#Blogtoberfest Day 16: #NaNoWriMo Prep

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.

#Blogtoberfest Day 15: A Phenomenal Woman (#poem)

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.
I say,
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
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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.
I say,
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
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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.
I say,
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
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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.
I say,
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
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

#Blogtoberfest Day 14: Crossing the Rainbow Bridge (#poem)

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

#Blogtoberfest Day 13: In My Dream (#poem)

In my dream I saw you smiling
You hadn’t smiled in so long
In my dream I heard you laughing
And then I knew I’d been so wrong

The years had passed and I barely knew who exactly you were
The pain inside, the nights you cried were hidden so well
Then he came along and touched your face and I was so mad for taking his place
From the window of your little beach house I saw everything in the mirror

The troubles we’d had around the fake dad were no more
Could it be I could now see they started when I was just a baby
Writing that letter to my father might have been harder than I knew
You hated yourself more than ever and we took the fall instead of you

In my dream I saw you smiling
You hadn’t smiled in so long
In my dream I heard you laughing
And then I knew I’d been so wrong

#Blogtoberfest Day 12: Biker Dream (#poem)

I saw them coming on their Harleys
Squinty eyes of a hungry army
The sun was hot and the desert thirsty
Silver bullets armed and dirty

A scarf headed man pointed north
“I hope your loved ones have scattered forth
Explosion is scheduled at high noon”
He looked at his watch and added, “Soon”

How did I get here so far ahead?
My kitty hiding underneath the bed
Will they escape and will we reunite?
Away from danger in the morning sunlight

I’d run from the desert and its special fears
How did I return, hanging with bikers drinking beer?
Wake me, I’m dreaming of ugly times from my past
Where the monster from then appears and outlasts

#Blogtoberfest Day 11: Poetry-Inspired Lyrics

The Flame, Leonard Cohen’s last book of poetry (and more), arrives on Friday. I can’t wait to read it, especially after reading some of the poems in the sample. I got the hard cover because some books should be read in print.

I love that his songs started out as poems. My first song submitted for professional feedback to a NY Broadway composer started out as a poem and he led me down the path to making it a song.

In Nashville, “writing to title” co-write sessions are scheduled – they have nothing to do with poetry but the good news is everybody in the room gets songwriter credit. (Two NSAI mentors loved one of my “hooks” but somehow my story wasn’t the usual Nashville story and it didn’t go anywhere).

In Confessions of a Serial Songwriter by Shelly Peiken, she laments today’s songwriter in L.A. being relegated to “topliner” – the person who is called in to write the melody or lyric or maybe just a hook or phrase. The “producer” provides the “backing track” and gets 50% of writing credit and the rest is divvied up according to some sort of formula.

But you know what? This is what you get when a society decides that humans can be created the same way – sperm donor meets egg donor meets surrogate and somehow the couple who purchases all of this genetic material becomes the “parents” and a “family” is created.

I don’t see much difference in creating a human and in creating a song today. Very sad with many consequences with this type of thinking. But that’s the world people have shouted into being. At least for now. I pray that people will come to their senses some day.

#Blogtoberfest Day 9: Epcot Food & Wine, Chocolate Art, and Coco’s Musical Story

Yesterday we made our third trip to the Epcot Food & Wine Festival –  this time with brother Bob. Little did we know that it also happened to be Columbus Day and the park was packed, especially for a weekday. Ugh!

Still, we had a blast sharing some of our favorite booths with family – the last time was back in 2010.

We started off with the Festival Center, tracking down the Chocolate display, including scenes from Coco, made entirely with chocolate. It was quite impressive!

Then we moved on to France for our favorite beignet with Hazelnut Creme with a glass of champagne – fabulous way to start the day.

Of course, we had to introduce Bob to the Ireland booth, then we chose the paella from Spain, Belgium, and Bob chose some items at India and Africa. We then finished up with my favorite Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles in China – amazing! Rich got a Kung Fu Punch, and while refreshing, was too sweet for me.

On our last stop for the day, we entered the Mexico Pavilion for some much-needed air-conditioning and to see the Dia de Los Muertos exhibit from Cocol One of the exhibits showed time passing, lighting up the scene and then returning to darkness, revealing the dead family members reunited with their family. Really cool!

It was hot and crowded by then and Bob had some plans of his own to do some park hopping before returning to Epcot for some evening noshing, so we called it a day and let Bob continue on his way.

We’ve had such fun playing tourist with family but now it’s time to get back to work. Let’s see what I’m inspired to work on most – my music or my writing.

Chocolate Art

M3

#Blogtoberfest Day 6: The Mixed Blessings of Daylight Savings Time

Living in Las Vegas, I was not a fan of Daylight Savings Time extending until November. With such extreme brightness all day, all summer long, I couldn’t wait for the sun to set behind the mountains to give some relief.

However, living in Silicon Valley, I rather enjoyed it. After work, I still had time to walk around Lake Elizabeth and would time my walk to end as the sun was setting over San Francisco Bay.

This time last year, we were living in a Florida apartment while building a house in Florida. We were sad toward the end of the build because it was too dark to see the house after work. So, in that case, the Daylight Savings Time extension worked for us because we were able to see the house until just a month before we moved in at the beginning of December.

But now I, once again, can’t wait for the ending of DST because it’s too dark to enjoy my mornings out on the lanai. All summer I would get up early and sit outside, sipping my coffee, writing, praying, preparing for the day ahead and it was absolutely amazing. Truly, the best part of the day. I’m up now but it’s pitch black out. I think I’ll go out anyway and beat the early birds out walking. Or not. Maybe I’ll at least get the coffee going.


My morning view just a couple of weeks ago – at the same time now, except for the street lamp, it’s pitch black out

#Blogtoberfest Day 5: Social Media Makes You Stupid

I believe that people aren’t normally stupid. Dysfunction, inauthenticity makes people look stupid. Social media actually makes people do stupid. It dulls your brain, your thinking ability, lessens your communication/people skills.

Take writing, for example. It’s often been said that you need to exercise your writing muscle and write every day or most days to stay strong. So inactivity weakens that writing muscle. And if you’re inactively writing because you’re sharing photos and likes on social media, your brain becomes lazy.

And so I sit here day after day this October unable to focus on writing a scene. It’s like when I first started writing, only worse. Back then, it took me all day to actually sit down and write a scene. I had good intentions of starting my writing day int he morning. But I couldn’t get anything out of my head until about 4 p.m.

Now I’d be happy if I could do that. Instead, my brain is jello, my attention span is ridiculously short. It’s easier to flip through youtube channels, peek into Twitter, and play a game on my iPad. I might read, but even that seems like a challenge – all of that focus on understanding content.

This is sad and must come to an end. I must sit down  and write every day to get that flabby writing muscle in shape. Even music has become a crutch – it’s easier to open up Logic Pro and start auditioning Apple loops or keyboard a few midi notes.

Maybe that’s what #Blogtoberfest is all about for me – getting my writing muscle back in shape. A daily blog post is the warm-up, hopefully leading to writing a sentence, a paragraph, a page, three pages maybe. That used to come so easily. But one thing I’m noticing is that I feel such peace when I’m sitting down and actually writing something… anything.