Author Archives: beth

About beth

Ann Arbor-ite writes about enjoying life with all of its ironies and surprises.

doorknob confessions.

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it is said that no matter how long a conversation has gone on

the most important truths are revealed

 as one touches the doorknob and turns to leave.

I find this phenomenon so interesting

and have experienced it firsthand.

have you ever made,

or been the recipient of,

a doorknob confession?

“all confessions are Odysseys.”

-raymond queneau

scout.

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scout (in the original), walks home dressed as a ham.

I was cast to play scout

in a scene from ‘to kill a mockingbird’

as a favor for my friend

who was in an oral interpretation class

during her later in life college days.

the scene was the one

where scout was dressed as a ham

walking home through the woods

and the victim of an unknown attacker.

as I’m an incredibly horrible actress

I double-checked to see if she was sure

about wanting me for the role.

she was desperate and had no one else

so I was perfect, and was in!

she also cast my boyfriend at the time

as my brother

and our about to deliver a baby any second friend

as the narrator

that was it.

 the only actors in the scene.

we were the holy trinity of non-talent.

one important thing that I needed to know

in spite of knowing my few lines

to be delivered in a frantic southern accent

with lots of screaming and thrashing movements

was that my attacker was not going to actually exist on stage

it was all interpretive

I had to imagine and act

like I was being attacked

as I wrestled with my invisible assailant.

at last the big day finally arrived

the curtain rose

I drawled and shrieked out my part

rolling around, slamming into the walls

and fighting my attacker who did not exist

all while dressed in my ham costume.

once it was over

we all took our bows

 happy when the curtain finally went down.

after, I asked my friend’s husband,

(who was kind enough to have been in the audience

so we would be sure to have someone who clapped)

what he thought of my performance

and while his review was not exactly as expected

it was probably right on the mark:

‘you were like a cat in heat!’

my friend got an ‘a’ on the project.

“drama starts where logic ends.”

-ram charan

 

image credits: ‘to kill a mockingbird’ -universal pictures

300 club.

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Membership to one of the most exclusive clubs in the world takes place around a short red and white striped pole in Antarctica. Only those who endure an atmospheric difference of 300 degrees Fahrenheit are granted entry.

To join the elite 300 Club, residents at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, where on winter days the outside temperature dips below -100 degrees, must bare it all. It’s an odd tradition, one that comes with a high risk of frostbite in rather sensitive, traditionally clothed areas.

To join the exclusive group, the scientists must first spend time in the station’s 200-degree sauna. Once they’re fully cooked, they dash outside (at a brisk walk, because running is dangerous) wearing nothing but shoes and an optional neck gaiter to circle the ceremonial South Pole marker, which is hundreds of feet from the station. They then get back into the steamy sauna, which helps thaw their outsides while a bit of alcohol warms them up inside. Those who complete the challenge even earn a commemorative patch.

Though the thought of a naked scientist racing across the ice in dangerously cold temperatures to circle a pole may seem simply absurd, it’s actually a beloved ritual. The temperature only gets low enough a handful of days each year, giving the wacky tradition an almost ceremonial feel. Participants are usually cheered on by bystanders who use flashlights to guide them to the pole during the perpetual winter blackness.

The marker isn’t even the true location of the South Pole. Antarctica is blanketed by massive chunks of moving ice sheets that move about 30 feet each year. The ice’s inability to sit still makes pinpointing the world’s most southern spot with permanent precision impossible.

Finding and marking the accurate geographic South Pole is an annual (fully clothed) New Year’s Day tradition for those staying at the station. Every year since 1959, South Pole residents erect a new temporary marker at the spot and retire the old one into a display case inside the station. The ceremonial South Pole remains where it is, flanked by the flags, awaiting the next group of winter scientists hoping to join one of the world’s weirdest clubs.

“we take to the breeze, we go as we please.” 

― E.B. White

 

story credits: Atlas obscura, kerry wolf

photo credits:  martin wolf – national science foundation,

craig knott – national science foundation, alan light

in praise of ironing.

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Poetry is pure white.
It emerges from water covered with drops,
is wrinkled, all in a heap.
It has to be spread out, the skin of this planet,
has to be ironed out, the sea’s whiteness;
and the hands keep moving, moving,
the holy surfaces are smoothed out,
and that is how things are accomplished.
Every day, hands are creating the world,
fire is married to steel,
and canvas, linen, and cotton come back
from the skirmishings of the laundries,
and out of light a dove is born –
pure innocence returns out of the swirl.

 

in praise of ironing by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid

next to normal.

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Diana Turner sings her heart out

as the name would imply

this was not your ordinary theater performance

a story told in song

next to normal

is a tale that will touch your every emotion

when a family lets you into their living room and their lives

as they try to navigate their way

through the relentless storms that mental illness can bring

with a story and score that won a pulitzer and numerous Tony awards

I was not be able to turn my eyes or ears away from what was in front of me

with larger than life heartbreaking voices

pouring out their souls

on a tiny stage in this tiny 32-seat theater.

 it was a very potent cocktail.

 

 

“make them laugh, make them cry, and back to laughter.

what do people go to the theatre for?

an emotional exercise.

I am a servant of the people.

I have never forgotten that.”

-mary pickford 

credits: slipstream theater initiative, barbie weisserman, music theater international