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!
You’re amazing, Ruth! :) btw, Hamilton is on ‘Great Perfomances’ on PBS tonight. ;)
Sometimes I wish I had a TV!
So did you get to read Democracy in America??? :)
I dipped into it. I am sorry to say it is in a read pile, while I currently read The Ragamuffin Gospel, Beauty for Truth’s Sake, Poetry 180, Ender’s Game, Guards! Guards!. In December the last thing on my mind is political science! Gagh!
My brain is shutting down just reading that list! Don’t forget to pepper in something mindless and fun snarky every now and then. Chicken Snark for the Soul. Yes. We should compile this. ;)
Oh, I am right with you there! I have been on a Terry Pratchett streak, and if there were any unread PG Wodehouse in this house I would be grabbing that. Lighthearted but some substance. Do they count?