#Blogtoberfest Day 28: Real Women Sing the Blues

I’ve almost made it through the month of October blogging daily, but I’m running out of steam. It’s a good thing I’m taking a hiatus in November.

Yesterday’s visit to the Guitar Center was so much fun! I ended up getting a songbook on playing the blues, which is making my piano practice a lot more fun!

The original version of the sequel to Real Women Wear Red was titled Real Women Sing the Blues. I was trying to keep a color theme for the trilogy plus the fact that the main character, Robin, quits her corporate job to chase after her dream of singing the blues.

The fun part about being an Indie author is that you can experiment and make changes to your books. And somewhere along the way, I thought Real Women Go Hawaiian was a better title since it highlighted the Hawaii setting (Real Women Wear Red is set in the Caribbean) – so if you buy the double set, that’s what you’ll get.

However, as I get more and more into playing the blues on the keyboard, I’m thinking Real Women Sing the Blues as a single is more fitting.

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 25: How Online Overload Harms Your Writing Career (and your Brain)

Unplugging – it sounds so sexy to me – lol! I’ve been drawn to unplugging for some time because, like most people today, I’ve been noticing the downside of too much information, over stimulation, social media, etc., etc. And not just as a writer, but as a musician and as a person.

Working in the San Francisco Bay Area with a career in electronic publishing since the late 1970s, I was one of the first to hop aboard all things electronic, imagining something like the internet and hollering with glee when it became accessible to all. But things don’t stay as they were. Instead of being helpful, the internet has deteriorated in so many ways and don’t get me started on social media.

Anyway, it’s interesting that many people are realizing this now – people are getting off social media, studies have been studied, books have been written, and people are speaking out about the harm of it all.

What I’m leading up to is I found this post in my email yesterday – “How Online Overload Harms Your Writing Career” from Productive Writers. He quotes a book called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. I downloaded a sample to my reader and can’t wait to get into it today.

I’m wondering if maybe this is why I’ve lost interest in writing. Is it because I can’t focus for that long these days? Have I said everything I have to say? Or did I lose interest as my readers lost interest? Once the algorithms changed from people finding me via search engines to a weighted discovery of numbers – sites and books with the most sales are shown to people’s eyeballs. So if your numbers aren’t huge, you get practically zero visibility. The more you sell, the more you will sell. The less you sell, the less people will even know about you until finally your sales stop completely. Another way the internet is all screwed up.

We’re being told what we see – it’s no longer the free space where all are equal – that’s the problem with social media – it’s controlling “information” and we see different things, dictated by advertisers and algorithms. We’re being controlled like puppets. But the scariest thing of all is how our brains are actually being changed from it.

It’s definitely time to unplug – at least somewhat. It won’t be easy because we’ve been trained to reach for our smart phone every time we get that twitch, which is practically nonstop. I’ve noticed that if I turn my phone off or leave it in another room, I sleep much better. No middle-of-the-night poetry, but I’ll just have to write it at the computer during the day. Who knows what I may actually accomplish?

#Blogtoberfest Day 20: Feeling Like Myself (#poem)

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

#Blogtoberfest Day 19: Things I Will Miss

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.

 

 

#Blogtoberfest Day 18: Writing Lyrics (the Great Juggling Act)

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.

#Blogtoberfest Day 17: Living in the Moment (#poem)

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

#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