Why We Tell The Story

Posted by Angela Cronin on

If you follow me on social media at all, you may already know some of this. 2 things, really. Whenever I'm really quiet on social media it's generally one of two things: either I'm incredibly, intensely, super busy doing boring things like dyeing or inventory or whatever and therefore have nothing really interesting to post about and no time to figure out what else I could say OR I'm having a crap time. In this case, it was sort of both. I've been having some personal drama, which has lead to a lot of anxiety and a general state of emotional disarray. Suffice it to say: do not fall through a step. It's not super fun. I don't recommend it. To cope with this I've been throwing myself into my work, both at my part time job and with MollyGirl. I've gotten so much dyeing done in the past few weeks, it's sort of unreal. It's great, both because I've had plenty of dyeing that needed doing for some awesome stockists and because I was able to get it all done. There's nothing quite like being epically productive to make you feel better about yourself. At least, that's always been the case for me.
This past Saturday was really the key to me feeling a lot happier today, though. I'd been looking forward to this weekend since Christmas - my in-laws got us tickets to see Once On This Island for the holiday and they were for what is now this past Saturday. She likes to get us tickets to shows, but she always is skeptical of my choices. And, in all fairness, this most recent production of Roger & Hammerstein's Cinderella on Broadway was absolute crap. Like, it was really, really bad. And I LOVE that show, but... it was crap. But usually I'm pretty good at picking shows to see. And Once On This Island is one of my all-time favorites.
I started taking voice lessons when I was either 12 or 13, I can't honestly remember anymore. But what I do remember is that the first song I ever did with my first voice teacher was "Waiting For Life" from Once On This Island. That's the first time I ever heard of this show and got a synopsis. I listened to some of the other songs but already firm in my belief that you can't really appreciate songs from musicals to their fullest until you've seen the show, I didn't go too nuts. It wasn't until the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college (I think?) that I got to see a staged production. By which I mean, I was the assistant musical director to a production of Once On This Island Junior for some kids at a summer camp. It was then that my crush on this show turned into a full on true-love situation, and it's been a regular in my rotation of Broadway songs ever since.
It's not a super-popular musical, and I can totally understand why. It's a tough production to stage because 95% of the dialogue in the show is sung. It also deals very heavily with issues of racism and classism (which they carefully eliminate from the Junior version) which makes a large portion of people uncomfortable at the least. And finally, its story is based on the original story of "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Anderson. As is the case with the original versions of most fairytales, they don't exactly have the cheerful happily-ever-after candy coating we give them today. Given this, I was not surprised at all that in the 18 years this show has been in my sphere of knowledge I'd never seen it up in any theatre, community or professional.
Which is why the first time I saw the billboard announcing it was coming, I stopped dead in my tracks and made noises somewhere between a giggle and a squeal while doing a little dance for at least a full minute. Mark was so, so confused; all I could do was point and gape and giggle and dance. "That! I want that!!!" were the first words I was able to get out. And so I was not terribly surprised but intensely pleased with my Christmas gift this year. That's putting it mildly. I was practically manic about it, but I think I kept that in check pretty well.
I hope you all get to see it. I really do. Aside from the amazing score, acting, and AMAZING staging, it's an incredibly important story. So I won't say too much about the performance itself. By the time we got to the theatre, I think I was vibrating. As the music started, tears started pouring down my face because I was so excited. By the end, tears were pouring down my face again, caught up in the joy and sadness and most importantly hope that comes through in the finale. (I'm actually getting teary sitting here thinking about it lol) It was so cathartic, and everything about this incredibly unique performance was so wonderful, it makes my heart want to burst. (And I got to meet Lea Salonga, a lifelong dream, which was worth waiting out in the cold really having to pee! Squee! I'm usually pretty cool meeting people that I admire, but I admit, I was a total gibbering moron. That's my total gibbering moron face.)
And even better, for the first time in awhile, I feel truly inspired. Art begets art, and while I've never been a writer of music it's always been my muse in one way or another. It sounds corny, but I could actually see the colorways I would create for these songs as they were playing out in front of me. I would share them with you, but part of my inspiration has manifested as an awesome new future project. I'm really really excited about it, but I'm still ironing out the details and deciding on a name... but suffice it to say you should be excited. It's gonna be rad. Or maybe groovy? Let's go with groovy, I think that's most appropriate. You'll laugh later. =] Keep your eyeballs open and make sure you're signed up for our mailing list (this one, not the one run through the shop). It'll probably be formally announced in June, but I'll drop some hints here and there because if you're actually still reading this, you deserve it!
So I've spent the first half of this week working my butt off, but in a more creative way, and it feels really good. The aforementioned project is only part of it; I'm in the process of overhauling some things that need overhauling, streamlining some things that need streamlining, and planning out colors for the summer and fall. The inaugural batch of MollyGirl's newest yarn, Honky Tonk Lite, is headed towards MollyGirl HQ and will be getting some special attention this weekend. I'm working on some of my Epic Swatching Project and getting ready to make two samples for my latest design, but selfish knitting is also taking its turn. I'm working on a Haro Shawl by Shannon Cook in some amazing Spirit DK, the latest creation of my spirit animal, Countess Ablaze. And, totally coincidentally, my nails match my knitting. Both in color and sparkle. It's very satisfying all around. I also prepped six hats to take with me on my trip to Scotland next month. I'm pretty sure I've earned a cookie, no?

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