Monday Earworm: Franz Ferdinand (Once More, With Feeling)

Holiday is over. Back at school today, officially this time. Meetings for the next approximately eleventy million hours. (Only about seven, really. Every day this week.) Woot!

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Monday Earworm: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

My dad with one of his cousins on a street named for a president.

Earlier this summer, while I was in Maine attending an absolutely amazing writing retreat, my parents were in Lebanon. It has been a lifelong goal of my father’s to go there, to see his family there, to see the country his people come from. He was born here in the States, but he has always wanted to go over, and this year he finally took the chance to do it. He and my mom went with a handful of close cousins and a really big tour group.

part of the Lebanese coast

 

 

For my father, this journey was a dream come true. He is a passionately religious man, so he loved that they visited numerous shrines and historical holy places of various faiths. He is intensely devoted to his family, so it was wonderful for him to experience it with his wife and cousins. We are deeply rooted in our Lebanese heritage, so going to see the country and its shores and its many important sites, and to eat its food at every meal and to attend a sahria at night and to spontaneously break out into dabke at lunch with many of the other tourists, was glorious. Two of our cousins occupied the presidency a few decades ago, and so to meet the current president was a little bit of a treat.

They also went to see a Kahlil Gibran site, of course. How could they not?
We asked them to send us photos. Dad sent us eleventy jillion photos of temples and shrines. Here’s one.

I’m happy for my parents to have made and enjoyed this journey, but what their experience taught me is that chasing one’s dreams — as hokey as that sounds, let’s be honest — is a worthwhile pursuit. Seeing the fruition of his dream inspired me to believe a little more confidently in my own.

Dad planted a cedar tree in honor of his grandfather, who immigrated to the States about a century ago. My parents have played a small part in helping Lebanon’s cedar reforestation efforts.
Mom standing next to some cedars so you can see the scale. These are pretty big trees.

I’m a hybrid author, as you may be aware. I’ve been published in a variety of ways, including independently, traditionally, and through small presses. One thing I’m still hoping to achieve, though, is agented representation for my literary fantasy novels. They are the biggest and broadest literary endeavor I’ve made to date, and I want to go the full traditional way with them if I can. And this week, that first novel is headed out my electronic door to agents. Wish it good luck, will you?

But it’s Monday. I’ve promised you an earworm.

This is probably my favorite Tom Petty song of all time, and I’m not gonna lie, the video reminds me a little bit of The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton.

What dream are you running down right now? Share it in the comments, if you would, so we can all wish you well on your path.

 

Monday Earworm: Suzanne Vega (No Idea Why)

I have no idea why “The Queen and the Solider” by Suzanne Vega is stuck in my head this morning, but please, share it with me. This is lauded as one of her most popular old songs, even though I don’t think it ever had a wide reception. (This particular concert clip has a bonus track afterward of “World Before Columbus.”)

And look, I like Suzanne Vega. A lot. Her music is really enjoyable. I don’t think she has the lyric genius or musical complexity of, say, Ani diFranco, but wow, I will almost never turn down Vega’s music in exchange for something else. It’s fun to listen to, makes an excellent soundtrack for driving across the desert southwest, and even works well as background music. It’s just good stuff.

Opinions on what the main theme of this song is are varied. What do you think it is? Leave your idea in the comments below.

Anyway, this one is stuck in my head. Maybe it’s because I’m finishing up edits on a novel in which a very young queen contends with power dynamics and struggles of agency and sovereignty in her relationships. Maybe it’s because I love Johansen’s Tearling trilogy, and this song reminds me of those books. No idea. But here, enjoy.

Monday Earworm: Taylor Swift

I don’t always love all of Taylor Swift’s music, but I do like a lot of it, and her newest single is just mahvelous.

 

 

And just for fun — if you’re like me and think analysis is fun — check out this explanation of most of the Easter eggs in the video. Are there any that they missed? I can think of one; if you can too, leave it in the comments!

Happy Monday!

Monday Earworm: Eric Carmen

Over the weekend we started watching the third season of Stranger Things. I love this show; the writing and acting have always been so good. I’m not a fan of horror myself, so this show is definitely the creepiest thing I’ve ever willingly watched on television.

I admit, though, the first episode of S3 felt a little transitional to me, but maybe that’s because the incredible friendship dynamic that feels to me like the foundation of these characters wasn’t solid in episode 1. Adolescence is rough stuff. This is not a show I binge-watch (I almost never binge-watch anything), so I’m hoping things will get better. Please, no spoilers.

But anyway, the 80s are on my mind — 80s music in particular — and this song is now stuck in my head. The video for it is so cringe-worthy, it becomes almost funny while still making me feel a little embarrassed for having gone through that decade in the first place. And now I’m inviting you to share my hilariously melodramatic misery.

What’s your favorite amusing cringey moment from this video? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Monday Earworm: Florence + The Machine (and My DFWCon Wrap-Up)

I’ve been a little absent on the blog this past month or so because I’ve been traveling quite a bit for my writing. You’ll hear about some of my trips a bit later because I’m also on book deadline and neck-deep in edits for two projects. Wheee!

Last weekend, though, I attended DFWCon in the Dallas area, which is my favorite writing conference ever. It’s the only one I still make sure to attend every year, and it was recently voted the Best Writing Conference in Texas, so there’s that. (You can already register for next year, by the way, and the super early bird price lasts until July 6th. I recommend it. Just click on register and choose the 2020 option from Eventbrite.)

Aside from pitching to agents and seeing a bunch of my friends who don’t live in Houston and having the chance to network with other people in the writing industry, a good conference gives me the opportunity for professional development. Sometimes this means classes on craft, and sometimes seminars on the business side of writing. (I don’t want to give away too much just yet on projects in the works, but there’s a strong chance you’ll find Instagram and a podcast in my future.)

One of the highlights of the conference this year was meeting and hanging out with this guy, whose blog is one of my very favorites. His books on writing craft are also top-notch fun.

Chuck Wendig is really excellent.

Among the most fun classes I attended there was Liara Tamani’s Poetic Prose, a subject I hold near and dear as a cross-genre writer. She talked about what makes lyrical prose stand out and gave us some exercises on how to create it ourselves. Although this is a subject I already know, I liked having the exercises to jumpstart my creative voice at 8:00 on a Sunday morning. I may be super conversational on the blog in an earworm post, but crafting lyrical prose in my more formal creative work is fun.

On the way home from Dallas, this song came on my iPod, and when Aaron commented on its layers, it occurred to me that some features in it are a pretty good example of this kind of writing. What’s your favorite line in this song? Leave it in the comments!

Also, if you have any favorite Instagram accounts or podcasts, leave those in the comments too. I’m interested.

 

 

Monday Earworm: Genesis

I haven’t been posting this month because I was traveling. I attended the excellent Moss Wood Retreat, a generative writing retreat that was just an amazing experience. Again. I’ll tell you more about that later, when I’m not frantically editing the novel I’m going to pitch this coming weekend at DFWCon!

In the meantime, have an earworm. This song embedded itself in my brain while I was driving between Boston and Cape Rosier on my trip. I was entranced by this video back in the day, when the Sid and Marty Krofft puppets were The It Thing. They even had their own political satire show every weekend that aired after Saturday Night Live. Good stuff.

Enjoy. Take it to heart. Peace out.