Sunday, September 2, 2012

My "La Marcha" and ASP

Heaving a deep sigh of relief, here.  Ahhhhhhhh!

Now I can finally get back to the place I love fictional universe.

I'm back, back in the New York writing groove!

Today I'm playing catch-up on this blog with a couple of non sequitur thoughts...

Tradition and Symbolism and Plot, Oh My!

This weekend I attended a co-worker's wedding, and had a wonderful time joining in on a New Mexican tradition known as La Marcha. Part procession, part congo line, and all frolic, La Marcha goes something like this...

The music starts.

The procession leaders, usually followed by the bride and groom and couples of the wedding party, start off the La Marcha by winding around the room between tables, clapping, in a sort of shuffle-jig-dance.

The guests all find a partner (usually the opposite sex, but anything goes) and join in at the end of the line. Everyone claps hands as they Marcha.

The procession does as least one full CIRCLE of the room or dance area, and then the lead couple turns toward the center of the room and WALKS DOWN THE AISLE.

When they reach a specific point (in this case, the "particular point" was the DJ who helped guide some of the more bewildered participants) where the partners SEPARATE--men to left, women go right--and begin their split La Marcha processions that wind around opposite sides of the room.

The two lines then come back together to JOIN at a particular point (our savvy DJ marked the spot again) and if all goes well (ours did) you get your original partner back.

At this point, the lead couple forms a BRIDGE with their hands and the other couples walk under the bridge and stop once through to join and raise their hands beside them, extending the bridge. This continues until all the couples have gone under the bridge (being nearer the back of the line, we had a lot of "bridge" to go under).

Once all the couples have gone under the bridge, the lead couple goes through, and then the bride and groom, and the next couple, as the bridge begins to self-destruct, couple by couple.

As everyone comes out the end of the bridge, they ALL JOIN HANDS to form a continuous hand-linked line that winds around the room a few more times.

The leader takes the line to the center of the dance floor, where the line circles around until the bride and groom become the center of the many spirals around them.

Then everyone parts to move back to the edge of the dance floor in a big circle leaving the bride and groom at the center to dance. Clapping hands, they move forward to surround the bride and groom, then back off to the edge of the dance floor, then move forward to surround the bride and groom a few more times.

There are many interpretations on the theme and mileage may vary. Our La Marcha lasted about 13 minutes. Huge parties can take as long as a half hour to complete all the steps of the La Marcha, and so--as the DJ informed us--the traditional La Marcha music lasts a full 30 minutes in a sort of musical loop that seems to come to a stop, but then continues on. Again and again.
Having a hard time picturing all this?  Here's a video that captures the experience of La Marcha...

Is it a blast?  Oh, yeah. But La Marcha is meant to represent the stages of life. It occurred to me it also has close parallels to a romance plot.

Boy meets girl (or whoever applies)
Boy connects/Marchas with girl
Boy "walks down the aisle"/becomes a couple with girl
Boy loses/separates with girl
Boy and girl get back together
Boy and girl learn to bridge their differences
Boy and girl dance happily ever after

Done well, La Marcha can engage your guests and get them involved in the event, making them a part of the journey, of the action.

My challenge as a writer is to keep my readers engaged in my "plot La Marcha" and not let them be pulled out of the dance to wander, bored, back to their tables.

A good mental image for me to keep in mind as I dive back into my manuscripts. 

On ASP... and the Passing of a Legend

The full moon this past week--a very rare Blue Moon, or second full moon of the month--seemed a fitting tribute to the man who first stood on this other world that compadre Buzz Aldrin described as "magnificent desolation."

He was a great hero of mine.

My Near Future SFR, The Outer Planets, begins with a shuttle flight by the MC from the ASP space station to an awaiting planetary research vessel. ASP is actually an acronym for Armstrong Space Port. I doubt many will wonder for whom it was named.

When I began writing this story that opens in 2039, it only seemed fitting that one of our first joint military/civilian/industrial orbiting space stations would carry the name of the man who first sparked our imagination and fueled our dreams of exploring the universe.

So here's a salute to Neil Armstrong from the 15,522 residents of Armstrong Space Port. May the spirit of your courage, honor and duty long be a hallmark of our nation, our world...and our species.

And may you forever Rest in Peace.


  1. I love songs that tell a story. And how cool that it works the same as a an outline! What a great way to remember it.
    It's sad that Neil has gone. Long may his legacy remain.

  2. Thanks, Pippa. I seem to find writing correlations (or inspiration) in just about everything I do.

    Losing Neil Armstrong feels like it truly is the end of an era. We don't even have the capability to put a man on the Moon today, some 40 years later.

  3. Love La Marcha! Looks like fun at a wedding and as a metaphor, too. I had forgotten your own tribute to Neil Armstrong in TOP. The whole naming process is one of the best parts of being a writer. You can honor your heroes when and as you want.

  4. Thanks, Donna.

    Yes, La Marcha really is a ton of fun!

    When it came to naming my mighty space station and floating shipyard, it magically christened itself in Neil Armstrong's honor without me having to devote any thought to it. ASP was just the logical adaption of that.


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