Thursday, May 24, 2012

Come Fly Away

by Kim Van Sickler

The other night I attended a presentation of Twyla Tharp's Frank Sinatra-inspired fusion of modern dance, ballet, and jazz called Come Fly Away. Using twenty-seven of Frank Sinatra's signature songs, Tharp's choreography tells the story of four couples falling in and out of love from the toe-curling moments of a first kiss to the indifferent look of an ex dangling from someone else's arm.

I was inspired. If Twyla can take twenty-seven Frank Sinatra songs and tell a love story in movement, why can't I take one line from each of those songs and create a comprehensive love story in words? Here's what I came up with.

Here's the last toast of the evening, here's to those who still believe:

I've got a little story you ought to know:
Picture a little love nest,
when our love was new.
I'm your big and brave and handsome Romeo.

That sly come hither stare,
my lean baby, tall and thin.
Yes, you're lovely with your smile so warm.
Yes sir, that's my baby now.

Ain't gonna miss a thing, I'm gonna have my fling.
I want to run and play hide-and-seek.

Did you say I've got a lot to learn?
I'm as awkward as a camel.

Yet you're my favorite work of art.

The cigarettes you light one after another.

There may be trouble ahead;
you might refuse to stay.

A little voice keeps talking to me from way down deep inside.
Why be afraid of it?

You are all I long for.
These vagabond shoes are longing to stay.
I'll gladly surrender myself to you body and soul.

I pick myself up and get back in the race.

I'm gonna make a brand new start of it,
until you're in my arms once more.


  1. My critique group used to have Write Night where we did writing exercises - no critiques, all positive feedback. One time I brought a series of lines from songs and we used them as first lines of stories. It worked well.

    1. I love that idea. Every so often I like play around with concepts and throw something together for the sheer enjoyment of it. No pressure to get it published, just me stretching my creative limbs, pushing myself in new directions. It made me feel good to try it. That's all.

  2. This is very clever Kim. Anything to get the creative juices bubbling. And it works!

    1. Thanks, Jon! I could see you getting immersed in an exercise like this too! It's really an exercise in editing, isn't it? I didn't write any of it. I'm just rearranging it. Maybe useful in how I eye my own work when I go back to tweak it. Move this there, put that before this, etc.

  3. Creative. It's always good to flex that creativity muscle.

  4. You did a beautiful job with this! I too love challenging myself in these kinds of ways... and nothing like other art to inspire art, right? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Twyla would call it "scratching". It's her way of brainstorming.

  5. Wow, this is brilliant! I want to see the show too. Great idea!

    1. We didn't have the same experience with Sondheim on Sondheim this evening. Hubby wanted to leave halfway through. For this one Stephen Sondheim talks on screen and singers croon his songs. It might have made a better radio show?