Saturday, July 30, 2011

Interesting Words

Words with no true English definition:

Russian – Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”

Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start”

Indonesian – “A joke so poorly told and so unfunny that one cannot help but laugh”

Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”

Czech – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.

Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement”

Scottish – The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.

Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person “who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.”

Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.”

Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”

German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

German – Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.” (

Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” (

French – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.

Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”

Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.

L’appel du vide
French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.

Arabic – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

Spanish – While originally used to describe a mythical, spritelike entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.” There’s actually a nightclub in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where I teach, named after this word.

Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.” Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to saudade.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

10 Reasons Why I Love Performers

1. Everyone is always ready and willing to burst into song, with harmonies, and potentially a fully choreographed dance number to top it all off.

2. Performers have very little need for personal space. This means constant cuddles, hugs, massages, ass-slaps and much much more. When performers are comfortable with each other, they are REALLY comfortable with each other.

3. What looks insane to non-performers is an absolute hoot for us. Example 1: 23 students dancing the tango with chairs as our partners. To us = most fun ever in a drama class. To others = clincically insane people with bizarre attatchments to inanimate objects in need of serious help.

4. Performers make the best audience. If you have performer friends coming to see you in a show, you can be guaranteed cat-calls, cheers, very loud laughter, very dramatic tears and perhaps a standing ovation if you're lucky.

5. Everyone's allowed their quirks amoung performers. Seeing as we're all pretty damn quirky, you would be quite hypocritical to not tolerate someone elses quirks. So we all pool our quirks together to make super-group-crazy-quirky-funness. If that makes sense.

6. We're all fairly dramatic - this may seem like a downside in many ways, but in many other ways it's brilliant, because you know what? It means we're not afraid to show our feelings. Something excites us, we will scream, jump around, and carry on. Something bad happens and we let it all out.

7. We trust each other. This could just be a performers-that-you-have-worked-closely-with kind of thing but it's absolutely amazing when you wholeheartedly trust the people you are performing with. When you practically work as one because you know each other so well, and support each other's choices.

8. I can shout out random musical theatre news and generally someone will react.

9. We're linked by the fact that we all suffer the same pitfalls, emotional walls and insane highs. There's no way any true performer can avoid these, and so in experiencing them we are all connected in that way,

10. Performers are just a hell of a lot of fun. A night out with performers is one that will be filled with unexpected, spontaneous and often hilarious things. I never forget a night with my performing friends.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Talented Friends

Being in a community of performers, I have the lucky chance of knowing some very talented people, who are sure to be superstars. One such friend has recently posted a song she has written on youtube. It's about something all performers understand; that elation of doing a show and the empty feeling when you finish it. Please check it out, it's a beautiful song and beautifully performed :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

*Insert Harry Potter theme tune here*

And just like that, it's all over.
Yes, everybody, yesterday I saw the last Harry Potter film ever.
Now, I expected to love the movie, which I did. I expected to cry, as I cry in almost every movie I see so there's no difference there. I expected to be sad.
I didn't expect to be sobbing openly in the movie theatre.
Such an extreme reaction might seem indulgent, or over the top. I mean, for so many people, it's just a movie, based on just a book. But here's the magic of Harry Potter (pardon the pun) - It is so much more then that. SO much more then just a story. People grew up with it. It became a part of their childhood. A lot of people don't remember a time without Harry Potter, so it's no surprise that the reactions to the final film can be a tad dramatic. This was my life as well. Harry Potter was HUGE to me. And I'll explain why.

My Harry Potter Life Story

Everyone has a Harry Potter story. How they fell in love with it. What it means to them. Mine all started in year two, when I started at a new school. I think it was my third day at this new school when our teacher pulled out Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every wednesday he would read a chapter or two to the class. They had already read Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone last year, so I was a bit behind. I had never heard of Harry Potter, but soon I was enjoying it as much as everyone else. Our teacher would put on a Dobby voice, or a gruff Hagrid voice and we'd be giggling and gasping in the rapt way that seven year olds listen to really good stories.
After we finished the book in school, I was dying to read more. I got the first book and read that on my own. The I bought the second book and read it again. The third book hadn't been released yet, but by the time it was I was a fan. I loved everything about this magical world, and these characters. As the kind of child that determinedly refused to stop believing in fairies and magic, this book was perfect for me.

The second part of my Harry Potter love affair began when I took Ballet lessons around the time I discovered Harry Potter. It was at Ballet that I met a long time childhood best friend, Cybelle. We did ballet lessons together every week, and had many a playdate in between. Soon, we realised that we both loved Harry Potter. In our mind, no two people had ever loved it more then us. When the first movie was released, we went and saw it together, wearing our Best Friend Forever connecting necklaces (weren't we adorable?) We were in ecstasy. Before long we had begun playing every Harry Potter game you could ever imagine. We combed the books and wrote down all the spells, learning them as if we were in class. We ran around creating this magnificent adventures that involved her next door neighbours cat being an animagus who was actually a very powerful Witch in hiding. We even started to write down all our adventures in a special book we made together.
Harry Potter was our thing. Sadly, we both moved away, and phone calls became less and less frequent. But I know she still loves Harry Potter with as much passion as I do.

Despite not being with my Harry Potter loving best friend, my boy-wizard love affair didn't end. I anticipated each new book, and each new movie. My older sister started reading the books after a while, but I always got to read them first. Harry Potter was the best way to make me happy. Once, before school, I cried and cried because I had made Mum as angry as she could possibly get. Later that day she bought me a Harry Potter card game to reconcile over and there was no better move she could have made. I would forgive anyone who came to me with Harry Potter merchandise.
I read the books too many times to count. I kept count up to about 23 and then I lost track.

My little sister and her friend also used to play their version of 'Hogwarts' and I would organise it for them. I'd organise their classes, teach them spells, and create little adventures with riddles to solve and Harry Potter trivia to answer. I loved it as much as they did.

In high-school, Harry Potter became my comfort book. Whenever I felt a bit miserable, or very miserable about something, I would read it. I would be sad, at school, and sitting there I would get excited that I had Harry Potter to read when I came home. I would devour each book, reading it constantly. It irritated my little sister no end, who decided to hide my books because I was reading them at dinner when she wanted to talk to me. I got them back, and she tried to snatch the off me which resulted in the front page being ripped off. Needless to say I was not happy. The book has been lovingly taped back together.

Then, the last book came out. I read it as slowly as I could force myself because I didn't want it to end. But it did, and I loved every word of it.

I can thank Harry Potter for many things. I can thank it for giving me the tools to a wonderful imagination. For being responsible for the best parts of my childhood. For inspiring me to want to write a story just as magical. For inspiring me to want to inspire other imaginations. For making me feel better when I felt terrible. For giving me something to look forward to every time a book was to be released or a movie was to come out.

It may sound cliched to some people. I know there are people who never got into Harry Potter (two of my best friends for example) and they don't get how it can mean so much to anyone. But Harry Potter does mean this much to me, whether it's rational or not. It means so much. And that's why I cried throughout the whole damn movie, and that's why I was so overwhelmed at the end of it. I grew up at the exact same time as the characters. I went through aspects (emotional ones, not the magical ones - although I desperately wished I could have had the magical problems too) of what they were going through.

And plain and simple - I freaking love it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This is Emily on the Dispatch... yo.

Hi all!
I figured it was about time for an update. A run of the mill this is what's been going on, up, down and around in my life at the moment.


First and foremost, I just went to Fiji. Yes, the magical land of resorts and spa's. It was simply splendid. My family and I went for five nights to a resort that exudes tranquility and that lazy holiday mindset. We fell in love with Fijian people straight away. I've never felt more welcomed in my life. They played the ukulele and sung to us as we came in the airport (with other airport staff clapping and dancing, as you do) and everywhere we went we heard 'Bula!' which is their hello. We soon learnt that it's also a huge part of their culture, as they pride themselves on being hospitable people. Everyone says Bula to everyone whether you know them or not. Walking down to the pool we would be greeted by every single Fijian we passed.

We also noticed the heat. A welcome change from the freezing temperatures of Melbourne. It was a balmy 29 degrees when we got off the plane and didn't change at all our whole trip. You know what was nice? Not having to wear bed socks.
In a holiday filled with swimming, restaurants, shopping, tanning (or at least, not burning too much), my absolute favourite thing was this:
That's right, you heard correctly. Buffet breakfast EVERY MORNING!
*Emily dies of happiness*
Buffet breakfast is possibly one of the best things in the world. Every morning we got eggs, fresh coconut, delicious hash browns, all sorts of cereals, Fijian breakfast dishes and more. It was heaven on a plate.
After breakfast every day we soaked up some sun by the pool. I lounged in my new hat, demolishing some Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman novels or listening to musical soundtracks. Then we'd dive into one of our five pools to choose from and that was basically how we spent every day.
Once again, heaven.

But unfortunately the holiday is over, and it always has to end with an unpleasant plane trip. (Yay for travel sickness pills saving me, unlike my Europe flight!) And now we're home.

On to other matters, what else is new?
Well, editing is underway with One More Year. Schming and I had a day or writing and got a few songs done. Big changes underway, which on one hand is a bit sad, and insanely difficult. Once you have sung, read, written, worked with one song for so long it's hard to hear it in any other way. But we made some good changes and hopefully we'll make more.

I've also been starting to pursue a path for my novel again. I realised, as odd as this sounds, how much I miss my book. My characters, that story, the feeling of writing a novel. So I want to work more on it but I'm at a bit of a dead end. I need more opinions, but professional book editors/assessors and expensive. So I'm entering a mentorship competition and fingers crossed I get in. I'm hoping to get Kate Forsyth as my mentor - she wrote my favourite book of all time, 'The Starthorn Tree' and is a huge inspiration to me. I love the way she writes and the story she tells so it would be great to get her opinion on my book.

School is looming over the corner. Term three is nearly beginning (eep!). I cannot believe we are already half way through. I'm scared of it ending. Considering how much we're being held up, supported and gently guided in the right direction, the thought of suddenly losing my training wheels next year is a frightening one. But it'll happen, and I suppose by the end of the year I'll be ready for it. I'm excited about what the rest of the year will bring. I have a lot of loose puzzle pieces that I'm trying to fit together, I'm hoping things will start to get clearer and those pieces with fall together. In life and in school.

You know what's strange? It's strange being very aware. They say stay in the moment, and don't watch time pass and you'll live. Live properly, I mean. But when you're trying to live in the moment and grow beyond the moment you start becoming very aware of everything. Of yourself, of who you are and what you're doing, and especially of how your changing. I've changed a lot these past few months. A lot. And being aware of the person I'm becoming is both unnerving and reassuring. Many blog posts ago I talked about wanting change. Wanting to be more and experience more and making big movements in life. Well, I think I'm in the middle of it. I'm on a little ledge, and I have a gaping hole behind me that was who I used to be. I can't possibly move back, I don't know how. But in front of me is a place I don't know, and I don't quite know how to navigate it.
How's that for a metaphor?
Not very good. I know, but hey, it's my metaphor and it makes sense to me.

Well there's my update for you all. One last note, I have recently fallen in love with Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along, and I love these lyrics. I'll leave them with you guys to read. I hope your lives are going swell, I hope you have things your pondering and things going on. And I hope your enjoying it all.

And if I wanted too much,
Was that such
A mistake
At the time?
You never wanted enough —
All right, tough,
I don't make
That a crime.

And while it's going along,
You take for granted some love
Will wear away.
We took for granted a lot,
But still I say:
It could have kept on growing,
Instead of just kept on.
We had a good thing going,