Danielle Mohlman

Often mistaking books for boyfriends. Always writing plays.

On “How to Listen #2” from Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming

In the stores downtown

we’re always followed around

just because we’re brown.

This poem from Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir Brown Girl Dreaming was written about Woodson and her family’s experience growing up in 1960s South Carolina, but it could have been written about today. The image that immediately came to mind was not young Woodson buying milk at a grocery store, but Vine user Rashid Polo and the way he documented his own experience shopping while black just a few months ago.

In 2013, President Obama made a statement at an unscheduled White House briefing surrounding the George Zimmerman verdict. He talked candidly about race, about his own experience being racially profiled. He said, “[…] Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. […] There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me.”

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"I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You" by Jason Robert Brown (performed by Norbert Leo Butz). Performed at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ. October 2012.

"I don’t know what I’m doing, but come in and ruin me."

With the release of the first clip from The Last Five Years movie, this cut song from the musical has been on my mind. It’s been a favorite of mine since college, when I discovered a video of then-Azusa Pacific University student Caleb Shaw singing the song on YouTube. APU was a neighborhood university. And I remember wading through the other grainy videos that APU students had posted from the showcase. It’s the first time that theatre felt attainable. Those students — they were just like me. 

According to Wikipedia, “I Could Be In Love With Someone Like You” was cut from The Last Five Years before the show’s official opening due to the threat of legal action. The song made the musical too similar to Jason Robert Brown’s own marriage, the story goes, and the song was replaced with “Shiksa Goddess.” 

Parks and Recreation (Season 5, Episode 11)

(Source: murinal)

TL;DR

"We should get a Scrabble board," I texted Jeremy. "That’s a good two person game. That and Scattergories. I love you." We’ve started ending our more mundane texts with "I love you" and while you may be throwing up just reading that, I hope it lasts. My Scrabble suggestion was met with something noncommittal ("Maybe.") followed by his whereabouts. I was supposed to already be where he was heading, but I was eating a taco. The Mexican food in DC is god awful, but I found somewhere passably good near work and have made a habit of eating there once a week and pretending it tastes better than it does. I should stop doing that. 

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Craigslist

Jeremy wouldn’t stop talking about his desire for an Apple Watch, so tonight I helped him write a Craigslist ad titled “M4W: Future Apple Watch Owner Seeks Snow Bunny.” I wish them well.

Me: Do you like my pants? They’re new.

Jeremy: I like all pants. All pants on you. All pants that fit you. Please keep wearing pants. I love you. 

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