Magical Harp, A Little Princess, and Leaf 7

Annie: (sigh!)

Santa: Ugh! What are you sighing about now, Annie?

Shell: She’s thinking about the film we saw at the Yonder Island Theater last Sunday.

Annie: A silent movie! Mary Pickford playing Sarah Crewe! And, best of all, live harp music as the musical accompaniment to the movie.

Shell: That was really cool. The harpist, Leslie McMichael, was just plain awesome. She composed the entire score for that film, right?

Santa: It was pretty amazing to hear the music she played, and to use those three harps — Celtic harp, pedal harp, electric harp, but —

Annie: No ‘buts’ about it! The themes she played for the different parts of the film absolutely expressed what was going on —

Shell: Her timing really impressed me. The three of us certainly know how weird time can be, but she was perfectly attuned to that film!

Annie: I just love the sounds of the pedal harp, and its chromatics — you know, how it can shift keys, just by using your feet on those pedals —

Shell: I thought the electric harp was awesome. The sounds Leslie chose to program for that harp suggested to me the piano playing that used to accompany the silent movies back in 1917!

Santa: Leslie playing and composition of the music was — magical. It was an absolutely one-of-a-kind experience. She really should be super-famous for it, being asked to film festivals all over the country to present her live music and the film in concert halls ….

Annie: And performing it in Quilt Shop galleries!

Shell: Uh, yeah — art galleries, or in —

Santa: I did hear her say she has a tour lined up back east.

Shell: Well, cool!

Annie: Maybe the three of us should learn harp and so that kind of thing, accompany silent movies. I’d play the pedal harp. It’s so elegant —

Shell: Electric harp for me! I’d get mine in electric blue, and use some awesome effects with it. Santa, I guess you’d choose the Celtic harp, wouldn’t you. Because they’re straight-forward yet elegant, with no mechanisms complicating things, and with a clear bright sound —

Santa: I wouldn’t choose any harp!!!!

Shell: What???

Santa: Harp is my least favorite instrument! I’m totally against them!

Shell: Are you mad?

Annie: The harp is the most beautiful instrument! Angelic–

Shell: But you can also play rock-and-roll and jazz on it too!

Santa: That’s all true, but —

Shell: Your own mom plays harp!

Santa: That’s the trouble!

Annie: Oh …

Santa: I’m sorry, you guys. But growing up with Mom playing the same mistakes year after year —

Annie: They don’t bother me.

Santa: Yeah, but that’s because you don’t have a precise mind. If you did, you’d be as appalled as me —

Annie: Santa, you’re so unkind!

Santa: I can’t help it — I’m a …

Shell: –perfectionist.

Santa: If only she’d vary her mistakes … But she seems to have perfectly learned them —

Annie: And that’s why you don’t like harp? That doesn’t seem fair!

Shell: I enjoy Aunt Jen’s playing.

Santa: Most people do — most people don’t even hear her mistakes or don’t care because the sound of the harp is so magical —

Shell: So why can’t you just enjoy her music too?

Santa: Because–it’s–Mom–playing!

Shell: Uhh.

Annie: Santa, it sounds like you’ve got some sharping levers engaged where they shouldn’t be.

Shell: ‘Sharping levers’?

Annie: Those are the little things you flip up on a Celtic harp to make a note sharp.

Shell: Oh. Well, despite the fact that we’ve discovered that Santa needs some harp therapy, I’ll repeat again that Leslie McMichael playing live harp music–a score that she composed — to the 1917 silent movie “A Little Princess” — was absolutely an enchanting experience — for all of us (except maybe Santa) —

Annie: And it should be world famous!

Shell: Go to a performance of it, if she comes to your area. Or encourage your community to invite her!

Santa: It’s pretty awesome — I have to admit — despite the fact that I’m against harps and think all harps should be removed from the planet and shipped to the Otherworld.

Shell: Santa, you’re warped! In the meantime, Readers, we hope you enjoy the latest Leaf.

Leaf 7: Eglwys Lost

Annie: Oh! We almost forgot: Leslie McMichael also created and performs of another silent film, Peter Pan – and, oh, it’s ever so fun and magical too! View and listen to a little bit here!

What’s With The Crows? And A Twig …

SHELL: Shell, here.  I was out in the field today and the crows were noisy as anything from the treetops!  Last time I heard them like that, they were shouting about a barred owl.

LEAVES:  Barred or bard?

SHELL:  Now that you mention it, Leaves.  Maybe it was a ‘bard owl’.  We’re on Yonder Island, after all, and it seems like just about anything can show up.  Are bard owls different than bard foxes?

LEAVES: Of course.  We–or at least–I–have a way with words.  Bard owls play harps.

SHELL:  Is … that … so?

LEAVES: You sound like you don’t believe me!

SHELL:  Well … you can’t blame me if I … maybe think you’re telling tales.

LEAVES (with a satisfied grin):  Hm!

SHELL:  Anyway, my mom gets an interlude today. You’ll see me–us, that is–Leaves, and me–again next week.

LEAVES: Bon apetit!

SHELL (off-stage): Leaves, you don’t eat twigs, too, do you?

Read here:  Extra!  Extra! A Twig For Elinn.

Mind Of A Writer: Script Frenzy And Leaf In-Action

Do you love writing stories or poems, articles or comics–or anything else?

When I was 7, I decided I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.  I already drew lots of stories.  After my decision to be a writer, I started working on daily installments of stories (hmm, looking back on that, I think these postings of my book chapters are the modern-day version of that!).

My brother loved sports, so we’d write and draw newspapers full of sports articles and pictures.

I loved comic books, so I drew super-hero cards (inventing my own super-heroes) and drew comic strips.

Eventually I wrote novels.  I wrote one and a half books when I was in middle school.

I particularly loved taking situations in my own life and reimagining them so that they took place in other times and even other worlds.   The real-life happenings change in the process, and its like playing with words to do this.  I end up having a lot of fun this way.

For awhile I created Books of Magic for a magical world I created for my sister and her friend.  I imagined that the world in these books, called Manora, was real, and that you were in it in our own backyard.    The Magic Queen sent my sister and her friend on missions, and the books held maps, and spells and keys to getting to different places in Manora and getting away from scary beings like the evil fairies, Windy, Sleet and Hail.

If you love to write, no doubt you are writing in a lot of different ways.  You may be writing your own stories, but you may be writing articles or blurbs about things you enjoy, and may not even realize that you’re being a Writer.

If you’re writing and you love it, you’re a Writer!

This is a good time to tell you about The Script Frenzy Young Writers Program, and encourage you to join in.  Here’s what it is:

“Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants attempt the creatively daring feat of writing an entire script in the month of April. For 30 days, you get to let your imagination take over and create the film, TV show, play, or graphic novel of your dreams!

That means participants begin writing April 1 and must finish by midnight, April 30. The script goal for our adult program is 100 pages, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual page-count goals.”

I’m planning on doing it, creating a script for a novel/graphic novel hybrid.  100 pages (the Adult Program) sounds like a lot, but with scripts you have a lot of white space in the formatting!  I’ve written scripts before, and write scripts for my harp-and-storytelling performances.  Here’s a link to one of my harp partner’s and my Forest performance scripts.   This one isn’t exactly written in “official” script format, but may give you an idea about how script-writing might go.

So anyway, check out The Script Frenzy Young Writers Program!

Now, About The Latest Leaf

You might be thinking, how can Jane be thinking about writing a script, when she’s writing a book?

I can’t help it.  I’ve tried to only work on one project at a time, but that doesn’t work for me.  I always have several going at once.  I just love tending all those pots on the stove.  Or is it “plots”?  My intention with the Script, though, is to use it more for note-taking, plotting, and mapping a world, which I’m doing (despite myself!) anyway.

Here’s the scoop on Because Of The Red Fox.  When I posted the last Leaf, I made a big decision about the story.  I’d written something in the first draft that for ages really bothered me because it seemed to weird.  I went back and forth, should I take it out, or keep it in?  How would the story change if I kept it in?

Well, luckily, in the past few weeks I’d been reading a children’s fantasy series, The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones.  It’s an amazing series (a little dark at times), and also with some complex ideas.  Diana Wynne Jones was a really courageous writer.    Reading her stories inspired me to just go with my weird ideas and make them work and make them fun.

The result is that my story has changed, even though I kept the weird thing in!  So I’m finding I’m totally rewriting this section of the book.  And now it turns out that Govan will end up having his own interlude, so that will be completely new.

So, I’m sorry it’s taking sometimes two weeks between posts, but I’ll do my darnedest not to be longer than two weeks in between!

Okay, that’s all for now!  Happy reading — and keep on writing!

This is just one volume of the Dalemark Quartet, though the edition above contains the first two books — including Drowned Ammet which is the most dark of the series — with some beautiful stuff in it too, towards the end. You can probably get all four books at your public library or through your local independent bookshop, or through Powells Books, via this link.