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Archive for January, 2014

Meloncholy Monday: sad songs

January 27, 2014 18 comments

I love music … all kinds of music. I listen to it every day while I work, always sing along to it playing on the car radio or CD player, and usually have something playing while I write. While I’m working I like upbeat songs that keep me energized and focused. Same thing while I’m driving. At night while I’m writing, though, I typically listen to ambient music to help set my mood for what I’m trying to get down on paper. But there’s another time I listen to music, a special time when I listen for moments of reflection and emotional catharsis.

For reasons I don’t understand, some of my favorite songs are those which, through melody, lyrics, or a perfect blend of the two, bypass the conscious mind, the logical part of who I am, and reach deep into my soul, the place where emotions are stirred and tears are drawn to the surface. It’s a place so sad that all I can do is sit and listen and feel … heartbreak, loss, grief, and sometimes even a sense of hopelessness. For a few minutes I’m transported to another world where all that seems trapped inside from day to day and month to month is allowed to flow freely, with no worry about keeping things bottled up, or having to feel strong, to keep up appearances, to feign strength when all you really want to do is let go.

Here’s a song I’ve been listening to recently that I first heard during the last season of The Voice. It’s a duet sung by one of the writers (who at the time the song was written was going through a breakup of his own, which makes it that much more poignant) and Christina Aguilera. It’s an absolutely beautiful collaboration. While the song by itself is amazing, watching the video brings meanings to the lyrics that might not have been obvious from just listening.

Anyone else like sad, sometimes depressing songs? Anyone have their own favorite(s)? Or am I alone in enjoying the emotions these songs evoke?

–dp

Quote of the Week: W. Somerset Maugham

January 26, 2014 Leave a comment

I don’t normally reblog, but in this case I will. Megan’s post is short, but insightful, and the quote is perfect. It also references Scrivener, which is an amazing piece of software every writer should own.

–dp

Life's Unfiltered Ramblings

There are days when I wish people knew the three rules. I’ve spent hours and hours writing, organizing my thoughts, and trying to create a novel. I know there are no rules or formulas to writing a novel, as each are different and unique to the writer, but it would make life so much easier for us writers. There’s a system to writing poems and screenplays, so why not one for novels?

I’ve recently started working on a novel, and it’s been tough. Finding the time, finding the inspiration are things that I’m struggling with. I don’t write in a linear fashion when I’m creating longer works, and that’s always caused me some issues. I have all these collections of scenes, short stories, and ideas, and piecing them together is very time-consuming.

Earlier this month, I read a post from a fellow blogger talking about this program called Scrivener

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On writing: too much of a good thing?

January 21, 2014 17 comments

I find myself here at the beginning of the new year in an interesting place. You see, currently, along with two novels in progress (one complete and in first revision, one three-fourths through first draft), I also have at least four short stories in various stages of the editing process, not to mention the occasional pieces of flash fiction. At first, I thought it would be great to have so many things going on at once. You know, work on whichever project inspires me on any particular day. But now I’m wondering if maybe it isn’t such a good thing after all, that perhaps instead of spreading myself all over the place that maybe I should force myself to stick to one project at a time. Of course my mood changes daily, so while today I feel like I’m unfocused (which is what inspired this post), tomorrow I’ll likely want to work on short story number two, and the day after that it might be novel number two, and … well, you get the point.

Have any of you ever found yourselves with so many writing projects going on simultaneously that at some point(s) you found yourself paralyzed, unable to determine what to work on next? Or in a position where you feel like you’re writing but never getting anything done? Anyone feel like it’s best to pick one thing and stick with it? Or think it’s better to go where your creativity leads you?

–dp

Flash fiction: I saw my father today

January 17, 2014 13 comments

I saw my father today. Though two years in the grave, he stared back at me from the mirror as I went through the motions of shaving the stubble from my face. And I wonder if he ever felt as I do today … tired, worn out, hopeless. I lay down my razor, lean forward, and hold myself up on the edge of the counter. I push the lift rod and watch the shaving cream, water, and tiny pieces of beard circle around the sink, eventually winking out of existence down the drain. I pause, wondering if I should even bother to look up, or whether it would be best to simply turn and leave and go about the day, as if nothing has happened.

He’s still there, standing just as I am. Though I’m thirty years younger than he was when he died, my reflection has taken on the years, the myriad lines of age reflecting back at me. I look as old as I feel, and I’m weary. I should leave, but I don’t. We stare at each other, the father and the son. One and the same. Despite every intention, every attempt at making myself something he was not, I am him. I have nothing but questions.

“Why?” I ask.

He looks at me quizzically, puzzled by my simple question. He runs his age spot wrinkled hand through his thinning hair; I notice my hand going through the same motion, though I feel my own hair, still thick and vibrant, not yet having succumbed to the decades to come.

“Why didn’t you tell us, dad? We know nothing. You just left.”

My throat aches as I push the words through my mouth.

He looks away, and I see his face begin to age. What’s left of his hair recedes, brows grow curly and gray, silver stubble adorns his chin. He thins, his features becoming gaunt, like that of the sick and feeble, and he hunches over. His eyes have become sunken and cloudy.

“I don’t know, son. I don’t know. I just thought I’d have more … time.”

I watch my father’s hand rise until, when it’s level with his shoulder, it appears to touch the mirror from the other side. I gaze at the reflection, until finally, I reach out and touch the elderly hand upon the glass. I feel the warmth of his finger tips spread throughout my body, and it’s then I finally grasp the unraveling of his soul, the depth of his pain, his isolation, confusion, and disbelief that life was coming to an end. A small tear forms at the edge of my father’s right eye, eventually sliding down his cheek, until it drips from his face and lands on a counter top somewhere in another world.

“I understand, now,” I whisper.

He smiles, as if relieved. “Love you, son.”

“I love you, too, dad.”

If it’s City Slickers it must be my birthday

January 14, 2014 12 comments

Well, throwback Thursday is a day early this week. Yeah, yeah, yeah … I know that actually makes it a throwback Wednesday, but I think this blog post from four years ago is apropos for the day. So, just like Mr. Peabody and Sherman, let’s step into the WABAC (as in “wayback” for the uninitiated) machine and travel all the way back to January 14th, 2009.

City Slickers and my birthday

Throwback Thursday: unseen posts from the past

January 9, 2014 9 comments

Ok … I’ve finally given in. For a while now, I’ve been seeing “throwback Thursday” blog posts fly by here, as well as on Facebook. So, I figured I might as well jump on the bandwagon. In my case, though, I don’t plan on posting old pictures of myself (because, let’s admit it, who really cares about those), but rather, throw out some old blog posts. Most of you out there following me now are relatively new, say within the last year. Since I’ve been blogging off and on for pretty much for 5 years now, I thought it would be fun to share some of the (hopefully) better posts from years gone by.

First up is something I wrote back in August of 2011. It’s all about rediscovering a dream. Hope you enjoy.

Throwback Thursday post.

–dp

The crack smoking mayor of Toronto

January 5, 2014 8 comments

Yes, I understand this post has absolutely nothing to do with writing, nor even anything about myself. But I just couldn’t help but share this little gem I came across just a short time back. While it does have to do with politics, I can tell you it transcends political parties and partisan squabbles of all kinds. For what is revealed in this video of the crack smoking mayor of Toronto is something sane people from any party can look at and ask themselves one simple question: how in the world did this guy get elected? Yes, I realize that the quality of our public servants has declined over the years, but really? Really Toronto? This is what you thought would be good for your city?

Anyway, if you have a few minutes, you absolutely must watch this video, or at least enough of the video to catch the infamous “8 second pause”. Trust me, though, the remaining few minutes are filled with just as many jaw-dropping antics from Toronto’s mayor.

–dp