As hard as I’ve tried to get back into writing fiction – taking a class from the Las Vegas chapter of RWA and reading No Plot, No Problem – to motivate myself to join NaNoWriMo for the month of November, I just can’t do it. I’m too far gone when it comes to music these days and I’m dreaming of upgrading my studio.
Our newest addition to the family, Miss Daisy, turns one today. Happy birthday, Daisy. She loves sitting in window sills, pillow snuggling, chair stealing, and hanging out with Shadow. She is such a blessing!
So excited that the LA Dodgers are going to the world series that I just had to change my
profile pic to me in my Dodgers hat. My first pro baseball game was at Dodger Stadium when the SF Giants played the Dodgers and the Dodgers won. My aunt was living in San Francisco so when she came down to visit, my stepdad and brother stayed home while the women went to the game – lol!
Later, I would learn that my father and his family were big Dodger fans, although my dad once said, “The Dodgers will break your heart.” I grew up in Orange County so after that game I became an Angels fan and later lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 23 years so I was a SF Giants fan. The truth is, we’re all fans of baseball.
After I met father and family, I learned that my grandfather pitched for the Memphis Chicks until my grandmother asked him to give up the game and help her with their three little boys – my dad, Uncle Jim, and Uncle Don. He did and started singing and playing in a band. She didn’t like that either with all the woman hanging out there. Later, toward the end of her life I was able to hear her say on a family video that she regretted asking him to give up baseball because it was his dream.
I’m sad for grandpa, never knowing if he could have made it. But what I’m sadder about, still, is growing up without knowing my father and his family, even though we all lived about half an hour apart. (see Myths of the Fatherless for that story.)
Grandpa, top of photo, dad on the far right, at Dodger Stadium for the Angels vs Indians game
I’m feeling like myself again
Getting in touch with an old friend
One who changed the world around her
One who knew when to stand and when to demur
I’m driving my red Impala girl
1963 in a 70s gas-conserving world
Do I trade it for another
Politically-correct more practical model?
I’m feeling like myself again
Learning new things about who I am
Not just a writer but a poet
My musical ear so strong, I just didn’t know it
We learn about ourselves living life every day
But some things we can only know by knowing our family
Adoption, divorce, embryos, single mothers, and step fathers
Deprive us of a piece of ourselves that really matters
I’m feeling more like myself today
I will miss the morning sunlight peeking through the trees,
soaring birds chirping their morning wakefulness,
squawking gulls flapping their wings,
treading shore birds scanning the pond for breakfast.
I will miss sipping my coffee on the lanai greeting the dawn with prayer,
scribbling my early thoughts,
clearing my mind of nighttime fears,
making room for gratitude and thankfulness.
I will miss cocktails and apps overlooking the springs at the BoatHouse,
strolling World Showcase,
martinis in the Wilderness,
dipping my toes in the ocean.
I will miss our dream kitchen,
white cabinets and quartz countertops,
undermount lights with a view
of morning walkers and evening golf carts.
But most of all I will miss
the last house where Skipper lived.
I’m pretty sure I won’t really be doing NaNoWriMo – oh, sure, I’ll continue to write the tome I seem to be working on when the mood strikes, ie, a scene or emotion comes to me that I must write down. Maybe because these days music is my main focus. And that is quite a juggling act.
In Songwriting: Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure, published by Berklee Press, it says this about writing lyrics upfront, right in the introduction, the first page of the book:
You will have no trouble learning about lyric structure. It is simple, just like juggling. When a juggler keeps four balls in the air at once it may seem like magic, but there is no magic involved. The juggler learned by throwing one ball up and catching it, throwing and catching, stopping and starting the motion; always gaining greater control over the movement of the ball. Then came two balls, then three, throwing and catching, stopping and starting, with greater and greater control.
As a lyricist, you must learn to juggle four balls.
1. How many phrases does it have?
2. How long is each phrase?
3. What is the rhythm of each phrase?
4. How are rhymes arranged?
And that’s just the lyrics. Then there’s the music, and music production. Each piece requires great skill, learning the craft, and practice. And then they all must work together – prosody, that’s what it’s all about.
When I was a child, I knew how to live in the moment
No bills to pay, no past to replay
Anticipating the next adventure
Beach, park, or reading all day
Alone or joint venture
When I was a child, I had no worries to bother with
Maybe a few, such as dishes or dusting to do
Begging them off while watching Disneyland fireworks go off
Dreaming of becoming ‘big, rich and famous,” didn’t you, too?
Confiding in that one friend who wouldn’t scoff
When I was a child, I dreamed of the future
A wife, a mother, even a movie star
Ironing and watching Password or the Fugitive like mother
And don’t forget “My Mother the Car”
After playing outside with my friends or my brother
Today I vow to live in the moment
No worries, no past, just the next step on the way
Anticipating the moment’s adventure
Beach, park, or reading all day
Writing without censure
Ever since my first NaNoWriMo about 2004, I’ve run fast from any mention of “NaNo.” What a big mess of a manuscript I wrote – something I could never edit into coherence.
The writer of this post thinks people should stop writing and start reading – that writers get way too much attention at book stores. I agree, that it isn’t for everybody and there are reasons to do it or not to do it – only you can make that decision. But here’s why I’m going to commit to doing it this year:
I’m reading the revised edition of “No Plot, No Problem” and the author made this statement:
“The year was 1999, and I was working as a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, drinking way too much coffee and watching the dot-com boom rewrite the rules of life around me”
That was me, too! After moving around quite a bit since then, I love the idea of reconnecting with Bay Area people who were there back then and maybe still there. But NaNoWriMo also connects me to a writing community and after writing in isolation for too many years from moving around a lot, stumbling around in the songwriting community, which is nothing like a writing community, I’m eager to reconnect with a writing community again.
So, yeah, committing to #Blogtoberfest is the warm-up to writing every day and so I’m preparing to writing a novel during November, no matter how short or long, as long as there is a beginning, an ending, and a middle.
I read “Phenomenal Woman” in Maya Angelou’s Poems, and I’d like to quote it here. I hope that’s allowed as long as I give credit with a link to the book. Anyway, she’s such a brilliant poet, and I have much to learn from her writing.
I totally relate to this poem because I’ve often said it’s not so much about how pretty or skinny or young you are – it’s your attitude and the confidence you display that gets attention from both men and women.
Except for the “chick lit” era when I had my “Chicks Over 40” blog, I often feel invisible online. I feel far more appreciated in person walking down the street among total strangers.
Phenomenal Woman (a poem) by Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
I walk into a room
just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
It’s sin the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Now you understand
just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
The palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
“Cause I’m a woman
My heart is in tatters like a kitten loved robe
Offered up so generously out of deepest love
Those mornings sipping coffee I held you on my chest
You cling to me so tightly snoring during your morning rest
How can you be gone after 17 years
My eyes are dry now with frozen tears
But what is really unfathomable is losing even more
The love of your life and my 18-year-old little boy
Two weeks later I had to say goodbye
To the man who was my father – was I the apple of his eye?
We’d had so little time together and others had kept us apart
I think I know what he meant when he said “The Dodgers will break your heart”
And so I dedicate this poem to those I have loved
To those who have gone before me in Heaven above
I like to picture you glamping in a trailer with a well-stocked fridge
Surrounded by your favorite things, crossing that rainbow bridge