Sometimes my thoughts are not g-rated. Sometimes I scream inside. I tell myself I should be more… palatable, more accessible, less… controversial.
But fuck that. Fuck ‘everything moderation’ — the long and pathetic road to mediocrity. Fuck it in the least accessible orifice, with copious amounts of lube and with vigorous drive.
If you love me, you will love that I am sharing these thoughts with you and if you hate me, then hate me with a fervor, because your hate makes me stronger.”
- Artist: Kid Loco
- Song: Flyin' on 747
- Album: DJ-KICKS: Kid Loco
There are many moments on this curious mash-up of an album by Kid Loco where I feel I’m watching a fast motion capture of a futuristic city, set somewhere in the past, from a spot in the sky. I see tiny cars zooming along clean expressways and perfectly manicured parks. There’s something retro-future in the soundtrack, that’s both scratchy and vintage, with old skool analog knob twiddling, and machine sounds of the future.
This airborne track is perfect for getting an overview, putting you in that birds-eye god-space that you need to be in, to keep an eye on all your characters’ happenings. Keep writing.
- Artist: Pretty Lights
- Song: Reel 7 Break 1
Advice from a writer friend:
Your story needs beats. Forget the exposition, forget the backstory. Just nail down the beats of the story. Put the pretty stuff in later.
Here are some beats to help you nail down your own. And… also, a little wisdom from the plot-master himself, Elmore Leonard:
See how it plays and lays
I am procrastinating on writing the great american novel. Like all the other assholes who’ve “signed up” and advertised to their friends this month, I’ve joined in the great american novel facade, telling myself that I’m going to write 50,000 words by the end of this month. I don’t know how I’m gong to do it, with two dance events that eat up entire weekends and the days that bookend those weekends, but I’ve had it with the “Someday I’m going to be a writer” thing that I do in my head and I figure, what better way to learn how to do this, than with peer pressure and a deadline riding my back like a moneky.
So, I’m procrastinating by reading Chuck Wendig’s post called “25 Things You Should Know About Storytelling" and I catch the line, "See how it plays and lays." in point number 19 and I think, "Either this is an obvious reference to Joan Didion and I feel so fucking smart for catching that, or it’s a reference to something else that Didion was also referencing and now I want to know what it was." So I just google the terms "plays lays" and I get a thousand posts about Joan Didion’s book titled "Play It as It Lays" which I loved and revere and then I find that there’s some kind of internal tumblr tag that feeds me every post anyone has ever written about the book.
Such foolsgold in an errand for literary riches. I could sit all night and read Joan Didion excerpts for her perfectly spare dry prose, but it won’t bring me any closer to my characters, plot or story.
- Artist: Brightblack Morning Light
- Song: We Share Our Blanket With the Owl
- Album: Brightblack Morning Light
There are times when a band’s name exactly conjures up both the tangible and intangible aspects of their own music and when I saw this band’s monniker, I was intrigued. Indeed, there is something nascently arising in each song, a slow build, like the way I take my mornings. I prefer them slow and moving gently with an unforced rhythm. I keep a folder in my itunes collection, full of music without words for writing and coding and mornings where I don’t want words. Although this band actually has a few vocalists, they seem to sing in a wordless way, or at least they’re words that I don’t process, which is an amazing thing, because I’m very much attuned to lyrics. Overall, the entirety of their self-titled album qualifies as solid writing music.
This song, slow and ponderous, but clearly progressing towards something, accompanies a silent camera following you through a field, a bamboo forest, an abandoned building. Without the tired whine of horror movie orchestral strings, you feel something is about to happen. This is the point in your story when you should start building tension. It’s only day two of NaNoWriMo, but I’ve turned off a movie after 15 minutes if nothing has happened or been about to happen. Don’t let it happen in your writing.
- Artist: A Small, Good Thing
- Song: Godforsaken
- Album: Slim Westerns
If you were writing a western this month for #nanowrimo, this might be the perfect piece with which start your opening scene… a cowgirl astride her steady bay, overlooking a softly moving field of cattle, her hat slanted askew, she looks out across the plain watching an ominous posse of thunderheads as they roll towards the homestead.
And so on…
A Small Good Thing doesn’t have much of a web presence. I bought this CD back in the mid 90’s when I dated a guy who was really into Eno and other atmospheric sound. This album, “Slim Westerns” has pushed me through many a late-night writing adventure. According to PBS, they are:
An idiosyncratic band made up of several members of O Yuki Conjugate, A Small Good Thing evades simple definition. Their instrumentation includes “mouth organ, pots & pans, short wave, violin, vibes, piano, whistles, guitar, drums, Olivetti, love scenes, French, Dictaphone, radio, and trumpets.”
I don’t know where you can buy their CD nowadays, but it looks like you can snag a few samples here.
- Artist: Charles Atlas
- Song: Chapultepac
- Album: To the Dust: From Man You Came and to Man You Shall Return
In the winter of 2006 I moved to the suburbs of Chicago, signed up for emusic and NaNoWriMo (which is National Novel Writing Month, the winsome notion of Chris Baty). It became clear to me that wordless music of interest was a necessary component of my daily writing session. So for you, I shall share some tracks that are sonorific, potentially sound-track worthy, and generally good as a soundscape for whatever create thoughts come bubbling forth.
Charles Atlas was one of my early emusic discoveries, and each song on the album, “To the Dust: From Man You Came and to Man You Shall Return” provides a distinctly different auditory experience. Some tracks are more machine-like and others, full of melody and gentle rhythms. Enjoy this curious sound-scape, reminiscent of a tiny pastoral town viewed from above— that miniaturized effect that makes worlds look small and quaint.
- Artist: Supernatural feat. Choklate
- Song: I'm A Fighter
- Album: S.P.I.T. (Spiritual Poetry Ignites Thought)
I think this song might turn me into a remix artist. I want to take the opening refrain from this song and sample it on top of nearly everything. If I could make it into a ringtone, a doorbell sound and the sound my bike makes when I ride through town, I’d do that. Good rhymes, good tymes.
- Artist: Moullinex
- Song: Take My Pain Away
- Album: Take My Pain Away
Some dance tunes before I hit the door.
Sometimes I think this is exactly what all men and women are like. I should probably explain it better, but I’ll leave you to think it over.