Writing for Today’s Reader

“Even if you write historical, you must write for today’s reader.”

I recently read something like, “Even if you write historical, you must write for today’s reader.” And that, my friend, is why I find it so difficult to find a book to read or write. I never thought I was old-fashioned until now. The world’s values have changed so greatly, and I’m just not into it.

I’m often drawn to watching historicals on TV, but I’ve noticed how they’re pretty much rewriting history for today’s viewer with today’s values. That is such a turnoff for me. But I get it, I really do.

For example, I read a sample from Good Enough: The Myth of Success and How to Celebrate the Joy in Average by Eleanor Ross where the author stated that Millennials have felt so much pressure to excel their entire lives and it’s all become too much. So now they just want to be mediocre and that is good enough.

I get that, really, I do. Because it’s swung all the way to the other end from when I was growing up. And why my generation, so many of us repressed and told we couldn’t do things, decided to stand tall and say, “I’m amazing and I can do anything I want to do.” Then, perhaps, they pushed their kids and the next generation or two to be all you can be. And that’s too much pressure for anybody.

This whole write for today’s reader idea is why, I’m thinking, I cannot finish writing She’s Not That Good or start something new. Because if the story question is how she’s struggling to achieve anything and finally when she does, she’s feeling pretty awesome, well, that’s going to turn off those Millennials who are struggling with the opposite problem.

Then, again, I have no problem writing music, at least not dance music, for today’s generation. Music seems to reach across generations so when somebody calls my track “dope” or “smokin,” I’m quite pleased. (They used to say my characters were “fabulous.”)

I really haven’t been able to write much ever since social media took over the world. So many thoughts and ideas battling around, I feel like I have nothing to add, like I’ve said everything I have to say, and it’s time for music now. Or at least express my thoughts in sound, poems and lyrics.

 

“Don’t Touch Me” (#50/90 #music #producer #songwriting #challenge #LogicPro)

Now that 50/90 is over for this year, I’m going through my tracks to pick out my favorites to bring back into the studio for further mixing/remixing, etc. This one I did in Logic Pro.

Don’t Touch Me
(Kathy Holmes @ Screamie Birds Studios)

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Verse

I brush past you in the crowd
Give you a little bump
You bump back, give me a smile
Haven’t seen you in a while

Verse

Since the day you asked me out
And then never showed
Got a better offer I heard
Or that’s what I was told

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Bridge

You ask me for my number
I don’t do that, don’t do that
You know you want it, want it
No I don’t, as a matter of fact
I just came here to dance

Chorus

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

Don’t touch me, don’t touch me
I’m just here for the beat

The Truth Is: 50/90 Song #55

I haven’t been able to stop writing songs for 50/90–it’s such an awesome motivator, especially with feedback from this community of fellow musicians/songwriters.

One of the features is that you can indicate your favorite songs so when somebody stops by, they might want to listen to those. The problem is, my favorite song seems to be the one I’m working on – lol!

So, song #55, my latest song at this moment (55 out of 60), is my favorite. With this one, I was experimenting with the CLA vocal plugin, recommended to me by a fellow producer. I start with shadowing vocal samples from Audentity Records and then take the lead with my lyrics using the “Moody” preset of the CLA plugin.

Take a listen here:

For the Love of Music (Production)

I suppose I could have gone back to school to complete a degree but I had gotten so far without it. Perhaps if I’d wanted to change careers, it might have been worth it. But to go through all that time, effort, and money to continue doing what I was doing already didn’t seem worth it. Just to make other people happy and to avoid those awkward interview questions, certainly not.

For one thing, the only thing I really wanted to do was to make music and through targeting specific classes, training, and certificate programs, I’ve been able to learn what I need to know. That’s how I got as far as I did in Silicon Valley in the first place. Truth be told, I loved my work more when I was in book production – so much more creative than technical writing.

And so music production is where I’ve landed in the music world. And I absolutely love it.

EDM: For Those Who Connect With Sound, Not Lyrics (#EDM #Music #Producer #Novelist #WritingCommunity)

I read this tweet (no, I haven’t quite deleted my Twitter account, although I do try to keep my peeks to a minimum), and this thought resonated with me. It explains so much. Especially when I realized I liked the sound of words, not the words themselves. This goes way back to the first grade. I loved the word “said” and the name “David” – the “d” sounds like a drum in my head.

When I met my father later in life (I may or may not have met him when I was a small child), he said, “All my kids play the drums.” Bingo! Then my life started to make sense. The more I connect with music (especially EDM – Electronic Dance Music in case you don’t know), the more I understand myself.

But when my literary agent told me my writing had a “poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it,” I wondered what that meant. My father’s family were all musicians (guitarists, keyboardists, drummers, bassists, etc), going back to time immemorial, and my grandmother wrote poetry, I thought that must mean I was supposed to be a songwriter. Lyrics must be my thing. And so I enrolled in a modern musician certificate program starting with songwriting. I ended up realizing the difference between poems and lyrics and that it takes a special skill to translate those words into words that go with music. That was not my gift.

My gift that I’m exploring is sound design. I have so much to learn but I absolutely love it! One of my uncles was a sound engineer and so that makes sense. I may also be a storyteller, but not through lyrics. I have good family direction. My uncle said, “Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re gonna wanna pay attention to music.” And my dad said, “Keep writing. You must fulfill your destiny.”

And so I continue to juggle both. One gives me a break from the other, refreshing me for both. I may resist that, but I think I need that.

 

FAWM 2021: Day 11, Song #7

Okay, so I’m definitely ahead of schedule for FAWM (February Album Writing Month) – 14 songs in 28 days. Actually, I’m halfway there! Yes!! And Ableton announced Ableton 11 is dropping on the 23rd so I’d like to finish FAWM before then so I can start playing around.

Anyway, track #7 is my version of a Rock EDM, although I have to say I prefer EDM remixes of classic rock songs and must try my own. Search on Spotify for “Classic EDM” if you’re interested. If you’re looking for my latest FAWM playlist, check out this SoundCloud link:

 

Music Production, Writing, Reading… Running Out of Coping Mechanisms

Watching videos of people enjoying the Christmas festivities at Disney World, well, I can’t help but feel a little jealous. With California’s strict reopening guidelines and Disneyland’s reluctance to open up any of the parks (i.e., Knott’s Berry Farm) until now, and the cruising industry’s slow road to recovery, Nevada getting close to lockdown again, well, I’m going a little crazy. I mean, who isn’t, right?

I’ve spent these last 8 months at home working on music, switching back and forth between Ableton Live and Logic Pro, the latter due to the 10.5 updates. And now with news of Ableton Live 11 coming out soon, well, there’s even more for me to dive into. But there’s also a lot of stress with all of that learning and it wears me out. So I’ve taken time to read and even work on a couple of manuscripts I’ve started writing. But nothing, really, after all these months, is really working toward peace of mind. Prayers and positivity help, of course, but when there’s an underlying or maybe not so underlying crisis happening, it’s really hard to escape.

I think many of us felt a bit of relief when Biden won, even if we weren’t big Biden supporters, if only because, in my case, I did not want to sit back and watch the lunatic, aka the Narcissist for another 4 years. His behavior since the election validates everything I know about Narcissists. And once you’ve had an experience up close with one, you don’t need a psychology degree to get it. Maybe you get it even more than somebody who has just studied it. Experience is a great teacher.

So with heavy handed governors issuing mandates (sometimes necessary, but, perhaps, not done in the best way) and a lunatic for a president, it’s like reliving a dysfunctional childhood all over again. The artist’s spiritual life and food and drink and rearranging the furniture a zillion times helps for a while, but I’m running out of coping mechanisms.

Today’s joy, though, was picking up my latest copy of Electronic Musician. Just reading the masthead made me smile, reminding me of my early days in San Francisco working in production on Mac User magazine. So cool to see my name listed as Production Manager. That took me to McGraw-Hill Publishing in Berkeley, but the most fascinating part of that was sharing the building with a music studio and seeing a glimpse of artists like MC Hammer getting out of the limo. The MC Hammer dancers lived in an apartment complex down the street from mine.

And so, when all is said and done and things are back to normal and I can cruise the high seas and relive my childhood at Disneyland, well, in the end, it’s all about the art, the music, and the spiritual journey I am on.

Ableton Live 11 vs. Logic Pro 10.5 (#music #production #Logic #Ableton)

This time last year toward the end of 50/90, I got Ableton Live 10 Suite. I was curious about some of the more accessible features to me, at least more accessible than Logic Pro X, the DAW I’d been using since I started music production. But then Logic updated LPX to 10.5 with some amazing features. That left me reeling. Now which DAW would I use? Logic or Live? I’ve been scurrying between the two ever since, trying to find my definitive answer. I really want to commit to just one DAW.

Then this morning, my email was filled with announcements of Ableton Live 10 updating to Live 11. I got up at first light, made some coffee, and jumped on YouTube to watch some videos. When I mentioned on one that I couldn’t decide which one to commit to, he made a car analogy of which one do you feel more comfortable jumping in and taking for a spin (or something like that).

My problem is this: starting a Project in Logic Pro is like me grabbing the keys to my Black Challenger and heading down the open desert roads, radio blasting, wind blowing in my hair. I’m having a great time, thinking I know what I’m doing. Until I look at this shifty knob that’s just sort of added on for those who know what to do with it. And I don’t. And I’m afraid if I allow myself to try it out, I’ll blow it up.

Starting a project in Ableton, for me, is like cranking up a VW Bug (funny, they both happen to be made in Germany and my husband’s last name is German), and shifting it into gear (a bit awkward, but by the time I’m headed down the road, I’m feeling like I know everything about it, and I could even change the oil) – lol!

LP 10.5 gave us some cool Ableton features. Ableton 11 is giving us some cool LP features. So now I have no idea which DAW to commit to. But I need to figure it out before Ableton 11 is released. And before I buy Push2. I wonder if Push would push me over the edge.

It’s 12:44 (#poem #songwriting #lyrics #howto #amwriting)

You know those moments when you can’t sleep? Well, that’s when I grab my phone and start writing down words, some rhymes, allowing the rhymes and the ideas to flow and see where the song goes. And the next thing I know I have some material for the beginning of a song. It may need a lot of work but at least I have something to work with later on.

Here’s what came to me the other night – starting with the time – 12:44. I hear a melody and need to sit down and work it out on on my keyboard.

It’s 12:44 and I’m lying here awake
Mouth is dry from the vodka, the desert, and the feelings I can no longer fake
Why do I do the things that seem are not good for me

That keep me running
Keep me gunning
They keep on coming
Turning me into a wreck

No words comfort me
No fools to love on me
Where does this all lead me
Nothing but a dead end

Keep on praying
Hearts bleed in stating
Silent screams saying

Keep on trying
Keep on crying
Can’t stop hiding
Memories are killing me

There’ll be no healing
The words I’m feeling
Thousands I’ve written down
Until I actually speak of them

Out loud
Out of my mouth
Not on the page
All that rage

It’s time to go for broke
Until I choke
That thing that nudged me until I awoke
at 12:44

Taxi A&R Road Rally Prequel Starts Today

As a member of Taxi A&R for 3 years now, I must confess this will be my first Road Rally mostly because it’s being held online this year, like most other conferences. I’d hoped to get to it live in Los Angeles for the past 2 years but the first year we were living in Florida and last year we were building a house in Las Vegas and it just didn’t work out.

What’s different about this year, other than being held online is that there are 3 days of “prequels” anybody can tune into for free – you don’t have to be a member.

If you’re interested, just go to the Taxi A&R YouTube channel here. Let me know what you think.