I actually starting writing my musical play Pulani in college in a creative writing class. When I moved back to Guam, I developed it over the years into a musical play. It was produced at the University of Guam theatre in 1989. This past summer, while visiting Dance in Guam, I wrote a grant to the Arts Council to do it again, for a new generation. We got the grant, which will be housed out of the non-profit Island Girl Power in Dededo. It will be a summer program there. All are welcome to participate! (Let me or Dance know, Guam peeps.)
Another thing I have always wanted to do, besides produce this again, was to write a children's book of the story of Pulani. I felt I had to do something different to compel kids to want to read it. I would love it to be a graphic novel, but that won't happen unless I can get a comic book artist to partner with me. But what I can do and what I decided to do is make it RHYME! (Once I finish writing this, I will tackle the challenge of the illustrations).
I have been on a roll with this project! I think I have a guardian angel, a good fairy sprinkling creative fairy dust on me. To get it started, I went to my book shelf where I have a poetry collection. I pulled this one down, thumbed through it, and found Annabel Lee.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea
That a maiden there llived, whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
(Edgar Allen Poe)
No, my story is not Poe-ish macabre, but I immediately knew it would have a similar rhyme scheme. Once I got started, it got to be only 4 lines per verse, and a ABCB pattern, which means it rhymes on the second and fourth lines.
I have had so much fun doing this. It's playing with words and when you figure it out, it's a thrill. Here's how it starts:
In an island near Guahan some time ago,
A garden was preserving the past.
Home to the young girl Pulani
And her Guella, a suruhana, the last.
Pulani was loving and joyful
Playing with creatures along the shore.
Dancing with blue-spotted butterflies,
Often forgetting her chores.
Note on the creative process: As I said in another blog, you need to have a "project," something to express (heard James Brown, Express Yourself today). Accessing other creative art and writing worked for me to get it going. Once I got going, it's been play, like solving a puzzle and telling a story at the same time.
Note on the story: Pulani is about a young girl who is given the task to find an apprentice to teach the knowledge of the suruhana, traditional medicine. It's a journey story, she has companions and has to overcome obstacles.
Diane Aoki is a writer who explores other modes of creativity as her intuition leads her.