Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, NaNoWriMo, Story-Telling, Writing

My July Marathon

Forging ahead and making my writing numbers with room to spare. It’s hard, hard work but it’s worth it. I’ve got a hired writing nudge to keep me accountable and I’m sweeping the decks except for the most time-sensitive other tasks.

I don’t know when I’ll be checking in next, other than to say it’s wonderfully cool out after a lashing rain storm last night so I’m even more comfortable for this write-a-thon!

Posted in Blogging, Life, Music, Poetry, Story-Telling, Writing

The Muse And Me

I was listening to the radio this morning (NPR Morning Edition) and caught something very interesting: a music competition hosted by the owner of Bleeding Fingers (Hans Zimmer), which produces music for television. Zimmer created a piece of music, very cinematic, and challenged musicians to compose pieces based on it. The winner would be hired as a staff composer at the studio.

Here’s the piece of music that the challenge is based on:

Yes, very cinematic. It’s something I’d expect to hear at a movie theater. Pretty grand overall.

The contest winner was announced on Morning Edition today. His name is Daniel Suett and he’s a 22 year old composer from London, England. He actually submitted 12 variations and each one was better than the next! This guy is brilliant. Here’s one riff he took:

Very open, very grand, no? But how about this one:

I must say, it knocked me off my socks! There are myriad themes he incorporates, some contemplative, some fiery, some exotic, some playful, some sad, all fabulous.

I could listen to these all day. But something else happened, too. I suddenly started thinking about the ways music has inspired my writing. I listen to music of one type or another all the time. I listen to some because I enjoy it. Others make me feel a certain way, like Daniel Suett’s did. I have a little library of sounds, like music snippets, stingers, loops and full-out songs. I like to play them, just to see what pictures and words fill my head.

I was browsing a royalty-free music site a few years ago and came across a piece by a German composer. It was one of their promotional free offers. The piece was moody, low, contemplative. It touched me somehow and I added it to the music snippets I so frequently listen to.

I was listening to the piece one night and words suddenly started popping into my head. I was having a bad year, I recall. It was shortly after the recession of 2009 hit and I had lost my job and run out of money. I was able to get back on my feet, but not without doing things I didn’t really want to do. I had to swallow a lot of pride that year and I hope to God I never have to do that again.

In my mind the words matched the music and, by extension, my mood. I started jotting the words down, trying to find the right balance: a beginning, a middle/climax, an end. Just like music, actually, and just like a story. I started hunting down images and videos, mostly my own, although there was one I took from a free image site. Then I began to put a video together, combining all those elements.

Spring Flower

The result after many, many edits, was a poem called “Ruminations.” It doesn’t rhyme, but I think it does have a certain oral balance to it.

So, this is my brain on music:

I’ve got other ones, mostly trailers for books or short stories. Damned if the videos aren’t better than the stories. I’ll have to do something about that!



Posted in Blogging, Gardening, Journals, Life, Nature, Story-Telling, Writing

To You, Dear Reader

Now that the holiday weekend is behind me, it’s time for some catching up. This blogging challenge – write a post to your dream reader – is making me think. Who is my dream reader? My blog covers a little bit of everything, so at first it seemed like there needed to be more than one.

Is my dream reader a foodie? A gardener? A lover of parks and easy walks? A fiction reader? A humorist?

Yes to all of these, and more. But, then I thought about it some more. What elements do these readers have in common? After a day of thinking about it, I think I’ve come up with an answer:

My dream reader loves a good story. That story may be about anything, but it needs to have a beginning, middle and end.

That’s as true for a short story as it is for a home-made vacation video. I always try to start at the beginning and make my way logically to some type of conclusion.

So, dear reader, I hope you’ll follow me as I go on my various adventures. And, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Now Come Along, Everybody
Posted in Poetry, Story-Telling, Writing

April’s shoure soote

The Canterbury Tales. Our first substantive taste of writing in the English language, such as it was. Wonderful, funny, bawdy and morally instructive, even if Chaucer did end up apologizing for his hubris in writing them.

700 years is a long time to wait for a remake, but it’s finally happened! In the spring of 2012, a group of modern-day pilgrims decided to re-create the original journey to Canterbury and record it in words and images. It’s online for our reading and listening pleasure. Will this remake last as long as the original? Only time will tell.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales 2012 – a multimedia pilgrimage

Inspired by one of the English language’s seminal works, 24 modern-day pilgrims – including two from China and one from Bermuda – braved piercing April ‘shoures’ to undertake a full-scale re-enactment Chaucer’s masterpiece, acting out the tales as they travelled on foot to Canterbury in aid of the National Literacy Trust.

Join Henry Eliot – aka the Host, Harry Bailly – for a dazzling account, featuring pictures, audio and video, of a pilgrimage in the literary footsteps of one of Britain’s greatest poets

Read the rest of this story.

Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Podcasts, Story-Telling, Valentine's Day, Writing

A Valentine For You, A Valentine for Me

Well, coming off of my mug win, I just had to share this next story. It’s coming up on Valentine’s Day. I usually get a small bouquet of roses and and funny card. No chocolates, thank goodness. I’d inhale them and I’m trying to avoid that kind of thing.

This story takes the cake, though. Not only is it a great story all by itself, it’s told extraordinarily well. I listen to a lot of audio books, and have taken the occasional shot at narration myself. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, so I’m all the more impressed by this story. Share it with a loved one and skip the chocolates!


Posted in Journals, Podcasts, Story-Telling

The Cat and Its Tale

A Gripping Cat-Tale

I have a problem when it comes to cats. I love them. They love me. A meeting with any cat is inevitably accompanied by a few circle-eights around my legs followed by a visit to my lap. They purr. I rub beneath their chin and scratch their ears. They either purr more, fall asleep or play, depending on their age.

But here’s my problem:  I’m allergic to cats. I hate locking them behind doors just because I’m there. Cats have their own ideas about these things and they’re not the least bit quiet about them. It’s annoying for the cat and induces no small amount of guilt in me. I’ve tried antihistamines. Then I’m drowsy, but still stuffed up and sneezing. I must be the price I’m paying for sins I committed in an earlier life.

My love-hate relationship with cats makes me all the more nostalgic for them. I want them, but I can’t have them. So when my podcast friend, the library ninja named “Juice” (no, really) did an entire episode about his beloved cat, Winston, I was all ears. And a lovely cat-tail/tale it was, nice enough so that I downloaded the mp3 just to share with you all. So, sniff, sniff, a-choo!, on with the tale:

Go visit this guy, fellow readers, writers and “liberry” lovers! The address is: