Ain’t No Cure but Hard Work

If you know me or have been reading this blog for more than a season, you know that summer is my least favorite time of the year. Yes, I know that it isn’t technically summer, but it’s in full swing on the Gulf Coast. The thermostat has reached ninety degrees and the humidity is at sauna conditions.

Fortunately, I think I reached my yearly low last month (notice there were only two blog posts in the past thirty-one days.) But, never fear, I’ve slowly been on the upswing. The final shove came gently from my critique buddies at our meeting this weekend. Thanks, MeLeesa and Joyce! For me it’s now baby steps to the blog. Baby steps to the Scrivener file. But at least I’m moving.

May was rough, though. The month started with adding another year to my life chart, but ended with a great concert at the Hard Rock in Biloxi. Power metal, country, classical, world, folk, pop, oldies, classic rock, opera, R&B, rap… my music knows no genre boundaries, but I’m very selective about music groups/singers.

Last week, Diamond Rio played at the Hard Rock. They’re my favorite country group—I’ve been listening to them since I first heard “Meet in the Middle” during my freshman year in high school. (Of course, I was also listening to Firehouse, J.S. Bach, and Enya. Like I said, no musical borders in Wonderland.)

Besides the great show, all six band members did a meet and greet next to the merchandise table after the show. Naturally, I bought the band’s autobiography and gushed over the twenty-three years of music fandom while they all signed the book. (Here’s another bunch to add to the Fantabutius roster.) The experience of participating in the creating (composing music), sharing (concert), and spending time with fans (autographing) reminded me of my own goals as a writer. I need to work on my craft to have something for people to read, so I can hopefully inspire others to do the same. 100_5591

The Diamond Rio concert was a great way to end the moody month and start me thinking about creativity and positive vibes. This past week I finally started a mood music file for my current project and started thinking more about characters and less about the literary rejections. Here’s to a summer of magic and memories in the making. What do you have in mind?

Bonus, I’m going back to the venue for a BOSTON concert on Friday. Rock on!

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?

Roctober

It’s been another whirlwind month. Mobile Writers Guild events and planning meetings, field trips and social outings for the kidlets, plus my own milestones.
Last week I sent the complete Corroded manuscript to Laurie Halse Anderson. It arrived at her address Saturday the 15th. So the waiting game is on to hear her critique.
In an attempt to keep from thinking about my story being in the hands of one of my writing heroes, I treated myself to a free concert at the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores Saturday evening.
And, of course, I had another experience! I was able to meet the members of Firehouse before and after the show. The other guys signed the “vintage” flier that C.J. Snare signed at the show on October 12, 1991 (the last time I saw them—20 years ago!) as well as a CD booklet I brought along and the new CD I bought at the show. C.J. still has his voice, Bill wailed on the guitar, Michael hammered the drums, and Allen played a mean bass. They rocked harder than ever!

Love music, love great people! Hang with me if you want to catch Fantabutitus!

FANTABUTITUS

I suffer from fantabutitus (fan-tab-you-tie-tus). That’s Wonderlonian (One-der-lone-e-an) for being a fan of fabulous people! As of today, I have not had a bad encounter with someone I’m a fan of who I’ve been able to meet in person or have contact with online. My eldest sister pointed out, over a decade ago, that I was blessed with great experiences. Apparently she’s heard horror stories about egos and rudeness.
Me? I always expected awesomeness from those I like, so I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. 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.)
True, none of the celebrities I’ve met were athletes or “Hollywood” actors—mine are all music and literary related. I’m not big on starlets and such, though I wouldn’t mind running into Ethan Hawke or Brendan Fraser… But the rock and country musicians/singers and authors—they’ve all been friendly, approachable and even humble at times. Some have even gone out of their way to give back. I’ll keep to three varied examples.
Exhibit A: C.J. Snare Lead singer of Firehouse (Don’t Treat Me Bad, Love of a Lifetime, etc) opening act for Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse concert hosted by Pauly Shore (remember him?!) at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA. My friends and I made a day of it and enjoyed the rides before the concert. A few hours before the show I noticed C.J. out in the park with his date. I apologized for bothering him, but asked if he’d mind signing a concert flier (had the flier and my own Sharpie—always prepared!) He graciously autographed it and told me he hoped I’d enjoy the show. Then, he was surrounded by dozens more people wanting the same thing, but not being as polite about it, before he could get behind the safety of the backstage fence. (Yes, I stood back and watched the mini-mob. People can be real jerks at times, like the guy yelling “Hey, dude! Sign my girlfriend’s chest, will ya?” Classy.) A few months ago, I saw a comment by C.J. on a mutual friend’s status on Facebook and shared the story of my encounter with him almost twenty years before. He replied back thanking me for the good memory. Awe…
Exhibit B: Terry Brooks NYT bestselling author for two decades (now more than three) was on a book tour to promote The First King of Shannara in La Jolla, CA. The friend who got me reading Terry Brooks—a HUGE fan, all first edition hardcovers—lived less than two hours away but couldn’t make it to the event. My friend’s birthday was the following week and I told Mr. Brooks about him. I even gave him a slip of paper with my friend’s name and address on it, asked if he could send a birthday note. (Can’t say I didn’t try, though the people in line behind me rolled their eyes and huffed.) Of course, when my friend received a birthday postcard from someone signing himself as Terry Brooks he thought it was a joke. Nope, just the best birthday greeting ever!
Exhibit C: Matthew and Gunnar Nelson Yes, those blond twins—sons of the late, great Rick Nelson. After a sound check before a show in Biloxi, MS about a dozen years ago, they stopped to talk to my husband and I and signed the old school Nelson poster I’d brought along (which Bobby Rock had already signed a couple years previous—another pleasant meet and greet.) Gunnar sat at our table and talked with us for a while before heading out. Even my husband was impressed with that—but maybe it was because of Gunnar’s skydiving and bungee jumping stories.
I could keep going—have a cache of autographs and stories but I’ll spare you the geeky details. And never get me started on Mitch Malloy or Laurie Halse Anderson unless you want to hear me gush over their talents and genuine greatness. Sigh…
Now, I want to hear your fantabutitus (and not-so-nice) stories!