Do Not Disturb

Some people don’t seem to understand what it takes to focus on writing. Just because the music is playing and I am walking around talking to myself doesn’t mean I am not in a writing zone and it’s okay to barge in and start chatting. I am seriously thinking I need a “Do Not Disturb” sign on my door.

Some people need silence, solitude – space to make the words flow and the jumble of thoughts to become a cohesive body of narrative. Me, not so much. That works at times I’ve found, especially when I am editing. In most cases I have music – all kinds of music – filling my work room. I dance, pace, wander, talk to no one, and fiddle with my muse.

Right now the playlist is soul/pop from the last forty years. Prince, Jimmy Luxury, Michael Jackson, Sly and the Family Stone, The Temptations. Whoa baby, digging it.

Then the interruptions….

Thus the blog refuge to focus my mind on creating and my fingers a needed a warm up – you get me?

 

Had a fun thing happen yesterday while hubby and I were gardening. Lots of soil was moved, reseeding the back yard and planting flower seeds by the pond. I asked if the spa was hot and he said yes, and I replied after this day we need a soak and alcohol, and who knew what next. He agreed and by 8:30 pm we were in the hot water, staring at the stars, planning our next adventures. It was splendid. In my mind I thought “I’m going to use this in a story!”

Isn’t that great when that happens?

We have introduced Cleo to the outdoors and she is digging it. She has gotten big enough and savvy enough to know to stay near the house while she explores. One interesting aspect is Millie, as the big sister German Shepherd, pays attention to her and when she gets out of Millie’s sight the search is on. Millie kind of whines as she tries to find the wee cat, only calming when she is back. So adorable.

They are so cute and are pretty good buddies. Cleo loves Millie’s big swishey GSD tail, and Millie will nudge and lick Cleo when she is laying on the floor. Their food bowls are in the same place separated by a water bowl they share. 

We had Jake for a while but he went back to his family once they were again able to house him, much to Jake’s happiness.

I have always liked having a dog and a cat. I love the difference in the two animals, and they both nourish the variety of pet lover needs I have. Chuck and I are both this way.

So now the words are flowing. Time to ease back into the past as Jude Tremaine arrives at Fort Bowie, Arizona Territory. It could very well be a bloody night in the mountains around him. Ready for a rowdy ride, a betrayal, and a heartbreaking loss? Volume II of The Tremaines is in progress. Pray for no more interruptions unless the house is burning down or the wine is running out.

Cheers!

-N

 

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Media for creativity

I have music on my old fashioned stereo which will play the radio, CD’s and believe it or not cassettes tapes, and there are iTunes on my laptop. I don’t have iTunes on my phone because it is an android-yuck. You see I have to have music, especially to be creative. Another thing I do when I am sewing is to chromecast from my laptop to a TV in my work room. I can watch a netflix movie and know how much time I’ve spent on a project, or turn it to YouTube and autoplay one of the channels I follow.

I’ve always had a soundtrack for my life. Inspiration, motivation, interpretation, recall, prompting, all of those words I get from the sound of music I love, or stories I like to watch. It colors the thought process, and the feeling of my creative surroundings.

Today the wind is blowing, the air is cool, the sky changes from clear blue with wispy clouds to a spreading overcast that changes the color of the mountains. It is a classical music day. Hayden I think, maybe Debussy later. I am glad for the solitary time I have at this moment to do some important research for my historical work. I’m looking for books or text written during 1868-1870 to get a feel for language and customs that dominated interpersonal relationships. How would a single young woman write to a young man she has know for her life, but now the relationship is starting to evolve?

I welcome suggestions as I sip my wine.

Cheers!

-N

 

Musical interlude

Last Friday night I went with a friend to a show called “A Celebration of Joni Mitchell.” I knew some of her stuff, mainly the older things and the songs made famous by steady radio play, but I was rather surprised to learn of her music evolution in later years.

She developed industry collaborations with artists like Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus wherein she delved into a bright, smooth, and moody jazz persona. I found I really enjoyed this style. I’ve always been a jazz/blues fan, and unlike others I can ride along with the waves of jazz improve and scat singing. This latter style is what much of this musical excursion was composed.

That night the crowd of Gaslight Theatre Music Hall was a bit older, a bit mellower, drinking wine, beer and lots of alcohol on the rocks. There were several men with their long grey hair pulled back in ponytails, and women like me dressed with a nod to the inner hippie with flowing tops, strings of necklaces, and long hair. There also were the retired couples who look like the AARP magazine covers, yet musically there was something for everyone.

The band, fronted by a woman named Kimberly Ford, were obvious professional musicians. Ms. Ford had a great voice, capable of flowing through the remarkable range of a Joni Mitchell song. She played her guitars, engaged with the audience and her band, while not missing a note of “Help Me” or “Coyote”.

I dug it.

It reminded me of a dream I once had of singing in a cellar club, with a combo consisting of drums, bass, keyboards, guitar, and sax. Doing Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Mercer, along with some old big band ballads for an intimate group of nightowls. I guess we all have one of those dreams.

Cheers!

-N

The words are back

I’m very glad to share I have been writing again!

I sat down, opened the file, read what I had already written – I’ve done this before with no results – and when I reached the end of the text another line came to my mind, then another, and before I knew it 1000 words were knocked out and my mind was flying. It was bliss. I’ve since added more words, plotted the next couple of chapters, and fleshed out an important character I didn’t yet know very well.

This fed the creativity in my brain for the cosplay costume I am making. I was becoming so stale it was disconcerting and depressing. I can’t express how great it feels to get things moving once more. One thing I did discover is I need to ignore the distractions, specifically a person whose negativity is counterproductive. I shut the door, blast the Netflix or music and get busy writing and sewing. Woo hoo, it’s fun.

I spent four days in the LA area with my sister, Mary, and I think that started the brain cleansing. The laughing we did felt great. A good, long, loud belly laugh does wonders for the perspective. We spent hours at the ocean, we cruised down one canyon and up another listening to great music, singing, and remembering. Went to a wine tasting, had breakfast at Weiler’s-twice-and spent plenty of time with Melissa and Charlie (love kissing that boy.) Got a little too much sun. I felt young, bright, free, and adventurous. It was a perfect respite from the tension that flows from the negative person in my house.

I would have liked to have Chuck along but this was a girls trip. Next time!

The nights are cooling off, finally! The days are still too close to hell fire for me, but thank goodness for refrigeration and lots of fans to keep the air moving. My nephew is holding his own in Army basic, hubby is busy with his leather working, my kids are busy productive humans, and life is going on.

“There’s no such thing as too much magic, pixie dust, or fun.”

Cheers!

-N

Feeling crazy young

I just had the absolute best time. My nephew is painting my house, he’s a pro. Yeah he’s getting paid. Anyway, his daughter, my so extremely cool niece Trinity and her buddy Casey came by. They live just down the road so the girls walked over to ride back with my nephew Kris.

I turned on the music (of course) and I began doing my aunt duty by giving them lessons in wine tasting, mind you no one underage drank anything, but I showed them the finer point of wine tasting. Using a Malibu red blend I demonstrated what to do and what to look for. They took to it like the pros I expected from them. Trinity is related to me, and Casey is her friend so is awesome by association.

We talked, pretending to be grown ups as I described varietals and the best year for red grapes. We made fun of people who drank fruity wines and sweet Rieslings, you know the routine.

It is my duty to help.

Then we went into my office and Trinity saw the books were being packed up and my laptop open. This girl knows me well. We started talking about my writing and what they had happening in their lives. Such cute girls. These are the girls I did the Cupid Shuffle with at my nephews graduation party, but I digress.

I said, “Listen to this song,” and I played Walk Away by Kelly Clarkson, then Try Me by Jason Derulo. Then I played…House Party by Sam Hunt. There was excessive teenage girl squealing and then the three of us proceeded to sing at the top of our lungs and dance like it was a Hollywood dance club! We were laughing and singing and dancing and the years between us were gone.

God that was fun!

I think this needs to happen very often.

Cheers!

-N

 

 

What is it about music?

What is your music preference?

I was recently reading a novel a friend is writing and part of the dialogue in the story the two leads were asking each other about their favorite song. It made me think, what is it about music and humans?

“Music is the soundtrack of our lives.”

I’ve heard that said or something along the same line and it made me think of my soundtrack. Wow! The variety of genres, styles and artists is extensive. Glenn Miller, Ray Price, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Keith Urban, Herbie Hancock, Corey Osborn, Sam & Dave and ZZ Top. You get it.

The composition of music must have some sort of organic, human perceptivity link to our DNA. Humans respond on a deep level to something in music that can invoke memories and re-live old attachments and old times. Some great and some not so great too.

I’ve seen expressions on faces as a song weaves through their minds. Emotions are real inside the reaction to the melody, rhythm and words. There are laughs when a song pulls a person through a fun time with high school friends. Eyes closing and a whispered sigh express the feeling a special love song can weave in a heart.

Joy, love, loss and heartache. Music is there.

The profound imprint of music is deep in people. It almost choreographs the way we live. I have playlists customized for my daily living. A party with friends, a quiet time reading, riding in the car and exercise. Music for one activity doesn’t work for another. I can’t power walk to Mozart, but it is great for cleaning the house. I have a rocking contemporary Christian playlist that is fun and motivating for doing a 5k. My classic rock music is perfect for a drive to Phoenix and my blues, rock and soul playlist is the best for a party.

Christmas music is one of my favorites. I can listen to it year round. It transports me and was a foundation when we transferred around the world while my father was in the military. I used to work with people who couldn’t handle much of it and I never understood that feeling but it might have to do memories or they might just get bored with it.

Whatever the light and dark of the musical experience it spells the story of the human personality.

-N