Stuck…

sea-of-yellow-and-orange-daffodils-135169065-5a9ddb3c875db90037eb7616 ( I in no way own this image, I found it on the internet)

There comes a moment when you feel stuck. Stuck for words, stuck in a moment…. just stuck. What do you do when you feel trapped inside your own head? I asked myself this very question as I sat blindly staring at my blank computer screen. I have been working and re working a few stories and have reached a block. Do you know that block? That exasperated feeling that no matter how much you think and try, you just don’t have anything to say? Something just prevents it. So what do I do? Find inspiration, I remembered what has helped me in the past. Poetry. So below please find and enjoy a poem that I have always found inspirational and beautiful. I hope it will not only help and inspire me, but also help and inspire you.

 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud ~By William Wordsworth

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.”

 

Until next time when I return to more literary talk, I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

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Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens

 

source ( I in no way own the above GIF I found it on the internet)

 

Hello Dear Reader:

Tonight I am here to write a quick Happy Birthday to one of my personal favorite authors Charles Dickens.  Mr. Dickens was and is an extremely influential writer of his era, not only did he spin complicated and emotional tales but brought attention to the problems of his time.  He left nothing to the imagination, each book, each world, he created was so intricately built, so detailed oriented which proved that his stories were near flawless.  Even to the end of his life, Charles Dickens spun tales to tantalize and intrigue his audiences.  So please join with me now in remembering a writer with true ingenuity.

Until, next time when I return with more Storytelling

I remain respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

“Ode to a Nightingale”

(I in no way own any of the content of the video above nor video itself  I found it on YouTube)

As many of you are aware of or have lived through, the terror of this past weekend’s Snow Storm, it leaves one with very little to do while trapped inside a snow globe-like room and deep and utter wretched boredom sets in. I have read almost every novel there is to read in the house and I grew tired of crocheting. My canvas has been neglected as my paint filled brushes are rapidly crumbling and falling apart after many years of use, so what then was there left to do? Re-watch the BBC series “Lark Rise to Candleford”.

For those of you who do not know anything about this series, it is a semi-autobiographical trilogy based on the English novelist and poet’s life namely Flora Thompson. Flora was born December 5, 1876, and she was perhaps best known for her novel about the English countryside called “Lark Rise To Candleford”. The Novel or in this case the series that filled my snow filled afternoons was set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to town to begin an apprenticeship as postmistress to her mother’s cousin Ms. Lane. In one particularly riveting episode, the main character whose name is Laura is the center of affection for two different men. One is a childhood friend, and the other is Laura’s boyfriend the handsome gamekeeper to the squire. To sum up the love triangle in this episode and to bring about my point to this story is that, Laura’s childhood friend, Alf, is desperate to win her affection. Alf finds out that there will be a poetry reading and decides to read Laura’s favorite poem   “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats. Poor Alf’s plan is foiled, however, but I shall leave that up to you dear Reader to discover why.

Now as some of you may have read in my previous blogs John Keats is a favorite poet of mine, but I never heard of this particular verse. So doing what any snowbound and bored young woman would do, I began to research the poem. After finally finding the poem and reading it for myself I could clearly see what our lovelorn Laura fell so deeply in love with the poem.

The lovely and perhaps most beautiful aspect of poetry is the interpretation of it. For you see there isn’t necessarily a wrong or a right way to interpret a poem. The author molds and crafts words in such a fashion to conjure images and to expose their innermost joy, pain, and sometimes, even sorrow. However what separates this from a book is that it does not always clearly convey how they are feeling and to what end or perhaps even the subject of their emotions. This is where the flights of fancy may occur and certainly many disputes over an interpretation of the verse.

In “Ode to a Nightingale” Keats expresses the joy and sorrows and almost confusion he feels while listening to the bird’s melodious song. He questions the mortality of the Nightingale itself. Feeling that since almost every generation has at one time or another has listened to this same song that the bird must be immortal. However, it is not merely the idea of what our poet is trying to convey but the imagery in which he uses to express it. I can almost imagine our heroine, Laura, listening to this poem in a meadow in her little town picturing scene by scene what she hears in the poem. As I close my eyes and listen to the poem I can almost feel the warm summer air on my face as I ‘listen’ to this little bird sing its song; a song that I feel like is sung and only meant for me. How my heart swells and fills as I think of it now. I think it is now one of my favorite works of poetry. I will leave it for you to read for yourself. I hope you can feel what I feel, and to see what I see, and hopefully it touches your soul like it does mine. I also hope you enjoy the YouTube link above that I found of the very talented Benedict Cumberbatch reading this poem. His reading joyously brings to life the very spirit and essence of the poem.

Until Next time I remain as always respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Ode to a Nightingale

~ By: John Keats

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 

         My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 

Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 

         One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 

‘Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 

         But being too happy in thine happiness,— 

                That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees 

                        In some melodious plot 

         Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 

                Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 

 

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been 

         Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth, 

Tasting of Flora and the country green, 

         Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! 

O for a beaker full of the warm South, 

         Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 

                With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 

                        And purple-stained mouth; 

         That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 

                And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 

 

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 

         What thou among the leaves hast never known, 

The weariness, the fever, and the fret 

         Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; 

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, 

         Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; 

                Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 

                        And leaden-eyed despairs, 

         Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 

                Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 

 

Away! away! for I will fly to thee, 

         Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, 

But on the viewless wings of Poesy, 

         Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: 

Already with thee! tender is the night, 

         And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, 

                Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays; 

                        But here there is no light, 

         Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 

                Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 

 

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 

         Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 

But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 

         Wherewith the seasonable month endows 

The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 

         White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; 

                Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves; 

                        And mid-May’s eldest child, 

         The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 

                The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 

 

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time 

         I have been half in love with easeful Death, 

Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme, 

         To take into the air my quiet breath; 

                Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 

         To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 

                While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 

                        In such an ecstasy! 

         Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— 

                   To thy high requiem become a sod. 

 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! 

         No hungry generations tread thee down; 

The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

         In ancient days by emperor and clown: 

Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 

         Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, 

                She stood in tears amid the alien corn; 

                        The same that oft-times hath 

         Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam 

                Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 

 

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell 

         To toll me back from thee to my sole self! 

Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well 

         As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf. 

Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 

         Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 

                Up the hill-side; and now ’tis buried deep 

                        In the next valley-glades: 

         Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 

                Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep?

The Rambling of Words

taking-photos-of-water-in-puddles-splashes-reflections

(I in now way own the above image I found it on the internet)

 

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

Liquid runs in a

A choking stream, it starts and stops

Forming ripples and puddles,

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

I hear the insidious little sounds,

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

Torturous, fearful noise;

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

The floorboards creak beneath my feet

As I pace to escape the sounds;

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

It feels as though it warns of something’s approach

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

It tells of nothing neither dear nor near,

The noises now seem to race

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

Then suddenly it stops.

Halt goes the fear

And a bird now chirps in mine ear,

Sunshine lights my door frame and

A smile frames my face and

No longer do I listen to

Plick, Plick, Plop

Drip, Drap, Drop

By: Cheyenne E. Mitchell

The Christmas Cookies

Landscape ( I in no way own the above image I found it on the internet all credit belongs to the original owner)

The year was circa 1996 the snow was falling fast and hard outside the kitchen window. The white and brown lace curtains only added to the snowy scene. I was so bored, to sick to go outside and play, but not sick enough to stay in bed all day. So I resigned myself to having a day without any fun at all, my duty, therefore, was to pout by the window.   I accomplished this task with very little enthusiasm, but I was determined to make my point of unhappiness to my mother, as to the injustice of staying inside, so I stayed firmly planted in front of the window until I heard a familiar voice behind me. “Cucuzza, come away from the window and close the curtain.” It was my Nana, a short Italian woman, who tried to ‘fix’ everything with food. She believed that there wasn’t anything you couldn’t cure with food. If you were sad, you eat, depressed, you eat, in love, you eat, sick, you eat, someone dies you have a feast. “Come, come my little Cucuzza” Cucuzza is Italian for Zucchini but in this case it is used as a term of endearment such as ‘my little pumpkin’. “I will show you how to make Cenci it will make you feel better.” Cenci is one of the various names for.

For those of you who may not be familiar with this family favorite, it is a fried sweet cookie in the shape of bow ties and they are either drizzled in honey or dusted with powdered sugar.

Taking my teddy bear away from the window with me, moaning and whining, while Nana began taking out what we needed to make the bow ties. As I watched Nana began making the dough I started to feel a little bit better. I had the job of hand cranking the dough through the pasta machine, while my sister forms the bows and my mother drops them in the oil. They begin sizzling and the delectable aroma fills the kitchen. Next we drizzle the honey and powdered sugar over the perfectly browned bow ties. The sweet treats are just the thing for a case of the sniffles. Christmas is the perfect time for these cookies. They are still a family favorite at the holiday time. These days of cooking with my Nana are long gone, but her recipes aren’t, so please find below a variation of my grandmother’s cookies. I hope they soon become a family favorite of yours.

I wish everyone a blessed Christmas and Holiday Season.

Until next time I remain as always respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

Ingredients:

2 Cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 Extra Large eggs (whole eggs)

2 Egg Yolks

4 Tablespoons of Red wine

1 tbs of Confectionary Sugar

2 tsp of Vanilla

1 tsp of Lemon extract

1/8 tsp. Salt

 

Directions

Put 1-3/4-cups of the flour into a bowl. Then make a well in the center of the flour, and place the eggs, egg yolks, wine, pure vanilla extract and lemon extract. (The lemon extract may curdle, but continue whisking and you should be able to blend it) confectioners’ sugar baking powder and salt etc.

Mix well at first with a fork and then continue to mix with your hands until all the flour is combined with the liquids. Mix until you are able to make a nice dough ball.

Add the remaining 1/4-cup of flour knead the dough, mixing in the flour you just added. Knead the dough for a good 10 minutes or so. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested for 30 minutes, it’s time to work with the hand crank pasta machine (if you don’t have a hand crank pasta machine you can roll it out thin and slice with a pizza cutter). Cut the dough ball into fourths. Work with a quarter of the dough ball at a time. Roll out the dough to about 1/8″ thickness. Cut the dough (or set your hand crank pasta machine) into 3″ wide strips.

Pour olive oil into your fryer until you have about 2 – 4 inches of oil in the fryer. Heat the oil up to 350 degrees. Make sure you wait until the oil is heated up to set temperature.

After the oil has been heated, place the bow ties into the hot oil with a spoon. Let them cook for about 1 or 2 minutes or until they are golden brown. Gently pat the bow ties to get any excess oil off. Next you ready to sprinkle the bow ties with either Powdered Sugar or Honey.

“You Didn’t Go After Her!?”

giphy (I in no way own the above GIF I found it on the internet)

“You didn’t go after her!?” a group of shocked young women sang together in chorus. Sitting still and bewildered-looking back has his inquisitive companions as they bombarded him questions. “What happened?” One lady queried. “Why did you let her go?” Asked another. “Why don’t you go after her?” Chirped in a third. “You were perfect together,” exclaimed a fourth. There he sat stuttering and stammering not knowing how to answer any of their questions.

Finally, I spoke up after managing to quiet down my companions of the Sunday afternoon ‘book club’. “Ladies quiet down our honorary book club member,” I began “since you asked for our help, I think you better start at the beginning.” Nervously my dear friend cleared his throat “ I don’t how to begin. I met her by accident, as you well know, like in some dumb girly movie. And from that day we have been together almost every day. Then I let her slip away because I became distracted. I let other things get in my way; I let myself become obsessed with things that would purposely distance us. She tried everything to make me happy, but the more she did the further I pulled away. So one day she finally had enough and left and now I just don’t know what to do.” It was here that our friend began to silently cry and it was here that he was both comforted and berated by a gaggle of women. After a few more moments of whaling and gnashing of teeth, we finally asked him if he went after her. Here my friend looked up at me tears dripping down his face and stared blankly at me. “What does that mean?” he asked with a sniffle. Again the ladies began shouting “How could you not know what this means? Go after!?”

Again my friend stared at me as if to silently beg for an explanation. For as kind and as sweet as my friend can be he is completely clueless and afraid of women. “But she told me she never wanted to see me again,” he said. “ It is important to be respectful,” I said, “But if you really care for her you will tell her how you feel and say you’re sorry for being a big jerk.” “But” my friend started to say but I quickly cut him off “No,” I said, “ if you want her back you are going to have to do something or she will never come back.” I should have never uttered those last words because the next thing I knew I was coerced into a scheme to win back the love of his life. Great I thought as I was hanging upside-down from a tree in a black sweater, boots, and black leggings, my hair in braids and I had a pair of binoculars spying on the lady in question, watching her every move. There she sat inside a coffee shop chugging her fifth Frappuccino in two hours as her tear-stained face tried desperately to read a book. Just as I thought about climbing down the tree to go confront her, about my friend, who has been pining away for her at home. I heard the rustling of leaves below me. Looking down from the tree to the ground I saw it large with gleaming eyes and sharp teeth was a large dog. Attached to the dog was a cop. I knew at that point no matter what I said I was going “downtown”.   There I sat in my cell looking over my shoulder as my cell mate Big Lucy creepily eyed me up and down picking her black teeth with a rusty knife as she gave me that certain gleam in her eye.

Big Lucy began to make her way over to me just as I heard keys turn in our cell door. “Thank you, God,” I thought, “ As I looked behind me to see my friend, his girlfriend and the entire ladies Sunday afternoon ‘book club’ to rescue me. Apparently, my friend’s girlfriend had spotted me in the tree and thinking I was a stalker called the police. Luckily for me my trusty book club followed me and was waiting in another tree just in case I did something “stupid like getting arrested”. They then called our friend and his girlfriend and told them of my woes. They then went down and badgered the officer until he let me go. However, my arrest brought the Lovebirds back together. Just a little word to the wise Gentleman, if your lady leaves and you know that she cares for you then, by all means, go after her. She may just want you to, don’t risk her not coming back. And save your friend from getting put in jail for trying to help your love life.

 

Until next time when I return to more stories and literary talk, I remain as always respectfully,

 

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

“A Shayna Maidel”~ “A Beautiful Girl”

WASP (I in no way own this photo I found it on the internet)

Dear Reader,

Today I would like to speak to you about the art of playwriting and its relevance to a current production. As an actress, I will tell you that the written word is powerful and one of the most, if not the most, important element of an actor. The playwright is assigned with a delicate task of bringing to life every character in a story, whether it be a large play adaptation such as “Pride and Prejudice” or a play with a significantly smaller cast as the current Coach House Players production “A Shayna Maidel”.   Further, still, the playwright has to bring the sense “of the now” or whatever that time period may be conveying to the audience. I was first introduced to “A Shayna Maidel” written by Barbara Lebow; in the winter of 2016 through a Hallmark made for Television adaptation entitled “Miss. Rose White”. I immediately fell in love with the story and longed to read the original play. It is a moving and powerful story about families being separated and reunited due to war. Two prominent characters in the play are sisters, who have to learn to learn from each other and overcome traumatic circumstances. This play centers on both the start of and the end of World War II. Now if you, like myself, have family members who served in this horrific war you may have a very real sense of what happened at this time in our world’s history. However, my knowledge of this era did not include the heartfelt stories from victims.

After reading this powerfully written play I wanted to understand more. More of how and what these people went through. So I began researching and watching interviews and read stories about survivors of the Holocaust. I sat there for the first time perhaps; truly understanding and feeling to an infinitesimal degree what these people must have gone through. I now began to understand the lives of those both of my grandfathers fought so hard to save on the fronts and my grandmothers who fought so hard at home to try to keep America stable. I began to feel as if I knew these people. My Nana (which is Italian for grandma) would tell me stories on how she would sew soldiers name tags in jackets from morning until night, hoping that sending them a warm coat could keep them going. My grandmother volunteered with the Red Cross to help send provisions across seas. All the time knowing that they were fighting for something much bigger than themselves and doing all of this out of love for their fellow neighbor.

After these reflections I re-read “A Shayna Maidel” with new eyes, realizing just how important her words really are, not just to remind us to remember our pasts but their characters prove as hopes for the future and new lives that they would build.

I was elated to find that my local theater company would be producing this play. For how more important is it to not only read about something but also to see it portrayed, to allow its sorrow, pain, and joy to resonate with you.

And As I feel research is so important I have left a link below to the play house’s website for those who may be interested, as well as, a link to some interviews I watched, in case you want to find out more about the people affected by this tragic liberation.

Until next time I remain as always respectfully,

Cheyenne E. Mitchell

 

Coach House Players: http://www.coachhouseplayers.org/seatreservation.html

Guta Blass Weintraub:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnd6gd_9NMw and

Storyteller