#Blogtoberfest Day 23: Why I Won’t Be Doing #NaNoWriMo

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.


(Photo: iPhone snap from Sweeetwater Ad in Electronic Musician magazine)

#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

“All My Kids Play the Drums”

“All my kids play the drums,” my father said during the early days of discovery after we made our first adult contact. (My father was serving in the Naval Air Force overseas when I was born and before he returned home, my mother had broken up with him via a “Dear John” letter and  married somebody else.)

Anyway, back to the drums. This was quite an illuminating moment for me because drums had always been my “guilty secret.” I mean, what kind of nice girl loves the music to the “Stripper” as played on that Gillette commercial? lol! Me, that’s who. I could never understand this draw to the drums until that moment.

I’d discovered my family’s whereabouts through the Internet before social media existed. The first contact was with one of my father’s brothers. He was the one who said, “Welcome to the family. Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.”

I’d always loved music, sang in the school choir, even soloed, had taken piano lessons, become quite bored with the scales, my step dad taught me a few chords on the guitar, and the school music teacher insisted I take some kind of instrument because I had such a great “ear.” I chose the violin – ick! If only I’d known the drums were my instrument – lol! Or at least beats as this former Disco queen is discovering all kinds of EDM.

 

My Favorite Words: Not What You’d Expect

I saw this article about favorite words written by one of my favorite writer friends, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, on Twitter this morning. We were in the same Chick Lit writing group back in the day. Anyway, her post sparked this blog post about my favorite words and why.

I first became aware of having favorite words in the first grade. A classmate of mine named Lucy obviously loved the word “Lucy” because she’d write “Lucy Lucy Lucy” all over the place.

But my favorite words were “said” and “David.” This seemed really strange to me. Why “said?” Why “David?” I liked the sound they made. The beat of the “d.” It wasn’t until I met my father’s family, who happen to all be musicians, especially drummers, that I understood first of all, why I loved the drums so much (“All my kids play the drums,” my father said), and why I loved “said” and “David.” (The story of that meeting was published in Myths of the Fatherless.)

If you listen closely you can hear that “said” and “David” sound like drum beats. So my love for words wasn’t really about being a writer and lover of expressing those words. No my love for words was about the sound they made. The drums. Music. And that’s why I switched from pursuing writing fiction solely to broadening out to songwriting and learning all I can about producing modern Electronic music. So many drums. So many sounds.

April is Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo #CampNaNoWriMo)

I’ve been gearing up for writing 30 poems in 30 days for #NaPoWriMo this April but I’ve just learned of #CampNaNoWriMo (April version of #NaNoWriMo–Novel Writing Month). Something has got to give! After #FAWM (February Album Writing Month), I’ve decided that perhaps I should give my ears a break and write a novel and poetry instead. I can gear back up for 50/90 (50 Songs in 90 Days) from July-October.

I’ve never been a fan of these writing challenges before but, somehow, where I am in life is leading me to loving them.

I’d just joined TAXI, I still have two months of NSAI membership, recently enrolled in a Logic Pro X Music Production class and got some new killer speakers, so I am feeling a bit guilty about putting music aside to focus on other writing. But, I tell myself, it’s only for one month. I still have time for 50/90, and I still have time for the TAXI Road Rally in November.

Let’s see how this year plays out.

Becoming One With Your DAW: Empowering Women in Music Production

I started out with GarageBand and there’s something about it being so approachable, especially for females, that really moved me forward in my music production career. And why I post that quote in my header. More women need to be empowered to engage in this male-dominated industry.

A few outstanding women who have helped me in some way are Dot Bustello, a former Apple employee and Logic Pro expert. She talks about becoming “one with Logic Pro,” because it (or your DAW of choice) is your instrument. You must practice like you would a piano or guitar. I’m still working on this — so much to learn! Logic Pro is what I use most of the time now, although sometimes I still pull up GarageBand to get some tracks down when an idea strikes me. And I’ve also dabbled in Ableton Live and ProTools.

Another female-empowering woman is Berklee Professor Erin Barra who teaches Ableton Live.

And then there’s the Azalea Music Group’s “Empowering Women in Audio Recording & Production Clinic” coming up in Nashville, which looks to be amazing. Wish I could be there!

Rockin’ Like Joan Jett

I don’t know what made me do it, maybe it was listening to the fabulous music on the Music City reality TV show, or maybe it was the rejection email for “She’s Not That Good” proposal, which was a relief because I totally wanted to take the story a different direction, but I started thinking about Joan Jett and how my character should be on that trajectory. I listened to “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” and had to record a bit of chorus as inspiration, thinking rock might be my genre.

In last night’s TAXI TV show with Grammy award winning music producer Rob Chiarelli as guest, my ears perked up when he talked about the stages you go through in your music. That you start imitating some of your favorites before you move onto creating your own music of that calibre. I think I’m still in the imitation phase. My own music isn’t quite there, although “Everybody Lies” is close.

My version, vocals on chorus only, music from free Karaoke site:

 

 

Cool Comments on my FAWM Songs

I experienced my first FAWM (February Album Writing Month) this year and going in, I thought it would be like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – you post your words but nobody sees them). But for FAWM, the whole point is to write an album and get comments, collab, and connect with other musicians.

This has turned out to be so cool! Some people are still hanging around and posting more comments so I peek in now and then to see what some are saying about my music and to discover other people’s music.

The interesting thing to me is that the two songs I thought were just too far out there have been getting compared to David Bowie (and Laurie Anderson) so I guess I’m not too strange after all. 🙂

Take a listen for yourself – strictly work tapes:

Wise Woman (Wisest Woman I Would Ever Know)

I Missed the Train

Ode to John Madison

During FAWM, I wrote these poetic lyrics here.

And then before the month’s end I came up with a demo. It was inspired during Race Week in Daytona with its roots in rum runners with a tribute to those who came before me: musicians, car racing, and rum runners.

I Survived FAWM

February is over and I managed to reach the FAWM goal of writing 14 songs in 28 days. Woo hoo! I wasn’t sure I wasn’t going to make it. I pushed myself so hard I exhausted myself and had such pain in my neck for a few days, I could barely move.

Four years ago I enrolled in my first songwriting class with Berklee College of Music just to see what my agent meant when she said, “Your writing has a poetic, almost lyrical rhythm to it.” Was I a songwriter? I wasn’t sure I could write one song, let alone 14 in 28 days. So, that’s quite a personal accomplishment for me.

In celebration, I finally joined TAXI.com and was inspired by these words of fellow “passenger” Sherry Marcus Milano:

If you could wave a magic wand, what wisdom would you impart upon all musicians who have dreamed of a career in the music industry, but deep, down inside, thought it was an impossible goal?

I’ll share the wisdom my Dad passed to me: “The dream the burns within you could not be there if the fulfillment of that dream were not built in with it.” We all come with a purpose, and it usually sits in the center of that dream. When there’s something you love to do that brings you pleasure and satisfaction, something you can do almost effortlessly but you always want to learn more and get better at doing, and it’s something you do without thinking about getting paid for it, PAY ATTENTION. If it brings thoughts like “If I didn’t need to make money, this is what I’d do all day,” that’s your purpose, your calling, your place! Find ways to get paid to do it in some form, even if it requires study, training, or having side jobs while you build. The voice that says it’s impossible is just fear, something I call False Evidence Appearing Real. The voice of the heart only knows love, so love yourself enough to go after what calls to you, and you’ll be surprised how doors will open. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in this life is the one you have with yourself.

Now I just need to figure out if I’ll be ready to attend the Road Rally in Los Angeles this November or wait a year and go to SoCal for my birthday instead. Which would be the better gift?

John Madison (#poem)

No planes, no trains, just automobiles
A giant collage of a Ferris wheel
Round and round goes the track
Whirring dervishes give no slack

Rum runners scurry in the night
Grandpa’s Ford hides the blight
Carving instruments in the day
Passing down music to those without say

Sleepless twilight trumpets my head
Clock ticking and nights I now dread
Cats howling in time like a drum
Dancing on pillows their paws do strum

Callings have consequences, not all are good
Great grandpa makes music in hands with wood
Would he smile or be surprised
To know that I, a descendant of John Madison, am now alive?

Electronic Publishing to Electronic Music

We’re just about halfway through FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for novelists), and I’m getting clarity on where I’d like to move forward in music and it comes as no surprise really. EDM. Electronic Dance Music or maybe just Electronic Music.

It’s a natural fit. I started my career in electronic publishing in San Francisco back in the day when that was the new shiny thing. I totally loved it. And it took me to Silicon Valley. Writing about technology. That led to writing novels. And now it seems I’ve come full circle with Electronic Music.

I earned a certificate in “Modern Musicianship,” including music production, which is so cool because I use my technology expertise and blend it with my love/gifts in music.

To kick this off, I’ve enrolled in a Synthesizer class and I can’t wait to get started!

One comment I got for one the songs I was experimenting with Synth I posted on FAWM:

It’s cool to see this type of songwriting with this production. I like how experimental the synths sound.

My first song, Everybody Lies, isn’t quite EDM but it shows signs of moving onto that path. So now I know what kind of music to work on for my first album.

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)

Kentucky Flame (FAWM)
Songwriting Challenge: No Chorus

Lyrics, copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

I searched for an old friend the other day
I met him in California in the sixth grade
I never expected to find him that way
When I saw the obituary of my old Kentucky Flame

I remember the day this Kentucky boy met this California girl
You never forget the first to call you on the phone or carry your books home from school
We listened to Elvis records on my record player in the garage
He said he loved me and chased me around my front yard

He played guitar and I wrote songs
He said he’d never seen the ocean but he’d seen it all along
Seems like yesterday we played those innocent kissing games
How could the light go out for my old Kentucky Flame?

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta) (#FAWM)

My first complete song I posted on FAWM (February Album Writing Month – similar to NaNoWriMo for writers in November), inspired by the opening of the new Edison bar and lounge at Disney Springs.

First the lyrics followed by a work tape on SoundCloud:

3 Drinks Later (Dancing with Travolta)
Copyright 2018, Kathy Holmes

Verse 1

I was starting my winter vacation
Flying to my destination
Then somewhere over Bermuda
Halfway to Antigua and Barbuda
Over that famous Triangle
To a disco in San Francisco

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 2

I was starting to get my groove on
A mustache was tickling my abdomen
Then somewhere after the Hustle
Travolta turns into Kurt Russell
I’m bumping on the floor with Goldie
A waiter is passing out Stolis

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing with Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

Verse 3

The disco ball is spinning on the dance floor
Heading from the front door to the back door
A red Camaro is waiting
Driver is someone I’m dating
Road 24 with Aunt Ola
I think my name is Lola

Chorus

3 Drinks later and I’m dancing like Travolta
Another Sunrise, and a classic Rum and Cola… a classic Rum and Cola

#FAWM and Poems by Maya Angelou

As I sip my morning coffee from my chair in the den overlooking our front porch, I select from a stack of books and open “Poems” by Maya Angelou. Her poetry resonates with me, even though I’m not Black, maybe because we’re both women, but mostly because we’re both artists. I can only aspire to write such fine poetry as she.

When I wrote the 50 poems in 50 days, I was coping with sleepless nights in the in-between place, writing on my iPhone from my bed. No editing, no thinking, just capturing feelings as they swirled through my mind.

But they’re not really poems either – they’re somewhere between poems and lyrics – they’re pre-lyrics, I guess you could say. And from them I can cull material for my songs.

I’m about to embark on FAWM (“February Album Writing Month,” similar to NaNoWriMo, starting February 1st so I’ll be writing something to meet the “14 songs in 28 days” goals and not analyzing whether it’s a lyric or a poem.