Here, There be a Writer

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Liebster Award...I've Been Nominated! Kewl!!!

I only recently discovered this existed. It's means to help promote new bloggers, or blogger with less than 200 followers. I was nominated by the loverly: Textploits of the Writerly Persuasion. 

I have to answer the 10 question that Tonette has given me and in return, I nominate 10 blog (and in a few cases tumblrs) to be the same thing. It's like speed dating, but more like going to an online mixer. I get to visit all of the blogs that I nominated and the ones that Textploits of the Writerly Persuasion nominated. Give them some love!

First off, Liebster means: Liebster is a German word. It means sweetheart or boyfriend/girlfriend. But in this context means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. A means to support those in the blogger community who are new and/or deserving of love to keep up the great work with their blogs, tumblrs, etc. I have included tumblrs in mine, because I know some great folks you primarily use tumblr to blog.

Rules are simple, the read the questions I send to you, answer the questions I gave you, tag/link me to your post, and nominate 10 blogs for a Liebster Award (thus telling them you are nominating them). Sit back and enjoy and great to know your fellow bloggers. It's fun and way more inclusive way to interact with reader, followers and peers. I am new to the blogging community and in a pursuit to meet and interact with fellow writers I'd figure I will try this out. It's feels nice to be noticed and because I got notice (it a first step really), I want to pay it forward and give some others a chance. Thank you Tonette! Check out her blog here: Textploits of the Writerly Persuasion

10 or 11 Blogs nominated by me (Blogs and Tumblrs):

The Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary People

Tina Field Howe / Screenwriter

The Aussie Word 

Positive Randomosity 

Obscurus Lupa Presents 

Urban Corning

VCR from Heck

10 question to me (from Textploits of the Writerly Persuasion):

1) You. Dinner. Plus five guests. Alive or dead, real or fictional. Name them. Oh, and as a bonus, what’s on the menu?
James A. Owen, Anne McCaffrey, John Lennon, The 9th Doctor, Amanda Palmer. 
The Menu would probably consist of Hummus, Sushi, Cheesecake, and Rootbeer Floats.

2) You just won $1,000,000.00, tax free. First off, congrats. Question: what plans do you have for the money?
Pay off college loans, credit card bills, and buy a new cars for me and my husband. Then I probably would take a couple of trips to Hawaii, Australia, and Wales.

3) Ever feel you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time? Pick any point in history you feel you’d most likely fit in the best.
And not get burn at the stake? Hmm, that's a toughie. I love the Renaissance and am interested in The Middle Ages, but I think I would go to the Golden Age of Greece. Live in Athens.

4) Do you believe in the paranormal? Care to share any inexplicable stories with the rest of us?
Yes. Pretty sure I have seen a ghost or some form of apparition at least once in my life. Nothing fancy, but I was at an overlook with my best friend from college. It was a new moon and really freaking dark, but the view very amazing! I turned around to stare at the distance tree line of the surrounding forest. When I saw the outline of a humanoid watching us. It was a dark grey in colour and distinctly different from the shade of black that was the forest. I got a bad case of the willies and we left shortly thereafter. I felt like I had been watched.

5) Do you believe in fate, love at first sight, or coincidences? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Yes, I feel that many of the people I have met in my life I was destined to meet, including my husband. So yes, I believe in love at first sight.

6) Do you believe we’re alone (or not alone) in the universe?
Not, not only because I am a Star Trek fan, but as a science and logical thinking person. The universe is so vast that how can there NOT be life elsewhere.We just haven't gotten around to officially meaning.

7) If you were offered a seat on one of the first spacecraft excursions they’ve got planned, would you go? Why or why not?
Not sure. I have this thing were I like to be out in the air and sunshine or moonshine (even though I am currently freezing my arse off). I am not claustrophobic, but if there is there a name for that kind of fear, that's probably what I would have. I am not sure I could handle the inter-stellar traveling, being closed inside a spaceship/starship (think like the Enterprise). I would most likely consider it though. Maybe if I could sleep through it, it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe! Yet, I would love to travel the universe via Tardis ( if possible). But that is a bit different type of travel isn't i? I am curious to see other planets, so I think I would.

8) Have you ever done or said something you regret, only to take it back and make things worse? (Uh, no. I’m not asking leading questions that might potentially albeit anonymously find their way into one of my books because, really, that would be wrong, but seriously, inquiring minds want to know, right?)
Yes. When my Ex and I stopped being friends after being in a relationship for a few years. She wasn't willing to accept that we loved each other. I was the one who admitted we were in a relationship. We were both childish and didn't admit our true feelings until it was too late. We both let distance between us. I regret how I treated her when we met up after years of not talking to each other. The friendship completely dissolved, felt bad, but had to learn to move on.

9) What is one thing you regret NOT doing or saying, and to whom?
I try not to regret. It is awfully wasteful of energy, but if I have to regret, it would probably not making the jump into writing sooner. I feel like I lost a lot of time writing and getting myself out there. I know, it's never too late, but sometimes that thought creeps into my head and makes me feel less an adequate at being a writer. I do push it aside and move on. I have too many plans and projects to let regret get in the way.

10) What did you have for breakfast this morning (or the morning you read this question)?
Organic Cocoa Puffs

10 questions by me (I stole a few, because they were really good questions): 

1. If you could live anywhere, real or fictional, where would you live? Why?
2. What is one thing you regret NOT doing or saying, and to whom?
3. If you could take a 1 month trip anywhere, money is not a worry or consideration, where would you go? What would you do there?
4. What is your most treasured memory?
5. Whom do you admire the most? Why does this people inspire you?
6. What did you want to be when you grew up (doesn't mean you have to stay grown up forever)? Has it changed? If it has, what is it now? If not, why have you kept the same?
7. You. Dinner. Plus five guests. Alive or dead, real or fictional. Name them. Oh, and as a bonus, what’s on the menu?
8. Favourite author and why?
9. If there was one mythical or fictional creature you’d get to keep as a pet, what would it be?
10. You are writing your life story, what’s the first line?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

My first love: Poetry!

I really love poetry. It was the first genre and form (can it be both?) that I really sank my teeth into and attempted to write. Mostly in school, but then I started journaling. While the VERY first poems I ever wrote (in 8th grade, I believe) are lost to the winds of great writer's void. I have kept everything since 9th grade. I even started collating them into nifty binders with stickers all over them (I am such a kid sometimes).

No matter what I always come back to poetry for inspiration. I absolutely love the works of Robert Frost, Edger Allen Poe, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Emily Dickenson. Quite the range of emotions I have there, from the dark and morbid, to the natural and quiet reflective.

When I write poetry I usually write free verse. Sometimes it's better to let it run wild. Other times having a regular pattern that I really can bring out the imagery. I really loved to describe items and concepts. Descriptive language is very much my friend. I thrive on adjectives! Sonnet form is one that I have come to appreciate. Shakespeare has to be added to the list above (I totally forgot). The man had such a way with language. Sometimes I felt that modern language holds no comparison to Shakespeare and his peers. His use of words, language, and imagery is something I would love to be able to write. Maybe the language is archaic, and not as productive to being a modern writer, but it's something that the nerd in me wants to strive for. Maybe that's why I did a sonnet a day for a month. I will revisit the sonnet in future writing endevours. But, for now I am enjoying the more obscure poetic forms that I have been writing this month.


1/19: Smiles (via Christy Holter)

Rondeau: aabba aabR aabbaR

What Makes you Smile

What makes you smile in cascading rivulets of bliss?
For you are not one to easily dismiss
That there are ways with which to create a smile.
I know such matters, do not think I am lacking guile--
To make a smile, all must one do is kiss.

Do not think that I can remiss,
That I would give up a chance and miss
A chance to sing for you. Thus is worthwhile
To see what makes you smile.

Then we can sit awhile to reminisce
Of the times of that and this.
The times that brought to our faces style
A joy, akin to a smile that was most gentile
But do not simply think that I am amiss
That I know not what makes you smile.

1-19-2014 11:28 pm

Sonnet #7 Alberta Clipper (via Sarah Harrison)

Warning of the Alberta Clipper (or The Warm Winds)

The warm winds descend from the Pacific.
My love he is riding across the plains
He is over the mountains specific
and is free to follow the breeze as do the cranes.

While I am lonely on the windward rise
The breeze, I send a gift to my amour.
But, on the leeward side he also cries
For upon the plains, a sadness unsure.

From our reach, the sadness is reeling
Of wind that unleashes upon the lands,
A coldness resembling our heart’s feeling.
Those who huddle between their frozen hands.

Can you feel the wrath of women parted
By unseen forces who would have thwarted?


They are all very lyrical forms. One could put many of these forms to music, maybe not haiku. But, I would loved to see/hear someone sing a song of haikus. Go ahead, I dare you! :-) Villanelles, terzanelles, and rondeaus were pretty much used by bards back in the renaissance times to compose songs of courtly love, beauty, nature, death, triumph, and tragedy.

Haiku have become a fast favourite over the month. It's the simplicity of the form that speaks to me. I have tried to challenge myself in writing haiku. My friend, Laura, from college is very good at haiku; also there is Haiku Hare (on twitter) who is a favourite. I have even gotten into a few haiku war (or haiku scuffles) with them. That's a good time. Check them out on twitter at Haiku Hare.

[example of the grand Haiku Hare, via twitter]
Rhyming in haiku 
Is one thing I love to do. 
This one is for you!

[example of my haiku - 1/11: Ukulele (via Amy Chaplin)]

Ukulele Haiku in Triplet

So little you are
What mighty sounds do you make
With little strumming

O Ukulele
When dost thou play thine notes
The world spins gaily

Mini guitar, you
Make music differently
So verily good

Dear Readers, who are your favourite poets, if you have one? Do you have a favourite form of poetry? Leave me a comment or a poem below. Have a great week and be take care of each other.

Walking the Sunday: A ROW80 update

I started ROW80 with some lofty goals, thinking maybe that it would be easy. In some ways it has proven to be easy. While some goals seemed to be harder to get motivated to work on. It sounds kind of like a standard revelation, where you learn what you can and cannot accomplish in a set time.

That sentence doesn't feel right to me. There is more to it than that.

I am of the mind that everything I want to accomplish with ROW80 or anything in life for that matter I can still accomplish. I need to clear this up now. Everything I want to do with my life from writing to theatre to keeping my house clean I am going to. Obviously, some of these goals might take longer and I am okay with this. Today is looking at the goals I have set and seeing if I indeed need to revise any with that schedule. Actually, upon review of my first ROW80 post, I have actually done pretty well. Some of the goals I have really been successful on include:

1. Attempt to finish 1 short story in the month of January. Date: January 31st. (This is done. I wrote a short story and revised it. Going to send it out to a few test reader a see what they think. I am confidant that I can write a short story in both February and March.)
  • Write a short story or 1 act in February. Date: February 28th
  • Write a short story or 1 act in March. Date: March 31st.
2. Journal at least twice a week throughout ROW80 and continuing afterwards. (This has been easier than I thought. Even if I don't write five full pages and I am still devoting two days a week to journaling.)

3. Finish my Obscure Poetry Month with a poem a day. No missing any days. Date: January 31st. (This is still going on, but I have NOT missed a day yet, nor will I. Even though I am a little sick of rhyming. I am not lying.)

4. Finish reading "Brisinger" and "Inheritance". Date: Brisinger - January 15th (CHECK). Inheritance - By February. (Been plugging along on "Inheritance", but now I have some new books that I just buy and want to read, including borrowing a copy of a novel by Hugh Laurie, "The Gunseller". This is gonna push me harder to spend more time reading.)

Now, there are some goals that I have been struggling with, but I am still going to try complete them. The biggest of these are my novels form NaNoWriMo 2011 and 2013.  I want to revise my first novel from NaNoWriMo 2011, "Tale of Memories". I guess I need to put a measurable date. Okay, lets aim for March 1st; and there is also the 2013 novel "All them Goodbyes" to begin work on... TBD. I need to sit down and work on these. Part of me, I think, is afraid that they won't be any good. I need to work past this and at least try and see if they are good enough to get published.  This really is my BIG goal and I need to devote more time to it.

I am glad that I am writing with more regularity though. I need more practice with writing, so one should not down play either. Some of these goals as they become habit I won't need to think about much. They will happen because they are habit. Thereby making the other goals easier to focus on. I think! That's what I am striving for anyway.

The hardest part this week to achieve any of my goals has been dealing with personal issues and that nice little Polar Vortex that has decided to descend upon the northeast. While very good for wanting to keep me in my study writing or editing; it's not great for always keeping me focused. When it's been this cold my ambition starts to freeze. Then I start to get distracted.

No matter. The Polar Vortex will not win, I am smarter than it! :-)

Tempest rehearsals start fully this week, so I will have my hands full learning Trinculo's lines and keeping up with the writing and editing and reading. Heh! I was never one for being complacent for long. I do love a challenge. Can't keep a good writer/reader down, Dear Readers! Especially if she is a theatre nerd!

I have an addition to my writing goals. I want to not only post my bi-weekly ROW80 update posts, but I want to return to posting a regular blog post during the week. I feel as though I posted this in a previous update. If so, my amendment  is that each week I WILL post a regular, non-ROW80 blog post every Friday/Saturday. I did miss this past Friday/Saturday, but no matter. I have decided this, so thus this week begins the new goal. Always a chance to start fresh. Additional amendment: I am going to edit at least  pages per editing session. Even if i do not edit everyday, when I do edit it will be  pages per session. Subject to be determined when I will designate editing times (sessions).

I really have been enjoying ROW80. There is something good about being able to stick to my goals and move forward. I have more confidence in myself and am able to use that to make good things happen.

Check out Other ROW80 participants: LinkyTools

Stick around Dear Readers, there will be more excitement brewing with this blog. New blogs to write and therefore read. Much more! HUZZAH! 2014 is headed in an awesome direction and I'm going to keep the flow going. Have a fantastic week, Dear Readers. Go and make something awesomely beautiful. Be good to each other. I leave you with a poem from  my Obscure Poetic Form Month, a Villanelle. The rhyme scheme is also posted for any and all who would love to try their hands a writing a villanelle. It's actually really fun!

1/20: Mirrors (via Tom Lawson)

Villanelle: A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2

Mirror Truth

A portal to another world, where everything is reverse
Where you can perfect the form of beauty or exercise,
By watching your own parallel universe.

There are things that are truly worse
Then staring at yourself as you glamorize--
A portal to another world, where everything is reverse

Trying to find ways to coerce
Yourself that the reflection you see is the prize,
By watching your own parallel universe.

How many times have you recited verse
Into the reflection? Only to feel it bounce back lies.
A portal to another world, where everything is reverse

And yet, here is the only place you can rehearse,
Telling the lies they you have thought wise
By watching your own parallel universe.

You cannot feel that this is the only way to converse,
As great as the time is spent watching the eyes—
A portal to another world, where everything is reverse
By watching your own parallel universe.

1-20-2014 7:01 pm

*pictures from Goodreads and Morguefile

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Here, There be a Writer: Wednesday #ROW80 update - Writing and Stuff

Today is a laid back day. I am home from work because it's been slow. So, I am taking advantage of the extra time on writing projects. Since my last update I am moving right along, "Movin' right along in search of good times and good news, With good friends you can't lose, This could become a habit! Opportunity knocks once let's reach out and grab it (yeah!), Together we'll nab it, We'll hitchhike, bus or yellow cab it! (Cab it?)"

I woke up this morning read a few chapters of "Inheritance". I hate to push aside my reading, especially when I have a serious reading goals to keep up with this year. Or there's the fact that anytime I go into a used book store or a Salvo (Salvation Army Store) when there is a fresh load of books on the shelf, I am dangerous. I now have the complete "Hunger Games" trilogy, a copy of "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Diary of Anne Frank", and "And Then There Were None" by Agatha Christie. I think I need to revise/create a book list for the next few months, if not this whole year.

Currently, I am on page 53 of "Inheritance" by Christopher Paolini, not too far in, yet. I am planning on diving into it one this week. Here's a thing; when I finished Brisinger I needed time before starting the next book. It was so much to take in. When I am reading series (mostly fantasy/sci-fi series), I usually need time to digest the story before getting thrown into the next story. It has to do with not wanting to forget the story in six months time and also because sometimes I want to savour the story I had spend A LOT of time investing in. Most of the fantasy/sci-fi series that I read are pretty intense and/or very detailed.

I have so many other series to read or re-read, not counting the small collection of Piers Anthony books given to me by my friend, Jane when she moved to Wisconsin.

This is why bookstores, both new and used are dangerous to me. I buy books. I already had a crap ton o' books (see photo for example). I often wonder if I will ever get through 'ALL TEH BOOKS' in my 'to read' collection. Then I remember this:;there is something gratifying in reading, getting lost into a world, feeling the words tickle your mind. Enjoy that description! This year I set to read 25 books total (on I have read 3 books so far. It would be great to surpass that number. Last year I didn't quite make my goal of...(which I conveniently forgot just now). Working on changing that. Maybe I should at least try to had a schedule of books for the next few months. I am going to be learning Shakespeare's "The Tempest"  (playing Trinculo) through April and I think I an going need to have a more detailed schedule, This is so I can still make good on my line learning and still read 'ALL TEH BOOKS'. Let's start a general list of book and series I want to read or re-read this year (this list is a work in progress):

*Inheritance (by February 15th)
*To Kill a Mockingbird (by February 28th)
*Hunger Games
*Diary of Anne Frank
*His Dark Materials

*Ink Death (to re-read Ink Heart and Spell)
*Mark Twain works (at least 1)
*Jules Verne works (at least 1)

Also, this morning, I started work on a short story that I started earlier in the week. Something that I started with the help of a writing prompt. One little picture of a birdhouse and a story came to me. It's exciting. I sometimes have trouble writing shorty stories. Not completely sure if it's a lack of inspiration or I get distracted by other projects. I'm a bit like Dug the Dog from the movie UP. "Hi! My name is Dug...SQUIRREL!" Oh, well, I'm feeling good about the story. It's a bit random. Not a full scale story, but it is a story. I really need more practice at writing short stories. Now, I just need to edit it today and have a complete first draft by day's end. That means I made my first story goal for ROW80! ~w00t~

Poetry update time! Yes, the obscure poetry month is going very well. I have been sticking to Villanelles, Terzanelles, Rondeaus, Triolets, Cinquains, and Pantoums. I think that I prefer to improve on these style instead of adding other forms to the list. Maybe for another month's challenge? Most of these forms requires rhyming and I am finding that I do need more work on my rhyming and  rhythm. It's not so bad, really. I use as a tool to help me find words to use, but there are skills in finding the right rhyming words for the right poem/line, not just picking from a list. It's a handy tool and I will not stop using it, but the more I write in these forms the more I am able to think rhyme on my feet.

Yesterday's poem and the one I am most proud of so far this month:

1-21-2014: No two Snowflakes... (via Ken Corey)

Terzanelle: ABA'/ bCB / cDC / dED / eFE / fAFA'

No Two Are

Have you ever noticed the smaller details
of the delicate icy lace of a snowflake.
Once upon a time, when the Boreas's gales

blows across the tundra at daybreak;
Like the magnolias in the spring are, these
of the delicate icy lace of a snowflake

float upon the winter's breeze
and no two such are quite the same.
Like the magnolias in the spring are these,

There are no pattern for their frame
each one is uniquely in design
and no two such are quite the same.

A rarity of beauty most opaline--
quite the sight, when you see how small
each one is uniquely in design.

Made from the very own winter's squall.
Have you ever noticed the smaller details--
quite the sight, when you see how small.
Once upon a time, when the Boreas's gales.

1-21-2014 12:08 pm

This is going to be a full week, filled with Improv and LCP's Annual Dinner, and Tempest. Tempest rehearsals start gearing up this week. I am hoping to keep to my goals, at least to some of them. I know that with ROW80, if I need to I can revise my goals. That makes me feel good. I am also not going to overly worry about whether I make or fail to make these goals. I am just going to keep pushing as much as I can. When I just do it, I feel the most productive and positive about my work. That's really what I need to remember. Also this, "If you really want to do something, no one can stop you. If you really don;t want to do something, no one can help you." ~James A. Owen

Have a Great week, Dear Readers! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

ROW80: Sunday update - Some Meatloaf and Lindsay Katt

I am really proud of myself.

I look at this past week and I see an obstacle course of events both helpful me with my ROW80 goals, but also some that have hampered me. Hamper it did not. You know that feeling you get when you think, "it can wait"? Yeah, I get that a lot! Usually for various reasons, not always for writing. The phrase, "when it rains it pours" also comes to mind. That feels like this past week, but yet I did not succumb to the pressure.

After a that's what life is about, sometimes you have bad days, speed bumps, and moment when the amuse has decided to leave you a Dear John letter. She has done that to me in the past. Thankfully she wasn't that brusque this week. I did have my mental hands full.

First, I survived "Tempest" auditions and got cast as Trinculo, the drunken jester. He is very much in the realm of what  Bottom is in "Midsummer's Night Dream". Maybe I didn't get my first pick, but that is okay. I haven't been disappointed by a Shakespearean role yet. The read through is Tuesday and I am excited. The cast is full of my friends from past shows and some new folks. I even get to interact his David (the hubs) in this show. He was Oberon in "Mid Summer", there was far far less interaction between Bottom and Oberon. It's all exciting. Here is a snippet of Trinculo, Stefano, and Caliban from Stratford Shakespeare Festival: "Freedom".

Journaling is turning into a much easier task then I thought. I was kind of worried I would turn into a high school diary. Maybe in some way I utilize it as a way to vent my frustrations of the world to paper. But, it's also turning into a great brain storming tool. It allows my mind to run free. I remember ideas and even dreams clearer. It's a cheaper form of therapy. Currently I am sticking to the Tuesday/Thursday mornings journaling times.

My poetry month is going well, I am still making the daily goal of a poem a day, even if I cut it close by three minutes to midnight. :-) Oh, I also got into a Haiku War over Twitter last night. That was random, but its was a great way to improve my haiku writing. I need more random poetry in my life. It was a fun way to help past the evening, even though I was trying to blog last night. Yes, there's the blog. I did my first non ROW80 update blog since ROW80 started. I enjoy having good content for my readers. So, I have added the goal to post once a week my regular sort of material during ROW80. That lend to Meatloaf and an evening of his music. It was a very productive day, week, month so far. I have a few beginnings of stories. I hope to be able to complete my January story. Sometimes this is when the muse decides to go out bowling and leave me home alone with the cats. :-) Oh, well, January is mot over yet.

Music to inspire me to write this week: Meatloaf, Lindsay Katt, and Tardis Interior Hum

I started editing "Tale of Memories", it is the 2nd revision. It's taking longer than I thought. There are less red marks, but it's still slow going. I made it through 4 chapters (about 14 pages). A noisy coffee shop is not the best place, unless you have head phones or it's not as noisy. I discovered I still  LOVE to use commas EVERYWHERE! It probably stems for my free flow, state of consciousness writing. Overall, I am still happy with the writing. There is hope for the novel.

 Also, I started reviewing my stage play script. Oh, I don't know what I was thinking. Not sure if it's worth revising, but then I get a nice monologue or a pretty scene. That one I will work on after ROW80 and "Tempest". It's gonna take a lot of work. Oh well, that happens. A good friend once told me that not everything I write is going to be something for others, maybe it's just for me.

There hasn't been a lot of reading this week. I did read the "Tempest" prior to auditions. I also finished the first of my Doctor Who books, "The Closkwise Man". I am going to have to re-tool my time for reading. The last couple of days I have been busy, which hasn't allowed for time to read. I will need to try harder to make time. I usually read for a bit in the morning, or before bed (if I don't fall sleep during and lose my place). Can anyone else admit to that? Falling asleep to a book your reading and losing your place?

I hope you all, Dear Readers, are having a good week. Sit back and relax, it's Sunday! Pull up a good book, or some Netflix and relax with a cup of coffee or cocoa. Speaking of which, I need some coffee. Have a good week and be good to each other. Leave me a comment about this coming week. Something good and exciting happening?  Something that is bothering you? I have a couple of ears for listening if you near to vent. Or you could visit the Emotional Baggage website. It's neat idea. You leave your emotional baggage and an email (no names involved). Later you will most likely get an anonymous uplifting response. A bit of a pat on the back and acknowledgment that you are not alone. You can also pick up someone baggage and leave them some positive words of encouragement.

Have a great day, Dear Readers! Blessings...


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Which is Better? Classic or Modern MeatLoaf?

My best friend in college was the one to introduce me to Meatloaf.  We had been friends since we met the summer before her senior year in High School (circa 1995. I was a pretty dumb kid, I thought she meant food, until she played  the "Bat Out of Hell" album. I was unsure of what to make of it. It was probably a Saturday in her dorm room at college, she was a a Junior and I was a Freshman when I really found the passion within the Loaf (into 1997).

Fast forward to 19 years later, now I am a pretty big Meatloaf fan. I have most of the albums in official format, and the rest included on a nifty mp3 collection from Russia (see below). Meatloaf spoke to me in during a time when I was not sure of myself and when I was angry about a good many things. If I was angry I played Meatloaf. If I was sad, I'd usually play Meatloaf or Savage Garden (that's for another time). "If I gotta be Damned, I wanna be Damned with you..." So, what is with this guy named after a dinner entree and had the voice of an (horny) Angel?

I know why he's important to me. There is something magical about any Meatloaf song, whether a standard 3 1/2 to 4 minute song or one of his up to 11 minute epic ballad. "...took the words right outta my mouth. Must have been while you were kissing me..." There is something about the loud rush of one those songs that just makes my heart soar and I want to belt along with his vocals. Even with the gentle ballads he has the ability to tell a story with his voice. It's simply beautiful. Simply awesome!

My question this week is this,which is better: Classic or Modern Meatloaf?

Or you can break it down  two way; Bat Albums versus Non-Bat albums. There is a certain, almost formulaic way the the Bat albums are set up. I don't really see much of a difference between "Bat Out of  Hell" and "Bat Out Hell 3: The Monster is Loose". But, when I listen to the Non-Bat albums versus the Bat Album, I see a greater difference. There is a style quality to a Bat Album, that doesn't always match with the Non-Bat albums.

Or, you can compare 1970's Meatloaf to 2014 Meatloaf. I shall tackle a bit of both. Let's get started.

Bat versus Non-Bat:
First off, Jim Steinman is involved in all of the Bat album and that is a big reason why Meatloaf is so successful. Jim Steinman writes AWESOME songs! Bat 3 also features Jim Steinman and Desmond Child (songwriter and musician) as the primary songwriter on Bat 3 (there were some other fine folks included). This is the reason that the songs are as strong as they are, there is a common theme running through them; large epic sounding sounding songs and vocals, the feeling that there is an underlying story with the songs (I figured that Jim Steinman was the drive force behind that). Bat 3 is less cohesive, but not necessarily weaker than Bat 1 and 2. I love pretty much all the song on all of the Bat albums, but there are a few that I would tend to skip if I am thinking about it. This happens more with Bat 3 than Bat 1 or even Bat 2.  There are too many good songs on Bat 3 to not consider it a modern classic. The point is that each of the Bat albums stand well on it's own and when combined you have a fantastic trilogy of music worth listening to.


If I was going to introduce Meatloaf to someone, I would start with the Bat albums. They are the stronger albums, also more well know. If you were to ask most people what albums Meatloaf released, they would most likely say one of the Bat 1 or 2; not excluding 3 here, but it is newer and the first 2 have had time to ingrain themselves into our consciousnesses. There are, without a doubt quintessential Meatlaof. They showcase his power, emotion, vocal range, ability to make grown men weep. Here are my stand out tracks for the Bat albums:

Bat Out of Hell - Bat Out of Hell (1977)
1. You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Nights) - Love the sexy intro spoken by Steinman.
2. Bat Out of Hell - This is obvious, I think.
3. Two Out of Three Ain't Bad - Something about his presentation makes me smile during this song.

Sad fact is that two out of these three are all that is usually played on the radio now-a-days.

Bat Out of Hell 2 - Back into Hell (1993)

1. I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't do That) - This song is the most romantic song EVER! See the Literal Video to it. I know the creator and both the singers.
2. Rock and Roll Dream Come Through - A thoughtful, if slightly sad sounding song of hope. Featuring a young Angelina Jolie!
3. Life is a Lemon/Wasted Youth - A tie, because Life is a great rock song, even good for head banging (I don't recommend head banging unless you can do it. I usually get a headache). Wasted youth includes Jim Steinman doing the guitar monologue, "Love and Death and an American Guitar".

Only one of these songs is usually played on the radio, guess which one.  I swear, Meatloaf needs to play on the radio more often.

Bat Out of Hell 3 - The Monster is Loose (2006)

1. It's All Coming Back to Me Now - Celine Dion sang it first, but Meatloaf nails it!
2.Cry Over Me -Written by Diane Warren (as known as the ballad Goddess, amongst others).
3. Bad for Good - Bad for Good was on an album produced by and sang by Steinman after Meatloaf stopped making albums. Meat was supposed to record the Bad for Good album, Steinman ended up recording it himself.

Now onto the Non-Bat albums; there are 8 of them (2 of which I only have mp3's of). There is also the first Meatloaf album, "Stoney and Meatloaf" (I do not have this one at all. It's kind of rarer). These are more eclectic in nature, but still good albums. Well, not all of them are all good, "Blind Before I Stop" is pretty terrible. I only have that one in mp3 form and when I listened to it, I was NOT impressed. It is really overy produced and lyrically weak.  The current album, "Hell in a Handbasket", I have only listen to once or twice. I cannot form much of an opinion on it at the time of this blog, so I am abstaining. So the list is: "Dead Ringer", "Bad Attitude", "Midnight at the Lost and Found", "Blind Before I Stop", "Welcome to the Neighborhood", "Couldn't Have Said it Better", "Hang Cool, Teddy Bear", and "Hell in a Handbasket".

Albums that I would introduce to a new fan or interested parties as a good representation of Meat's Non-Bat work, showing his vocal style, or are all-around well produced album/songs would include "Bad Attitude". I have a long history with this album. It is a feel good album and perfect for belting out. "Welcome to the Neighborhood" and "Couldn't Have Said it Better" round out my trio. "Welcome..." is an album that wanted to be a Bat album, but is not one. It features songs by Steinman, Diane Warren (the Goddess of Songwriting), Sammy Hagar, Steven Van Zant, and Tom Waits; with this powerhouse of writing "Welcome..." cannot go wrong. It's kind of little the Bats little brother, trying to act like the big boys. It's that's spunk that makes me love this album. More people need to know about it. Each song has a unique flavour and honestly, I love every track of it. "45 Seconds of Ecstasy" is the odd one out, because it's not sung by Meatloaf. It's a neat and random, the singer isn't terrible and it acts as sort of an interlude. There is another  interlude,"Fiesta De Las Almas Perdidas" an instrumental, which is common on Meatloaf's later albums. "Couldn't..." is Meat's first album after his long hiatus. The title track feels exactly like he left off with "Welcome..." Many of the songs on "Couldn't..." were written by James Michael and one track written by the awesome Diane Warren (yet again? YAY!!!!!), and while there weren't Steinman songs on this album. It didn't stop the album from sounded amazing. It did not well on the charts, due mostly to poor promotion of the album. That doesn't hamper my love for "Couldn't...", it simply couldn't, Ki tell you. When Meatloaf sings, I listen.

Bad Attitude (1894)
1. Bad Attitude
2. Nowhere Fast
3. Piece of the Action/Jumpin' the Gun

Welcome to the Neighborhood  (1995)
2. Where the Rubber meets the Road
 3. Original Sin

 Couldn't Have Said it Better (2003)
1. Couldn't Have Said it Better - This is just pure Meatloaf!
2. Testify
3. Did I Say That

Classic versus Modern:
2010 - The years have rolled on, taking Meatloaf for another ride. I won't deny that his voice has changed over the years. He is in his sixties. But he can still sing. I think that with Bat 3, there has a renewed vigour in his desire to make music. While I have listened to his newer material less than the classic albums; I can still hear the same old Meatloaf in there. There is one noticeable difference is that I can hear him trying new things with his music. I explained this to a friend who had just heard about Bat 3 being released. She wanted to know how I thought it sounded. My thoughts are that Bat 3 was what Meatloaf needed to sound like in 2006. He was evolving, still is. He has taken his talent and evolved into the 21st century. I stand by this statement. Maybe he doesn't sing like he did in 1977, but would anybody after 35+ years? I doubt it. He was a powerhouse back then and a powerhouse today.

I have to mention, "Hang Cool, Teddy Bear"; it was not an album I was sure that I could like. "Los Angeloser" was a song that confused me on first listen. Oh, especially after watching the music video, probably should have done that. I just couldn't reconcile my vision of Meatloaf to what was in the "Los Angeloser" video. Yet, when I listened to the song by itself and not let the video influence me (that was hard to do). I found that it was actually a pretty good song. It had all the elements of  a Meatloaf song: powerful vocals, a storyline, and musicality. "Hang Cool..." also boasts an all star cast of writers from: James Michael, Kara Dioguardi, Desmond Child, and John Bon Jovi; also, there are the guest stars Kara Dioguardi, Hugh Laurie (Dr. House), Stevie Vai, Jack Black, and Brian May (of Queen). Fun Fact: the album is based on the short story, "Hang Cool, Teddy Bear" by Kilian Kerwin.

Hang Cool, Teddy Bear (2010)
1. If I Can't Have You (features Kara Dioguardi and Hugh Laurie)/If It Rains
2. Elvis in Vegas
3. Los Angeloser (This video is weird, but makes more sense with the story. Read the story, then watch the video. It's still weird, but it'll make more sense. Sort of...I am warning you now. Just remember that.)

This is better after you read the story. I recommend checking it out through the link above.

He also player Eddie in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and the Sage production of "The Rocky Horror Show".
Hot Patootie/Bless My Soul (if you haven't heard or seen the song:.

What are some of your favourite Meatloaf tracks (if you are into Meatloaf, that is), Dear Readers? What do you think about Meatloaf return and continued musical career? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ROW80 Midweek Update - Sherlock Wednesday

I woke up thinking that is was a pretty good day. I will admit that I spent my morning being a touch lazy and watching Sherlock. Not that that's a bad thing! Oh, Benedict Cumberbatch, you of the awesomely strange name and delightfully charming mannerisms... ~sigh~ *rolls eyes at the thought*

Having a lack of cable, I had to resort to more nefarious tactics to get caught up with the Everyone's Favourite British Sociopath. Today, I was at home and what better way to pass the morning than to watch Sherlock? Right? So, guilty as charged, I watched Sherlock. But this update is not without it's promises. Sherlock is a breath of fresh air. The story lines are inventive, the characters are rough around the edges, even flawed (I also like Torchwood, guilty too), and it's British. While I think Moffat has gotten too big for his britches, he does know how to make a great show! What Sherlock brings to the table is a sense of what I want to do in my writing. There is an engaging story with characters that everyone loves. I might not write mysteries well (only once or twice for a class), but this formula can work for any genre/style writing. Watching Sherlock, Doctor Who, and even The Walking Dead is an asset to my story writing.  I can learn to create better, more engaging stories and develop my characters better. Consider it homework!

AnyWho, the ROW80 update. Yes, I am getting a bit distracted here, what with the Cumberbatch. This week finds me getting comfortable with my journaling. A regular pattern of Tuesdays and Thursdays seems to be working out well. What am a learning? Well...That I have a lot of thoughts in my head for starters. It's deeply therapeutic though. I don't need to do it everyday. It helps me remember things that I had previously forgotten, gives me ideas, and sometimes I find that I will write something worthy to be included in a future blog, story, or poem.

Onward! I have read the Tempest. Auditions are tomorrow and Friday. I wish I could go to both days, but again things and events are starting to crop up. Maybe it's me, but I always feel that these things sneak up on me. No worries, I will not let my schedule get out of hand this year, but at the same time January was starting to look boring. What with the Holiday rush and bustle over, I think I needed to get to work. Maybe I was getting bored. I have decided what parts I am auditioning for. I shall not say until after auditions. I have loved Shakespeare since college, when I was able to gain a greater understanding of him as a writer and the language used. My favourite works have mostly been the comedies: "A Midsummer's Night Dream", "Much Ado About Nothing", and "As You Like It", but I am partial to [Insert Scottish Name Here]. I am excited for another chance to be involved in a Shakespearean Production. Now, to get over the nerves!

Okay, I read the "The Tempest" and finished "Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man", also have started "Inheritance". It's gonna get crazy with the writing/editing, reading, and acting all up in here. But, really the plan is to read either before work or before bedtime, maybe squeezing in a bit on lunch or mid-day depending. I don;t wanna read too fast, because then I will forget a few months after reading the book. Again, I just have to utilize my time as best as I can.

I started a story yesterday. I am not sure if it'll go anywhere, but I am going to try. Funny how many of my stories start with one line or concept; then somehow it snowballs into a complete story. Editing on the other hand, is proving harder devote time to. I AM going to devote some time to editing later tonight, I have let it pass too long, time to grab the bull by the horns. I feel that my mood from last week has hampered the editing drive (not that that's an excuse). No matter, I am doing quite well on my obscure poetry month. I have some good topics from my friends and readers; and am pushing to try new poetic forms and stretching the images into poems, even the more unique topics. I even have been doing some extra practicing on my haiku writing.

The hardest part of writing is the ambition, with inspiration being a close second.  This blog has helped get me to write more with a greater regularity, but I still have trouble with story writing. That is what I want to change the most over these 80 days. I want to write a story a month, even if it's a short story. Maybe only a few pages, but a story nonetheless. Also, I want to include a blog that is not a ROW80 and since the updates fall on Wednesdays and Sunday, I need a new Blog Day. Hmmmm....maybe Friday or Saturday? I guess you will have to check back either day to see when I update! :-)

The boring update: I also have been trying to keep up with the housework and set about to organize some of this house. It means that some time has been diverted to clearing out junk, putting the holiday stuff away, and actually spending time with David. Pretty sure my house will always look like a tornado fell through the roof, but I like having a clean sink (I loath doing dishes), freshly laundered clothing, and the like.

My mood is optimistic today. Do you, Dear Readers feel something similar? Like the holidays knock the wind out of you? That January is a barren wasteland waiting for Spring to arrive? That there is plenty of time? Leave me a comment below about how you view January as a productive or counter-productive month. How you handle the feeling of complacency. And the like...

Have a splendid day, Dear Readers!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

First ROW80 update - Sunday #1

It's true that I missed the first update on Wednesday, but in my defense I only started on Tuesday (also a day late). I wanted the best chance to see what I could accomplish in 4 days.


I am rather please with the early results. Does it mean the I can slack off? Heck no! But, some of my simpler goals are in the early stages of becoming habits. I have found that for  things to became regularly occurring in my life I have to set some guide lines/goals and then-the hard part-follow through them. It also helps to have to be accountable to someone for my goal; NaNoWriMo falls into this role perfectly. Because I had to write at lease 1667 word daily, I had to make time, there was no 'Oh, I'll do it later' or 'I only need 20 minutes on Facebook'. When I got behind, and I often did in 2011, it was a struggle to keep up the fight. I will admit that 2013 proved to be much easier to get up and write in the morning and write in the evening before bedtime. A Round of Words feels like another excellent tool to give me that kick in the arse to get moving.

Now, with that being said, I will admit that some of the writing goals I am currently struggling with. The biggest problem is inspiration. But, I do not have fear. There are oodles of writing prompts at my fingertips and friends to offer suggests. So, I feel that I will have more writing to report on, on Wednesday.

My editing goals, I have not touched yet, I think that my biggest problem is post holiday laziness. I get a little indifferent to time after a rush and since Christmas and New Year's happen almost on top of each other it's a double whammy. I know what I need to do, so I guess I just need to do it. After all, "If you really want to do something, nobody can stop you. If you really don;y want to do something, no one can help you." (James A. Owen).

I have starting my journaling again. I even found, courtesy of my friend Todd found an hours worth of Tardis interior sounds that plays for an hour. This morning's journal time was really fluid. I am decided that journaling time will be reserved for Saturdays (I miss yesterday due to plans getting shifted about with weather, vehicles, and the need to visit the Love Shack). But, after the first week of ROW80, I have determined that I like journaling on Tuesday/Thursdays and Saturday. It would be less of a conflict, because I blog on Sundays (usually). So, I have been journaling for about an hour on my journal days.

The obscure poetry month is going quite smoothly, I think easier because I have different forms to choose from, instead of always writing sonnets. But, on the downside, getting less time to perfect each form. I did not miss a day of poetry. I managed to write my daily poem before midnight of each day. I have an awesome list of topic, wide and varied, from a wide and varied group. I am looking for more to finish the month; even after the month is over I can use the extra topics, so leave me a comment below with a topic suggestion. I'd love to hear from you.

I have a goal of my Goodreads page to read 25 books in 2014. I have 2 under my belt some far. Since last week was a REALLY slow work week (only worked 3 days), I got a chance to start getting ahead, finished Brisinger and beginning to read the Doctor Who books that my sexy like a Tardis friend, Sara Love (one of the co-owners of the Love Shack) ~giggle~ gave to me sometime last year.

I miss getting up and writing. I mornings are particularly inspiring. Last week was not as inspiring. I think I need to try harder.

Also, Tempest auditions are this week and Steele Memorial Library in Elmira is showing "Birdemic" at their horrible movie night on Friday. There are fun stuffs coming. As are crazy times too! I am feeling pretty good right now. Maybe the cloudy grey skies, the Tardis sounds, and the peacefulness of today has my optimism on a high? Well, what ever it is, I am going to utilize it. In fact the later morning hours after my journal time, I manage to tidy up one of my closets (of course stuff got moved and now I have a set of plastic art drawers with no home in the closet). Where is currently is sitting is not in the way, but I wanted it in the closet. Alas, my closet shelving is not very deep and with the gambled roof the back wall shrinks the space the higher the shelves go. Oh well, where it sits is in a decent spot, for now. See the picture:
Only slightly cluttered
Clearer Closet?

It's been a good week overall. I know some things can be better and I know what I can do to improve. As for work, I can only do so much when I work in a construction based industry. They have kept me since May of 2012, so I must be doing something right, right?

 I leave you, Dear Readers with a few Haikus from the last few days. Have a Blessed week and be good to each other. I will have a new blog by Friday (in addition to the ROW80 updates).

Joy of the Outfield

Out in the sunshine
Grass and dust kicking up high
As you run to home.

Under snuggles

Under warm blankets
Wrapped in soft folds of cotton
It’s the place to be.

Ode to a Uke

O Ukulele
When dost thou play thine notes
The world spins gaily

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A New Year and Writing Goals (ROW80 2014)

A Round of Words in 80 Days!

I have never heard of this until a few weeks ago. I am still a little unsure of what I need to do for this ROW80, but day #1 (yesterday, oops a bit behind today). Appears to be about setting goals for the 80 days. That I can do. Okay, right, Dear Readers?

There are so many things that I want to do this year. So many plans. So many everything! ~deep breath~

That my problem as a Leo, I tend to want to do and try everything, and I often get sidetracked easily. Not this year! I am going to go the distance, get a little closer to my goals/dreams, and have a helluvah a lot of fun in 2014. I always seem to do better with bullet points. I guess I should just dive in.

2014 ROW80, Round #1 - Writing
  • I want to revise my first novel from NaNoWriMo 2011, "Tale of Memories". I guess I need to put a measurable date. Okay, lets aim for March 1st. (Good news I have revised it once so far).
  • I also have a script that I wrote in early 2012 that needs revising. Date: March 1st.
  • There is also my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel to begin work on... TBD.
  • Get Beta Readers for the above said novels. Date: ASAP (actually, I have about 4 now)!
  • Finish my Obscure Poetry Month with a poem a day. No missing any days. Date: January 31st.
  • Attempt to finish 1 short story in the month of January. Date: January 31st.
  • Write a short story or 1 act in February. Date: February 28th
  • Write a short story or 1 act in March. Date: March 31st.
  • Revise an old work, TBD. Date by February 28th.
Publishing/Readering -
  •  Research getting my finished write published. I want something conclusive by January 20th; I want information to move this forward is what I mean.
  • Get some of my finished work published/e-published. Date: February 28th.
  • Get at least 100 Facebook followers by the end of ROW80 (sometime in March).
  • Submit a finished piece of work to a contest(s) by January 31st. (already had one submitted)
Theatre/Reading Books - 
  • Finish reading Brisinger and Inheritance. Date: Brisinger - January 15th. Inheritance - By February.
  • Read the Tempest. Date: January 16th. Followed by the audition for the Tempest: 1/16 and 1/17
  • Journal at least twice a week throughout ROW80 and continuing afterwards.

Health - Mental/Financial/Physical
  • Spend more time outside: walking, hiking, biking (until spring I will probably be walking mostly).
  • Make more of an effort to save money. Borrowed from a friend, I will place 10 dollars in my hide-away-hole, each week. To be used for fun things throughout the year. Date: each week!
  • Cut out processed foods (even more than I do now). Date: each week report on how I have improved. I am not going to have a food diary, but try to note when I slip up and when I make good choices. I need to make it a habit, then it'll get easier.
That might be it for now. These are the things that I have been wanting to focus on. It'll be small steps for some of the items. The writings goals are really what I am striving for. The others are things I have been wanting to do, and since I am marking out the facets of my life I want to improve, I shall utilize ROW80 to help me.

Note to Remember: I may fall short of these. I might fail with others. Some will come easy. Some hard. I don't plan to let my failures keep me from trying to success, even if it takes me longer than the 80 days.  Thanks to Sione Aeschliman for being my first support on this new trek. Check out her blog and twitter, she's pretty cool!

Cindy, that's Me!!
I am on twitter, draconicwitch and Facebook, Here, There be a Writer. Come and visit. I am usually posting something interesting about my writing, theatre adventures, roaming the world, watching bad movies, and my obsessive Doctor Who/Sherlock habit.

A Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean Buyer! Also, I'm a writer , a poet, and blogger. Come in a sit a spell and listen to the tales I have to tell!

I am new to this, but here is a Blog Hop! See and read others journey through ROW80, Dear Readers!