Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Miscellany

I've added a new poem/song, "Season of Fire", to the poems/songs page.  Neal wrote it and tells me he's not 100% satisfied with it, but said it's okay for me to use it here  ;-)  My Muse wants to work it into the novel but unless there's a really good reason to include it, it may just stay here on the blog.  Neal also tells me he wants to go back to writing more often in Spanish, poems included.  My Muse, however, doesn't know Spanish so I can feel mistranslations coming!

I'm a bit late with this, but I have to shout out Congrats to the Buffalo Sabres for winning hardware at the recent NHL awards in Las Vegas.  Goalie god Ryan Miller won the Vezina for the league's top goaltender, and was tapped for the NHL Foundation Award for his work in the community.  (Remember, he was also instrumental in the U.S. Olympic hockey team's win of the silver medal.)  He's raised more than $500,000 for his charity the Steadfast Foundation, which emphasizes helping cancer patients, especially childhood forms.  Thanks to the NHL for donating $25,000 to the Steadfast Foundation.

Defenseman Tyler Myers took home the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.  He won in a landslide, with 400 more points than the runner-up.  Tyler led all rookies with 37 goal assists.  He's got a solid, excitable fan group in the Buffalo area.

Other trophies and awards were given out of course, but these are the most meaningful to me.  As Ryan noted, Buffalo hockey fans are rabid, and when we're happy, we scream!  Best wishes for the coming season to Ryan and Tyler, standouts on a pretty cool team.  :-D

By the way, Buffalo did feel Ontario's earthquake last week.  It was first estimated at a 5.5 but later downgraded to a 5.0.  I, alas, did not feel a thing.  My sister and I were grocery shopping at the time and may have been driving when the waves actually passed through.  I feel so cheated!  ;-)  I have felt a couple tiny quakes before, but sheesh.  I live on the edge of one of the Great Lakes and I've never seen a waterspout either.  The stuff I miss . . . well Murphy may be listening so I'll shut up about that.

A last note of sympathy and love to the thousands affected by the oil spill.  I have a small sense of how you're hurting and my heart bleeds for you.  I'm so sorry that money became more important than your livelihoods.  And to the people of Haiti, still in pieces after the monster quake and living in terror of the current hurricane season, how I wish I could scoop you all up and put you gently into real homes in a good community.  May the Universe soon ease the suffering of all these people, and animals who have no way to speak for themselves.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New pages

I've added a new page for poems, or as I sometimes think of them, failed songs.  ;)  I like to keep my Muse fresh by daring her to do poetry in and around working on my novel-in-progress (Street Glass).  Poems and songs usually need to get ideas across with a minimum number of words, and learning how to compress my meaning is useful for fiction writing.  And, it's just fun.  My poetry would probably make English lit majors cringe, as much for format as anything else.  I've never "studied poetry" so don't expect anything formal.

The first entry, "Three Words", doesn't have an especially positive mood but I like certain aspects of it.  I'll include new entries intermittently.  Some of them may wind up in Street Glass, probably in altered forms, but mainly the entries are just exercises.  I'm debating the wisdom of posting a poem here that I intend to include in my novel.  We'll see.

And because I've finally realized that people may visit my blog who are not members of Critique Circle, I'm going to include a page explaining Street Glass: what the basic premise is, who the major characters are, stuff like that.  If I could draw, I'd include drawings of the players too.  Like many writers I suspect, I can see some of my characters crystal-clear in my head.  I wish I knew a police artist, I bet they could help me with pictures of these people.

My part-time Census job is finally over!  Woo-hoo!  More time to write!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The mystery of creating

So I’ve written that scene where Neal gets the bad news about the kids and women. It needs tinkering but of course it’s only a first draft. Writing is funny, has anybody noticed that?

As I wrote, Neal made an offhand comment -- that maybe Sandy would write a song about the tragedy and thereby keep alive the memory of the murdered people -- that my Muse threw into her Magickal Crockpot. It simmered for two or three weeks, then boiled over one night as I was trying to stay asleep. Funny how the Crockpot tends to boil over nights when I have an early shift at work the next day. These two lines floated to the top and would not go away. I saw that dawn was seeping across the sky. Two more lines floated up. They seemed to click right together with the first two, rhyming and fitting with a rhythm. As most writers know, once that happens, you are doomed. You can’t ignore the Muse’s clicking, even if you want to. (Although, really, what writer wants to?)

Worse, I began to hear the lines sung. I heard a chorus; it was just a couple short lines with the first one repeated at the end. The weird thing is that it was Sandy’s voice. There is no way I could confuse it with anybody else’s voice, no real performer. As I wrote the words, the voice got stronger. I didn’t get a whole song, just a couple verses and that chorus, but it sounded like somebody was singing in my ear. It was the most obvious thing in the world to hear that tune with those words. Of course it flowed this way, that was its natural pattern.

This happened once before, in grade school. And, now that I think about it, that was also one of Sandy’s songs. That one I got in one piece, verses, chorus, complete melody, voice in my head. I wrote the lyrics down but time was cruel and saw to it that I lost the paper. I still remember the chorus though. Because I never learned anything about songwriting (like how to write music) I can’t write the melody for either of these songs. That’s my greatest frustration. I suppose I could make a simple vocal recording of the more recent song, “Flood of Tears”, but I’ve never had voice training either and I’m sure that not even my car likes to hear me sing.

Oh and the singing is accompanied by solo piano too. The tune wanders a bit between verses but not too far, like somebody improvising and not straying much from the basic melody. It’s all in my head. I can only get the words out on paper but of course the melody is perhaps more than half of what makes a song. Ah, to be a full-fledged songwriter, capable of getting all the details out there.

I tell myself that despite my shortcoming with songwriting, I still am blessed by my Muse. Not everybody has a Muse or is able to translate what that Muse is trying to say. It’s a wonderful thing to see people who don’t exist, hear conversations that never happened, see how made-up events fit together like a picture made of falling dominoes, get a sense of what makes people tick as you explore the interactions of people you can never physically touch. I used to write sci fi/fantasy and even aliens will help you understand humans. I wonder if a lot of psychologists write fiction.

Here’s to my Muse, whose name, by the way, is Sarah. Don’t let her commonplace name fool you. After all no one can write off a Muse.