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:

“I Need to Know” – from #Lyric #Poem to #50/90 Song

Based on the poem I wrote called “Mystery of My Heart,” it is now a song I created for 50/90 called “I Need to Know.”

How Silicon Valley Prepared Me for Book and Music Production

Reading It’s All About Him, written by Alan Jackson’s wife, Denise, I’m thinking how when I heard “Here in the Real World,” back in 1992, working in book production at a Silicon Valley high-tech firm, I thought he’d really made it. But when the song came out in 1990, he was far from making it at all. Living in a tiny basement apartment in Nashville with a pregnant wife, “Here in the Real World” was the second song his label had released and it was unclear whether they would keep him or drop him.

I started thinking about how successful I felt in Silicon Valley when I moved into technical writing, earning writing and publishing awards from the “Society of Technical Publications.” I sometimes say I got my PhD in that world, and, for the most part, it was a really awesome fit for me: the companies I worked for, the people I worked with (eventually marrying one of my co-workers), and the opportunities it brought me.

I would later grow wearing of that stressful, high-pressure day-to-day life, Las Vegas became my relaxing getaway, wondering what it would be like to be a cocktail waitress – lol! Eventually, my heart would start leading me to more creative pursuits.

I began writing fiction, starting with short stories as part of the well-known  “The Writer’s Loft” program in Chicago. I moved into fiction and by the time I wrote my third novel, Real Women Wear Red, at the height of the Chick Lit boom, I got an agent, and was offered a publishing contract.

Long story short, when the Indie author movement started going strong, I was able to use my book production skills to publish as an Indie author. I’ve done better as an Indie than I did when I was with publishers, certainly, the smaller publishers.

But then that market became oversaturated and I kept dreaming of my first love, music. In my youth, I didn’t pursue music as an artist because I knew you had to be spectacular to make it and while I’d sung a bit here and there, I wasn’t spectacular by a long shot. And I didn’t know of any other music path, at least not one I was interested in.

Fast forward to today with the ability to produce your own music in your own studio. Now I see that those same book production skills (with a propensity toward software) I learned in Silicon Valley help me now with continuing to learn new music production skills.

Push2 is the latest instrument I’m learning and with that and my Novation Launchkey keyboard, I’m hoping to advance more in more in creating my own melodies, instead of relying on loops and samples. Recently, a collab partner from FAWM told me he wants to release one of our songs commercially, but the melody was not copyright free so we could not use it. Between his piano skills and my production skills, I think we’ve come up with something we can use instead.

I have no idea where music will take me, even if it’s just the thrill of making it for myself, but I’m excited when I think about how far I’ve come from Silicon Valley production editor to producing my own music.

 

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.

Push2 Has Stolen My Heart in My New Red Studio #Ableton

Ableton Live’s Push2 arrived last Friday and my first order of business was to rearrange my studio. First, I got a small, corner desk to replace the tri-level monster I thought I had to have.

Unfortunately, this bedroom in this house is smaller than I’m used to. I got out the tape measure and it is not the 10×10.1 feet the floorplan showed. It was supposed to be .1” larger than hubby’s next door. As it turns out, his is larger so we switched rooms. I left him the large desk because smaller spaces don’t bother him the way they do me.

Anyway, his office with the large desk looks so professional, compared to the dining room table he was using. And that room has always had more of a masculine feel with the dark grey drapes and chair. It’s perfect for him.

So, not only did I get the bigger room, but a smaller, corner desk was what I was after, along with red drapes, red bookcase, and red chair. I am so pleased.

And then I was ready to install Push2 and start playing with it (with some tutorial guidance via Sonic Academy). I am having a blast! So much so that I totally hated spending some time editing the third book of the “Real Women Wear Red” trilogy yesterday morning. (Now you see why my studio is decorated in red – lol!)

Don’t know if I will get back to editing since I’d like to really know what I’m doing with Push2 by the time 50/90 begins in July. Besides, my heart just isn’t into writing fiction these days. That time may be behind me now. Now it’s all about the music!

The next step, I think, is to get this table I saw on Wayfair to replace the low bench. Then I can have a place for my third keyboard instead of it sitting on the chair. The red chair may not fit if I do, though. I may have to keep looking for the right thing.

Last Track Before Push 2 #Ableton #Music #Producer

I finally did it – ordered Push 2! It’s on its way. In the meantime, I’m finishing up some tutorials highlighting the new features on Ableton Live 11.

To experiment, I started playing around with some Disco sounds and came up with this track – it may be the last track I create in Ableton 11 before getting Push 2. Curious what I will do with Push 2, but the part that I find the most intriguing is the drum sequencer. We’ll see how it goes…

And then there’s that Dub/Techno riff I mentioned earlier… perhaps that will be the first track using Push 2.

 

“Never Met a Machine I Didn’t Like”

Will Rogers may have said, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” but my mother once said, “I never met a machine I didn’t like.”

Reading some of the “End of Absence” book I mentioned in my previous post, I realized a couple of things:

  1. The problem today isn’t the internet, it’s social media
  2. How you perceive problems today is who you are

In illustrating the “problem” today, the author tells the story of babies used to pinching an iPad to gain a bigger view and doing the same thing to a newspaper or magazine, as if that’s a problem.

The truth is, I do the same thing when I’m using a laptop. So used to mobile devices, I automatically expect the same thing on a laptop. Besides, when the baby gets older, he’ll know the difference between a paperback and an iPad. And no doubt they will still be around. After all, vinyl records have made a comeback when people thought they were gone for good.

I believe in human nature, and if all this technology creates a problem in the future, they’ll figure it out.

As for kids texting each other when they’re sitting next to each other, perceiving it as a need for companionship without the hassles of real-life people, I have to say that maybe that is a valid solution in today’s crowded, super busy world. If you know history or have watched movies set in the past or have read historical fiction, you’re aware of the “mountain” men who struggled when this country began to be populated. They increasingly sought out the wilderness, going to Alaska, etc.

So maybe texting each other, even in the same room is okay if you’re not neglecting other people in the room. Introverts react to today differently than extroverts.

Artists (writers, musicians, painters, etc) may react differently, too.

I’m definitely an introvert and have been using computers since 1976, unlike most people of my generation who reluctantly started using computers only when “forced” to.

I’m probably more comfortable behind a computer than sitting in a group of people I’m expected to interact with. But no worries there, I remember my mother, a business machines major back in the 1950s, once said, “I never met a machine I didn’t like.” We teased her about that and she laughed, a bit embarrassed. But oh so telling.

People are different and we all react to today’s technology differently. I, personally think the problem is social media, not technology. I’m absolutely thrilled how technology has given me the opportunity to create electronic dance music. I may be older and do not have kids so I don’t always know what’s going on with them, but my music is one way I connect with younger people. And I love that.

Words to Live By

I’m often torn between focusing on writing novels and producing music. As if I must make a choice. And even though I know I don’t have to choose, not choosing does present a challenge of focus. Sometimes it’s difficult to be good at anything if you’re not focused on one thing.

However, my husband reminded me of this Erma Bombeck quote:


These are definitely words I want to live by.