Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reading Assignment Thirty

The Circus: Part Three

This little boy is swept into the dream, and a multitude of acts occur. There's a trapeze. Contortionists come on. Several men walk the tight rope. It is daring at most points, but my favorite was the unicycle act. I cannot ride a unicycle, nor will I ever attempt to. But a man came out on a unicycle, and he was goood. Like, reallly really good. So he's dressed in teal, as is a woman walking around near him. He rides the unicycle around the ring, and holds out his arm. The woman, with long strawberry blond hair, grabs hold of his arm and lifts. He does not stop, and she does not fall. The woman climbs onto the man, and he is still riding the unicycle. He's not just going back and forth, he's propelling himself in intricate circles, at a steep angle to the ground. As the man and the woman ride togther, they start doing tricks. It is not a fast act, not something for the impatient. But the man and the woman keep going for a ten minute act. He does not stop the unicycle ONCE. He keeps going, lifting her and letting her down. She never falls or even stumbles. They ride around the ring, twirling and spinning. It was mezmerising. There was soft, delicate music playing the whole time. It was so... romantic. I loved watching them because each depended on the other. Like symbiosis. And when the act closed, I was sad. I felt like I'd seen something I'd never witness again, and in those last moments, I held onto everything I'd seen.

That's my circus experience. There's more to it, so maybe I'll share that some other time.

Reading Assignment Twenty Nine

The Circus: Part Two

So, I'm sitting in my chair, and the room goes dark. No one is talking, no one is moving. A single beam of light filters down onto a boy. He's little, and he's got a kite. His kite is flying in the sky. And then it falls. So the little guy picks up his kite and starts running with it behind him. The kite catches wind and is lifted once more into the air. The little boy holds it up, only to see it fall. He runs again. It flies. It falls. Out from behind him, a man emerges. The man looks like a candy cane. He's wearing a suit that is striped in blue, white, and orange. His hat looks like the top of a Dairy Queen cone, with all three colors swirling towards the top. The suited man brandishes a wand. The little boy still can't see him, and the man waves the wand. Flashes of light. The kite soars into the sky and away. The magical man scares the boy and takes him on the adventure of a lifetime. All the while that this is going on, I'm sitting in my chair in wonder. Just that little boy and his kite, and I am completely entranced. A band comes out from behind another curtain, and clowns (!) come out. The little boy looks around, can't find is kite, and is swept away into a magical dream world with the suited man...

To be continued once more...


Reading Assignment Twenty Eight

Because I am reading Water for Elephants, a story about the circus, I thought it would be appropriate to share my experience from the circus. And I also really just wanted to. 

My first circus was Cirque de Soleil. I went with my stepmother and stepsister. Every year we go to see the Nutcracker around Christmastime, but that year she really wanted us to see Cirque. So we did. We went to the big blue and yellow tents and handed the people our tickets. We walked through one tent to another, the big one. We sat in our seats. We were on the right side of the "stage." My sister wanted popcorn. So we went and got her some. It was warm and buttery. I ate too much of it. The man in the center of the ring had a remote. He was dressed in a wacky suit. Some contraption was above him, like a car or something. It kept beeping, and he kept having to click the remote at it to make it stop. His frustrastion was apparent. People were milling around, buying food and searching for programs. Ushers were helping people to their seats.  I sat nervously waiting. The lights began to dim, blinking for audience members to get in their seats. They obliged. Finally, the lights flickered off until we were all sitting in darkness. No light could penetrate the curtains. No one spoke. It was completely silent. And then there was light...

To be continued...

Reading Assignment Twenty Seven

Water for Elephants is such a peculiar book. I really like it, but the Sara Gruen (the author), continues to baffle me. I cannot seem to predict what will happen next. I know that there will eventually be an animal stampede, but above that, I am blind to the plot. Something is coming, I just do not know what. It reminds me a lot of watching Mad Men. In a season of Mad Men, nothing happens and everything happens. The show is set up to make the viewer learn patience. Some episodes don't have a big climax. Other episodes are all climax. It leaves the viewers on their toes all the time. Water for Elephants is like that. It keeps me on my toes even when nothing is happening. I am anxious to see how the characters go from where they are now to the stampede. It seems as though they'll never get there, but I have faith. I have learned to be patient. Right now Jacob and the rest of the characters are dealing with a new group of animals. Two of the horses had to be put down. It amazed me. The author took a scene that could be very grafic or very nondescript and made it both. It was overwhelming but not gross. I do not know how she does that, but I really want to study her writing more. It is the type of writing that could really help me. I think it is important as a writer to read a lot and study the work of others.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reading Assignment Twenty-Six

Water for Elephants is great! I love the book, but I am having a problem: I am having trouble keeping all the characters straight. See, I read a lot of books. I just love to read. And I can read multiple books at once. I never have a problem stopping, reading something else, and then picking back up. But Water for Elephants is confusing me! I know there's Jacob, Marlena, Catherine, August, Big Al, and Kinko, but there's so many others too. A character will make a brief appearance, only to go away! If I see a character in a book, I am bound to think he or she is important. But now, there's so many people who are circulating, I don't know who to pay attention to. I kind of think that's the point because there's a (SPOILER ALERT!!!) murder at the beginning of the book. I think that so many characters are circulating so that I am a little disoriented. If I don't know who's ambling about, it's harder to form allegiances to characters who might die or be killed. Anyhow, I am still disoriented. It is a good move by the author to keep me on my toes, but it's getting a little annoying at this point. I don't need 10 main characters to keep track of. It is beyond confusing.
Other than that, the book is awesome. It's engaging and the ( multiple) characters are developed well without me feeling like I have a character blurb shoved in my face. It is a book I would recommend to most, maybe not younger people ( it's intense.) I am glad that SA recommended it to me, and that I gave it a chance.

Reading Assignment Twenty Five

I am at a crossroads. I finished Rattled! I'm excited to start a fiction book, but the only problem is, I have two to pick from! Bah! I am torn between Water for Elephants and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Alice is goofy and crazy. I'll be on a wild adventure the whole time. And it has some lovely, and also wacky, poetry. I've seen the Disney adaptation, so I know what to expect. Water for Elephants is a little different. A friend recommended it to me, saying that I would love it. I trust her judgement, but I'm not sure. It's not that I do not want to read one over the other. It is more along the lines of  "these both sound so good that I can't decide." I think I'll go with Water for Elephants since it is borrowed, and I want to be polite and prompt in returning it. I have already read the preface, and it's fairly packed for such a short piece. 

Two days later...

Okay, I've officially started reading Water for Elephants. I love it! It's the type of book that is slow in plot, but I am not getting bored. It's about this guy, Jacob, who goes from Cornell to joining the circus.  He's smart, and he is quick to catch on in the buisness. I like the way the author writes; I was really surprised to see that a woman was writing it. She doesn't come off in her writing as a woman. Strange. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.