January has been a demanding month. I’ve been on a quest to find a home for three more flash fiction stories, becoming more involved on Twitter (follow me @roseyleebooks), and taking two writing classes. My last post highlighted my commitment to engage in more fun, energizing activities this year. But the busyness of the past few weeks already started to drain me. Thankfully, I found a great way to refuel – Hamilton in Puerto Rico!
It was a quick trip. I was only in Puerto Rico for about 40 hours, but it was worth it. First of all, temperatures were in the 30s when I left Atlanta. Puerto Rico’s 80-degree climate was a welcomed reprieve, but the musical was still the absolute star of the weekend. As a writer, it was an opportunity of a lifetime to see the musical’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, in the title role. But there was a personal component to the trip as well. As a native New Orleanian, the arts and sports were key in helping New Orleanians heal after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (e.g., Treme TV series and the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl win in 2010). So I relished the opportunity to support Lin-Manuel Miranda’s efforts to raise funds for Puerto Rico’s arts organizations and garner attention for the hurricane-ravaged island.
The energy was palpable even before the show began. Bright gold signage stood out among the people already waiting outside. People seemed happy to be in line. Inside the theater, a woman on my row squealed joyfully when she took her seat. I’d never seen the musical before, and I’d tried to no avail over the past couple years to get friends and family members to explain its appeal. Even the writer among them struggled. They all said some version of “you have to see it for yourself to fully understand”. But they were right. It was indeed delightful. The story was intriguing, the music engaging, and performances superb. But I most enjoyed seeing Hamilton in Puerto Rico because it reminded me of the power of creativity and its potential to bring comfort, healing, breakthrough, and power. After all, what greater contribution could writers/artists offer?
I left the theater on a natural high, dreaming of the possibilities for the characters in my head and hopeful that readers will one day see something through my characters that helps them to make their lives and our world a better place. Martin Luther once said “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” In response, I will paraphrase the lyrics of “Non-Stop” from Hamilton – I’m ready to write like it’s going out of style. Write day and night like it’s going out of style. Okay, maybe not literally day and night, but you get the point.