Rejuvenated

The hard work I mentioned last week is paying off—the baby steps are adding up. Plus, this weekend was great. Started it with the BOSTON concert Friday night (a rare date night with my husband) and ended with family time on Sunday.
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Of course, I have to mention the music. The show was fabulous. My face was sore from smiling—that’s how much I enjoyed it. We had balcony tickets this time and Hard Rock Biloxi is a great venue so the seats were actually comfortable. I’d rather be standing down front, though.
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I’m still wearing my feel-good post-concert mood and today has been extra productive, like the beginning of the week usually is for me.
• I organized this next year’s homeschool work, plus sorted out each kid’s first week of work (which is next week.)
• Cleaned two months of paper mess from the top of my file cabinets.
• And I passed five thousand words on my current project.
I love Mondays!
What’s your favorite day of the week?

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?

New Orleans Revival

I finished the first draft of FORTITUDE last Tuesday, September 10, 2013. Cue the party horns!

It felt great and I immediately took a few days off from serious writing because I busted my fingers and brain the previous two weeks to get it done. Yes, even though it’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s annual WFMAD challenge this month, I played hooky. I’d planned on keeping away from FORTITUDE for a couple weeks to get the whole distance and perspective break most professionals suggest writers take before diving into revisions, but that didn’t happen.

What did happen was something like this:

DAY OUT WITH FRIENDS IN NEW ORLEANS

Last Thursday I drove Joyce, Lee Ann, and MeLeesa to the big sleazy for dinner and a concert at House of Blues. We bought tickets for the Hanson show at the beginning of summer but it happened to fall in place that we all had literary milestones to celebrate last week: fishing drafts, multi-book contracts, and waiting to hear back from NYC editors. It was—is—an exciting time and we all needed the change of pace to escape the writing cave and chill with those who understand.

(Yes, I did say Hanson and I’m not ashamed. My musical interests span genres and centuries and there’s a special place in my music library for the guys of Hanson. They rock, with a little Motown jive here and there, plus they’ve matured nicely.



Just to show a sampling of what I listen to, on the drive back I switched from Hanson to Mitch Malloy to Boston before settling on Helloween. The guitar chords got heavier as the night grew later because this driver needed to stay alert.)

What happened the day after was constant music playing in my head. Music inspires me—always has, always will—and by late afternoon I had to get back to FORTITUDE. Four days later I’ve finished a complete round of editing plus several scene rewrites/additions to the praises of my first beta reader. I think I’ve got something good here and I can’t wait to share it.

CORRODED Soundtrack, 2nd Edition

Nearly a year ago I posted my soundtrack listing for Corroded.
After spending months revising the story this spring-summer, I took a good look at my musical influence. I rearranged, deleted similar songs as well as those that weren’t 100% on target, and even added a special song.
It was difficult culling the list, but it needed to be done. I love music, and the songs I had on the original listing did help inspire my writing moods, but they weren’t all perfect matches.
The new song addition was in response to my early readers’ love of a certain character. Team Ben! Everyone who has read the manuscript connects to Ben so I felt that even though Corroded is told strictly from Mary’s point of view, Ben’s voice is strong enough to merit his own song on the soundtrack.

So, here it is, complete with new tidbits and YouTube videos for your pleasure: Corroded, Second Edition!

Hello Mary Lou (Main character’s name, with classic Ricky Nelson.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLkCWT2neuI

The Very Thought of You (He was so smooth and dreamy. This one is from Mary to Josh.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHu7C3puWI

You Are a Tourist (How Mary feels at school.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM4Mmd2y4nE

Burning Down Inside (Great live version from last year. Love knowing that bands can still rock years/decades after their songs came out.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yImjBG7qFTw

Dying to Be Alive (Enjoy these guys lots and it fits the mood.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjTNACA_VVk

Somewhere I Belong (The deep search all teens go through.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iCtpuQvydk

I’m the One (Mitch Malloy is my absolute FAVORITE singer/songwriter! Check out his other music and enjoy! This is Ben’s song—swoon away!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7KM46JkHO0

Start from the Dark (By my FAVORITE band and this video has a comic book spin that I think Ben would approve of—even if it isn’t The Avengers.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gyg-x1DMHs8

Spirit of the Underdog (For Mary at the Sailor Suzy competition. Love this song and Joey Tempest is a maniac with the mic stand.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpH1-r-JDmw

Life (In closing, I was fortunate enough to catch a Ricky Nelson Remembered concert in April 2012. R.I.P. Rick, and may the twins keep your memories alive for the next generation.)

They Speak–I Listen

On my July 6th blog I coined the term “fantabutitus” and spoke of my always pleasant encounters with those I admire. Amid the telling I said:
I’m a dedicated fan, loyal to those who speak to me even when the spotlight has moved on to newer faces. (Speak to me? Yes, speak to me. I shall blog about that next time.) And the next blog happened weeks later, recapping my month spent hiding among literature while the house was over-run with nephews and nieces. Of which I need to add:

and

And then I posted a blog tag question game. Fluffy fun.
If you haven’t before, take a look at my profile and see the listing of my favorite authors/books, musicians, actors/movies, etc. Not the standard answers!
So, without further ado, I shall describe the Wonderlonian philosophy of what creates the fantabulous connection to the brilliant artists I esteem.
It’s my belief that each individual was born as a spirit child of a Heavenly Father and Mother before being born on earth. As such, we had a pre-mortal life, which is how I believe memories of “past lives” occur. If we were angels, for lack of a better term, watching over those already on Earth, then we might recall glimpses of events that occurred before we were born. Maybe we were even assigned people to watch over—only time will tell.
But as spirits waiting around in heaven to be born to Earthly parents, wouldn’t we have had friendships? We had to pass the time somehow. Maybe there were cloud bands and theater guilds and painting-by-star clubs or something. Suppose some of us were sent down to whisper muse-like into the ears of philosophers and writers. The possibilities are endless.
When I see a piece of art, hear a song, read something, or see a performance it either speaks to me or it doesn’t. Some voices and melodies are so familiar, I know I’ve heard them before. Some paintings I feel like I’ve lived in the landscapes of, in some other-worldly time.
There isn’t much in this world that I will say I “hate” or even “dislike”. My favorite response is “it’s okay, but it doesn’t speak to me.” I can’t say “it’s not my style” because my style (some will swear I have none) is all over the place musically, literary, artistically.
What better way to describe a connection to another soul than by feeling that you were friends before? The ultimate kindred spirits.
What’s your philosophy?