At home, still on Zoom and so are teachers and students in many parts of the world. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not blaming anyone nor do I wish to re-open schools and universities when it would be irresponsible to in rising COVID cases. But, on a lighter note, as an introvert, I never thought I’d want to leave my house. Yesterday, I was looking back at some blog posts from March 2020 about ‘things to do in quarantine/ a lockdown’ and I was surprised to find that I had tried most of them. Take a look!

Above we have the quintessential lockdown list. At the very beginning, we have the WordPress blog (by far my best idea and a delight to tick off the list). It seems like a lot but I swear I tried the Pinterest Board, the journal, the foreign language (not my cup of tea I quit in two weeks), the baking, the organizing, the board games, the podcasts, a lot of the music and sleep, some sketching and which lockdown experience is complete without the video calls? So, I did all the steps, why am I still here?!

It isn’t entirely without its positives though, I’ll admit re-discovering some of these activities I loved was great. I’ve found some incredible authors, movies, content creators and bloggers in this past year, I’ll give this lockdown that. Am I proud of myself for being productive even at times when I felt overwhelmed? Yes. But I have been demotivated lately. Especially when it comes to writing, which I look forward to doing, I find myself without any inspiration, yet grasping at straws for ideas. This is a very common dilemma that I’m sure most writers have faced at some point which is being full of amazing article/story/blog post ideas, but sitting at your laptop only to find yourself blank.

I need inspiration, I need a change. Back in October, when I started this blog I had one idea after another because there was so much going on! I still have ideas, I just don’t have the right idea, you know what I mean? Well, except this one.

Every morning I check my phone hoping to read that I can stop wearing my mask now or I can get back to school. I know that can’t happen that quick, but till then, fingers crossed!

Shakespeare wrote some of his best works during a plague, so are so many of you on WordPress and other authors out there. I too have some book reviews lined up but I’m constantly looking for that one-in-a-millionth idea. I’d love to hear from my readers, what do you all want to read on the blog next?

Stop and Smell the Roses

Staycation. The term has really been trending this year!

Staycation:

A holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

Source:https://www.lexico.com/definition/staycation

I recently got to go on a staycation of sort. Obviously, due to the current situation, none of us can travel. But, if anything this pandemic has shown us the human race’s ability to adapt and in this case we did! Instead of their trips to Paris and shows in London (and retreats in Bali and charities in India) celebrities are posting pictures of their elaborate homes with gargantuan lawns where they plant trees and ride their horses every morning.

Of course, they have a full face of makeup on and are drinking ‘organic kale juice’ while doing so.

After months of staying home; missing out on an entire year of school and bored with the four walls of my home, I decided I needed a change of scene. Fortunately, my parents were on the same page. We concluded that the best way to have a vacation while staying safe at the same time was to go somewhere close to home, by road.

So, we set off for the weekend on a six-hour drive to a resort on the hillside. The drive wasn’t really a road trip, since we had a destination but yet I took it upon myself to curate the perfect playlist which was basically the families’ favorite songs (it took me two minutes to make it). As we went further out of the city and into the hills, I could feel myself drifting into stay-cay mode. We were surprised at how full the resort was. I guess everyone needs a break but nonetheless, we wore masks and sanitized religiously. It’s the new norm and we have to get used to vacationing this way right?

The view all around was breathtaking and the weather was perfect with it being pleasantly cold. It rained every night followed by fog the next day. The perfect setting to crack open a new book alongside a cup of coffee while listening to Conan Gray. It may not seem appealing to you but it was my ideal staycation. We spent most of our time inside the resort, walking around or playing games. There were a few trails nearby and so, we went trekking every morning.

The trails we went down were beautiful, with different flowers and plants adorning the path but most importantly, they were empty. So, for once we weren’t viewing the dreaded outdoors with a masked perspective! The treks were freeing and refreshing because there wasn’t a soul around. Just us and the open road. The end was the best part, the view was like something from a Bob Ross painting.

Of course, I have to share the view with you 🙂

All in all, the staycation was a godsend and all of us agreed that it was something we unknowingly needed. Who doesn’t need a break right?

Everyone, no matter who you are needs some time for relaxation and recreation at some point. We’re not machines after all. Taking a break isn’t a sign of laziness or illness, it’s normal. Everyone at every stage of life needs time off- as a student I do and as adults, my parents do too. In my post, Living through History while Postponing Revolution I wrote about being troubled by the sword of productivity hanging above my head and how the present situation makes it harder.

However, I think that regardless of what’s going on around us, those feelings of exhaustion that sometimes come upon us, be it mentally or physically will always be there. That’s why when you feel stressed, overworked or overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a break.

I’ve come across so many online personalities who document their lives online, take a break from social media or their job occasionally. I’ve even seen bloggers in the WordPress community who’ve taken some time off posting for almost a year and have returned feeling stronger and more inspired to write than ever.

Your surroundings may be telling you to catch a breath in many ways. You just have to recognize it. A break doesn’t only mean a staycation. It could mean going off all social media for a while or unwinding with a favorite hobby or favorite food. As long as you feel at peace and ready to take on any challenge at the end of it, it’s a break.

So, put your feet up and take a breather, everything else can wait.

What’s your go-to me-time activity?

OTHER BLOG POSTS ON THE TOPIC: It’s Okay To Take A Break

A Bug In My Beer- News and Nonsense from my Staycation

Living through History while Postponing Revolution

#blogging #pandemic

We’re in October. When did that happen? Only two months and this nightmare of a year will be over. But even though we’ve all been saying things like ‘I can’t WAIT for this year to be over!!!’ what are we hoping for? Do you think the minute the clock strikes 12 on the 31st of December, that COVID-19 will just vanish into thin air? Or will vaccines fall from the sky into our hands? The year does not have anything to do with the unfortunate events that are going on in the world. Racism, bad presidents, wildfires and violence against women are all things which were always prevalent and will continue to remain prevalent in 2021. Only the dates of their happenings will change. But amongst everything that has happened in the past 9 months, of all the changes that this pandemic has brought about, something that I find really hard to believe- something I still can’t fully wrap my head around is the fact that what I’m currently going through, what we as a world are going through is living history. This pandemic is a global crisis, a major milestone on the timeline of the human race. It’s something that students decades later will probably study. Coronavirus and the toll it’s taken on the world, what it’s putting the human race through is something that history books will record, that generations like me will look back on. Stories will be written about it and generations to come will talk about it and wonder, what we went through during this time. It’s the same way we talk about the plague or the Spanish flu. There are entire books and movies based on past pandemics. We find those black-and-white or brown pictures; of people with masks on the infected lying on hammock-type beds. I can imagine it: as students of the future are given the list of history’s worst pandemics, the coronavirus pandemic will be at the very bottom. I’m hoping it will in fact be at the bottom and no other successes it.

This is from an article I read which was the inspiration for this post. If you’d like to read it, I’ve attached the link at the end!

However, back to the present, did we all forget that 2020 was supposed to be THE year. The start of a new decade, plans for a better world were made. Visionaries had set out to change the world in 2020! Our leaders had promised us, ‘By 2022, India/USA/China/Saudi Arabia/ literally any other country will be at the top of the world!’ they said. Right now, with the economy crashing I do not see that happening any time soon. For me in quarantine, every day is pretty much the same. I wake up, attend classes for school if I have any and then spend the rest of the day just laying around. But every night, before I sleep I plan the tasks I want to accomplish the next day.  Say, complete the three projects I have from school or do something productive instead of just watching television or being on my phone and of course, I always find myself in the same, unaccomplished position. But so far, writing regularly is the only thing I’ve managed to keep up. The work I plan to do each day almost never gets done and I feel guilty every single day for being a procrastinator. But, in times like these when every day things just seem to get worse and even walking out my front door seems impossible…. I feel unmotivated. And I think that’s okay. This generation of the human race has NEVER seen anything like this before. So, trying to push yourself to actually get something done when anxiety is taking over your brain because the world feels like it’s coming to an end is hard. I’m sure everyone has had what I call the ‘2020 panic attack’ before. All I’m telling myself right now is that it’s okay to do nothing because we all need a break, sometimes. Things feel out of place and getting back to normal is currently every person’s fantasy. So, one day I WILL tick off each task on my to-do list: 

1. Complete schoolwork

2. Get out of bed before 12

3. Learn 2 languages

4. Write a book

5. Sketch a scenery 

6. Cure cancer

7. Become a revolutionary and change the world

You know, the usual things we all do to pass time! Jokes aside, if you’re having a bad day and it happens to the best of us, just relax. What is the most relaxing activity you can think of? Do that. I’ve been having one of those weeks and I call such days/weeks a mental health break. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and feel motivated and energetic enough to do stuff, to have a productive quarantine. That day is just not today. 

This is from an article by the New York Times which really lifted my spirits about not being productive. The link has been attached!

ARTICLES WORTH THE READ:

The New York Times Article

We Are In The Midst Of Making History

Hi there!

#zerotohero #blogging

Welcome to my blog, A Writ Much! As I write this post I’m still struggling to figure out the many process of starting a blog on WordPress. It really isn’t easy huh? The minute I filled in the name, a million other requirements and emails just came flooding in! The next morning I had almost 25 emails regarding my website in my inbox. Before I move on, this post is simply an introductory one. I figured I’d let readers into the mind behind this screen, these words. If you’ll go to my home page, you’ll see I have a slogan; my words speak louder than my actions. That statement could not be truer because I am indeed the most awkward human being you will ever meet! I would rather jump off a cliff than attend a gathering with a bunch of people I don’t know. I feel like every time I speak a bunch of sounds come out of my mouth. My social awkwardness and reserved demeanor often leads people to believe the misconception that I have no opinions whatsoever. But the truth is, that I have a lot to say! So, here I am typing these words hoping you’ll read them, hoping you’d like to read what I have to say.

I’ve never been the diary-type of girl as I find the idea of jotting down every event of my boring life utterly useless. Instead I maintain a journal which I only write in when I need somewhere to vent. But I thought to myself, it’s time my writings had an outlet and a blog felt like the best way to connect with others who might think or feel the same way I do!

That brings me to the next thing, I already have a bunch of topics in mind and I can’t wait to get started on them. I don’t want to give too much away but my posts will be ranging across multiple topics like book reviews, opinions on current affairs on societal stigmas and opinionated posts. Mental health is something really important to me and certain issues like activism, equality and writing which are really close to my heart will be featured daily.

I really just want to be recognized, to connect with others and know that I’m not alone on certain things because sometimes that’s something that helps, knowing I’m not alone. I hope that you, as a reader will relate to my content too and come back for more because that’s really all I want.

I’m just someone who wants to be heard and I hope you will help out:)

Anyway, signing off now, I can’t wait to get writing!

P.S: The slogan and name of my blog, both have a little play on words.

Let me know in the comments what you think they’ve been adapted from!