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.

Review: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Adichie

After reading Americanah, an unputdownable book full of wit and vigour- I was itching to read another one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s works and this anthology of twelve short stories did not disappoint. Coming up with twelve different stories, ensuring their plots don’t clash and their characters vary in their personalities all the while, sticking to the common theme of ‘the thing around your neck’ is hard to do but she has executed that effectively. In this book she’s given us some poignant and touching stories which stay with you long after you read their last lines. You can’t help but take a break after each one to ponder upon its lessons and meaning and really read between the lines.

The Thing Around Your Neck features the tales of various Nigerian women, all from different walks of life and varying in age. The stories are set in a range of time periods from the mid-1900s to the 2000s and the protagonists are from every strata of society and some are placed in the U.S.A as well. We see one thing common to all stories and that is the essence and culture of Nigeria which is alive in all of the protagonists. Despite being in different times and situations, the women are subjected to the same repression and orthodoxy, but remain empowered nonetheless. From exploring corruption in Nigerian authorities to the terrors of immigration to the oppression caused by gender roles, making us accomplice to ethnic-wars and riots and of course, her compelling feminist epiphanies, Adichie really takes us full circle.

Although this book included themes common to Adichie’s work, something I found unique to this book and what I believe she excels at writing is grief. Devoting certain stories to the aftermath of losing a loved one and the toll it takes on human beings, she’s given us an insight into a rather complex feeling well and told the tale with understanding and sensitivity. Such stories in the book resonate with you and are truly heartrending. One thing I recommend if you’re curious to know more about any story is to read its analysis and symbolism, I found a great site for this and I’ve linked it at the end.

I don’t want to disclose any plots or characters because I’d be revealing too much, but just know that this book has some intricate and gripping storylines. For those of you who’ve read the book, I wanted to reveal some of my favourite stories from the collection. Don’t get me wrong all of them moved me but some simply resonated with me more and were real page-turners. In particular, A Private Experience, Jumping Monkey Hill, Tomorrow Is Too Far and The Headstrong Historian.

The Thing Around Your Neck is one of the stories in the anthology, but it raises the question, why is it the title of the book? What is the ‘thing around your neck’? In my opinion, it’s the characters’ discontent, their past, culture or even grief and loneliness in some cases which is almost like a prison that doesn’t seem to leave them. The ‘thing around your neck’ is always lingering and casting its shadow.

Final thoughts~ Overall, this collection is a vivid and powerful one. It focuses on everyday aspects of life and relationship that are painful yet considered normal because everyone goes through them at some point. If anything, this book is a good reference for anyone looking to read short stories because the ones in The Thing Around Your Neck are great examples of what a sequence and build-up of a short story should be like.

“He said “see” as if it meant something more than what one did with one’s eyes”

~Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck

REFERENCE:

The Thing Around Your Neck Guide

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?

Enjoy not Endure

Why are we so blatantly obsessed with getting our hands on the unattainable? With being the unattainable? Let’s face it, when something’s inherently hard to achieve, it automatically goes higher on the scale of achievements, or when a product is less in number, it automatically becomes expensive and in demand. Like in March 2020, when everyone rushed to hoard essential supplies before the lockdown, and when stores were empty the price of things like toilet paper increased online. But, this isn’t true only to essentials. Take uber-luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci for example; because they’re expensive, few people have them and as a result, they’re put on a pedestal.

The thing is, most brands work this way. Having year-end or 24-hour long sales, or selling limited editions of a product is a great way for brands to draw customers as crowds form endless lines to attain the unattainable. It is because of this obsession, that the economy even works. There’s even a name for the theory- it’s called ‘The Scarcity Principle’. The principle means that humans place a higher value on objects that are scarce and a lower value on those that are abundant. Diamonds are more valuable than rocks because diamonds aren’t as abundant. Not only value but our perception of anything changes with it being scarce as well.

The principle works because we’re wired to think that way, nurtured in a society that lives on this principle. The education system is an example of this: the schools that take only the best of the best and have limited seats, are most people’s first choice. Even in terms of grades, few kids get the highest score and so of course, we all want it. This attitude is what creates the rat race, that never-ending need to get to the top and working to stay there.

If you think about it, the trope in fiction of the ‘popular boy’ going for the ‘only girl that doesn’t fall at his feet’ or even the one where the most eligible bachelor is the one that doesn’t want company in the first place is sort of a product of the scarcity principle mindset. I’d be rich if I had a penny for every time I heard the male lead in a movie talk about his longing for the female lead that’s playing ‘hard to get’.

So, there’s a thought process behind why a ‘one-time-only’ event seems more valuable than an event that happens every week. But, don’t get me wrong I am not condemning once in a lifetime opportunities. Working towards being a part of the crème de la crème and achieving your goal, is a wonderful feeling! However, once you’re at the top your worst fear is going back down. So, you’re doing everything in your power to stay there even when nothing is threatening your position.

Having said that, the mindset has its pros. It keeps a person driven. So, enjoy your accomplishments and keep alive that hope and drive for your goals.

I am of course, no expert and haven’t covered everything in this blog post. Definitely do your own research and you’ll surely learn a lot more about the principle. I’ve provided some helpful links at the end!

SOURCES/ MORE ON THE TOPIC:

What Is The Scarcity Principle?

The Scarcity Mindset

The Psychology of Scarcity

The Liebster Award

This is part two of my awards post and it also features one of my favorite awards. I posted part one- on the Mystery Blogger Award, you can read that here . Anyway, I am always excited to be nominated for any award but the Liebster Award is, in my opinion, a great innovation in so many ways. It’s actually the first award I read about, the one which introduced me to the whole blogging award concept! For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Liebster Award is a badge of recognition of sort. Only given to bloggers with less than 3,000 followers, it’s main aim is to bring new and aspiring bloggers up and help them grow. As an aspiring and relatively new blogger myself, I think the Liebster Award is so important. For many of us, it’s the first award we’re nominated for. Personally, it’s not only motivated me to work all the more harder on A Writ Much, but it’s given me that feeling of reassurance that yes, someone out there is reading my words and they think they’re good. Now I know that I’m not just sending my thoughts into a desolate void!

Also, thanks once again Tall Blonde Tales for the nomination. Check her blog out!

“The Liebster Award” is an award for bloggers by bloggers. The award recognizes new blogs with great content. The purpose is bloggers supporting other bloggers. This award gives bloggers a voice and encourages more people to interact with us and follow our journeys!

Source- https://www.suewherewhywhat.com/uncatagorized/liebster-award/#:~:text=About%20the%20Liebster%20Award,new%20blogs%20with%20great%20content.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them.
  2. Share 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Nominate other bloggers (with less than 3,000 followers) and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  6. List the rules and display a Liebster Blogger Award on your post and/ or your blog site.

11 Facts About Me:

  1. I have this process in which I don’t read a new book until at least 24 hours after I’ve finished my last one. I do the same with tv shows. It’s not for any other reason but so that I can bask in the essence of that show/book and just, think about it for the next 24 hours. Maybe you do it too, but everyone around me makes fun of it!
  2. I am actually a published author. I haven’t published a novel but a short story I’d written was published.
  3. I can listen to Adele for hours on end.
  4. I am still trying to find my favorite author because I don’t have one at present. Although I think Khaled Hosseini or Rainbow Rowell are close contenders for the esteemed position.
  5. I love listening to a good podcast.
  6. I was and I guess I still am obsessed with the city of Paris.
  7. Movies which leave me speechless are my favorite kind.
  8. Pasta comes second to sushi on the list of foods which always make me drool.
  9. Although I can sketch well, I’m the worst when it comes painting.
  10. Even if thought-provoking movies are my first choice, I am ever ready to enjoy a good rom-com.
  11. I have some quotes which I often read for inspiration. They help, I don’t know how and I really recommend doing it.

Tall Blonde Tales’ Questions:

  1. What do you enjoy most about blogging? 

The best part about blogging is when I see someone’s comment on one of my posts because I love hearing from readers whether it’s feedback or their views on the topic/book.

2. What is your biggest problem/challenge when it comes to blogging?

I think choosing the right topic every week stands as my biggest challenge. I brainstorm a lot of ideas to come up with the perfect one, which I think my readers would enjoy but I feel strongly about as well.

3. How long does it usually take you to finish a blog post?

I usually have a clear idea of what I want to write before actually sitting down to write it so, it doesn’t take me more than 2 days. Sometimes 3.

4. If you were to name three goals you’d want your blog to achieve in the next year, what would they be?

I want to explore other genres in writing and reading too.

I really hope to reach 100 followers.

I want to develop a rapport with more bloggers.

5. What is the greatest achievement your blog has received? IF you haven’t got any, what would be the achievement you’d want to receive? 

So far, winning the awards has been my greatest achievement.

6. What is your best viewed post? Share it with us by providing a link and a short description about it. 

My best viewed post is Is History Trying to Tell Us Something?. The post is about how we see certain acts and parts of history repeating themselves which is intriguing to see because it seems like a sign rather than coincidence. It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while and I’m thinking of maybe writing another post to elaborate on it!

7. If you were to give out three pieces of advice to yourself as a blogger, what would they be? 

Your passion for writing is why you started a blog and it should always be fun. Don’t ever let it become something you dread doing.

Remain consistent with your blog, be regular with posts and networking.

Some posts won’t do as well as others and that’s okay.

8. Which blog or blogger inspires you the most? 

So, this opinion of mine is constantly changing because I come across a lot of different blogs, but I always look forward to reading Myths of The Mirror and Introverted Thoughts! They write some captivating posts and have inspired me on occasion. Do check them out!

9. What is your favorite thing about being a blogger? 

I think everybody says this but my favorite part is interacting with other bloggers and reading their work. The blogosphere is such a great place and I’ve read and talked to a number of talented and like-minded writers.

10. What are your top blogging tips? 

First and most importantly, don’t underestimate networking and make an effort to interact with others on the blogosphere because it is one of the core things which will help along the way. Nothing works overnight so don’t be discouraged when things are a little slow for you towards the beginning because it will pick up and you’ll be growing in no time! Also, I would give the same advice I gave myself because that’s what keeps you going too.

11. What is the most amazing thing you have ever done? (besides starting your blog)

I’ve been scuba diving, that was really cool and also being published, it’s something I hold pride in.

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. Has COVID-19 and this year in general taught you anything?
  2. What are 3 things you can’t live without?
  3. How did you come up with the name of your blog?
  4. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  5. Which of your posts is your favorite?
  6. What’s a place you want to visit, but have never been?
  7. If you could pick a decade or a year to live in, which would you pick?
  8. Why did you start blogging?
  9. Name a movie that you can watch a million times and never be tired of.
  10. What is a quote that inspires you?
  11. What is the most ridiculous fact you know?

Finally, the Nominees:

The Mind of Litha

The All Nigerian Girl

The Manuscript Maniac

Mad Lad Mindfulness

M’Shasho

Insurgent

I’m so glad I got to do my first awards posts, they were truly so much fun to write. Looking forward to reading my nominees’ posts!