Vacation from Reality

Vacations are great. They’re so nice, sometimes I need a break from real life after a vacation—the old “I need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation” situation. That’s about what happened, but now I’m here, and this week marks my first full one back in the old routine.
100_6396
Boring, you might think, but it’s not so. Structure is a good thing in my house, as highly sought after as a trip to “The most magical place on earth.” When living with autism, there needs to be a sense of balance in day-to-day life. My oldest son loves his wall calendar. He needs to know when to expect certain activities and send reinforcements if the month doesn’t have a “Play Date” listed at least once. Our schedule might not be as hectic as yours, but both he and I need to know where we’re going in the days ahead, even if it’s just a “work” and “play” day at home.
100_6400
Where does all this talk lead me? To the realization that even though I didn’t finish the first draft of my current work-in-progress, THE UNRAVELING THREADS OF KYNDRA FIELDS, before leaving on vacation like I wanted to, I will finish by the end of this month. That might be a big leap for some, but hang in there. When (not if) I complete this draft, it will be my quickest completion to date. Granted it will also be my shortest manuscript, but taking a full story from idea to finished first draft in six months is amazing for this writer.

More on this forth coming miracle in the next two weeks, for now, let’s savor in the vacation memories.
100_6273
100_6319
100_6197
Where have you gone lately?

Music: The Sensory Edition

If you know me, or have followed this blog for any amount of time, you realize that I love music. I use music for mood alteration, inspiration, and escape. My preferred listening method is live, in concert. For sanity sake, I try to attend at least two live performances a year but life doesn’t always allow that.

My second and third choices for listening are earphones and in the car—alone. 100_4829

Having songs plugged into my ears is great for tuning out exterior noise, but it isn’t always practical when supervising children. Plus, I don’t want to subject those around me to my butchered attempts when singing along.

When driving, I usually have my nifty homeschool kids in the car and they like music, too, just not always the same stuff I like. I used to put the “Children’s Music” playlist on shuffle when we went anywhere but I found myself getting a little snappy after fifteen minutes. So now the whole iPod—which is attached to a cassette adapter because I’m so last century—gets put on shuffle when we go.

A Disney song = the kids happy, or most of them, and often me.

A little Mitch Malloy = me happy, and sometimes the kids.

Queen = everyone is good.

Sesame Street = one happy kid.

The Beach Boys = all good, for most songs.

And on, and on.

There are a few times it’s easier to skip to the next song because the natives are noisily protesting, but most of the time they settle down when I say “it’s Mommy’s turn.” When a song I love comes on, my immediate reflex is to turn it up, but with boys with sensory issues in the car, they drown out the music with their own shrieking of discomfort. (That or I get “What’s Mommy singing?” from my teen with autism, as if he can’t tell I’m trying to sing the song that we’re listening to. Funny kid.)

All this—and more—is why my favorite non-live music experience is in the car. ALONE. I can turn it up as loud as I want and sing off-key without annoying people. (I’d also say without embarrassing myself, but I never know who is watching from the outside of the car.) Listening in a vehicle is a step above earphones because the music cocoons your whole self, not just your ears. At times you can feel it, but it’s an immersive experience and the steering wheel makes a good keyboard or drum.

What’s your listening habit?

Movies and Me

This past month has been theater going, as promised. I’ve been to four movies in as many weeks, which is twice as many as I usually attend in a full year.

First up was Ender’s Game. Since I’d recently read the novel—as well as Ender’s Shadow—the storyline was a bit disappointing. Chop and hack galore. But the actors were great and it was visually impressive, as well as moving. My eyes were moist once, maybe twice. I think I hid it well.

Thor: The Dark World was epic! I’d waited almost two decades for Thor on the big screen, and all the movies featuring him have been awesome, but this one was fabulous. I cried once, and my husband didn’t tease me about it until afterwards.thor dark world

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was amazing. I went to this one alone and used my hoodie sleeve to wipe the tears running down my face more times than I can count.

Frozen was our Tuesday bargain today. I took two out of the three kidlets and we had the theater to ourselves, which is always good. My teen with autism isn’t the most quiet movie watcher and the little princess switched seats often. I was moved to tears during the “Let it Go” musical scene, even while the youngest was climbing around my lap.

Notice the pattern?

I’m sure I’ll shed more tears when I make it to The Book Thief, and probably for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. That should hold me over through New Year’s.

Have you enjoyed any of the new releases? Do you cry during movies? Please tell me I’m not alone.

In Which I revert to Rambling

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In Which I revert to Rambling

I put a call out for blog ideas on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AuthorCarrieCox) the other day. The two options listed are difficult, to say the least. One humorous, one serious. I might tackle them at a future date, but I need something fluffy to get me through this week.
Music, as always, pulls me into the writing zone. I was productive last week, which was good since I needed to produce several pages to submit for my critique group to read. I went on a musical binge and piled 196 songs into a “Fortitude Groove” playlist in my iTunes account. Those were just songs that jumped out at me while scrolling through my music library. I’ve narrowed it down to 150 songs so far. I’m listening to each one while working on Fortitude related tasks: note taking, editing, writing, and playing Free Cell to zone out before/after writing. It will be awhile before I create an actual “soundtrack” (see http://wonderwegian.blogspot.com/2011/08/corroded-soundtrack.html) because I’m never quite sure if the story will keep to my outline. I’m already rethinking the ending and I’ve only written two chapters. But, for now, the music is doing its job.
Down to 149…
This time, the selections are heavy on the Irish/Celtic, country, blue grass, and my hard rock favorites.
… 147…
I don’t think I could write something without being inspired by at least three songs from the likes of Europe/Joey Tempest/John Norum, Mitch Malloy, Nelson, Tyketto, or Firehouse. Just to name a few. Those are the songs that filled my boom box when I began writing in earnest at 14. And several of those guys have fabulous new albums.
… 145…
Some terrific songs are being deleted because of modern references, like phone calls or cars. Just like Bid Time Return (aka “Somewhere in Time”) I don’t want anything that might jar me out of the moment. Timeless is perfection. That’s why I LOVE the classic Disney cartoons—the ones when Walt was alive—there aren’t any “modern” jokes thrown in. They are truly timeless masterpieces: Sleeping Beauty, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan. I enjoy Robin Williams as the genie in Aladdin, but most of the humor is current references. Pulls me out of the story.
… 143…
Fluffy just turned into rambling so it’s time to stop.
Any other bright ideas out there for future posts? Remarks on this one?