Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dropping the Ball for a Pretty Fishy

I have to admit it: I haven't followed through with my plan of introducing interesting Black History Facts each day throughout Black History Month. But I have a great excuse! I was busy keeping the dream alive. I was busy living out the freedom that others gave their lives for me to obtain. I was reading and completing assignments for school. I was also learning more about how I could help the kids at work. So, I dropped this ball in order to grab a better one, a bigger, more precious one.

This being said, I have enjoyed one particular assignment. We were to take a children's books and choose a song that complimented the story fluidly. For a while I was just considering a few stupid things simply to get a grade. But my attention was drawn to a book given to me last semester by one of my instructors. It's called The Rainbow Fish. It's about a beautiful, but arrogant fish that learns the importance of love and happiness as opposed to outer beauty. It's a delightful book. And because of the underwater theme, I was reminded of a great composition for ballet by Igor Stravinsky known as The Firebird. I played The Firebird Suite when I was in 9th grade as bass-player in the Florida All-State Orchestra. I could still hear its hauntingly beautiful melody. We only played the finale from The Firebird Suite. The Suite is somewhat of a condensed version of the entire score of the ballet. It's only about 20 minutes long. But the only part we played as about the last 7 minutes. And this is the part I'm using for my assignment.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will read the book to my class and my instructor, accompanied by this music. I practiced timing it today with my 7 year-old cousin, whom I will identify by the name of Baby Gila Monster (Gila for short). She really enjoyed it. With her as my audience, I was able to practice it about three times. I still have yet to perfect this. But the overall affect seems to be exactly what I had in mind.

Firebird Suite - Stravinsky

Now...this is supposed to be a creative non-fiction account of my life on both sides of the teacher's desk. It's supposed to consist of my creative reflections of my actions and what I've learned...hence, the title. So, rather than simply spilling facts onto the digital page, I'm going to restart the addition of creative non-fiction sections of my posts...I think.

Anyway, after going upstairs, I opened my room door to see the entire room lit by the enveloping warmth of the mirror's blue glow. I picked it up, and there in its reflective face, was myself, my little cousin seated in my lap. But the room in which we had actually been seated was changed. The whole place looked dim, as if I were seeing it through a tinted glass. Our hair appeared to blow in some kind of wind. Since my glasses need changing, I thought it wise not to trust them and to take a second, closer look. This time, I could see that what appeared to be dimmed lighting was actually the effect of water-water that completely surrounded us. We we were in the ocean, it's teal blue clouded with minnows, sea fans, my surprise, one giant sparkling fish.

"What's this supposed to mean?" I asked the mirror. "I guess combination of the music and the book were just too much for either of us. We were mentally transported into a calm spot in the sea, and we could actually see the Rainbow Fish, huh?"

Sir Coolman laughed. "Actually, that's not the only reason. The main reason for the sea appearing to the child was your own enthusiasm." The scene in the mirror slowly evaporated, revealing Sir Coolman's pleasant face. "Really. The voice intonations were extremely affective. And I'm not sure if you meant to, but it was perfectly matched with the nuances presented in the text- both the music and your voice." He smiled, a rare thing for someone so old, and so weathered. "She felt your feelings towards the text, and you reinforced them with your voice and musical choice, despite its grandiose ending."

As he spoke, I realized the fact that I had been extremely excited about sharing the book with Gila. I couldn't wait to show her this metallic scales of the lovely Rainbow Fish, its beauty enhanced by the melodious masterwork of Stravinsky. The varied vocal intonations were a natural occurrence because I was really feeling the book. Gila could tell. After just one time through, she was able to repeat a significant portion of the text as I read it the second time. Since I had explained why I was presenting the book to her with music, she's been determined to help me in anyway that she could. "That's the octopus part!" she'd exclaimed during a section of the suite in which the bass violins stole the attention of the listener. When I didn't turn to this part of the book, she warned me, eagerly, "You better start reading that part."

"You look awful." Sir Coolman's voice brought me back to reality, out of the narrative proceeding from my own inner mirrors. "You should get some rest. You're liable to be a distraction to the children if you mozy into the classroom looking like that."

"I always know who to call to make me feel really good about myself. Thanks so much for sharing your kind way with words."

I carried the mirror over to the vanity drawer and pulled out its velvet-interior box. "It is what I do, madam." Slowly, his face become a simple reflecting pane. I boxed him comfortably and closed the drawer. I prayed a good while, thanked Jesus for all the wonderful blessings I'd already experienced, and those I had yet to enjoy. And all night long, I dreamed of the most beautiful fish, swimming in a sea of colors, the whole underwater world as beautiful as the music I heard playing.


Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

This was a wonderful read. I feel like I've known you forever he he he! I love your writers voice. Sometimes it take people forever to develop it. It's wonderful. Thanks for stopping by to visit me. I so appreciate you taking the time to do so. Thanks

doug said...

Wow! How enchanting! Tales of the looking glass. I think I just had an 'Aha' moment! Are you planning to write a book by any chance? A childrens book perhaps?