A new year, a new blog, same mess of a writer.
|Date: 07.23.19 -- Day 117 (The Final Day...for this blog)
Music: "Exurgency" / Zoe Keating
So it's been a minute. Hello.
It has been an eventful past four months since I last wrote here. Many things have changed for me, although I am still very much the same. My health has declined a bit, but still I have changed. I have begun the journey of acceptance. Acceptance of what my life has become because of my illness. It is realizing that in order to survive, I must go through this process of putting too heavy of things down and picking up some hard truths and new joys. This has been a painful yet cathartic experience. In a way, it is mourning -- my life before, the paths I had wanted and diligently planned to take, the things I would not let myself even think of. I'm still in the thick of it, grappling with what could have been tangled in the thoughts of things I thought I had to be. But it is a release too.
I must create a new path for myself, and I have no idea what that looks like. For this mindset change, I've decided to start a new blog -- "\\ Exurgency // " . So this is also an invitation to pop over to my new blog page. I cannot promise anything other than it will something different from me. I still have no idea what I'm doing, but I've decided to be more honest about my failures. I'm going to try and removed my expectations from my writing. I'm going to give myself some slack while I try to piece myself back together. It'll be raggedy ride, but you're welcome to come along if you so wish.
If, for some reason, this is the end of the journey for you and me, dear reader, thank you for stopping by. Thank you for taking the time to step into my thoughts, even if it was only a quick glance. I appreciate you reading my haphazard posts and rambling playlists. And as the saying goes, I hope that the road rises up to meet you and the sun shines warm upon your face. And should we be so lucky...
...may we meet again.
|Date: 03.26.19 -- Day 116
Music: "Steal My Sunshine" / Len
As many things in life, nothing is going as planned. A few months back I made a post about how I don't make lists of goals because that often leads that nothing happening. A strange kind of curse that still has its grip on me to this day. So I didn't have plans for 2019. I had some wishes, some hopes. I particularly want this year to be the year I tackle the things I have trouble writing or feel I lack in. So signed up for writing challenges and some writing courses to get the word mojo flowing...and promptly got sick.
Being chronically ill and disabled are struggles in the best of times. In the worst of times, it's a bitch, plain and simple. Vitals are taken twice a day. Meds and supplements are crowding out my desk. My body has a spinning wheel of symptoms that it picks at random to plague me. Some many things just fall through the cracks, and I laugh often because if I don't, I'd cry or scream or both. And 2019 is not exception. If anything, new things are popping up with maybe some answers too.
My heart has been on the jitter-fritz for about a year. After some testing, an echocardiogram, and wearing a heart monitor for a few weeks in December, my cardiologist and I figured out that my heart will randomly start racing for no particular reason as there are no structural abnormalities. (My personal best was 168 beats per minute.) Beta blockers are out of the question because of my extreme allergies. So I'm just in this strange holding pattern of spontaneous tachycardia, which will also be the name of my punk rock band should I ever start one.
When in doubt, more blood is drawn and a wild array of ideas are thrown at the wall to see what will stick. My last blood draw was nearly a dozen vials. I have to go back in to see the doctor because some things are off, but the one that makes me feel like I've truly finished adapting to the Pacific Northwest was the fact that my Vitamin D is low. Super low. Almost a single digit. It should be above 30. I now have to take 50,000 IUs a week for the next couple of months to see if I can bring those numbers back up.
Somewhere along the way I lost my sunshine. Hopefully, this new medication will ease up some things and I can get back to writing with less of the weight of my body chaos. With this pill form of sun, maybe I can get back some hope.
|Date: 12.01.18 -- Day 110 (NaNo WC Overall: 70,436)
Music: "War Anthem" / Max Richter & "The Curse" / Agnes Obel
I am a 2018 NaNoWriMo winner! 70,436 words.
Words that took so much out of me that I cannot think to write again with any coherence. I will as my mind is still whirling, but maybe not for a day or two. Regardless, it's done. A solid win. A messy, jumbled, hectic win. But a win. My first time crossing this finish line in the nine years since I've started this. Boom.
Since writing anything else on the experience will be for another day, I assembled the playlist I used to during the writing sprints. It's one of those things that just kind of came together when I started writing after that first slump. It's a bit discordant because the theme of the story is a bit of the same. Based around a protagonist who has lived thousands of years with no end in sight, the slightly jarring nature of the songs comes from what she feels when everything goes from a stagnant life to one filled with constant upheaval. A touch of melancholy and quiet, simmering anger.
NaNoWriMo 2018 Playlist
Max Richter "War Anthem" (linked above)
Ursine Vulpine ft. Annaca "Wicked Game "
The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
Balmorhea "The Winter "
Fallulah "Give Us A Little Love "
It's another time, it's another day
Numbers they are new, but it's all the same
Running from yourself, it will never change
Rhian Sheehan "La Boîte à Musique "
Masionair "Easier "
Face up, untouched
Craving for some healing
Ólafur Arnalds "Only The Winds "
Jarryd James "Do You Remember "
When you love to your limit
You gave all you're given
Who you gonna pray to when you're there
Will you find out that there ain't no other love
No other love for you
Abel Korzeniowsk "A Thousand Times Good Night "
London Grammar "Non Believer "
Do you realize again, you chased an idea
Healed an earth behind some broken creature
Balmorhea "Remembrance "
Florence + The Machine "Big God "
Sometimes I think it's gettin' better
And then it gets much worse
Is it just part of the process?
Though I know I should know better
Well, I can make this work
Is it just part of the process?
Max Richer "November "
Agnes Obel "The Curse" (linked below)
Tell me now of the very souls that look alike, look alike
Do you know the stranglehold covering their eyes?
If I call on every soul in the land, on the moon
Tell me if I'll ever know a blessing in disguise
|Date: 11.16.18 -- Day 109 (NaNo Daily WC: 7627; NaNo Overall WC: 32709)
Music: "Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)" / Parliament
My friends. My pals. My fellow writers. I wrote 7,627 words today.
This has never happened. Ever. Never ever, ever.
I might actually make it to 50,000 words this year, and actually feel like I earned it. Last year doesn't count.
I have NaNo Sprints to thank for that. Who knew all I needed to write was an extra dose of anxiety and fifteen minute writing bursts to get things done. I'm probably going to fry my adrenal system, but that's a problem for another time. This is working for now. Because I wrote over 7,000 words. In a day.
My brain is fried. I have words, but they are a jumbled mess. Still. I wrote words today. It was a decent day.
|Date: 11.05.18 -- Day 108 (NaNo Daily WC: 988; NaNo Overall WC: 6104)
Music: "Holding Hours" / Reddening West
Guess who stalled out? Guess who has been pulling teeth to get the writing to happen? Guess who realized that this is going to be a thing beyond just telling the inner editor within me to shut up? Guess who has been banging her head against her desk for the past three days?
So there's a glitch. Multiple glitches. So many glitches that my eyes are starting to twitch every time I open up the writing doc on my computer. I'm not sure what to do because I can't keep writing what I'm writing without stalling out. Day 3 is when I knew I had a problem, but upon Day 5 I came to the realization that I'm beginning to hate this by the mere association to frustration.
I've made the executive decision to pause writing so I can take the next couple of days to rip it apart and try to reassemble something from it because I don't want to scrap this completely. This isn't going to be like last year where I set fire to the whole after finishing. This needs to be something. I want this to be something. Is it too much to ask for mild coherence?
This is fine. I'm fine. Everything is fine. I'll stop grinding me teeth eventually.
|Date: 10.27.18 -- Day 106 ("30-Day Blogging Challenge" -- Day 27)
Music: "Sledgehammer" / Peter Gabriel
Prompt -- Kelly Osbourne was born in 1984 today. Write a pitch for your own talk show - what would you talk about? Whom would you invite to interview?
I find this prompt intriguing because I've never really thought about it. Talk shows are not something I seek, but I watch them on occasion when a friend or co-worker links me to a clip. Thinking on it, most of them tend to be political with a foundation in humor. While those are the shows I gravitate to, I probably wouldn't do politics as a whole because after a while that feels like it would be draining. Humor, however, I would definitely use. Everyone needs a laugh. It's essential. For a moment, after a good laugh, the world seems lighter. So whatever my show would be, there would definitely need to be laughs.
Other talk shows that interest me usually revolve around food or drink. One of things I like about the Graham Norton Show has more to do with the laid back nature of it - with drinks and couches. After a while, the guests almost forget they are on a talk show. Before the controversy that ended The Chew (rightfully so), I really liked the format of chefs and food and cooking. I'd want my guests to feel as comfortable as possible, sharing things about life that are funny and carefree. My hope would be that people feel like they're meeting with friends and shooting the breeze. Let the conversation and topic come from the mood.
IMO, some of the best talk shows are with people you don't necessarily know you want to meet. As a writer, I wish there were more interviews with writers. Up and coming novel writers and poets; or writers from television shows who don't usually get their names mentioned. Another big one for me are folks who work behind the scenes on film. It's one the reasons why I like the special features on DVDs. If it is decent, you get meet the people behind costume design and principal photography and composers and day-to-day management. What would happen if the writer of a novel got to have dinner with the screenwriter who does the film adaptation? What would unfold if film composers got together to talk about what the limitations of composing for a big budget film are? What could we learn from actors who have each played the same character, comparing notes? Or getting to know character actors more in-depth, especially when we can recall their faces, have that nice familiar feeling when we see them on screen, but often cannot recollect their names.
Food, easy conversation, and laughs. I have no idea what to name it, but there it is.
|Date: 10.22.18 -- Day 105 ("30-Day Blogging Challenge" -- Day 22)
Music: "Siren Song" / Three Laws
Prompt -- In 1964 today, Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre won the Nobel Prize for Literature and turned it down. Make up a reason why.
Sartre turned down the Nobel for Literature because he had a pressing appointment with his barista that evening. He felt since he could not attend in person, really, what was the point? Nobels are honorable, but one's relationship with their coffee mainline lasts forever. There was possibly a loose connection to off-the-market teal shag rugs. This is only rumored.
I'm so sorry. That's all I got.
|Date: 10.19.18 -- Day 102 ("30-Day Blogging Challenge" -- Day 18)
Music: "Happy Damage" / Jacuzzi Boys
Prompt -- Make a list of 10 things that are on your desk or writing space and why you might need them.
Laptop -- A metallic teal laptop named Mayari after the Tagalog goddess of the moon. This might just be me, but I have found that I am murder on electronics. I fry things easily -- that high static life. Without trying to be, but it's murder all the same. So I talk to my necessary electronics in my life. For instance, I pat my laptop lovingly as I hear the internal fan kick on. I murmur comforting words as it makes little weird squeak-click sounds every once in a while. I name them after powerful beings in the hope that they will haven longer longevity (my last laptop was named Bletchley after the amazing code-breakers of Bletchley Circle, and before that Merlin). It's a method that's working for now.
Clip-on Lamp -- This is the best thing I've purchased in a while. I originally bought for quilting, but it has been a game day player for other things, including the increasing darkness of fall and winter. It has two levels as well as switches for yellow and white light. Since I'm using a dining room table for a desk, the clamp works wonders on the side of the table without taking up space.
Water; luke-warm cup of tea. Gotta stay hydrated. Today's tea was Dragon Oolong.
Assorted Pens -- I got a set of fine point colored pens along with an adult coloring book as a gift for Christmas last year. I haven't used the coloring book yet, but the pens are awesome. I'm usually not a fine point pen kind of person, but these work so smoothly, I cannot help but love them.
Planner -- It's a decent size, covered in orange flowers so I cannot lose it in the shuffle. I like it. It's a fill in the month kind of planner, so I don't feel like I'm wasting paper. After twenty-five, I realized my brain was not as retentive with dates and times, so having a planner has become essential. This is even more of thing now that I'm balancing two schedules.
Medications -- That disabled, chronically ill life. Daily supplements as well. Morning meds, afternoon meds, and evening meds. They're stacked in front of me so I will not forget to take them.
Junk Mail -- I use junk mail adverts as notepad paper. It's not...ideal.
Scissors -- Believe it or not, I don't use the scissors for cutting things most of time. I actually use them like a fidget spinner. You know that scene with Doc Holliday in Tombstone with the empty cup? I can now do that with a pair of scissors. Another useless skill, but it could be a cool party trick one day. And it helps me focus.
Phone-- It is always with me. It don't always give me the notifications I need, but it's there.
Notebook -- For some reason I use the junk mail more than my notebook to take notes. However, I'm doing my best not to do that. Right now the notebook is filled with NaNo things. Thoughts, songs, ideas of where to take the story should I get stuck, random factoids that might not ever come up in writing, but I know they are there, so that's something.
|Date: 10.17.18 -- Day 100 ("30-Day Blogging Challenge" -- Day 17)
Music: "Picture of You" / The Cure
Prompt -- Share a list of your top 5 favorite books and give us a short blurb on each.
So I wrote a list quick list of all the favorites I could remember off the top of my head, and then I randomly selected five because I hate having to choose. Also, there's the whole overthinking problem. Here are my random five favorites.
In The Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
I read this book in junior high. There was just something mesmerizing about the characters, and that is was written about a group of sisters made it that even more interesting. This is historical fiction, taken from the history of th uprising against the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. Alvarez has a wonderful style of writing that sweeps you along as the story unfolds. It was also a reminder that activists are real people; being someone who leads a revolution or protests against injustice does not keep you from being flawed individuals. In that way, it made the story more compelling because it highlighted for me that making significant change does not mean being virtuous beyond belief. Each of the Mirabal sisters was complex and their relationships to each and those around them during a turbulent time all the more complicated and fascinating. Not a feel-good read, but recommended if you don't that.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Most people, if not into science fiction, know this book as the movie Blade Runner. Dick is one of my favorite writers as reading his works forces me to shift the focus of my brain when understanding what's happening. With Electric Sheep, you're left with all of these potentially earth-shattering answers, and it is really up to the reader on how they want to interrupt the end. What does it mean to have humanity? What does it mean to have mortality? Does this all depend on how we're taught, what we're told? (S/N: I wasn't a fan of the sequel to Blade Runner, but that's a different post.)
Bone Black: Memories of Childhood by bell hooks
This was one of the first books I read in college for an anthropology class. hooks has a such a lyrical way of writing, and I instantly fell into the way she assembled these short memories of her childhood. Some stories were in a surreal light and some stark shadow. It was a profound experience reading this book. I was left speechless afterward. Whenever I need to step out of my mess of a brain, I re-read this and get wrapped up in her words again.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
I read the translation of this novel my senior year of high school. It came as a recommendation from principal. Upon finishing, I sat in the corner of my room, a bit stunned, and just stared into the abyss for an hour. This book shook me. There was something about this world that Zafón created that I didn't want to leave even though it was not a cool. It gave me inspiration to try my first NaNoWriMo. I think I'm mentioned surrealism a bunch in this post, but that's what this novel was -- magical surrealism. I wanted to walk the hall of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, even knowing what could happen to my life if I did. The other books in this series are wonderful too, but this novel was the first to drag me into its world.
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This was a book given to me by my father. It was quite emotional read as Coates was able to talk about things that seem somewhat unapproachable within my own family. How race and socialization play keys roles in how one approaches life around them, and how to undo those things that have brought harm or pain. His honesty and the way he was able to weave this biography was enthralling. It was easy to picture is life, from childhood to college to parenthood. It was like walking along side him as he took this stroll down memory lane. This is the book I go back to when I need clarity. It's also why I was so stoked that he wrote the screenplay for Black Panther, and fell in love with the movie.
|Date: 10.16.18 -- Day 99 ("30-Day Blogging Challenge" -- Day 16)
Music: "Wheel In The Sky" / Journey & "Free Bird" (Cover) / Rufus (Non-funk Rufus) - Lynryd Skynyrd
Prompt -- Share a list of your top 5 favorite songs and tell us why they’re your fave.
The music continues!
This prompt gave me a bit of an existential crisis because it meant that I would have to choose. After reading the prompt last night, I knew this was going to take planning, which also means I was gonna overthink things because that's what I do. I made lists! I paced my living room! I consulted with people! It's really ridiculous. So, after two o'clock this morning rolled around, I decided I'm going to do my Top 5 from the five most recently playlists I've assembled or revised. Five sets of five. Is this cheating? I'm so, so sorry. You've found my kryptonite. I am weak.
I will then preface this by saying that these are in no particular order because that would make me choose and quantify them even more, and I do not possess that kind of will-power as you just read. So here is more information and music than you asked for!
Top 5 Road Trip Songs on the I-5 / 99-N
This particular playlist comes from the brown hills stretch of highway that heads up to San Francisco as well as the flat plains leading to Fresno. I made these two treks often with my mother from the ages of about 8 to 16. There was a good chunk of time where we were making this run daily. She'd pick me up after school, and I would do my homework in the back seat while we rocked out to music on the cassettes we stored in the glove box for such occasions. It's not the most interesting of views, but if we were lucky, the sky would fade into the most beautiful shade of gold I've ever seen.
"Wheel In The Sky" -- Journey
"I'm On Fire " -- Bruce Springsteen
At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
And a freight train running through the middle of my head
"10,000 Miles " -- Mary Chapin Carpenter
Oh don't you see
That lonesome dove
Sitting on an ivy tree
"Tell Me Why " -- Wynonna
And it's a real bad sign
I'm walking on a real thin line
A fool in love with a fool that never cared
"One Way Ticket " -- LeAnn Rhimes
There's a new horizon and the promise of a favorable wind
I'm heading out tonight, traveling light
I'm gonna start all over again
Top 5 Songs About Solace from Film
Films get epic scores. They should. Scores can be the backbone of any decent film, especially if the composer is allowed to branch out a bit. Most of the time, the scores are perfection while the films are not so much. These are songs from scores that touch on the emotion of solace. Defined as comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness, solace is an emotion built on layers. Too nuanced, and you've lost the thread. Not nuanced enough or contrived, the audience doesn't engage the way you want. A solid score can do the heavy lifting when it comes to solace and provide a needed context. Sometimes the solace comes from within the film, and sometimes the solace comes in spite of the film. These are some of my favorites because they capture of essence of this complex emotion.
"A Small Measure of Peace " from "The Last Samurai" -- Hans Zimmer
"On The Nature of Daylight " from "Arrival" -- Max Richter
"Learning to Forget " from "Little Women" -- Thomas Newman
"Farewell " from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" -- Tan Dun / Yo-Yo Ma
"Elysium " from "Gladiator" -- Hans Zimmer / Lisa Gerrard
Top 5 Songs I'd Commit Ocean's-Style Crimes To
In the vein of the Ocean's 11 franchise as well as lovely television shows like "Leverage", I've compiled a playlist of songs of which I would commit high class robbery to. $10,000-a-plate galas. A fine arts museum in broad daylight. A casino or three. The one where everything is going like clockwork and you get a cool moniker after you do the impossible. Here is part of the soundtrack to my cons, grifts, and robberies.
"I Awake " -- Sarah Blasko
Of this world, and all unseen
No one knows just why we're here
"Sinnerman " -- Nina Simone
I said rock
What's the matter with you rock?
Don't you see I need you, rock?
"Why did we fire that gun? " -- Waldeck
It strikes me
No need for words
It's all understood
"State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U) " -- Jim James
We've got out wires all crossed
Our tubes are all tied
And I'm straining to remember
Just what it means to be alive
"That's Alright " -- Laura Mvula
I will never be what you want and that's alright
I play my own damn tune, I shine like the moon
Top 5 Preludes to A Dystopian Future
Although the tide seems to be ebbing on the prevalence of dystopian novels and films, the impression of such a future, especially in our current times, is still a visceral feeling that seems to linger. When I listen to these particular songs, that's the first thing that pops into my mind. Clicking keyboards, crumbling infrastructure, and various shades of black highlighted in neon blue.
"Everybody Wants To Rule The World " (Cover) -- Lorde
Acting on your best behaviour
Turn your back on mother nature
Everybody wants to rule the world
"Take It All " -- Ruelle
Where worlds collide
When darkness falls
"Burn My Shadow " -- UNKLE featuring Ian Ashbury
I have burned my tomorrows
And I stand inside today
At the edge of the future
And my dreams all fade away
"Head Full of Lies " -- Georgi Kay
A fatal spin
Beneath your skin
Residue flows within
"I'd Love To Change The World " -- Jetta
I'd love to change the world
But I don't know what to do
So I'll leave it up to you
Top 5 Road Trip Songs on the I-80 E
This playlist comes from the trips on the road with my father while I was living in the Bay Area and he was working in Owens Valley. When the snow cooperated, we would make the long drive through Stanislaus National Forest. This playlist is also heavily influenced by one of my father's favorite movies, "Elizabethtown". The drive, no matter the season, is beautiful. The last time we did this, the national park was still recovering from a deadly fire. It was bleak. You could still smell the char from the trees. And yet, there was beauty in that too as you could still see the forest trying to come back to life.
"Io (This Time Around) " -- Helen Stellar
This time around
This love of ours
"Trouble So Hard " -- Vera Hall
Ooh Lordy, troubles so hard
Don't nobody know my troubles but God
"Come Pick Me Up " -- Ryan Adams
With the windows clear
And the mannequins eyes
Do they all look like mine
"It'll All Work Out " -- Tom Petty
Now the wind is high and the rain is heavy
And the water's rising in the levee
Still I think of her when the sun goes down
It never goes away, but it all works out
"Free Byrd" -- Lynyrd Skynyrd
(I provided the scene from "Elizabethtown" instead of the original Lynryd Skynyrd song because this is one of the funniest moments in the movie, and the song does a wonderful job in framing it. You don't really need to know the context of the movie to understand the scene. Just know, like "Titanic", the band played as the whole thing went down. As you do.)