by Christina Aguilera (feat. Alicia Keys) ~ Stripped
I’d forgot how much I like my “Z-Write” playlist; if anything, it gives me a much wider range of music and song titles to use when I run out of original titles for posts.
I can’t even remember when I created the playlist since it was at least during the iPod Classic years, but it has long since been a writing staple for me as it consists of music I dearly love and to which I’ll often break into song while in the middle of some prose. The purest thing about it, however, is the ability to disappear when I’m concentrating and not re-appear until I’m ready to hear it again, which is usually when I sing along with the music.
The “writeabilty” of the list comes from the fact that I love all the songs a ton, but not to the point that it’s overwhelming. There are few songs on the list that when I hear them, I have to stop what I’m doing to consider the lyrics or sing out my heart because I love the music so much and that is what makes this list of fifty-some songs so perfect as a writing backdrop. I can think about the music when I have the desire to do so, but not a moment prior to that.
I wrote 517 words today (new semester and taking the roll call) and all of them were written to my Z-Write playlist, so called to ensure that it’s always at the bottom of my playlists and easily findable and also because I love to say that it’s “zee right playlist to use for writing.” when I explain it to others.
Every so often, I hit a new musical stage in my life. Many times these overlap with one another and some come stronger than others, but by the time I recognize that I’m in love with a new musical genre, I’m already way too obsessed to extract myself from it and can only ride the wave of music. A year ago, it was J-pop; a few months ago, it was Green Day and anything I could play in Rock Band; currently, it’s opera.
The song I posted yesterday (Con te Partiro by Andrea Bocelli) has become my current favorite song and if I was in the mood to update Dorienne Smith.com, I’d list it as such. I’m not even entirely sure how I came across this song…It may have come up on Pandora as a cover and perhaps I searched out the original; I’m not entirely sure and it doesn’t really matter. The fact is, if I wasn’t completely enamoured with opera music prior to “discovering” this song, now, I’m totally there. I’ve even decided to incorporate some opera into Nostrum for now, though, this may change as I continue writing. I originally intended to spill Michael Jackson songs all through Damen, but have since scaled that back to just one song and then added a Green Day song when all I listened to for a month straight was their music.
I wrote 362 words tonight (shook his head, though he agreed with them) despite the day I’ve had. I think what I enjoy most about opera is that, aside from being able to write to it just like I would any chosen playlist of “writing music,” I don’t understand a word of Italian or French or German, but I still understand the emotion from the music. Now, I’ve just got to find my way to a live opera while this desire is still kicking…
I think the title sounds like the beginning verse of a song. I’m imagining a Lisa Loeb type voice singing it, too. But, then again, I’m not a song writer…still I think I’ll add this to my AwesomeNote just in case further inspiration strikes later in the week.
As the title indicates, on Day 1 of my vacation, I’ve accomplished absolutely nothing. I’ve got a few more Green Day Rock Band achievements under my belt and I went to my piano lesson today and even made some progress while there, but as far as the housework, etc….as the title states: Day one…and nothing’s done.
I’d like to say that I will start a tonne of work and writing tonight, but that would be just dishonest to myself. I’ve paused my Rock Band game to write 292 words (this kind of bul***t on me just to get his rocks off) and post tonight and my fourth disc of Frasier Season 6 has arrived, so if I even pretend that I’ll be doing something worthwhile tonight, I’ll just be kidding myself.
I’ve not been this sleepy so “early” in the night in quite a while, so this will be quick.
I’ve got to find a better way to manage bad news and a better way to manage stress. If it means that I come home and write immediately or play Rock Band until I forget about the bad things or watch some of my favorite Frasier episodes until I can’t focus on anything else…then so be it.
On the positive side, I managed to accomplish my June goal for the first day of the month. I did spend about five minutes playing scales with my eyes closed as I tried to wake up myself, when I clearly needed more sleep. Hopefully, tomorrow will fair well as I’ve got to be up far earlier in the morning for first-job….blargh…
I wrote 367 words tonight (unintentionally appropriate concern about his departure) and I’m a little ridiculously obsessed with Green Day’s music for the moment. This too will pass, but until then I’ll keep fine tuning my new playlist as I play this post’s title song and Little Girl over and over and over again, occasionally playing Peacemaker to liven up things…
All this watching Frasier non-stop got me interested more interested in classical music, hence the reason I wanted to hear classical music so badly as I drove my new car for the first time. Specifically, I’ve been more interested in arias from different operas which drove me to Pandora to try my best at creating a station to mimic the one I’d found on the radio that played a healthy mix of nocturnes, arias and the like. In playing with Pandora, I took another look at Slacker and then spent the majority of the evening researching which of the two was the better app for iPhone and for me. So, I didn’t really get any more writing done other than what I’d already written this afternoon and I didn’t get to play any Rock Band either.
Today was an odd mix of confusion, stress, boredom and fun. There are times when I’m sure that I’m going completely crazy as mind my struggles to remain clear and think rationally. I’m also suffering from some pretty fantastic sleep apnea lately, which is made even more incredible considering the bouts of insomnia I’ve been facing. So, I’ll not sleep for days and then eventually, fall into a sleep so deep that I stop breathing and then throw up in my sleep. If I live to see 30, it’s only by the grace of God. Honestly, that I’ve survived to 26 is proof enough of that.
I’m done babbling…
I wrote 273 words today (with The Phantom Tollbooth within an arm’s reach. ). If anything helps get the creative juices flowing and going, it’s these monthly cycles of craziness and insomnia I face each month.
A few weeks ago, while playing Rock Band, it occurred to me that I needed a new creative outlet. Rock Band, while very fun, isn’t really creative; it is simply hit this button at this time and I don’t know enough about the guitar to just start freestyling.
My normal creative outlet has now become more of a second job than just an outlet; it is something that must get done no matter how badly I don’t want to do it. I am still creative when I write, but the ability to be creative just because I desire to be such has been nearly wiped away as I strive to complete this novel.
I can barely draw as it is and, even when I am inspired to create, my talents to not transfer into the visual arts, so whatever I create never looks like the image in my mind. Rather than take art or guitar classes or let my focus move from my novel, I’ve channeled this need for creativity and focus into the instrument that has sat unused and unloved at the end of my living room for the past four years.
I wrote just 286 words tonight (she crosses the double yellow line, just barely missing another car), but still, I feel life’s puzzle pieces falling into place.
I have an extraordinary way to go as I continue this new endeavor, but I like the thought of it already: Starting each day with a little piano practice to keep me relaxed and put me in the right mindset for the day I’m about to face.
I’ve been playing a game in The Sims franchise for the last eight years and, while I spend the majority of my “free time” playing The Sims 2, I’ve edited my Sims 2 game to play the “Build” music from The Sims 1.
In the first Sims game, when you were building houses or making structural changes to the lot, a very calm piano music would play, though it changed when you went to the “Buy Mode” in the game. I spent countless hours in Sims 1 just building houses because I loved to simply create and listen to the beautiful music.
The Sims 2 brought its own brand of techno-something music that crossed every mode from Create-A-Sim to building and early on in my Sims 2 playing, I changed all the music over to the Sims 1 Build music. After realizing how much I enjoyed said music, I eventually ported it onto my iPod and then iPhone and even added some album art to it. Nowadays, most of the six Sims 1 Build Mode songs create the bulk of a playlist I call “Soothe Me” which I play when I’m in need of something to calm my mind. I also write to that list on occasion as well, which is why I’ve spent two hundred words of this post talking about it.
While listening to a song I only know as “Build 2,” I not only felt calmer than I had all day, I also wrote some really beautiful prose and was so in the zone with it playing, that I re-played it to keep the momentum going.
Tonight I wrote 260 words (and left the table to sit on the floor next to Angel) and I am calmer for it. I have no other desires for tonight, either; just to sit and listen my Sims 1 music and let my mind rest for the night.
When I get out of the car from the drive home from first-job, I can tell my level of frustration by whether or not I went the entire drive music-less.
On normal days, I put on any playlist in the car and just drive home to go about my night. On troublesome days, I specifically play my “Soothe Me” list which often helps calm my spirit since it is entirely classical and the lack of words helps clear my mind and wash away whatever happened earlier that day. On crappy days, I put on “Singeable” because it has a ton of songs I love to just sing until I’m too exhausted to stress about anything. On bad days, it doesn’t matter what list I play because the music plays, but I don’t sing along because my mind is too focused on everything else that happened during the day. On really bad days, I go the whole car ride with my mind racing so hard and so fast that I forget to even turn on music, but…when I get through the door, I can watch something on Netflix or have something to eat and still tune out everything else.
On days like today, however, I arrive in my driveway, unsure how I even got home because I don’t remember driving the distance, I certainly didn’t turn on any music and I’m so angry and frustrated that I pace in my kitchen and living room for thirty minutes running all the “I should’ve saids” through my mind, unable to quiet any of the negativity, to the point that I have to resort to “writing it out” for an hour straight to keep myself from having a stroke or brain aneurysm and passing away alone because no one would come looking for me for at least a week or two.
I wrote 740 words tonight (and Angel followed, still yelling after him), but the tension is still there. Normally, once I write out my stress and troubles, I feel infinitely better, but when it grinds so hard that it pushes away both sleep and appetite, it’s difficult for even a focused writing session to calm me. I think the worst part about feeling this way is the knowledge that I’ll have to do it all over again tomorrow.
I couldn’t think of a decent post title, so I’ve decided to use my word count for the day (Damen sighed again and tried to return to his play).
I’ll have to make this quick since I decided that I wanted to be over 500 words today when I was at 488, but then found I didn’t want to stop writing.
I’ve had a fun idea that’s got procrastination written all over it: Creating playlists that tell the story of my projects. So, Pete Yorn’s “Ever Fall in Love” would be a perfect fit for Damen as well as “The Weakness in Me” by Joan Armatrading. But, to keep this from becoming the project that overtakes my real project, I think I’ll leave the playlist creation as part of my many rewards for completing the novel.
That said, I’ve got off to a good start with Chapter 10. Yay! 🙂
I feel like I’ve cheated a little today because most of my nightly word count came mostly from editing. That being said, I’m still proud of the 423 words (about her every five minutes.”) I managed to write slash edit.
I’m starting to get rejuvenated and I truly “blame” some new music I’ve “discovered.” The problem with me and music discovery is that I don’t listen to the radio, I don’t watch television (therefore, no music videos), and I rarely trust the music suggestions of my own friends and family. So, I end up stuck in 2005 with music rarely reaching beyond that year.
I have recently “discovered” Janelle Monae’s Metropolis albums and I’ve not been in love with music like this in a very long time. She’s so different and reminds me of Andre 3000, but less vulgar and with more experimentation. I found her while testing some of the music suggestions of QC’s Jeph Jacques and couldn’t be happier with what I’m hearing – I’m listening to her “Many Moons” at this very moment.”
I had been watch Jeph Ustream a comic and he had some music I really enjoyed in the background, so I decided to finally peruse his list of best albums of 2010. Previously never hearing of any of these bands, I passed off the list as a list of “crazy” Indie music, but after hearing what I heard on the Ustream, I took a chance. I added four of the albums to my “Stuff I Want” list and some extra clicking on Amazon later, I found Janelle Monae.
I probably won’t write too much more tonight, but I feel energized from something that only comes from pure music discovery. Now, onto “Cybertronic Purgatory.”
Before I talk about writing, I have to talk about my latest swing of Guitar Hero.
Last night, I defeated “Woman” by Wolfmother on Hard mode. This was no ordinary feat as many songs on Hard are ridiculously hard. Just look!
I first attempt this song about a month ago. I had completed all the songs on Medium and, once I had figured out how to complete Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” I had zoomed the rest of the songs on the first tier. I was flying high and imagined I would fly through all the songs on Hard as did on medium. Then came “Woman.”
I attempted it several times and then quit the game, realizing that I had hit a wall so tall I had no hope in ever climbing it and it was quite possible that I would never be able to play any other song on Guitar Hero.
A few weeks went by and I attempted the song again, only to fail even harder than I had on the first attempt. What made it so difficult to stomach, aside from my hatred of failure, was the fact that I couldn’t stand the song. The hard songs are fun to master when I actually like the song, like “Message in a Bottle” or “Jessica” or even “Free Bird,” but a song, I can’t imagine I’ll ever listen to outside of Guitar Hero is just painful to keep playing over and over and over again, with no hope of ever playing another song on the Hard tour.
To satiate my Guitar Hero desires, I started to go through the Medium tour again to play as many songs as possible to five stars and even got through the first tier, but at the back of my mind “Woman” still lurked, waiting for me like a behemoth that knew it could never be defeated.
Last week, I decided that I was going to beat “Woman.” If I did nothing else in life, I could at least revel in the fact that I had beaten my Everest of Guitar Hero songs. I tried just playing and playing the song in hopes that I could just “get” it randomly, but I continuously failed at 48%. The hammer ons and pull offs were what perplexed me. I took the tutorials twice more in hopes of understanding the concept, but nothing came. I pulled YouTube videos of greasy 13 year olds explaining how to accomplish the hammer ons and pull off, but I could only take so much of those cracking voices and quickly grew frustrated.
I tried practicing the song on every speed, but even there I was making less than a third of the notes. Finally, I literally said “F**k it.” and just decided that I was just going to keep playing the song until I died. For the past four nights, I’ve been doing just this. I go to work, I go home, I eat a bit, I play Guitar Hero and I write. Every night I would play, but I would get no further.
Friday night, I discovered to my amazement that I had actually mastered the verses, but could not go any further. Then, I realized the usefulness of the star power and got a little further and even into 71%, but continued to hit that wall. Last night, however, I discovered how Dorienne! does hammer ons and pull offs. On a whim, I just slid my fingers across the fret buttons and Lo and Behold! I had made the pull off!
It was like a stroke of genius, like getting hit on the head with an apple and I grinned wildly as I continued to play and play and play using my newfound skill and going further and further into the song. Then…I did it.
My mouth hung as I realized I had surpassed all my other hiccups in the song and was winding the turn into the end of the final verse and then, I did it! My neighbors probably thought I was being attacked by the amount of screaming and jumping that was going on when I saw “You Rock!” at the end of the song, but I didn’t care. I did it. I beat “Woman” on Hard tour. After I beat that song (and after a short rest), every song that came after it was a cakewalk. I had arrived!
I have no delusions of grandeur about completely beating the game and getting through Expert mode, but the moment I beat “Woman” was just so sweet.
On to more important things…
So, all this week, I’ve been falling asleep in my chair, waking at 4am and then dragging myself to the bed. Last night, I took things to another level and just slept in the chair.
Out of the pure stubbornness of not wanting to go to sleep until I finished the chapter, I refused to go to sleep. I’d lean back in my chair and then push myself forward to type just one more word…I was so close to the end. But, then, I awoke and found myself in my chair, my space heater whirring gently beside me. I expected to find that it was 5 or even 6, but it was 8:30.
I knew I was going to church this morning, but was just annoyed that I hadn’t even got to my bed. The same stubbornness that kept me in the chair until 8:30 in the morning, pushed me back into my bed just to gain the feeling of getting out of bed in the morning.
Despite all my best efforts and the rampant stubbornness, I only managed to squeak out 611 words last night. I’ve decided that both the Brit/Britiana and the Facebook friending/unfriending will be an allusion to the turbulent state of Damen and Brit’s friendship. I also realized, however, that I have yet to really answer why Brit doesn’t have any black friends. I know I’ll have to make whatever the story is start sometime back when she and Jessie were in first or second grade…maybe one of the black girls in their class said something mean to Brit and Jessie just slaps the girl across the face and instant best friends…I don’t know…
I don’t think I’ll get much writing done later tonight. I’m a bit tired after spending 5 hours at work after church (an exhausting day at church at that) and I think I’d really rather just play the sims, not to mention that I’ve got the rest of the Guitar Hero II Hard tour to attempt. That said, I’ve not gone this long writing consistently since I was in the depths of Flight, so perhaps taking the night off may not be the best thing to do just yet.
I fully intended to spend the majority of last night writing, but…
After two hours of browsing for new Sims 2 downloads (I never did find the mod I wanted) and then another 3 hours of playing Guitar Hero 2, I found myself at 2am with nothing written at all and incredibly tired. I was about to give up on the night, but I kept reading and re-reading in hopes that some inspiration would come.
As with the past two nights, I have been stuck at nearly the same scene: ending the first “part” of Chapter 5. I decided to go with Damen’s ponderings about pinging Brit on Facebook, but still spent another hour trying to determine the best way to end. To just get passed the whole thing, I just wrote something very telling and literally, put him to bed; I just couldn’t see a better way to end the scene. The worst part is that in looking at it again this morning, I already hate it. I’m going to leave it for now in hope that some decent inspiration will strike as I continue writing, but this last part has been a trial to write.
I only got through 507 words which, while not an incredible leap forward, is better than I did the previous night. I stopped right when Damen is noticing the cold reception from his peers because I knew I had to go back and figure out if I had made the previous scene fall on a Friday like I had originally intended or if I had made it some other day. If it’s any other day, I’ll have to go back and re-edit the end of the last scene tonight; there’s just no way I’ll be able to sleep at night with the scene left in such a state.
One positive thing about last night was that I did not fall asleep in my chair. I did lean back to gain some perspective, but then I started to listen to my current music. I made this playlist almost a year ago that includes:
Sunset Theme ~ Brendon Small (Home Movies)
Brendon’s Camera ~ Brendon Small
Heart Smashers Theme ~ Brendon Small
Septopus Theme ~ Brendon Small
All Apologies ~ Nirvana
Something ~ The Beatles
One Flight Down ~ Norah Jones
Because ~ The Beatles
Come Away With Me ~ Norah Jones
Imagine ~ John Lennon
Buckbeak’s Flight ~ John Williams (Harry 3)
A Window to the Past ~ John Williams (Harry 3)
Princess Leia’s Theme ~ John Williams (Stars Wars 4)
Across the Stars ~ John Williams (Star Wars 2)
I’m not sure what drove me to make this playlist, but it’s become a new “Z-Write” list for me. I created Z-Write (sometimes Too Write, depending on the system) as a collection of songs I loved, but all sounded smooth and mellow and could allow me a background against which I could write. I don’t get bored with Z-Write, but occasionally, I wish for something else. The other playlist (just called “aaaaaaaaaaaa1” for now) functions in a similar manner, but is a lot shorter, so I have a greater concept of time passing as I write. It also contains some John Williams, who I write to quite often in either the “The JW Opus” or the “Star Wars” playlists, but both of those include “Duel of the Fates” and there’s nothing mellow about that song. In fact, I write to it most often when I am writing Luka, since that project is likely to include a lot of warring/fighting scenes.
Anyway, I sat musing over how I had recently taken such a liking to “A Window to the Past” (I think it’s the clarinet; you don’t get to hear the woodwinds accentuated that much in Williams’ music) which led to my thinking about how much I despise the current state of Harry Potter. Where there was once an enduring, dutiful love, now rests regret and annoyance. The movies have been garbage since Harry 4 and, even though I’d like to write the Harry story I’ve had at the back of my mind since that enduring love still endured, I doubt I’ll be re-reading those books anytime soon.
All these Harry ponderings almost gave me a second wind, but I had to put an end to it and decided to go to bed. The second wind would have entailed a ten-page rant on how Ms. Rowling punked out pairing Harry & Ginny and Ron & Hermione together and no good could have really come from it. I did, however, go to sleep thinking about this Harry story I’ve had brewing for years and I’ve decided that it will be my next project once I finish Damen.
I’ve read that it’s normally a good idea to lay aside your current novel and immediately set into something else while you prepare for the editing phase. If you are too wrapped up in your “baby,” it’ll make it that much harder to cut what needs to be cut and change what truly needs to be changed.
If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that what sounds brilliant one week, may sound like trash two months later. (On a side note, I’m currently listening to the above described playlist and I just love how there’s this part in the middle of “Window to the Past” that is pulled straight from songs on the Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith scores.)
I think I’m going to take today and really focus on my writing. My pastor sent me a text message this morning I haven’t answered since I haven’t been to church in five or six weeks and I don’t have an excuse other than, I just didn’t want to go, so tomorrow, I’ll probably be at church. Tonight, however, should be a focus on writing.
I find it poignant to mention the passing of Michael Jackson at some point as the nature of my OCD/bipolar mix nearly hit a crazed even horizon this week and, since I’ve been listening to his music for almost eight full days, it just seems right to mention him.
To say that I’m grieving is both far-fetched and an understatement to me at the moment. I can’t say I was ever one of the “off the wall,” memorable MJ fans as most of his work had been made before I was old enough to truly appreciate it, but I feel the loss greatly and, like with the passing of Michael Crichton, this even too will has worked its way into my writing.
I’ve decided to incorporate some of my favorite of his songs into Damen. I’ve only come to this decision tonight, amidst the height of my “grief-stricken” mania, and I may look back on this decision in another month and find it ridiculous, but at the moment, it’s fitting.
I’ve become completely absorbed by his music, his performances and news about his passing for the past week and even “rewarded” myself for finishing the scene where Jessie “meets” Damen with the ability to simply sit and watch a new downloaded “Moonwalker,” downloaded because too many people had the same idea I had on Netflix.
I don’t think this is really too much for me to do, afterall, I’ve incorporated SVU into Damen anyway and will find a way to add X-Files too. I have so much of myself in Damen the character that it will actually be quite fun to write him experiencing music he does not, cannot and will not understand while everyone else around him moonwalks and dances to some of the greatest music this generation has ever heard. I’ve already imagined the scenes for three of the songs, but I’m afraid I’ll have to punk out on my favorite, “Remember the Time” because, unfortunately, it’s not one that loads of people find immediately recognizable, but it’s still my favorite and must be mentioned somehow.
I have to also add how important prayer has been to me this week as I strive to maintain control of this BPD. I imagine someday I’ll “retire” from writing and sucuumb to some mind-numbing drugs to keep me from being some middle-aged woman howling at the moon in the middle of the streeet, but for now I treat this with only prayer, as most things should be. I prayed very, very hard this week for the abilty to maintain control as I get over this new obsession that is fueled by BPD. I prayed, quite plainly, that I didn’t have the time to completely lose “it” over MJ because I’ve got a novel to write and can’t afford to lose the time getting myself back together. I’m still writing like me, only now writing with my “MJ-Write” playlist continuing in the background.
So…I’m looking at the woman in the mirror now, so I’ll be able to remember the time, I beat “it” and avoided keeping my writing in the closet. I have kept the faith and know this work will be a PYT of it’s own. And, hopefully this BPD will leave me alone because I wanna be starting something with this writing endeavour of mine. 😛