Mischievous Muse

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Location: Austin, TX, United States

Scholar, Writer, Mother, Dreamer. Editor of Luminarium, an online library for English Literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sonnetsday 3

Sonnet XXVI.

 Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
Thy merit hath my duty strongly knit,
To thee I send this written embassage,
To witness duty, not to show my wit:
Duty so great, which wit so poor as mine
May make seem bare, in wanting words to show it,
But that I hope some good conceit of thine
In thy soul's thought, all naked, will bestow it;
Till whatsoever star that guides my moving
Points on me graciously with fair aspect
And puts apparel on my tatter'd loving,
To show me worthy of thy sweet respect:
     Then may I dare to boast how I do love thee;
     Till then not show my head where thou mayst prove me.


Tags: Sonnets

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Invisible Jesus and Other Photoshop Magic

Yesterday I putzed around in Photoshop — for those not in the know, I was a web designer for a living for 6+ years.  On the same site as the Movie Mates competition, they had an "InvisiRen" contest, the deadline for which I missed, but oh well.  Fabulous works there!

The brief was to take a work of art and make the bodies invisible.  The clothes, jewelry, etc. would stay, but you had to make the people disappear.  Now of course I had to try this, and what a challenge it was, drawing fabric and trees in the style of Raphael with nothing but an old clunky mouse.  Below are the detail from the original, and my end result.  Click on the images to see the full sized versions.

So Raphael's "Transfiguration" (c.1519) got a modern makeover. Occurred to me afterwards, that making Jesus disappear might trouble some people. Tee hee!  (Hate mail read between 12 and 1 every other Tuesday).

On the contest pages my favorites had to be the invisible Mona Lisa, the invisible Pietà (!) and the Princesse de Broglie — recreating that diaphanous veil took some insane skill. Make sure you visit the contest to see some really amazing works, 86 in total: InvisiRen 3.

I know Madeline at least is going to rush to her Photoshop and try this.  It's bitching hard, you'll get carpal and a shoulder cramp, but you'll love it :)

More later, A

Friday, February 24, 2006

If Movies Mated and had Offspring

Once again I was visiting Mark A.'s HyperLiterature blog and found there a link to a Photoshop contest entitled "Movie Mates" — the task was to take two movie posters and combine them, to create a brand new movie.  To my chagrin, the contest was over, but I so delighted in the goofy and brilliant results there, that I just HAD to make some of my own:

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas &
Breakfast at Tiffany's.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon &
Pooh's Heffalump Movie

Rocky Horror Picture Show & Rocky

Gone With the Wind & Star Wars

& Brokeback Mountain

I will doubtless come up with some more in the near future :P



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Proof is in the Pudding

Yes, I know, I'm tired, so the subject line is forced-witty.  The proverb does crop up in the play, so I guess it works.  "The play" is David Auburn's Proof, for which I got cast tonight as Claire, the sister.  Amazing theatre space that seats 1700 and reportedly gets 300 audience members 'on a bad night', it is an old vaudeville theatre from the 'teens, complete with 1920's frescos on the walls, gilding, you name it.  I get to work with a superb ensemble, interesting director, and I get paid — what's not to be excited about!

I also got Lady M.  I know!  The first rehearsal is set for Sunday — between the two, I'll be rehearsing 6 days a week: 12 hrs on Saturdays and 14 on Sundays, with Fridays off. I'm gonna lose my few remaining marbles no doubt, so bear with me.

I realized that I was so zombified on Sunday that we skipped a Sonnetsday, but I'm sure Will can wait.  I want to share instead a pair of Japanese poems from a gorgeous collection that I got for $5 at B&N yesterday.  Called Oriental Love Poems (Michelle Lovric, ed.  Andrews McMeel Pub, 2003) the book has selections of both Chinese and Japanese poems.  The book is also a work of art — there are origami and art throughout.  A little gem of a book.

 A Verse Sent to Lady Ishikawa

While I stood waiting for my dear,
        I was wetted with the dew
Dripping down from the mountain trees;
        Yes, wetted with the dew.

Prince Otsu, 663-87, Japan

Lady Ishikawa's Answer
to the Above Verse

Would that I could become
        The dewdrops from the mountain tree
With which you grew so wet
        waiting for me.

More tomorrow.  Going to bed.  Been a heck of a week and I think I'm coming down with a cold as well.  Tomorrow on the menu, some Photoshop magic and a tale about my friends on Final Fantasy XI Online.

Ciao! ~A

Sunday, February 19, 2006

To MacB or not to MacB? that is the Question

I'm back from the callback — he had 3 Lady M's and 3 MacB's.  I can only evaluate the MacB's, since I read with them, but they were closed auditions so I didn't get to see any of my competition read.  I thought I was brilliant — within my own capacity, that is, where I am on my journey, I could not have done better.

If I were the one casting the show, I would see MacB as the lynchpin character who gets cast first, and around whom the rest of the cast must be built. Thus, it depends entirely on who makes the best match with the MacB he is casting.  Oh, let it be me!  I'm finally ready for this role — and of course one cannot be entirely unbiased, but looking at it as objectively as is possible, I think I could be a kickass Lady M.

I'm exhausted — an hour drive to the theatre, three hours of having to be "on", and an hour back is enough to sap the life out of one. I think I'm gonna play a little FFXI just to chill, then it is bedtime.  And thanks for the good vibes, Madeline, Andy, and Nance, and my gents from FFXI — I certainly felt them.

Nigh nigh, A

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Why is it that things all happen at once?  Why does my career have months where nothing seems to be going on at all except boredom, and then all of a sudden everyone wants me to work?  No, I'm not being ungrateful and complaining, just overwhelmed by the situation.  On the one hand, there's the vampire movie (except now my role has been changed into the queen of the lizardpeople Nagas, who spawned the vampires), I have Macbeth callbacks for Lady M tonight (!) and a director from a very prominent theatre has somewhat hand-picked me for a role I never even went out for, from a play she saw two years ago.  Good stuff, but I am stressed — right now I should be in the shower, getting prettified, etc., yet here I am, blogging.  Actors are all crazy, and I'm no exception.  Must remember this when I'm complaining about boredom.  Send good thoughts my way this evening, wouldya?  Thanks.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

I Am a Leaf on the Wind, Watch How I Soar....

Ahh, you know me and quizzes and me and sci-fi. I got this from Mark's Blog (HyperLiterature), who says about his relationship with quizzes: "I'm like a teenage girl in a bad relationship with a subscription to Cosmo."

Umm, yeah, me too. Here's what I got in:

>Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?

  You scored as Serenity (Firefly).
You like to live your own way and don't enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Moya (Farscape)


Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in?
created with QuizFarm.com

Mark was much cooler — he'll be doing the Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs or less (;_;) — he got the Millenium Falcon as his ship.

So go take this one, and don't forget to let me know what you get :P

Tags: Firefly | Serenity | Movies | Quizzes

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

On St. Valentine's Day

Many on Valentine's Day are the curses heard around the world, and the complaints that Valentine's Day is only a holiday created by the greeting card companies.  While the commercialization of all holidays has swelled the coffers of gift and card makers, the fact remains that Valentine's is a holiday that has been celebrated as the day of love for centuries.

It is not known exactly who St. Valentine was. The History Channel has a wonderful outline of the myths surrounding the holiday’s inception. The earliest surviving copy of a Valentine’s Day love letter dates from 1415, written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt (cf. the same).

In the Renaissance, English nobility loved getting married on that day - and many are the epithalamions written for such occasions, one more sugary sweet and bombastic than the next (see, for example, one by John Donne).  You also have the Cavalier Poets writing their Carpe diem poems on the occasion — have sex with me now, tomorrow we may both be dead — and one can only wonder how well these worked. My absolute favorite 17th-century poet, Robert Herrick, wrote a lovely, irreverent Valentine's Day poem:

by Robert Herrick

OFT have I heard both youths and virgins say
Birds choose their mates, and couple too this day ;
But by their flight I never can divine
When I shall couple with my valentine.

The best example of Valentine's Day poetry not taking itself seriously is without a doubt by Thomas Nashe, some fifty years earlier.  Nashe was always in trouble with the authorities for the things he wrote — The Choise of Valentines was so pornographic in nature that it could not be published in its day. Go Nashe!

A poem I'd like to share with you on this Valentine's Day was not written specifically for Valentine's Day, but captures beautifully the feelings of passion for one in love.  

 Wild Nights—Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!
Futile—the Winds—
To a Heart in port—
Done with the Compass—
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor—Tonight—
In Thee!

Emily Dickinson

May we all be lucky in love on this and all through our days.


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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Sonnetsday 2


Sonnet LXXV

O are you to my thoughts as food to life
     Or as sweet-season’d showers are to the ground;
     And for the peace of you I hold such strife
     As ’twixt a miser and his wealth is found;
Now proud as an enjoyer, and anon
Doubting the filching age will steal his treasure;
Now counting best to be with you alone,
Then better’d that the world may see my pleasure:
Sometime, all full with feasting on your sight,
And by and by clean starved for a look;
Possessing or pursuing no delight,
Save what is had or must from you be took.
      Thus do I pine and surfeit day by day,
      Or gluttoning on all, or all away.



Tags: Sonnets

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Will Ferrell as Bush on Global Warming

This has to be the funniest thing I have seen in a looooong time! Thanks to David for sending it.    m(^-^)m

Will Ferrell as George W. Bush on Global Warming

Friday, February 10, 2006

Words to the Wise?

Caveat Lector: Boring Vocab Post - feel free to skip!

Since I'm not ready to post on the myriad things going on in my head and heart at the moment, I thought I'd get pedantic and do a little vocab. Since I make language and literature my work, I am always delighted to learn new words. This week, I ran into two which I'd never encountered and one which I 'kinda knew' but had not bothered to look up though I constantly run into it (shame on me!) :

Guignol, n. 1. a French puppet show, similar to Punch and Judy;
2. an entertainment with sensational or horrifying dramatic intent; also called Grand Guignol. Etymology: French 'punch'.
(Webster's 2006 pre-view dictionary)

We aim to thicken the air with the sinuous and muscular poetry of Coriolanus; with the macabre humour and Grand Guignol of Titus Andronicus; with the relentless on-rushing sublimity of Antony & Cleopatra, and with the delirious farcical mayhem of The Comedy of Errors.

D. Dromgoole, on the 2006 Shakespeare's Globe Season

Sodality, n. 1. A society or an association, especially a devotional or charitable society for the laity in the Roman Catholic Church.
2. Fellowship.
(American Heritage Dictionary, 2000)

Anne's world was the diametrical opposite of the dangerous world to which he may have been exposed: the powerful all-male bonds formed by Simon Hunt, the schoolmaster who had gone off to the seminary with his student Robert Debdale; the conspiracy to protect Campion, Parsons, Cottam, and the other Jesuit missionaries; the secret sodality of pious, suicidal young men.

Greenblatt, S. Will in the World. Norton, 2005. 118.

Obstreperous, adj. (-ly, adv.) 1. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.
2. Aggressively boisterous.
(American Heritage Dictionary, 2000)

Americans are obstreperously anti-intellectual, and chose a president with whom they can identify.

Blog entry by Prairie Weather, Nov. 2005

Here are my feelings at the present time on these three:

Guignol; I found Dromgoole's description of the 2006 Globe season snootily pretentious - he's trying too hard to appear the intellectual.

Sodality; Okay, doubt I'll run into it very often, but good to know.

Obstreperous; It is becoming the hot word in the media, so we're likely to be sick of it by the end of the year - at which time we can complain obstreperously :P

Ciao beloveds!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

4 a.m.

The body
        Ready for rest,
The mind
        Wild with Love,
The soul
        Drenched in poetry.

Monday, February 06, 2006

I'll take Cartoons for 2000, Alex!

Time for trivia. It appears that I am scarily good at cartoon trivia — I only got 4 questions wrong. They only lost me at the few SpongeBob questions I wasn't able to guess, for, heaven help me, that is one cartoon I *WILL NOT* watch. (Please, ye gods, don't let my future children want to watch it! Pleeeaaaaase!)

And now I have a confession to make. While I am a certifiable geek, I did not get full pts on the SciFi trivia - they got me on the Buffy and Xena questions. I'm sorry, Madeline, somehow I never got hooked on Buffy, and in this trivia game I paid for it. But, I got everything else right, so yeah, I can still call myself a geek.  How about a subcutaneous transponder, anyone? :P

Cartoon Trivia
SciFi Trivia

May the Schwartz be with you.


Changing Guard at Shakespeare's Globe

When Mark Rylance, then Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe in London, announced last year that he was going to retire from the post at year's end, I could feel my heart stop for a moment.  Serving as Artistic Director from the first and shepherding the ambitious project through its first ten years, as well as gifting the world with luminous, inspired Shakespeare performances as leading actor, Rylance to me was the Globe — I greatly fear that the Globe will never again demonstrate the impeccable quality for which it has come to be known.

Paying five pounds (roughly $8) to stand leaning against the stage of "the wooden O" for three hours, rain or shine, while brilliant actors breathe new life to Shakespeare's works in flawlessly reproduced Elizabethan costumes, and the apollonian Mark Rylance (inarguably the greatest Shakespearean actor of our day) being present — that is as close as I've ever come to heaven on earth.  With this news, I feel like I'm in an alternate, Paradise Lost reality, like a rebel angel cast down never to look again on the face of the divine.

If you have not seen Mark Rylance on stage, you will think I'm a giddy schoolgirl exaggerating.  If you have seen Mark Rylance on stage, you will know exactly what I mean. As Pacino once said, "Mark Rylance plays Shakespeare like Shakespeare wrote it for him the night before."  Mark Rylance is a force of nature — he is poetry made flesh.  Visiting the Globe from this day forward will be like visiting a temple that has lost its god.

I was fortunate to see the Globe on their US tour this year and to speak with Mr. Rylance briefly after the show.  He was as lovely and gracious a person as one could have wished!  I have scanned the news daily, but not a word about what his future projects may include.  Ahh, the waiting!

The Globe has, however, announced its appointment of a new artistic director, Dominic Dromgoole, who in turn has announced the coming summer season.  Dromgoole, a veteran director at the RSC and Old Vic, has dubbed the season "The Edges of Rome":  Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Antony and Cleopatra, and The Comedy of Errors are the four Shakespeare plays. Interestingly, Dromgoole has also included two modern plays which will have their world premiers: Simon Bent's Under The Black Flag, which follows the pirate Long John Silver in the 17th-century, and Howard Brenton's In Extremis, a story set in 12th-century France, following the relationship of Abelard and Heloise. The casts have yet to be announced, but booking begins February 13.

Fascinating article/interview with Dromgoole by Nick Curtis of the Evening Standard, January 13, 2006.

Considering that the RSC, also under new artistic direction, is presenting the whole canon of Shakespeare's works this year, it promises to be an interesting year for lovers of the Bard. The season includes visiting theatres from around the world, and also provides big names, such as Patrick Stewart (O Captain, My Captain!) as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra and as Prospero in The Tempest.  Time to start saving for that trip to England!

Tags: Mark Rylance | Shakespeare | The Globe | RSC | Theatre

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Sunday, February 05, 2006


It is only proper to start the first Sonnetsday with the Swan of Avon:

Sonnet XXIII

S an unperfect actor on the stage
    Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
    Whose strength’s abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love’s rite,
And in mine own love’s strength seem to decay,
O’ercharg’d with burden of mine own love’s might.
O! let my books be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express’d.
      O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
      To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.



Tags: Sonnets | Shakespeare

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Janet Chui - Fantasy Artist Worthy of Note

I've long loved the art of Janet Chui. She paints in various media skillfully, and brilliantly in my favorite — watercolor. You can see her art at Elfwood and on her website.

I was fortunate to have her accept commissions from me in 2004 to paint watercolors for two of my fantasy poems. Here is "The Maiden's Song", followed by my poem on which the artwork is based.

To respect Janet's copyright, please do not copy and paste this on another site, thank you.

The Maiden's Song

The maiden sang in her tower
      While rain fell on the land,
Sang flowers into her bower
      And starlight on the sand.

She sang of heart's desire
      As darkness 'gan to fall,
Sang of the soul's deep fire
      As kestrels 'gan to call.

Her song rang in the twilight
      From the tower to the town,
Rang clearly until midnight
      As raindrops covered the ground.

She sang of her love who had gone away
      As night grew further dark,
She sang of her longing 'til the day
      Was wakened by the lark.

When the morning bells did sound
      Her song was heard no more;
Of maid herself no sign was found
      But her cloak cast on the shore.

And whether she left to find her heart,
      Or was taken by the seas,
None knew if the gods did hear her part
      Or were deaf to her keening pleas.

Yet, to this day, in the falling rain
      Her song can be heard so clear —
Her fate a mystery will remain
      And the love that she held so dear.

(AJ - 1/2004)

Tags: Anniina's Poetry

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Lost in Pennsylvania

[Insert dark night of the soul here].

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Youth and Old Age

All rising to great place
is by a winding stair.

Sir Francis Bacon, Essays

When do we suddenly turn old?  I don't mean gray, or wrinkly, or forgetful.  I mean that transition that happens subtly over time, until suddenly one day we barely recognize ourselves.  I'm not talking about outward change, even though this change may be accompanied by softness around the midriff — I mean the inward loss of youth.

When we are young, we are ready to charge headfirst, bravely, even foolhardily, into everything and after our dreams.  We believe ourselves nearly invincible and set out to conquer the world, both in our careers and love lives.  Sure, we know that there will be knocks, sure we know that our hearts, souls, and egos may get bruised, yet still we courageously put ourselves out there, jump into the river with both feet.

What I mean by turning old is that, somewhere along the way, we become cautious, almost to the point of cowardice — too paralyzed with fear to take risks, to start anew, to set ourselves vulnerable to rejection and hurt.  And yet, what does it mean to be alive, if we are afraid to live, afraid to take chances, afraid to conquer the world?

One of my acting teachers continually prompted us to "invite someone dangerous to tea" — and he didn't mean just in our acting, but in life.  If we close ourselves to the world and to new experiences and new people for fear of getting hurt somewhere down the line, we lose out.  Just as an actor who does not take risks, whose acting becomes staid and, in effect, dead, so we as people must continually stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zones, and lay ourselves on the line, or we too will be as dead.

I'm not suggesting, dear Reader, that we should all immediately go sky-diving, or quit our jobs, or that we should run headlong into the Amazon jungle — and then again, perhaps we ought — it would at least be a great adventure!  Taking baby steps, we should at the least look at who we were once, who we are now, and how we'd like the book of our lives to read when/if some day we are treated to "our whole lives flashing in front of our eyes."  Yes, we may fail, this is true, we may get disappointed, our wildest dreams may not come to fruition, but if we do not even try, this end result is guaranteed — if we go for it, then at least there is the chance that everything will turn out, perhaps even better than we hoped.  In the words of Sir Gawain in the Medieval Romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight:  "In destinies sad or merry,/ True men can but try."

Let's go out there and play whatever hands the Fates have in store for us — at least we will all be the heroes of our own stories, not bystanders too frightened to live.