Taglyrics

Monologue

Snow!

Sorry, had to get that off my chest. I’d assumed I’d slipped into an alternate reality, something like Narnia under the White Witch in reverse, and winter would never come again.

Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. That white stuff was lying in wait this morning.

I often go to bed with my head full of whatever story I’m working on. Lately it’s been all Crossroads, all the time. It’s not the best bedtime story, as it involves being cold and broke and on the road, but I do what I can with it, tuck Blue in to some safe corner or under a big pile of leaves before I drift off. I always feel like I should dream about my characters–it seems only fair–but I never do. Instead, I dream abut other people’s characters. Last night, for example, I dreamed of Rupert and Istvan in The Mercury Waltz, a book that isn’t even out yet and one I know little about, aside from the fact that it’s a sequel to Under The Poppy. Either I’m really excited to read it or I’m the victim of an evil new dreamscape advertising scheme.

Snow and dreams aside, I’m mostly just busy. More time is needed, or more hands. Maybe more brains, though that sounds rather grim. I promise I’m not taking a turn down Frankenstein Lane.

No, I’m just doing the usual–writing, momming, living. Two days ago I wrote my first supernatural horror scene and realized just how subjective scary things are. Next up, I need to be thoroughly educated in hopping trains. I’ve also been writing lyrics for songs performed by multiple fictitious bands, because writing wouldn’t be writing if it didn’t hold the possibility of spectacular failure. We’ll see whether they make the final cut or end up in the Crossroads discard file.

That’s the extent of things here. The draw to hibernate is currently strong, but I’ve too much to do to succumb to it.

Play me a song

I have a very low threshold for stimulation when I’m working, which includes music, particularly with lyrics. It’s amazing to me that other people can listen to words (yes, words being sung, but words nonetheless) while they write. It feels too potent to me, too easy to start weaving someone else’s story into whatever I’m writing.

But I find music incredibly helpful in other ways. There’s an Ani Difranco song, for example, that I use as a reminder of the value of a few carefully chosen details. I love to think about lyrics, about why a good song works. Detail, suggestion, just enough of a framework to make me want to fill in the rest on my own.

Over the holidays I watched a few rockumentaries for fun. There was another lesson there, in watching archival footage of fledgling musicians. One word, easy to remember. Confidence

I’m not talking about arrogance, or pretension, or perfection. I’m talking about someone picking up a guitar, someone who’s too shy to even look up at an audience, and playing what’s in them–strong, loud, clear. Saying, hey, listen to me, I have something to say, even if I haven’t totally figured out how to say it. A certain internal confidence, very different from the ability to be the life of the party.

It’s the same in writing. You have to own the page. Beyond all the rest, all the details of craft, there exists that individual spark that is voice. Finding it is not about learning to sound like anyone else, even those writers you love, the ones who will always leave a faint impression in your voice because they are part of the world of words for you.

It’s about stepping onto the stage and saying, listen up, my knees may be shaking, my hands may be sweaty, I may be rethinking doing this, but you’re here and I am and I have this piece inside of me that needs to be heard, and I’m going to share it in the truest way I know how. Listen.

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