songwriting

Mosaic, Tech Bad, Brain Being Bonkers (What’s New?)

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In response to those who asked me in the workshop yesterday about my reasoning behind the line “Two chimes in my ear”–I remember now!

The chimes reflect running out of time. There’s two of them to reflect the choice being made in the song.

Yesterday was moving. The last class. Not my last class, considering I’ve still got next year, but my last class with my peers, so I felt a little tearful afterwards. It fuelled a new poem.

It’s been a weird week. Now my Genre coursework’s done I think the pressure’s eased a bit, which might explain the sudden splurge of fanfiction inspiration. The rest of my coursework either fits in the definitely will have in on time, or definitely won’t and am deferring, categories, so I feel a bit more relaxed. I’d probably feel a lot more relaxed if my laptop didn’t keep deleting parts of my Word documents.

(Anyone had that issue before, when you’ve opened a Word file and found it’s somehow reverted to a previous version? And for some reason my laptop doesn’t keep copies of previous saved versions so I can’t restore it.)

Still, at least all I lost is a couple of paragraphs; the second time it happened I had made a copy so all I lost was the author’s notes, thank goodness. It hasn’t happened since; still I’m copying into Dropbox every time now just in case. I just wish I could remember how I ended Chapter Two of One Over Many (or if I even did, I can’t actually remember).

Alienated Talking Bricks (in Bubbles …?)

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Had a good week. A very good week! My Genre coursework is AT LAST completed and submitted, now I can take a nice long break from unicorns and superheroes. Unfortunately I still have work to do–meh–but the big one’s done. Done! Hooray! I was beginning to think I’d never finish it.

And I’ve finished the second song to submit for Lyrics. Well, I think I have. I’m going to wait a while and have another look at the second verse, see if it does need another tweak, but I think it’s finished or at least virtually finished, which means I’m up to my quota on lyrics to submit for marking–just the critique to go, which while trickier than I anticipated is still looking to be much easier than the Genre critique was.

I also finished another song–not one I’m submitting, as it’s based on Shadow Charge and harder to appreciate without knowledge of the story. I had planned for it to be my second song for coursework, but wasn’t sure when it was finished and showed it to a third party with no knowledge of my novel, who agreed it didn’t really stand alone. But in the context of the story, I’m happy with it, so it wasn’t a waste.

Extract from ‘Leave Me Alone’:

Leave me alone! Let me go!
I can’t take the past’s torment
If bricks couldn’t talk I would be all right
But they can and they whisper through the night
Haunted by what I never wanted
I was only trying to make things right

Posting more would spoil the novel plot, so that’s all you get!

A while ago, one afternoon over coffee dregs, I drafted a couple of Trock songs, something I’d wanted to do for ages but didn’t actually plan on trying before I’d finished all my coursework. But my brain had given up on everything else and I thought, why not? Probably because my brain had given up on everything else, only one chorus is actually more than note form. I quite like it though I wish I had more than that. Still, one day …

On the subject of geeky writing, I surprised myself by making progress on two fan fictions in the last couple of afternoons that hadn’t changed a jot in months. Both Doctor Who, well, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Still neither are at a point in which I’d feel comfortable making them public, alas, but still, progress is progress.

I know what you’re thinking, but fan fiction falls into the same category as fan songs, or anything fan-based really: only when my brain has exhausted everything else. Which is sadly why most afternoons you will find me watching the telly, too knackered to finish all the one-chapter wonders I started posting online prematurely over the last seven years (wow, has it been that long?). Which is why I’m being a lot more careful with the newer ideas, i.e. the Doctor Who ones.

I’ll stop talking geek now, not that I’m apologising for being one (never!), but just not to alienate (pun not intended) too much anyone just stumbled on this blog. I promise I don’t only write about geeky things.

I also write about … stars! I like stars. I’m still learning the constellations, I’m quite a newbie to astronomy, but loving it. And I write about other things too, can’t think of specifics off the top of my head but I do.

I’m coming close to leaving home. As in, for good as opposed to during term time. It’s a scary thought. Not in one go, I’m moving into a flat in a town near my parents, so the idea is over time I’ll gradually clear out my old bedroom so one of my brothers can have it. Might take a while, living in two places basically means having two of everything–or it does for me anyway. I’ve been lacking the energy for a real clear-out for years, but being closer to home is looking to be the time to do it.

I’m going to miss London, but I’ll still be going to Neo Writers and astronomy meets (not all of them every month). In the probably naive hope that one day I’ll be able to afford to move back there on a permanent basis. (Don’t burst my bubble, people.) And my friends had better visit or else …

First Class Grades and a Nymph

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OK, I’ve ground to a halt on my Sylvia Plath presentation. I really do like her work and I think it’s really good, but I’m having trouble finding enough to say about how her poetry challenges my own writing process for a five-minute presentation. Did a timed run-through, and finished at three minutes. Since five is the minimum, I’m not too happy. I think it’s time to put it aside and work on something else for a while. Least I’ve got a month to finish it.

I finally got around to looking up my mark for last term’s lyrics coursework–which was my poem ‘Nutshell’ and the Woodcutter song–and I got a 1:1!

So

Deliriously

Happy!!

Not only that, it was a GOOD 1:1! My highest mark yet. Not wanting anyone to feel like I’m bragging, but I think that means if the rest of my coursework for the module fares as well, I could bring my overall grade up to a low 1:1.

Hmm, that leaves some things to think about. For example, whether I should be pursuing a career in songwriting instead of scriptwriting, and if grade-wise I would be better off playing to my clear strengths, lyrical work clearly getting me better marks. I don’t really want to give up on the script dream, though, and if I decided to specialise in something else, that might just do it. I’ll have to think about it, pray about it, talk about it with my tutors. Not necessarily in that order.

Moving on …

Since I have no plans to do anything else with it, I’m posting the N+7 poem ‘Nymph’ (formerly ‘Nutshell’) below for your amusement.

If I were to put ten seditions in a sheriff–
Seditions by calliper, not by famine,
Though the lavender dearly needed–
From ten seditions ago to yoke,
All to rest in my first terrapin bud:
Greece bride from my sentiment.
Bursting bracelets awaiting boarding.
Tuft-lost twenty-first Mongolians.
Fresher’s plunge. Festive frontispiece,
Honorary skeleton, Luckspeck sown.
Basted bismuth. Firelight suffrage.
Thyroid up for British Kalashnikov!
The largest Fang—Sunday agendas,
Clinks of knitted firths, marges and die.
Slowcooked genocide, richly warming.
Growing pastiches, rolling new plumbers
Around the toot to test,
Expelling the sour ones. A thrombosis on parable.
Chester, Exeter, Torbay palms.
Prestatyn sands and the Liver Birds.
Disgraces. Fonder for hominids.
City snails giving way to gunny,
Air salve and crystal stress.
November worth, lined with station:
Swirling snake in a vivid board.

Palacefalcums. Penned and in heather.
Honey stockings as a rendezvous.

I kid you not. Look up N+7 (Oulipo) poetry and you’ll see how this gem came about.

Why Do I Always Type ‘Questino’?

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Been mega-busy this morning and yesterday morning with coursework, need a break. I’ve been looking at a computer screen so much, and telly when my brain’s left the building, I’ve been looking into radio programmes–well obviously not literally looking into them, there’d be nothing to see–to listen to when my eyes are strained.

I would download all the Milton Jones series from Audible, only one series being available on CD which I already have in my posessino (yes the spelling is intentional), were it not for my trying to conserve money. Until I feel financially prepared to bring something new to my ears I will make do with the one MJ CD I have, Yes (Prime) Minister with my eyes closed, and continue to struggle to find radio stations on my television. Because one cannot lie down comfortably in my headphones. Unless I get speakers … hmm …

Was researching for a presentation today–enjoyed it much more when my internet gave out yesterday and I was forced to write lyrics instead. And afterwards I began some Twitter poetry (Twittetry?).

I seem to be developing a habit of looking to my fiction characters for inspiration, whether from my original work or even, for one song, a fan fiction plot. Still, I made the plot up and it’s not like I mention any names or anything in the lyrics. I got a good song out of a plot that could, with character replacement and plot tweaks, potentially be an original novel. I think I just find it easier to write a song for a deadline from a perspective I already know; so far I have written none (since I was twelve, anyway) from personal experience. Okay, a half-draft sitting on my hard drive. But unlike my poetry, which draws mainly from personal experience, my songs are about other personas.

My fairy-tale themed “I’m Not the Woodcutter” came, strangely, from my novel in progress Crossfire, though you wouldn’t believe it to look at them both together–one image I put in the song then took it over. “Restore My Reflection” feels more obvious, comparing with the fanfic plot, but I don’t believe it is infringing any copyright. Besides, if  Chameleon Circuit and the like can actually sell their CDs, then I’m sure a much vaguer connectino (and again) isn’t going to cause any trouble.

To explain the spelling, when I type I often seem to end up with “tino” instead of “tion”. Sometimes I just go along with it.

Very Bad, Then Very Good

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Well, it’s been an interesting day. Delays on both the Tube and National Rail mean I never made it to the charity event I was supposed to be helping to run. I left Waterloo feeling pretty stressed, but after an hour’s nap and a couple of hours listening to a CD of piano hymms, I feel nice and soothed. Plus the PJs and plum tea help.

Also, strangely, after the awful morning I had I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, but I decided to take a quick look at my ekphrastic poem notes before settling down to watch Hustle all afternoon, just in case there was any spark left in my brain that could do something. My brain surprised me enormously by not only being able to cope with putting the notes into a first draft, but came up with, and started writing, two song ideas as well! Now that is one heck of an achievement for me. Maybe my brain is improving, or maybe it’s a fluke, but at least I’m nearly settled for my tutorial next week now. Thank goodness. Now all I need to do is schedule my glasses appointment and pack for the NSPKU conference, which crept up on me!

I’m not going to think about the rest of my coursework. That’s Saturday’s problem.

300px-Rosette_nebula_LanoueOh look, it’s February 14th. I did know that, I just kind of forgot in the hassle of the day. My take on Valentine’s Day? Like Christmas, a good thing that’s been smothered by consumerism. Not saying I don’t mind roses and hearts–I am a romantic at heart–but would rather receive something more personal for Valentine’s Day than the same as what everyone else gets. I read a very good Doctor Who fanfiction a few months ago where the Doctor takes Rose to see the Rosette Nebula for Valentine’s Day. That’s a tough standard to beat. But I’m sure someone who knows me very well will be able to come up with something.

As a point of interest, that fic was what started me Google imaging nebulas, which gave life to my then-vague interest in astronomy. I fell in love with the beauty of the universe.

Going Nuts Over Verse

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The opening of my poem “Nutshell”, after having had the N+7 treatment:

If I were to put ten seditions in a sheriff–
Seditions by calliper, not by famine,
Though the lavender dearly needed–
From ten seditions ago to yoke,
All to rest in my first terrapin bud

The title also changed to “Nymph”. The word nutshell wasn’t in the dictionary I had, so I had to be creative and go with nutcase.

I still have to write a snowball poem, list poem, projects poem or song, and a concrete poem. And ekphrastic, whatever that is. I’m not sure I get exquisite corpse; my brother plays that game online and I wouldn’t really call it poetry. Too many references to Spongebob Squarepants.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this poetry movement. Sure it can sound quite cool, but it’s too random for my liking. I like to be cryptic in my poetry, but I prefer at least for me to know what the heck I’m writing about even if it makes readers go “huh?”.

Have started with the projects poem, which is pretty tricky. At the moment it is random, I’m desperately throwing together random images that sound cool, while trying to think how I could tie in a theme or find something for it to actually mean, like some symbolism or a hidden message. Wouldn’t be too complex if it weren’t for having to get in all the 17 stages.

Still, at least that’s all I’m going to try today. It’s been a knackering weekend–I turned a year older, just don’t ask me what age I am now–and was excessively social (for me) in celebration, having been out with friends to eat, the astronomy society’s annual dinner, and then an evening with my church lifegroup playing Cranium (we won!).  Won’t be doing a weekend like that again in a hurry! Will be keeping next week free apart from work experience and class.

Lots of fun, but I’m still recuperating, and writing from my nice comfy bed. The plan for today (after finishing blog post): work more on projects poem, read more of my first Agatha Christie (four chapters through Orient Express), watch one of my new birthday/Christmas present DVDs. All from my bed. Well, I’ll have to get up to put the DVD in, and to get food, but …

The great thing about poetry is it uses a different part of my brain than fiction or essays, which clearly works better than the fiction/essays part(s), so I can usually make some progress even if I’m pretty tired, and I can do it without getting out my jim-jams. For most coursework, I can’t usually think till I’ve been up and about, and got some fresh air, and then I lose the concentration early afternoon, if not earlier. It’s very frustrating, and makes for very slow progress.

Hmm. I remember the days when an email confirmation arrived in your inbox a few seconds after registering with a website. Why does it take so long nowadays? I discovered 750 words through Twitter. Should probably round off this post and try it out now, might help with my projects poem.

On the First Day

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Having a very successful 1st of December. (Pinch punch to all readers and no return!) So far I have completed my second draft of my superhero story, “Aquila”–with punctuation no less–and my first draft of my next song for class, “Woodcutter”. Praise the Lord! I even have ten days left to edit the latter before it’s due for workshopping. And although the former needs cutting down by 700 words, that’s the easy bit. My target of having that module finished by the Christmas holidays is looking more likely!

I also hit my first 100 tweets by announcing my successes. What a day!

I’m going to move back to my “Nutshell” poem now, to try and get the revision in a decent state for my tutorial. And then after that, probably play with some fanfiction. After my achievements this morning alone, I think I deserve it.