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Hey all you writers – I wanna know something

Hey, hey writers!  I just came across a cool new writing network and I was curious to know if anyone else is using this and what your thoughts are on it.

Medium is a publishing platform online that “sets out to build the best publishing platform for on the web — or anywhere — for words and pictures, that starts with the writing experience itself.”

So, who can give me the goods on its use, function, look and community?  I am eyeing it, thinking of joining it.

Medium writing and stories

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Play a game with me. What’s the soundtrack of your life? A game of musical representation.

Music in the movies colours the emotional experience of the movie itself, as it does our lives. We all have relied on a song to help us through heartbreak, falling in love and new discoveries. There is a song for every moment, mood and feeling we have ever experienced. This game is inspired by a recent TEDx Manitoba talk I attended.  Ted Geddert came on stage with his son and talked about the devastating day his other son and his father died.  How music healed his family.  His idea worth spreading was to “Take risks, and find a soundtrack to get you through”   So, it got me thinking.  What is the soundtrack of my life?  If I were to tell a story of today, a moment in time or of my life as a child – what would those songs be to describe me to you in a way that I don’t have to speak?

So, will you play a different kind of ‘getting to know you’ game with me?  Let’s call it My Life Through Song.  life through song

What would be the soundtrack to the movie of your life up to this moment?  Or maybe there is a particular moment in time that deserves to be played out in a soundtrack.  Perhaps your life is a comedy, a drama, a war epic; it doesn’t matter what lens you view your life through – what matters, is that you have a damned good song to go with it.

The drill is as follows:

  • Copy these instructions, including the categories below and paste them in your post.
  • List the title of the song and the artist after each category and embed the music video (if there isn’t a music video for it then find a video of the song with lyrics – if there still isn’t one, then a link to the song in any form will do – we wanna hear the song!).
  • Tag your post with My Life Through Song
  • Pingback this blog post so I can see all your song choices – I wanna hear the story of your life!  (Click here for pingback instructions.  And, if you don’t use WordPress then leave a comment with the url to your blog post)
  • This part is optional – you can describe why you chose this song in a short paragraph OR you can just let the song speak for itself and leave it to the imagination of your audience.

Here are the 6 categories of songs:

  1. The Getting to Know You Song:  This song starts off your movie. It is the song that introduces you to your audience; maybe as a child or as an adult pondering life.  Where the movie of your life starts is up to you.
  2. The Love Song:  You know this one. You fell in love, maybe with a person, a place or an animal.  Love is love and this song makes you feel it!
  3. The Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Song:  You are joy personified.  Everything is as it should be and all is beautiful with the world. If spontaneous dancing and singing were to happen as you walked down the street, it would be this moment.
  4. The Rock Bottom Song:  Um, happiness can only last so long right?  We’ve all been there, that moment where, shit, just when you think you can’t get any lower, you do.  Is the whole world against you?
  5. The Poignant Song: This is a time of reflection in your movie.  You’ve hit rock bottom.  Well now, take a walk in that light rain, look up at the sky and reflect…this is the moment that your life changes.
  6. The Rocky Balboa Song:  You’ve made it through your darkest hour!  Will power kicks in so pick yourself up and dust off the past! This is the song you turn up the volume on.  YEAH!  Fist pump the shit out of that air – you deserve it!
  7. The Let the Credits Roll Song:  Though life keeps on going a movie does eventually come to an end and with it, the concluding song. At this moment we are content, we are at peace or maybe we’re still struggling but we’ve accepted it.  Either way, we are ready to welcome life and all the challenges that come with it.  The end.

__________________

Here’s the soundtrack to my life – so far.

The Getting to Know You Song:

Same Mistakes – The Echo Friendly

The Love Song:

But Not Tonight – Depeche Mode


The Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Song:

Paul Simon – Russian Futurists


The Rock Bottom Song:

What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes

 

The Poignant Song:

Weighty Ghost – Wintersleep

 

The Rocky Balboa Song:

The Final Countdown – Europe

The Let the Credits Roll Song:

Living in Colour – Frightened Rabbit

 

Okay, your turn to play!

The beautiful thing about this game is it never has to end.  You can play it any time for any moment and I might come back and play it again down the road.

(I do have an ulterior motive here:  I love discovering new music and figured this would be a fun way to do so.)

When stories burn with life and pulse with magic

It is pure magic when a book comes alive in your hands.  The adult steps aside in these moments, and the child that we were, the child that remembers magic, steps in and delights in it.

I just finished a book that has inspired this post today.  Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon. I read it years ago and never forgot the book – or maybe the book never forgot me.  I am not going to get into a review of it because the book is too alive.  I’ve recently discovered that you can’t review living books fat and full with magic.  That discovery came with the last couple of books I’ve read.

I tried to sit down and type out my reviews of Boy’s Life and before that, Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey that held me fast with their magic.  But you can’t reign magic in.  Once you try to define it, it eludes you – magic can’t be described, it can only be felt.  To review these stories, to tie them into a summary and make judgement upon them is to dismiss their aliveness.  To put to words the who, what, why and when of the story is to strip it of its wonder and magic.  That is a cruel thing to do to such a story, don’t you think?

I have thought on why some stories stay with you, days, months, years after you’ve read them.  Why they won’t let you go.  These thoughts have been with me the last couple of days as I think on the power the two stories I just mentioned have over me right now.  Each story spoke to a different part of me.  Boy’s Life wound its tendrils of imagery and magic around the little girl within.  It brought out her spirit and these last couple of days this little girl remembered what it was like to run wild with horses, what fairies look like in the sunlight and how to battle monsters.

The other book, Black Feathers, spoke to the ancient goddess within.  The primal being, the earth mother, the one that is waiting to bust out and illuminate and heal the world of it’s despair and pain.

How can a story have such an effect on a person unless it is alive and pulsating with energy?  These living, breathing stories weave into the very heart of you and become a part of your existence and you swear you’ve lived the experiences of the story within.  They effect you, bring tears to your eyes, make you laugh, make you rage – you come undone when you read these types of stories.  For the briefest moments in time, you are unmade and the possibilities of what you can become are limitless.  These stories make you remember who you are; wilderness and spirit in human form – children of magic.

I read Boy’s Life about 10 years ago and never forgot it.  I remember loving it, I remember enjoying the story and feeling I had when I read it – that the story was an experience of discovery.  But I couldn’t remember what it was about.  Every once in a while throughout these 10 years, the book would pop in my head and finally, only a week ago I bought it.  I knew the story wasn’t going to let me go because it had something to say to me again after all these years – it beckoned me to come back for another visit.  So I listened.  And what did it have to say?

Well, that’s between me and the story – but boy, what an adventure we had.

when stories come alive

Books vs Ebooks (or My Love Affair With Books)

I had a conversation with a colleague recently about eReaders/eBooks vs. actual, physical books.  She couldn’t understand why I haven’t embraced the eBook yet, especially since I love technology.  She loves her eReader, takes it everywhere.  Loves how she can download a book she wants immediately and not have to bother going to the book store.  She loves that it remembers what page she is on and that it is so lightweight and compact.

Okay, she (and probably a thousand other eBook lovers) gives excellent reasons on why an eReader is an obvious choice for reading.  And if I was just all about the reading I probably would choose an eReader.  But if there is one thing I have discovered about myself through this blog it’s that it isn’t just about the reading for me.

I have a real, hardcore love affair with books.

Like my colleague, I too take my book everywhere with me.  Sure, the bigger hardcovers don’t fit as nicely in my purse which means I end up buying huge satchels just to carry my books around in.  And okay, if I want a new book I have to get in my car or hop on the bus to go to the book store, maybe wait in line and then get into an awesome conversation about this certain book with the person in front of me which ends up making me late for the appointment at my Chiropractor’s (which I’m going to see because lugging all those books around in my huge satchel hurts by back).  But!  Going to a book store is part of the appeal for me.  A book store is my church – it’s where I can breathe, slow down and feel grounded.  I love the smells that come from books (old or new); I love touching their covers, feeling them, sensing them.  I love gazing at book covers and smiling in admiration at their beauty or frowning in disappointment at the laziness of it.

Yeah sure, sometimes I get frustrated when I lose my page and have to take a few minutes to flip through the pages to find it but that’s what dog-earing pages are for.  I’ve always believed the more dog-eared pages there are in a book, the more loved that book is.

Lastly, it is the act of turning the page itself that fills me with such satisfaction; that another page has been completed, another part of the story has been revealed.  With my fingers I can physically turn the page on that moment in time and move on to the next.  Pushing a button just doesn’t have the same appeal to me.  I push enough buttons in any given day (especially now as I type this) – and a book allows me to take a break from technology.  To connect to a simpler time.

I often thought that turning my nose up at the eReader was the book snob in me expressing herself.  But it is actually the spiritualist in me who has decided to turn away from this one aspect of technology.

Books move me, their sheer physicality and presence fill me with awe.  When I pick up a book I am reminded that someone’s imagination is within the two covers.  It is a divine tool I hold in my hands, one that will either uplift and inspire me or one that will fill me with darkness and fear.  I won’t know until I lift that cover up oh so reverently and peer within.

I don’t think pressing a button can compete with that.

books vs ebooks

The “I”s don’t necessarily have it

For some reason I am not too comfortable with admitting the following: I don’t often like books that are told in the first person.

When I read “me” or “I” as the narrative in the story I tend to put the book back on the shelf.  There have been few stories that have used this point of view that have sucked me in on the first page.  The obvious one that comes to mind is The Hunger Games (but the pace of that story was so fast that I could barely register the first person story point due to my heart pumping like a jack hammer).

I have a reason though.

When I read a story that is in the first person I feel that I am potentially missing parts of the story that could be told from other perspectives.  I like to know what is going on.  If I am at a party I want to know what is happening in all the other rooms.  It is the 3rd person observer in me who likes to watch people.  When a character is speaking from the first person I get irritated with that character.  How do you know that John, whom you (as the first person character) are having an argument with, has become thoughtful following the hateful words you flung at him?  What if he just had gas and needed a moment to ensure he didn’t fart in front of you?  I realize this is extreme in my reasoning but I guess the bottom line is I don’t trust that I am getting all sides of the story.  First person stories are, let’s face it, only about one side.

To me an enriching story is one that is fueled with hues, colours, different viewpoints, experiences and observations.  The point of view of the observer is a role that I find most comfort in (as do most introverts) and the most interesting.  I don’t just want one view point in the stories I read, I want them all.  As the reader, I am omnipotent.  So yes, that probably means that deep down I have trust issues coupled with probably needing to become more active in life and less of an observer.  Maybe throw some control issues (God complex) into the mix.  However, this post isn’t about me and the therapy we all know I need but rather, just another book snob confession.  And this was a tough one for me; so tough that I didn’t even put it down on my Confessions of a Book Snob page.

Again, I realize I am potentially missing out on some amazing stories and I am never completely close minded to the first person points of view, I just have a harder time getting in to them.

Anyone else?  I would welcome some arguments supporting them.

And yes, I realize I am right now, writing in the first person.  But my life is not a book of fiction.

..

Or is it?

Where the wild stories are

I have until the age of 50 to become a published author.  That is the deal that me and my husband made years and years ago.  I have 15 years to accomplish that.  (OMG, THAT IS TOO SOON!)

I love reading and writing and I find that most people who love to read love to write.  Why is that?  What is it about the written word that just captivates a person?  Why does reading hold our attention so?  Why is writing a balm for the soul?  Who the hell did I lend The Child Thief too?

I do love to write and as for being published, well, a couple of poems were published in my youth so I guess I’ve completed the deal with my husband.  However I do have a few stories to tell and while they roll excitedly in my mind, developing, growing and getting more colourful as each day passes, they also curse me for keeping them trapped in my imagination.  You see, I have yet to get them on paper.  The thing is…I can be lazy.  Motivation isn’t one of my strengths.  I get motivated when people yell at me and short of hiring someone to follow me around shouting in my ear all day long, I won’t be able to free those stories until I learn motivation on my own.

Hence this blog.  I can’t express enough the feeling of accomplishment I get when I hit the publish button on this site.  I finished something.  I finished putting in words a concept/idea/thought that was in my head.  It is free now to go do what it wants.  It can join the multitude of other blog posts dancing around in cyberspace or it can sit still on this site, waiting to be read by others.

In all seriousness though, I have managed to finish two stories in my life.  One was a kids book counting puppies that I made when I was in grade 5 and the other was a short story that I finished in my early twenties.  That story sits in its book still to this day, only have been read by a handfull of people.  I walk by it sometimes and wonder if it is ready for some editing and revising.  It needs a little coaxing though, as it is a shy, little story, written by a young woman who has dreams of creating worlds for others that so many kind authors have done for her.  But mostly, she just wants to free the stories in her head.

This blog business is to get accustomed to writing everyday (typing counts as writing!) and to be comfortable with the idea of people reading my inner thoughts.  And I tell you, the fact that I even mentioned the stories in my head in the first place has those stories dancing wildly through my brain right now, much like the beasts in Where the Wild Things Are.  They can feel it, taste it.  The freedom.  It is one step closer.

There is a story inside all of us

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