A to Z Blogging Challenge · Challenges

E is for Elphaba

elphaba wicked“However in the world did her skin come green?” Nanny wondered, stupidly, for Melena blanched and Frex reddened, and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all. Nanny had to slap her to make her breath again.”
― Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

And so we meet Elphaba, the baby girl who would grow up to be the Wicked Witch of the West.

Why this quote of all the options I had? It’s simple. It jumped out at me. “-and the baby held her breath as if trying to turn blue to please them all.” To me, it offered a stark contrast to the question “Are people born wicked?” which is a theme throughout the book. From the time she was born, this green skinned girl had to fight for things that were a given for others. I’ve heard the word- misunderstood- used to describe Elphaba and it couldn’t be more accurate. Throughout the book, the reader is shown that she wasn’t truly born wicked. More often than not her actions were misunderstood. But she never gave up- not even when she thought she had given up. This is one of the qualities I like best about Elphaba. Despite her weaknesses, she was stronger than she could ever imagine herself to be. And I believe that her wickedness was born out of necessity to survive in a world that was determined to see her as wicked.

I don’t remember being overly curious about why the Wicked Witch was wicked in the Wizard of Oz. Being one of my favorite movies from childhood, I watched it endless times but accepted that in most stories, there’s a villain and in this one it is the witch.

If you haven’t read the book, have no desire to, and love the musical, it’s all good. If you grew up with the movie and want it to stay sacred, that’s good too. Or if you’re like me and want to turn the movie, book and musical into a joint effort, overview, collection, I’m not sure of a clearer picture of what the whole story could be, that’s an option, too.

I’m terribly behind in the A to Z Challenge- Obviously. When I began this post this morning I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about Elphaba. I had chosen a handful of quotes and my plan was to see if any one quote stood out. I can tell you that it wasn’t until I saw that the SoCS was ‘joint’ that it all seemed to come together….well sort of.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday- Joint


Happy Saturday!


A to Z Blogging Challenge

#AtoZChallenge W is for Wicked (the Musical)

“Are people born wicked?

Or do they have wickedness thrust upon them?”

Wicked, the Musical

This is the 2nd time Wicked finds its way into the A to Z Challenge. Last year, it appeared with D is for “Defying Gravity”.  Wicked is the book by Gregory Maguire and musical based on the book, telling the story of Elphaba and Galinda, the witches from the Wizard of Oz.

I love the friendship between Elphaba and Galinda. They are polar opposites, from different worlds, vastly unique personalities- both quite strong yet vulnerable women. The story touches on many different lessons but I am always drawn back to friendship component. Watching Elphie and Galinda’s friendship grow as they discover all they have in common while learning to appreciate their differences reminds us that this is the foundation on which friendships are made.

“For Good” is about Elphaba and Galinda’s farewell as they each go their separate ways- one presumably good and one presumably wicked. It was written by Stephen Schwartz in 2003.

“I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…”

“So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine

By being my friend…

-“For Good”

While looking for a good recording of the song- “For Good”- from Wicked, I found Out of Oz: Wicked Studio Sessions, a cool series where Wicked performers both past and present using reimagined songs.

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Elphaba quotes from the musical-

  • “I don’t cause commotions, I am one.”
  • “I’m the other sister, Elphaba. I’m beautifully tragic.”
  • “Well, we all can’t come and go by bubble.”
  • “Who steals a dead woman’s shoes? Must have been raised in a barn!”

This song is doing double duty for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past:Week 17 and A to Z Challenge.


A to Z Blogging Challenge

D is for “Defying Gravity”

I LOVE musicals. And Wicked has to be my favorite. I’ve seen it on stage 3 times. Each and every time has been amazing. My obsession with Elphie’s story can be traced back to my childhood, watching the Wizard of Oz each year when it came on tv. When I heard that a book had come out telling the Wicked Witch’s story- Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, I knew I had to read it. It didn’t matter that I had three children, five and under and no time to read. I read that book and I loved it. And when it was made into a musical…….. sigh.

If you are a book lover, then you already know that books that are made into movies/musicals/tv shows never live up to the written word. They just can’t because there is no end to where the written word can go. A scene from a movie can give you many possibilities but it is limited to the picture it presents. You miss out on backstory and subtle nuances that are conveyed in a nicely written passage.

And Wicked was no different. BUT, the stage production was incredible and made up for any missing story line. The costumes and set were impressive. And the musical score….. it was perfection.

Defying Gravity is a powerful song. It’s an empowering song. And it’s the perfect song for a misunderstood witch.

Something has changed within me

Something is not the same

I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game

Too late for second-guessing

Too late to go back to sleep

It’s time to trust my instincts. Close my eyes: and leap!

A2Z-BADGE 2016-smaller_zpslstazvib

You can learn more about the A to Z Challenge, here.

Family · Other

Music Speaks

untitled (4)Today’s writing assignment challenges us to develop a writing habit by committing to writing at least 15 minutes each day. Our topic is three songs that are significant to us.

I can start by saying this is so hard! The first time I enrolled in Writing 101 back in June, this assignment really stumped me. And now, I would love to just recycle the post but no, that’s not right.

One song that is meaningful in my life is “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. It was written by John Lennon even though it is credited to Lennon/McCartney. “Words are flowing out like endless rain inside a paper cup….” This song resonates with the writer, the reader, the lover of words inside me. The lyrics flow, glide, pour practically seamlessly. The melody is simple and pretty. It’s hard to describe the feeling this song gives me. Although it really does soothe me, there are times when I listen to it that I cry when it reaches “Nothing’s gonna change my world.” This is a recent development for me. I know why it happens. It began approximately three years ago when my world seemed to spiral out of control. It became a mantra that played in my heart and in my mind on an endless loop. When my son came out as transgender, the world tipped on its axis. Or at least that’s what it felt like. When it sort of righted itself…..well, it never really did… we just got used to walking around with things slightly off kilt. Although I had to adjust, adapt, accept, embrace the changes that my middle child’s transition brought us, I was determined to keep my world, my family, intact. That’s what wasn’t going to change. Well, as you can guess, it did change. A lot. But now I carry that same mantra close to me and its meaning has changed. What’s not going to change in my world is my love for my family- us 7, soon to be 8. We got through some rocky times together and came out stronger on the other side. Nothing’s gonna change that!

The second song that comes to mind is “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. it’s one of my all time favorite musicals. I’ve seen it 4 times. Or is it 5? The song is powerful. Don’t you agree? You know the song. You have to! It’s been everywhere! I took my middle son, Kris, to see Wicked way back before he came out. It still seems so fitting that we both love this story of Elphaba, the wicked witch, and her fight to become who she really is, who she was meant to be and her struggle for acceptance in a world where she was different. When I hear this song, I think of Kris and all he’s been through. He is defying gravity and he is amazing.

Okay, so we’re supposed to write for 15 minutes without stopping and I had every intention of talking about “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon. (Can you guess who my favorite Beatle is?) But then another song sprung into my head- POP. “I am Your Child” by Barry Manilow. This song brings me to tears . Every time I hear it. Do you know it? If not, you need to listen to it. “Wherever you go, you take me too. Whatever I know, I learned from you…” Another powerful song, in my book. When I look at my children- all 18 and older- and I see what awesome people they have become, I don’t puff up and think, “Damn, I did a great job on these guys!” I’m proud of them. I really am. Sometimes I’m impressed with who they became despite my abysmal parenting skills. I beat myself up constantly. Did I do enough to prepare Andrew for college life and living so far away from home? Did I set a good enough example now that Michael is trying to learn how to parent a 5 year old? And Kris. Did I totally screw up by imposing stereotypical gender role crap on him his entire life? This song reminds me that these children of mine were not hatched from eggs or raised in the wild….(although anyone witnessing bedtime at our house 15 years ago might beg to differ) and if I’m so quick to take ownership of any shortcomings, I should be just as willing to celebrate the successes and take a smidge of credit.

At this point I have long since passed the 15 minute writing requirement, so I will wish you a good day and hit the ‘publish’ button.