Since I love Hamilton and it’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, I wanted to share a post (and a song or two) that references reading and it’s power straight from Lin himself. Before, during, and after Hamilton the Musical’s release, Lin really wanted to open the musical’s songs up to artists and musicians for interpretation and performance. That project resulted in The Hamilton Mixtape which dropped in December 2016. I downloaded it like a loyal #Hamilfan. I read that Lin himself wanted to stay out of performing on the mixtape with the others (to give them total freedom of creativity), but there was one song he couldn’t let go without including a verse about his own youth.
The song is called “I Wrote My Way Out.” (Caution: it’s got explicit lyrics.) His verse includes references to his own experience of getting beat up by kids at school as a little kid for reading, then writing his way out of his own neighborhood/stereotype/expectations. It also includes reference to his first Broadway Musical In the Heights about his community in the “barrio” of Washington Heights, where “getting out,” or just imagining it, is one of the themes. The song provides the other artists’ successes in writing their way out of various situations. Brilliant, even if you don’t like rap music.
The original song from Hamilton is called “Hurricane” where Hamilton finds himself at a crossroads in Act Two of his life and like he had done heretofore with great success in his life, he decides to write his way out, but the result is the Reynolds Pamphlet, which instead of catapulting him to a high regard for honesty, he gives waaaaay more information than necessary, destroys his family and more or less begins the end of his political career.
The pen is indeed mightier than the sword. In the case of Hamilton, unfortunately, the pen was not mightier than the gun in the duel (spoiler alert) that ends his life. But don’t worry–Hamilton, ever the writer (which you would already know if you have heard the Original Broadway Cast recording or seen the show), had written a farewell letter to his wife in case the duel didn’t go his way.
The power of the pen: Lin’s, Hamilton’s, and… all authors! Read, people, read! And if you need to, use your book to fend off your attackers!