Students in my Challenge III class wouldn’t stop talking about Hamilton; something said in discussion would trigger them and they would start chanting and moving in syncopated rhythm while the rest of us looked on in bewilderment. After a couple of weeks of school I had had enough and I bought the soundtrack on Amazon. I listened to it through earplugs while I scrubbed a particularly not nice bathroom (not in my house), and rejoiced when I was left alone so I could remain rudely plugged in. In the empty house I wept during the second act.
The songs from the first act have been running through my mind for an entire month and I have finally reached saturation. This week when I woke to find myself rhyming in verses, various characters stepping forward to continue the story, I knew it was time to feed my imagination on other food.
It’s not that I mind a rhyme or find that I’m writing lines in my mind all the time.
It’s that Hamilton inspires me to get to work on music compositions I started a few years ago and have neglected since. I opened my notation program (Finale) and listened to a few. Some of them are actually pretty good, I think, and need attention! One made me laugh. All of it appeals to me the way I imagine oil painting did Winston Churchill. He wrote a book once recommending painting as a pastime, especially for those who work with words and ideas. I am really, really ready for a mental break.
Challenge III has me reading a US History book, Chemistry, Philosophy, five Shakespeare plays, poetry, and working my mental muscle in Advanced Math and Latin III. I don’t write the papers or memorize 30 lines, nor do I prepare for debate. I don’t teach; we discuss. The students facilitate some of the conversation. Still. It is a lot.
A used copy of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville came in the mail this week and I want to read that too, especially since we’re about to read the about those years in A Patriot’s Guide to US History.
So, instead of Hamilton I play one of my unfinished pieces on repeat until it cuts a deep groove in my mind. I’m looking for a good text to fit.
Thanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, for capturing that quintessential American restlessness that keeps pressing on. You have me going!