Thursday, February 18, 2016

Good, Bad, and Blurred Lines

I had an absolutely insane night with the children's choir. I don't know what was in the water, but they were really crazy. We had to go to the sanctuary to practice for singing in church Sunday, and there we had to keep one kid from trying to jump from the chancel to the ground, bypassing the steps. Meanwhile, another kid started undressing himself. Later, we had to put tape on the floor to make kids stand in a spot where everyone could see the poster we're learning the song from. They were all pressing right against the wall, and I was afraid that someone was going to end up suffocated, while nobody could actually see the poster.

I was still feeling so frantic that I felt like I couldn't get a good breath during the adult choir rehearsal, which got interesting because the first few things we sang all had long, sustained phrases, and I could barely get enough air to sing a measure. I also got a surprise solo, so I got to more or less sight read it in front of the choir (though I'd sung through the piece on my own at home). But since I sounded pretty good for that, I think stage fright won't be much of an issue when it comes time to sing the piece, even though the piece is essentially a soprano solo with the choir coming in for one verse. It's a pretty early-American piece that has a bit of a Sacred Harp vibe to it.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on the Rebel Mechanics sequel, and something I'm finding interesting about this series is that there isn't a clear good/evil divide. Yeah, we want the rebels to succeed, and it's bad that people are being oppressed, but the individuals involved in the oppressive regime aren't mustache-twirling villains. One on one, as people, they're decent sorts much of the time. There are not-so-nice people doing questionable things among the "good" guys, and some of the better people are part of what might be thought of as the "bad" faction. I was working on a scene yesterday in which the lines got really blurry, and that got very interesting. I don't know if this is too nuanced for young adult, but I think we could all use a reminder that someone isn't necessarily evil for disagreeing with you, and cruel actions are wrong, even if they're in support of a good cause. Being "right" doesn't give anyone a license to do whatever they want. People can have similar goals but with different ideas about how to get there, and neither side is necessarily wrong or bad.

Of course, that makes it a bit more challenging to write and may be why the book didn't take off like crazy. There wasn't anyone we could all get together in enjoying hating.

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