Nov 302016
 

So I think if I just stick to the lyrics of modern songs, we should avoid the sadness I was experiencing earlier when I was trying to draft an entry about lyrics that either I find really clever, or evocative, or both. Mainly both.

It seems like an appropriate title, since blogging is all about words and writing.

Of course, my first entry isn’t modern really. But it does come from the musical that’s had the most impact on me, ever.

take my hand
and lead me to salvation
take my love
for love is everlasting
and remember the truth that once was spoken
to love another person is to see the face of God

That’s from Les Miz… the finale. Yes, very Christian, but I love it nonetheless. Because even if I don’t believe in a monotheistic, “old man in the clouds,” god, I think the sentiment is perfect. Plus, harmony from my two favourite Les Miz characters, Fantine and Eponine.

 

and sometimes when we touch
the honesty’s too much
and I have to close my eyes and hide
I want to hold you ’til I die
’til we both break down and cry
I want to hold you ’til the fear in me subsides

Okay, this isn’t modern either… but I swear all the others are!

You’d have to be of a certain era to get this one… it’s Dan Hill’s most famous song (some would say one-hit wonder), Sometimes When We Touch. Basically I love it because my mum loved it, and it always makes me think of her. But on top of that, it does a great job of describing love.

Also, please don’t die of the cheese factor of this particular video. Shot in Hell (aka Toronto) apparently. I suspect Krista will enjoy. LOL

 

Although it’s true I was never attention’s sweet centre

THIS LINE. THIS ONE LINE. Possibly the best single lyric I’ve ever come across, so no surprise it’s from modern-day poet Sara Bareilles. Lucky me, I got to hear it belted out live by Jessie Mueller in Waitress on Broadway. The show, while not perfect, was worth it just for Mueller’s performance of this song. While this lyric stands out like a beacon, the entire song is fantastic.

 

And all those things I didn’t say
wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
can you hear my voice this time?

this is my fight song
take back my life song
prove I’m all right song

my power’s turned on
starting right now
I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
and I don’t really care if nobody else believes
’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

This is Rachel Platten’s Fight Song. “Wrecking balls inside my brain” of things I stopped myself from saying is pretty much exactly what it’s like to be me 90% of the time.

If you need a little pick-me-up in terms of your self-esteem, I recommend putting this on repeat, putting in your headphones, cranking up the volume, and hiking along an urban parkway in Paris.

 

You’re from the 70s but I’m a 90s bitch

Hmmn… someone might identify with this song, I think. It’s from I Love It by Icona Pop, btw. While I was born in the 70s, I may have mentioned that I hate that decade, and when I first heard this line, I interpreted it as “time at which you came of age,” and if I’m a child of any decade, it is the 90s. So picturing myself sassily tossing this off to someone brings me great merriment. ??

Maybe there’s a way out
of the cage where you live
maybe one of these days
you can let the light in

show me
how big your brave is
say what you want to say
and let the words fall out
honestly
I want to see you be brave

and since your history of silence
won’t do you any good
(did you think it would?)
let your words be
anything but empty
why don’t you tell them the truth?

Oh that parenthetical remark… is she talking to me?! “She” being, once again, Sara Bareilles, in this, her most well-known song, Brave. Totally a coming out song, which she’s confirmed, not that you’d know it by either the lyric video or the official one. (I do like the “girl power” theme of the lyric video, though, so that’s the one I’ve included.)

Like Marvin Gaye, like Hathaway1

you’re over my head
I’m out of my mind
thinking I was born
in the wrong time
you’re one of a kind
living in a world gone plastic
baby you’re so classic

out of my league
old-school chic
like a movie star
from the silver screen

A star in the 40s, centerfold in the 50s
Got me tripping out like the sixties hippies
Queen of the discotheque
A 70s dream and an 80s best
Hepburn, Beyoncé, Marilyn, Massey2
Girl you’re timeless, just so classic

This is MKTO’s Classic, hereinafter and forever referred to as the Melia song, after my friend Melia who it so perfectly encapsulates. Melia3 could have easily stepped out of the 1920s and she is maybe the classiest person I know, so this extremely clever “let’s review the glamour of the entire 20th century” song is perfect for her.

And we certainly do live in a “world gone plastic.” That’s why anyone who isn’t plastic (e.g. Melia and all my other friends) is so precious to me.

And that, my friends, is it. A perfect note to end on.4

  1. when I first was listening to this song, I was like: what does Anne Hathaway have to do with Marvin Gaye?? []
  2. Just a warning: be very leery of trusting online lyric listings, because this was alternately transcribed as “Marilyn Manson” and “Marilyn, Massive.” Thank goodness I found a better source and was able to cross-check the name Massey. []
  3. of “I can’t stand it that people in Vancouver wear Birkenstocks to the symphony” fame []
  4. and yes, I do see what I did there ? []
Nov 292016
 

[Alternate title: “Penultimate” is such a cool word, don’t you think? I’m pretty sure I should use it, and ante-penultimate (which means “third to last”), in my blog post titles.]

You’ll forgive me if my post titles are getting a little meta—I blame Beth. Actually, Beth is to blame in many ways, because she seems to have mastered the knack of writing short-and-sweet postings and if I were a lesser friend, I would totally rib her for that making NaBloPoMo SUPER-easy for her… oh wait, I just did. ?

Me, though? I feel like if I am going to put something up here for “the public” (all 2 or 3 of you) to read, I should really put effort into making it somewhat substantial. And I don’t mean blog post substance is only possible with length… I just mean… I don’t know. All my shorter entries seem very perfunctory and flat to me. I think maybe I’ll blame sociology: I always want to connect whatever I’m writing about to larger themes or at least a few other topics. As I was writing yesterday’s post, there were several points where I wanted to elaborate or at least make fairly involved asides. And that post didn’t even end up being that short!

It’s probably because I’ve always tried to write like I talk, and I am not clipped when I talk to people, not people I like and whose opinions I value. As much as I might not be great at imaging the perfect supportive audience for my writing at all times, I must be getting part of that right, because the only time I’m regularly curt with people in person is when I can’t stand them and I want any conversations between us to end. In fact, you could probably pretty easily tell exactly how much regard I have for people just by observing how willing I am to speak with them at length.

For instance, I will always remember the aforementioned Beth and the first time she visited me when I was living in Toronto and I am pretty sure we talked non-stop for 12 hours straight. Without running out of things to say. Because we really do find each other that interesting. That kind of conversation is a true joy and there are very few people who I could imagine having that much to say to, and whose own stories would spark detailed commentary from me.

And what is a blog for, if not to share your thoughts and observations on the world, right? Because I sure as hell ain’t trying to “build my brand.” LOL

Nov 222016
 

Over the course of my life, I’ve taken more than one writing class. Once I took a whole program of them, even. And I’ve also read a fair amount about writers talking about the craft of writing. And something I’ve never understood is that, nearly invariably, there is this fairly painfully explicit hand-wringing on the part of authors/writers/those who put pen to paper/what have you over their assessment of their own writing. It’s like most writers think they aren’t “real” writers unless they trash their own work to a certain (ridiculous if you ask me) extent.

You hear them bemoan going back to earlier work and cringing through it. You hear them whining about how talentless they are when they hear acclaimed writer so-and-so read their writing.

To be honest, I just want to tell them to shut up.

When I go back and read my writing, the stuff that I thought was good enough to put up on my 1990s-era website for all the world to see, I’m impressed. When I re-read the short story I got published once in that magazine that shortly thereafter went out of business1 or the novella I wrote for the 3-Day Novel Contest that got me into the writing program I took, or even my “coming out” poems, I’m like, “Damn, I should really do more of this—I am not making enough use of this talent.” What on Earth are you doing writing if you don’t think you’re any good at it?!

Do I think I’m the best writer ever? No. Do I think my writing, then and now, is flawless somehow? Of course not. Have I written bad things before? Totally. Will I write bad things again? I’m sure I will. But seriously, writers—and there’s a whole other blog post’s worth of material I could get into about the taking on of identities like “writer”—shut the fuck up about how bad your writing is. Seriously, there is something super-unhealthy in this notion that to be a “real” writer, one has to self-flagellate.2 While I do buy the notion that there’s always room for improvement, if you truly are as unhappy with your work as you generally sound like you are, stop trying to be a writer. And if you aren’t, well then… false humility is pretty much the most unattractive form of humility there is. Antithetical to the notion of humility, even, one might say.

There’s suffering for one’s art and then there’s suffering by virtue of how purportedly bad an artist you are, which is just offensive since there is more than enough real suffering to go around in this world.

  1. totally not related, I swear []
  2. totally not the same thing as “self-fellate,” by the way []