sing to passing cars
Portland at night
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Photo: Burnside Street, Portland, Oregon, c.b.w. 2015
Words: haiku, c.b.w. 2016
We must have seemed odd
to those who passed by
Opposites in every way
except on the inside
No need to explain Party of One
I understood you,
and you understood me
as no one else could
Over countless cups of coffee,
we pondered the meaning of life
and other silly things
And let’s not forget the music,
Junip and jazz still sing in my head
We read Maisie Dobbs and F. Scott Fitzgerald,
along with Willa Cather and Steinbeck, too
Ah, the books we treasured
and the stories we shared
I don’t have your picture,
but I’ll never forget your face
Nor how you taught me
the real source of strength
Without you there is an empty space
Thank you for being my friend,
until the very end
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Recently, a dear friend of mine passed away. While the sadness is sometimes overwhelming, so is the joy I have in the memories of the moments we shared. Our friendship was something really special and I already miss it.
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Call me crazy, but I seriously love the piano music featured on recent iPhone commercials. Just the other day, I found the tune wafting through my brain over and over again. There’s nothing quite as lovely as piano music that seems ignite the feeling of hope and joy. They may be trying to sell me a phone, but those little notes inspire me more than a smartphone ever could.
There are two ads circulating with one focusing on the iPhone’s camera and the other showcasing the iPhone’s music application.
My favorite of the two is the first. When I initially heard the music, I wished it could last longer than a minute.
The second ad offers a slight alteration in the melody, giving it a little more energy. While I love the song, the first is still my favorite!
After doing a little digging, I learned that both pieces were composed by Rob Simonsen, a noted soundtrack composer. His most recent work can be heard on the indie film The Way Way Back. I sampled some of his music on tumblr and was very impressed with the emotional range of his work. Give him a listen at http://robsimonsen.tumblr.com
As it turns out, youtube is full of musicians who love Simonsen’s iPhone ad music as much as I do. A very talented pianist recorded Simonsen’s piece for Photos Every Day, giving listeners a chance to enjoy the music without the background noise of the commercial.
Is this a stupid thing to favorite this week? Probably, but I try to find beauty wherever I can. Even if this is just a commercial jingle, close your eyes and let it in. It will inspire you.
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What’s your favorite thing this week?
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As a writer who relies on music to kickstart my muse, I am rather fascinated by a trend in Young Adult fiction whereby authors share a playlist for their novel. This is absolutely brilliant as the audience for YA fiction is addicted to earbuds and personal music players.
I count myself among this pool of earbud addicts, mainly because when I read a book it plays like a movie inside my head. When I was younger, I would imagine music or pick songs to listen to while I read a book, all in an attempt to further immerse myself into a character’s mind or within the setting of a story.
Naturally, I relied on the same practice of turning to music when I began writing. Just like the books I read as a kid, both of my novels play like movies in my head. And yes, there is specifically chosen music for certain scenes. This process is nothing new in the writing world, but it is interesting to see writers making their playlists public.
The first time I came across an official novel soundtrack was when I read Twilight. Stephenie Meyer didn’t necessarily list the songs in the book itself, but she thanked specific bands in her acknowledgments and often spoke of specific songs that inspired scenes between Edward and Bella, (particularly the band Muse). Later, when The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide was published, Meyer released her playlists for every book in the series. Both the reader and writer in me devoured the music that pumped life into Twilight.
For each song listed, Meyer went as far as quoting specific scenes from her novels. For those of us who have read Twilight more than once, this playlist gives us yet another reason to pick it up again.
More recently, I read Divergent by Veronica Roth. In the back of the book, she provides a playlist of songs and connects them to details in the story. After listening to a few of the songs, I gained a much deeper sense of the atmosphere and mood. Even though the writing was fantastic, an official playlist added a new dimension and gave me another way to enjoy the book.
Some YA writers publish their playlists via the internet. For example, Becca Fitzpatrick created public playlists for all four books in her Hush, Hush series. She linked them through Spotify and will soon expand to iTunes. Her website even encourages readers to listen to fan-created playlists as they read.
Fitzpatrick’s strategy not only enhances the novel, but it builds a community among fans. More importantly she creates a strong connection between author and reader.
On the flip side, it can be argued that good writing shouldn’t need any “bells and whistles” to connect with readers. To this I say, the YA market is all about knowing your audience. This is a generation who can carry music with them wherever they go and they do. They listen to it at home, while walking to class, out in public, on the bus, etc. In a sense, the music gives them a world of their own.
For the YA reader, adding music to a book makes complete and total sense. A novel soundtrack gives them the ability to connect and relate to the characters and story on a personal level. Not only can they fully immerse themselves into the book, but it becomes part of their world. The music is what ties real life and fiction together.
From a fangirl perspective, having an official playlist for beloved characters allows the magic of the story to play over and over again. When it’s not possible to sit down with the book, a reader can revisit the characters and story whenever and wherever she pleases. It falls along the same lines as Twilight t-shirts or Hunger Games posters in that the young adult audience thrives on connections wherever they can find them. When writing a series, creating this kind of fanaticism is pure gold.
YA writers have a massive opportunity to create intense fervor for their books by offering another level of emotional investment. As I put the finishing touches on my YA novel, I’m leaving a little room on the last few pages to create a playlist that will give my readers the ultimate experience.
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As I mentioned in my previous post, November Status Report: 2012 Goals, it was a rough month, but I am still jumping up and down in excitement. With two days to spare, I reached my goal of revising 15,000 words!!!
The more I work on this story the more excited I get about Amanda and Ian’s journey. As I revisit the beginning, it makes me realize just how much they’ve grown as characters and how their story has really turned into something special. While under the heading of urban fantasy, Amanda and Ian’s story is steeped in the spirit of humanity and the inner workings of compassion and love.
As I mentioned in my November Status Report, I plan on sharing more tidbits and teasers for Novel #2 as I continue to work through revisions. I won’t spoil anything, but I will give clues to who these characters are and some insight into the narrative they inhabit.
To get things started, I though I’d share a new band that is now on my playlist for Novel #2. Of Monsters and Men has that indie vibe that Amanda loves, while also encompassing a very spiritual (almost tribal feel) that digs into the mythical elements of the novel. Click on the link below to hear samples from their most recent album:
My Head Is An Animal by Of Monsters and Men
I’m working on a condensed soundtrack that includes songs for Amanda, Ian, and the novel as a whole. I hope to post it within the next month, so stay tuned!
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Congratulations to all NaNoWriMo participants who survived the challenge! You are all amazing and should be so proud of your accomplishment!
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