Monthly Archives: September 2012

Poem of the Week #4


Love Poem 1990

by Peter Meinke

When I was young and shiny as an apple in the good lord’s garden,
I loved a woman whose beauty like the moon moved all the humming heavens to music
Till the stars with their tiny teeth burst into song and I fell on the ground before her while the sky hardened
and she laughed and turned me down softly, I was so young.

When I was a man sharp as a polished axe in the polleny orchard
I loved a woman whose perfumes swayed in the air,
turning the modest flowers scarlet and loose
till the jonquils opened their throats and cackled out loud
when I broke my hand on her door and cried I was tortured
and she laughed and refused me, only one man in a crowd.

When I grew old, owning more than my share of the garden
I loved a woman young and fresh as a larkspur trembling in the morning’s translucent coolness,
her eyes had seen nothing but good, and as the sun’s gold rolled off her wrists with reluctance, she pardoned my foolishness,
laughed and turned me down gently, I was so old.

And when I fell ill, rooted in a deep house spotted with curses
I loved a woman whose bones rustled like insects wings through the echoing darkening rooms,
and the ceiling dropped like a gardener’s hoe toward my bed.
So I stretched out my hand to her begging my god for mercy
and she laughed and embraced me sweetly, I was so dead.


Five Books Made into Plays


It’s been a while since I’ve done a Five Things list, but what better way to celebrate the beginning of rehearsals for my fall production?

he’s waaaaaatchiiiiiing…

(Yes, I know the pictures are still backwards. I’m working on it, alright?)

Below you’ll find five of my favorite book to play adaptations- with just a little cheating.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird– At the age of twelve, I almost played Scout in this production. However, my mother decided that Watertown was too far to drive for rehearsals, so it didn’t happen. True story. This play is one of my few regrets- but the script is still awesome!

2. 1984– Oh hey, that’s the play I’m directing now! I enjoy the stage version because a) it’s high school friendly and  b) it’s still really creepy. With this production I hope to get the kids thinking about the technology they use in everyday life and educate them about communist Russia/China/Romania. The character of Julia is quite different, a few characters have been combined, but it’s largely the dystopian novel you know and love.

3. Jekyll and Hyde– The songs all sound the same, but they’re all pretty! A fairly appropriate tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic.

4. A Christmas Carol– This story has been adapted so many times, in so many ways, Dickinson might as well have written it for the stage. We’re going to work on one version in my English class in December. I’ve read at least four different scripts and seen five different film versions. The most memorable version I’ve seen on stage had Marley’s ghost appear through the floor in a shower of sparks, carrying a giant paper mache head. Scared me to death when I was eight. The version I’ve posted is the one we put on back when I worked at McCarter Theater.

5. After Mrs. Rochester– A wonderful adaptation of Jean Rhys’ Wide Sargasso Sea. Both the book and the play are meant to be a fresh look at Jane Eyre with a more sympathetic eye to Bertha Rochester. Coincidentally, Wide Sargasso Sea is on my 30 before 3o list. It’s a great play for scene study, and I hope to tell you how close it is to the book soon (or at least before I turn 30…).

That’s all for today, folks. Happy cross-reading!

Poem of the Week #3

This week we’re continuing our discussion of vivid imagery and reviewing metaphor. We’re also finishing our discussion of their summer reading.

Mother to Son


Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Poem of the Week #2


This week we’re discussing setting and perspective. There was a lot of debate over the ending of this one as well.

In the Well

by Andrew Hudgins

My father cinched the rope,
a noose around my waist,
and lowered me into
the darkness. I could taste

my fear. It tasted first
of dark, then earth, then rot.
I swung and struck my head
and at that moment got

another then: then blood,
which spiked my mouth with iron.
Hand over hand, my father
dropped me from then to then:

then water. Then wet fur,
which I hugged to my chest.
I shouted. Daddy hauled
the wet rope. I gagged, and pressed

my neighbor’s missing dog
against me. I held its death
and rose up to my father.
Then light. Then hands. Then breath.

first published in The Southern Review, 2001
Volume 37, Number 2, Spring 2001

Copyright 2001 by Andrew Hudgins.

My New Year’s Resolutions


it's 6000 something!

The Orthodox Church New Year is in September- tomorrow in fact. It makes waaaay more sense to me than having a somewhat arbitrarily chosen new year in January. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a January baby and love my month. But why on earth would anyone choose to have new beginnings in the most miserable, depressing, darkest part of the year? Everything feels more achievable when the air is crisp, the leaves are golden, and people around you are making fresh starts. If you have a family, then your entire year arranges itself around the school calendar.

This past January, I made goals for 2012 instead of resolutions. They were:

1. Be brave.

2. Write more.

Up to this point, I think I’ve come a long way towards both those goals. I committed to this blog. I kept a daily journal for my entire trip to China. I wrote a letter a day from June 1st through August 16th. I hope the practice is paying off.

As for being brave… I can’t begin to tell you how much things have changed since January. On New Year’s Eve, I was unemployed, in a destructive relationship, almost out of money, crying every day, struggling horribly with trichotillomania, and terribly depressed about the future. Today I have a job that seems tailor made for my skills and interests. It may not be perfect, but I found it and earned it based on my own merits and it’s mine.  I have a very positive relationship with someone who makes me feel beautiful every day. He’s supportive, we share interests, and we go to church together. I have a car. How did that happen? I’m not sure. It’s a standard, and I bought it anyway. Getting in and driving took (literally) insane amounts of courage. I’ve been pull free for seven months, making this the second longest and most sustainable period since trich manifested at 10. I’ve taken a lot of risks since 1/1/12. I’ve staged a concert. I spoke in front of 4,000 people. I took seven adolescents to China and translated for them. I started dating again.

A few years ago, my wonderful book club friends and I decided that on Church New Year we would make resolutions pertaining to our spiritual lives. Mine was to read the Bible daily. It mostly stuck. It’s not perfect, of course, but with God’s help it’s become a habit.

This year my resolution is to read two more Optina Elders. It’s not especially ambitious, but it’s achievable (I hope- I’ve been working on Elder Barsanuphius since the beginning of Lent, and I still have about eighty pages to go). I would also like to discover more Orthodox writers (say… three?).  I’ll need your help with that.

Wherever you are, and whatever you believe in, a very happy new year to you.

Poem of the Week #1


My seventh grade English class includes a Poem of the Week, usually taken from this book.

ed. Billy Collins

get it?

I thought I’d share this week’s with you.  There were major gasps at the last line.


C.S. Lewis

The Late Passenger 

The sky was low, the sounding rain was falling dense and dark,
And Noah’s sons were standing at the window of the Ark.

The beasts were in, but Japhet said, ‘I see one creature more
Belated and unmated there come knocking at the door.’

‘Well let him knock,’ said Ham, ‘Or let him drown or learn to swim.
We’re overcrowded as it is; we’ve got no room for him.’

‘And yet it knocks, how terribly it knocks,’ said Shem, ‘Its feet
Are hard as horn–but oh the air that comes from it is sweet.’

‘Now hush,’ said Ham, ‘You’ll waken Dad, and once he comes to see
What’s at the door, it’s sure to mean more work for you and me.’

Noah’s voice came roaring from the darkness down below,
‘Some animal is knocking. Take it in before we go.’

Ham shouted back, and savagely he nudged the other two,
‘That’s only Japhet knocking down a brad-nail in his shoe.’

Said Noah, ‘Boys, I hear a noise that’s like a horse’s hoof.’
Said Ham, ‘Why, that’s the dreadful rain that drums upon the roof.’

Noah tumbled up on deck and out he put his head;
His face went grey, his knees were loosed, he tore his beard and said,

‘Look, look! It would not wait. It turns away. It takes its flight.
Fine work you’ve made of it, my sons, between you all to-night!

‘Even if I could outrun it now, it would not turn again
–Not now. Our great discourtesy has earned its high disdain.

‘Oh noble and unmated beast, my sons were all unkind;
In such a night what stable and what manger will you find?

‘Oh golden hoofs, oh cataracts of mane, oh nostrils wide
With indignation! Oh the neck wave-arched, the lovely pride!

‘Oh long shall be the furrows ploughed across the hearts of men
Before it comes to stable and to manger once again,

‘And dark and crooked all the ways in which our race shall walk,
And shrivelled all their manhood like a flower with broken stalk,

‘And all the world, oh Ham, may curse the hour when you were born;
Because of you the Ark must sail without the Unicorn.’