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The Monologue of Nicholas Stewart

In our new soon-to-be-released play “Life with Stewart”, Nicholas Stewart, an aged Hollywood movie star, is asked to deliver again his famous speech as the unforgettable protagonist Wellesly Green from the movie “Surrender has no Tomorrow”. (Of course, all of this is fictional.)  So imagine a staggering figure clad in battle gear trying to rally his comrades to continue fighting against insurmountable odds in order to stave off certain death. Here is the monologue in its entirety.  I’d appreciate your feedback.

NICHOLAS STEWART:

Character.  That is what stands between us and our destiny.  Each of us has sacrificed much to arrive at this point; the battered souls we are would give up the fight if it was merely up to us. If we were only flesh and blood, only here and now, only eyes and ears, surely we would not insist on pushing forward. For our eyes witness odds that our hearts cannot derive courage from.  Our ears hear not any reassurance to continue fighting, but only weakness and bickering, coming from our tired, cowardly jaws –  the ones we earned by witnessing too much death and experiencing too much despair.  Yes, our eyes and ears reveal how human we have become, how cold our flesh feels, and how much colder our blood may soon be.  But history reminds us that we are not only flesh and blood.  We are not only here and now.  We are not only eyes and ears.  We are made of more, much more.  Time has poured its tired hands into our being, strengthening us with wisdom gleamed from a thousand souls who came before us.  Those who knew us and loved us.  Those we never knew but influenced the mechanisms of support that we have come to live by.  Our character has been built by the sacrifices of these and others who lived their lives and suffered their deaths for our survival. If we extinguish the flickering flame of hope that the winds of fear are ferociously trying to snuff out, then we are not worthy to be called the sons or daughters of the ones that came before us.  As the poet Asophie said, “When a pebble dropped in a vast sea splashes beyond its capacity, crashing barriers that were never meant to be crossed, all that one is left with is the realization that the pebble was no small stone and the causality is no one’s fault but your own.”  If we die, then we shall be at fault.  If we live, then we too shall be the cause of that.  As for me, I choose life.  What choose you?

Stalin – the Little Boy

I’m a student of history as many of you know.  I came across this essay I wrote a while back about a little boy called Soso whom the world would eventually know as Joseph Stalin.  I’ll post more later, but I thought you might find this short paragraph to be of interest.  (Full documentation available on request.)

“Stalin was born Joseph Dzhughashvili.  His mother was a devout Orthodox Christian and his father was a cobbler easily taken to drink and violence.  Young Soso, as he was known in his younger years, felt firsthand the wanton brutality of his father’s drunken rages.  He also witnessed the terror that his father held over his mother.  But his father was not the only one who beat him.  His mother also would beat him mercilessly for insolence and disobedience which were frequent character traits of the bitter and difficult young boy (Radzinsky).  In fact the violence that he experienced early in life was a mere foretaste of the life that little Soso was to lead.  He may have had to endure the beatings of his childhood, but he eventually would not allow anyone to get the better of him.  He would back down to no one.”

A Word about Haiti

Recently, I did some research on Haitian ethnomusicology. (Don’t ask!)  If you are interested in Haiti, you might like to read the following short excerpt from an essay I wrote about music’s impact on Haitian culture and history.  This portion is about Haiti’s newest president who came to power in 2011. (Full documentation available on request.)

“In a remarkable turn of recent events, the masses have finally elected one of their own as president.  In the aftermath of last year’s deadly earthquake which flattened the capital and killed in excess of 250,000, Haiti has perhaps experienced the most vivid example yet of how much music means to their cultural identity by electing as President a former carnival singer named Michel Martelly.  As movie or sports stars find traction in political elections in the United States, their cultural counterpart in Haiti would be the musicians who have been piercing the political landscape with social criticism for decades.  Martelly was an extremely popular Carnival singer who was known for outrageous outfits and obscene language during his shows, and he won the presidency in a run-off election in April 2011 by receiving a resounding 68% of the vote (Archibold).   Even more recently, with the approval of the new Prime Minister, Martelly has set the stage for one of the most significant presidencies in Haiti for some time.  He has the unenviable task of trying to jump-start economic growth in the midst of the daunting earthquake recovery effort which continues.

Of course, it is much too early to tell what a Martelly presidency will ultimately look like, but perhaps it will have the look and feel of a rara processional.   Musicians have for decades used their rara Carnival songs to poke fun at the obscene to make people laugh.   They have sung their songs as a way to raise their voice in subtle protest to the injustices around them.  Perhaps no one knows the plight of the poor urban masses better than a Carnival singer.   This may be Martelly’s greatest strength – identifying with the people that he represents. . . .   And so now Martelly stands at the crossroads in Haiti, with a wealth of heart knowledge behind him, and the hope of the nation supporting him.” 

2012 Writing Plans

Here’s a run-down of some different writing projects I currently have on my plate for 2012.

My first novel Beauty Rising remains unpublished as I continue to search for a publisher for it.  I have no plans to self-publish it at this time.  More on this later.

My most recent play Life with Stewart which I wrote in collaboration with five young writers is just about ready to be released.  Should be out soon.  I’ll post a synopsis and excerpt later. It’s going to be a blast to produce. This one deserves the novel treatment, too.   Hmmmm . . .

Also, I will be releasing my RLT Players dramatic sketches in eBook format sometime in January.  It will be entitled: “The Road Less Traveled: Dramatic Sketches for Performance & Ponder.”   Keep an eye out for it.

I’ve started my second novel quite unexpectedly about a recluse storyteller. It’s a complicated maze of four stories intersecting with a fifth which holds it all together (I hope!). I have a third novel which has been hanging out on the sidelines of my writing life for the past few years.  It’s ready to go as soon as I have time.

Finally, I’ll be working on another set of dramatic sketches for the RLT Players.  I already have many fun ideas.  This is my summer project for 2012.

Lots to do!  However, I’m always open to new ideas and fresh collaboration.  Anyone?

 

Writing Excerpts

I will post some writing excerpts from time to time.  They will be listed under PAGES to the right.  I would very much appreciate your comments concerning these.

Check out “Almighty Might”  and “A Highway More Taken” which are both original RLT Players dramatic sketches.  I’ve also posted the first three chapters of “Spy Blue: A Novella.”  Thanks.

Thank the Artists

Before anything else can be said on this blog, I must thank the amazing artists who have used their talents to adorn the covers of much of my writing.

Ji-Hyun Park – Spy Blue

Wan-Leen Siow & K. Wiebe – Take Two

Sophie Shin – A Tad of Trouble

Jacqueline Ashkin – The RLT Players logo

And I just received the artwork draft from Jennifer Park for our new play “Life with Stewart.”  Wow!  It’s amazing.  I’ll post it soon.

Thank you!  I’d be lost without your talents.

Create not Consume

We consume a lot.  Around the holidays, too much.

But we were also made to create.

And that is what this blog is about.  Creativity. Writing. Good-storytelling.

I hope to use this to keep everyone up to date on my most current writing projects and I will also be posting writing excerpts for your feedback.

I hope this blog leads to collaboration, the sharing of ideas, and the continuation of creative inspiration.

May we all step back from our consumer-driven world – to create.