Tag Archives: Music

They Say It’s Your Birthday…

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”

~ William Barclay

I don’t feel old enough to have grand children. When I was younger it always seemed like grand-parents were these really “OLD” people and as I’m still in my 40’s I don’t exactly feel old, but I am still totally weirded out about having grand-kids.

The youngest grand-baby turned one a little over a week ago and my youngest daughter is holding the birthday party tomorrow. Because I cannot sit for long periods of time, the 352 mile drive north to see them and spend the weekend with family is impossible. I fervently wish it weren’t. I miss seeing everyone.

Yoda-hubby is; however, going up to see family today and will attend the party. At the moment I’m feeling a more than a bit lonely and a bit depressed. I attempted cleaning house to take my mind off things. No go. And listening to 90’s alternative music really isn’t helping matters. When you are down, Nirvana might not actually be the best choice, but then… I get Foo Fighters “Everlong.” I’m more than pleased, but it really is an odd auto-segue  because Dave Grohl was Nirvana’s drummer. **Mind blown**

Now, let me get to the particular reason for this post. I hate the birthday song. No. That’s not a strong enough word. I despise the birthday song with a passion that mere mortal men cannot truly comprehend. You know the one… “Happy Birthday to you…blah, blah, blah freaking blah.”  This song is old. Really old. It dates back to the late 1800’s and appeared in print in about 1912. It’s been translated into so many different languages and (unfortunately) it’s the most recognized song in the world.

When I go to restaurants, I actually feel nauseous when I hear it. It makes me angry. And fortunately my family knows better than to have a bunch of strange people sing this freaking song to me in a restaurant – ever. I would seriously walk out in the middle of it because I not only hate the song, but I hate the forced singing by people who don’t even know me.  God help me if I someday end up in a nursing home and have to listen to this mindless musical drivel on a regular basis.

I actually have adopted my own birthday song, “Birthday” by the Beatles. (It’s on their 1968 “white album.” Great stuff on that album by the way.)  “Birthday” is a thunderous symphony of sound and motion. It’s a song that makes me say, “Hell, yes! It’s my birthday.” (And this is the song I would undoubtedly crank in the nursing home to ward off others more than anything else.)

So with all this said  for her first birthday (as it were)… Stella, this one is for you.

 Beatles – “Birthday”

 

The Perfect Night’s Sleep

To Sleep
O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the “Amen,” ere thy poppy throws
      Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,—
      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.

I have to admit I have been on a massively long creative hiatus. I have been sick with a few neurological disorders and frankly, I have been feeling sorry for myself for quite a while. However, a pity-party of one can only last so long. So here I am once again trying to start life anew.

My husband unit, who I affectionally call Yoda, received a king size mattress set from some sweet and generous people at work. We have two queen size beds in our little apartment so right now, as there is no king-sized bed frame, the majority of the living room floor is filled with a king size mattress.(The box springs are standing on end “out of the way” in the rarely used dining room.)  The actual reason for this was we wanted to try it out and see if we were going to really like it despite the fact the bed I sleep in has mattresses going on 20 years old and there is some serious divoting in the bed. Seriously, there is a huge mountain in the middle and the rest looks like a truck has driven repeatedly down a muddy alleyway in springtime.

Despite the lack of room to walk or play with the dogs, there is something supremely gratifying about comfortably laying down in the living room and watching a movie or playing the X-Box. (Yes, I’m a nerd. Get over it.) I’m actually considering getting a day bed with a trundle for the living room. (Which would also help when family comes to visit.)  We shall see how that goes.

The bed will contribute to a much better night’s sleep. However, I have no cure yet for the people who live in the apartment to our north. I want to shoot them every weekday morning about 6am when there is a crap-ton of yelling and screaming at the kids to get up, get ready for school and all that jazz. I may actually have to stumble out of bed and go over there in my jammies one of these mornings and give them a small piece of what’s left of my mind. Five days a week, I pray for uninterrupted sleep. It doesn’t happen. I think I will have to break out the ear-plugs again. (Highly recommended: Flents / 29db.) And I wonder if it would be wrong to break out older Fall Out Boy, Linkin Park.  Metallica. Led Zeppelin etc. about 2am every morning for a week or two? It would definitely have to be something with a great bass beat. (And rap music is out. I’m not a fan. Why torture myself?)

Of course, these are the same relatively nice people who brought a “rescued by the side of the road” puppy home and they have no earthly business owning a dog. Seriously. The mom actually admitted they know nothing about raising a puppy. (Buy a book?) The pup is cute, but has no discipline and no training. They also bought the pup, who is now probably 5 months old tops, a shock collar because he’s biting. I have no problem with shock collars; however, if you don’t know how to use them you are going to create a problem with the animal. The little girl who lives there was playing outside with the dog and when I let my dogs out (on leashes mind you) the dog would not leave mine alone. She threatened to get the shock collar because he wasn’t minding. I nicely told her to put the dog on a leash and work on commands – the shock collar isn’t going to work when you don’t have any idea how to properly use it. It’s so frustrating.

They also just let the dog outside by himself to go potty. No leash. No nothing. He wanders by the creek and we have all sorts of wildlife that could harm the animal including (but not limited to) coyotes, possums, raccoons, snakes and more. And without watching the animal, it would also be very easy for someone to steal their pet. It’s pretty sad. But what can I do? Not much I’m afraid.

In other news, I have found a few local radio stations (after living in the Metroplex for a few years) that I totally dig. One is a classic rock station that reminds me of my years in broadcasting. Right now, Bog Seger’s “Turn the Page” is playing.  My word. I love this song. I brings back so many memories. The downside is I’m singing along and my German Shepard is not amused. To make her howl some more is the question. The aforementioned neighbors are home so the answer: I’m singing.  Heh.

(Insert quick bathroom break here.) 

Oh heck. I just broke out Fall Out Boy, who is not my favorite band, but I really love their music. “I Don’t Care” is cranked to 100 (and the dogs are hiding in the other room.) Patrick has such a cool voice and Pete Wentz plays a pretty solid bass line. I know I shouldn’t feel this pleased, but I just looked outside and the neighbor’s dog is running amok again. After this comes Zeppelin. Yeah, it’s going to be a good day, I think.

Fall Out Boy – “I Don’t Care”

Make Me Feel… Something.

” Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.” ~David Borenstein~

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I love books and movies that make me seethe in anger, weep with tears and belly laugh. The fact of the matter is all of us want to feel this way and at the end of the day – emotional writing is what sells books and screenplays. The question most of us have is “how?”

Some of the basic emotions we all read about (or have experienced) are some of the ones people expect in our works. Being in love, fear, surprise, envy, sadness and anger are just a few of the basic emotions a person goes through. This might happen to a person all in one day. Our characters need to experience these feelings as well. When they do, our readers feel connected with them and as a result, they connect with us, the writers, as well.

Pick an emotion. Any emotion. Then add the sensory experience. If you wonder what I mean by that, let me give you an example. I’ll take sadness. When you experience an extreme emotion your other senses heighten. So when your character is sad, let them taste the salt of their tears. Let them squint at the sunlight, which further depresses them. The the merry laughter of others in the room echo around them and overwhelm them. Maybe they will feel the bond of a piece of paper they are rubbing together with their fingers, a piece of paper with the words “good-bye” written on it. Who knows? The sky is the limit.  Allow yourself the time to let the emotion wash over not only your character, but YOU. It’s okay to get emotional while writing. Once you’ve written what you want, let it simmer and come back to it later. Then maybe you will have a new perspective on both your character and yourself you wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.

When I’m writing emotional scenes, I usually set the scene to music. Most of the scenes in my book have a corresponding song that goes with them. One of my favorites is Gary Jules “Mad World.” The haunting tone of that song (originally done by Tears for Fears, but this one is better) is great for a sad scene. This is one of the reasons why music scores / soundtracks are so powerful in movies. If you haven’t tried it before, give it a shot. Be the music director and set the scene with a song.

Finally, you’ve probably heard the advice before, but I’m telling you, no – urging you, again. If you do not keep a journal, do so. You will find tidbits of emotion that come out on journal pages like nowhere else. If nothing else, those entries can help “get you in the mood” when writing what can be a terribly hard thing to do.

Emotion. You cannot fake it. You will destroy your readers confidence in you as a writer if you do.

(Photo courtesy NYTimes)