All of us have roads not taken. Some of us have regrets; some of us have reached a level of acceptance about the choices we’ve made.
Last night, I took the road of asking this question on Twitter:
My roads not taken include (1) finishing my thesis on the modern movie musical to get my Masters degree in Film Studies, (2) traveling more, (3) getting a dog, and (4) show biz. The first one I’m good with; the others still seem like possibilities to me.
Do you see roads not taken in my other images for today?
The roads I’ve taken include this: I’m revealing my Film Studies road-not-taken on National Short Film Day! Also, the rocky road to chocolate candy might not be taken by me today, even though there’s plenty of it around.
Here’s Robert Frost reciting his poem “The Road Not Taken.”
the next step to repair the damage to our home caused by a leak in the upstairs shower,
an in-person appointment with my Primary Care Physician on Thursday,
an appointment with a veterinarian on Friday to find out if Joan’s ear infections have come back,
information on how to deal with food allergies if Joan’s ear infections have come back,
a decision about what song I should sing Friday evening for my first open mic in months (candidates include a new original song and a Sondheim song),
Christmas and New Year,
finding out where my son will be attending a PhD program in mathematics next year,
the end of the pandemic,
justice for all, and
your thoughts and feelings about the contents of today’s post.
I’m also waiting for inspiration to finish my latest original song — “Spoiler Alert” — which includes rhymes like toxicity, authenticity, and epiphany. Here’s a Sondheim tune I might sing on Friday instead of “Spoiler Alert”:
Now, of course, I’m waiting for your comments.
If you’re waiting for my thanks to you, wait no longer!
Yesterday, I asked our talkative cat Joan, “Do you want to have a conversation?”
According to the definition …
… maybe “conversation” is the wrong word. However, I seem to be having conversations with many non-people these days, including conversations like these:
Do you want to have a conversation about what it’s like to have those kinds of conversations for months and months? Or do you want to have a conversation about my other images for today?
Do you want to have a conversation about the conversation that the Daily Bitch is describing today? Or do you want to have a conversation about the Stephen Sondheim song I quoted in my Twitter conversation?
I love the way that Audra McDonald, Christine Baranski, and Meryl Streep are having conversations with each other and with Stephen Sondheim during his 90th birthday celebration in 2020.
Do you want to have a conversation with other people in this blog? If so, please leave a comment, below.
Do you want to have a conversation about gratitude? I do! Thanks to all who are reading this conversational blog post, including YOU.
The place where the PPAS choir is singing “Somewhere” in that video is New York’s Lincoln Center, a place whose construction is displacing the characters in Spielberg and Tony Kushner’s version of West Side Story.
There’s a place for me to write that I loved the movie, except for (SPOILER ALERT!*) the decision to take “there’s a place for us” and Somewhere away from the young lovers Maria and Tony.
There’s a place for us to see all my images for today.
There’s a place for us to celebrate those National Days, or anything else we choose to observe every day. There’s a place for us to find out what National Ding-a-Ling Day is, and that place is here.
Also, there’s a place for our cats, and that seems to be wherever they want.
There’s a place for you to leave a comment about this blog post, below.
There’s always a place for us to express gratitude to all those we appreciate, including YOU.
* Here’s the place for me to share that I’ve been meaning to get back to songwriting and there’s a place somewhere that I’ve stored the lyrics and the tune for one of my unfinished pieces, “SPOILER ALERT!”
Stephen Sondheim, musical genius and creator of tunes, words, and musicals that have sustained me for decades, died yesterday.
I just took this photo of these books that are always near me:
Those books — “Finishing the Hat” and “Look, I Made a Hat” — contain his lyrics for all his musical numbers and descriptions of his creative process. I love his creations so much that two years ago, my request to Michael for a birthday present was that he just find the blue book, which was packed away in boxes after our last move.
Stephen Sondheim’s music moves me like no others’. I’m sure there are hundreds of blog posts here that feature his music.
Stephen Sondheim’s music has always spoken to me, even when I didn’t know it was him. One of the first songs I chose to sing in front of an audience was “Do I Hear a Waltz” when I was a little kid. Years later, I found out that he had written the lyrics for that. When I was 13 and struggling to physically and emotionally survive heart issues, I was completely captured by a TV production of “Evening Primrose,” which sent me to John Collier‘s incredible short stories. Years later, I found out that Stephen Sondheim had written the lyrics and music for that. When I was dealing with heart problems in 2016, I chose to share this beautiful song from “Evening Primrose” in this blog.
Before A Little Night Music opened on Broadway in 1973, it came through Boston and I saw it with my beloved late parents, who took me to many, many musicals. I was completely enchanted by all the music, including this:
Today’s Daily Bitch Calendar mentions clowns!
Honestly, everything is going to evoke Sondheim for me right now.
When I was in my early 20’s, I was part of The Vocal Minority for a local production of Company. Sitting on stage with the musicians, I hit all those high notes and, to this day, the score feels like it’s a part of my mind, body, and soul. Eleven days ago, I saw the latest version of Company on Broadway with my son Aaron, (who appeared, when he was in high school, in a local production of Assassins in the role of John Wilkes Booth).
My cherished, late friend Michelle loved “Being Alive” from that musical, and her partner, Joe, recounted at her memorial how Michelle insisted he listen to that song the night they met. Joe played “Being Alive” for us as we gathered in 2018 to grieve her loss.
Stephen Sondheim, who is no longer being alive on this earthly plane, has helped so many of us in being alive.
One of my most memorable experiences in the theater was seeing the original production of Sweeney Todd on Broadway in 1977. I can still feel the startling whistle blast and see the stage in my mind, as the chorus sang the opening — “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd.”
A few years later, in the early 1980’s, I tried out for a local production of Sweeney Todd, hoping to be in the chorus to sing this amazing music. For days and days after I auditioned, I waited painfully to hear back from the production. I did not get the call and rehearsals began, as I grieved the chance to participate. The day after the first rehearsal, I got a call from the show’s producer. She said, “Ann, why weren’t you at rehearsal last night?” I said, not adjusting to this new information, “I wasn’t there because I didn’t get in.” She said, “What? Nobody called you? Oh no! You’re in!” I was ecstatic, and that was a peak experience of my life, learning and singing that profoundly gorgeous music for months.
Sondheim seemed to focus on and create works that have deeper meanings for me. In the 1980’s, I became obsessed with the Italian film Passione D’Amore. A few years later, Sondheim created the musicalPassion based on that film, which includes this incredible song:
One of the reasons I cry and grieve today is that, at the time of his death, Stephen Sondheim was working on a new musical that is based on two films of Luis Buñuel, one of my favorite film directors. I wanted to see and hear that musical, but I also have faith that Sondheim has left us enough.
I could go on and on with more memories about how important Stephen Sondheim’s music has been to me. Instead, I’ll just share images from yesterday, captured before and after I heard the news of his passing.