Music…and Writing

It’s amazing the power music can have over a person. The ability to conjure up memories, long forgotten ones, repressed ones and, most often, cherished ones. Then there are times when the memory cannot be accessed and deep emotion is called forth instead, so strong and real it’s like it’s happening for the first time.

I’m sure everyone has at one point in their lives been asked the inane question, “If you could choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?” Frankly I’d rather be neither, but there you have it. Now, if being made to answer I would have to say I’d rather lose my sight than my hearing (knock on wood). I suppose many who know me would be surprised by that, after all it is a well known fact that I am never as happy as I am when I have a book to read. But then with today’s technology books can be accessed in so many ways; Braille is of course the age old option, although I’m not sure how much fiction is published in Braille. Then there is the firm favourite, audio books, my current favourite audio book(s) is the Harry Potter series read by Stephen Fry, I actually prefer listening to Fry read them than read myself now (well, except for his Tonks voice, I mean, come on!). But back to the subject at hand, blindness wouldn’t stop my reading. Being deaf on the other hand would mean no more sound; to never again hear the love of your life telling you how much he loves you, never hearing your name called out unexpectedly in the street by an old friend, never again recalling fond memories when hearing a song for the first time in years or making new memories with new songs. Of course there are many ‘never agains’ with being blind too, but none of those seem as important to me.

I was watching a film called August Rush the other day, which tells the story of an 11 year old boy who lives at a boys home outside NYC. He hears music in everything and is convinced music will lead him to his lost parents. The film starts by explaining his parents circumstances and why he’s not with them, and then begins the journey to find them. What I really loved about the film was how fitting the music was, a lot of the themes start out as normal city noise and then it’s all put together, making music the main character of the story and the film. The actually human relationships and plot of the story is forgettable, there are dozens of similar films out there, but as pure entertainment and fluff it’s definitely watchable. But no, it really needs to be watched for the music, using everyday noise as a basis for the soundtrack of our lives, culminating in August’s Rhapsody at the end. So while on the one hand it’s a story about a boy looking for his lost parents, the main story has to be music and how it influences our lives. Did I cry? Well of course, I cry at the drop of a hat remember.

Hmm, well the point of this post was really just to say how much I love music. As always I end up going off topic for a while, but hopefully it all makes sense. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of scores, the Twilight, Torchwood and Doctor Who 1-4 scores being played rather a lot these days. For me it’s the best music to write to, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and I try to download a wide variety of them. In this task my DH helps a lot, he has pretty much all the scores from his xBox games and a few of those songs are ones I’d actually listen to. Then there is the excellent web radio, Radio Rivendell, which plays game and film scores all day long, since we don’t have the internet in our place it is a rare treat for me to listen to, but seriously if you are likewise inclined check it out. It definitely is a firm favourite amongst the NaNoWriMo Fantasy writers, though I find it works just as well when writing Historical fiction.

Talking of fiction, the last few weeks have been filled with sleepless nights, yet again. The Writeroom app on my iPhone is getting a lot of use as story ideas, plots and characters keep invading my brain, and you know that’s great and all. Except I have about 6 stories unfinished that have just stopped, how about I get some inspiration for them, huh? At the moment though I can’t get to most of my files as they are on the mac and in Scrivener, and I don’t have a monitor for it where we are now. I knew using the TV as a monitor was a bad idea, how am I gonna lug around a 32″ flat screen? I’m sure I’ll find a way, where there is a will and all that. Besides I have quite a few handwritten things to type up at the moment, my ‘epic’ Forgotten Enemy springs to mind, epic because it’s now 10 years since I started writing it. I still have 50 pages of handwritten story, the first few chapters actually, waiting to be typed up and the writing is becoming faded so I should get it done sooner rather than later.

Basically, it’s not like I have nothing to do or write. I could even do some house work, let me just hook up the iPod first.

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In Awe of Twilight

I have a confession to make and I can’t write this post until it’s done; I never had any plans of reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. Nothing against Ms. Meyer, I didn’t even know what they were about. My aversion stemmed from the over hyping of the serious, millions of screaming teenage girls etc. I got sucked in by the whole hype thing with Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, and decided there and then, NEVERMORE. I’d love to dedicate a whole post to how much I loath Paolini’s books, but I feel that the least said the better, let’s not add to the hype. So that is my I was unfairly prejudiced against Twilight and I hope all fans can forgive me.

Luckily for me Twilight got made into a film and for that I will be eternally grateful. When I saw the film at Christmas I was struck by the raw emotion of it and of course (as anyone who knows me would have guessed) I was near tears for the majority of it. I decided then that I would read the books, that I HAD TO read the books, however due to various other reading commitments (reading lists for uni, the huge pile of unread books in out living room) I never quite made it out to the shops to get the series. Then came May 2009 and I had mostly finished my writing course, handed in one of my essays for A210 and the pile of unread books was no more, so when I saw Twilight on one of my weekly shopping trips I picked it up to read after the weekend.

One chapter in and I was hooked! I started reading on Sunday and on Wednesday morning I had finished all four books (on Monday after finishing Twilight I went straight to the bookshop and bought the New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn). Inbetween reading I watched the film twice, first on the pirate copy we bought at Christmas, and then the proper copy as I went and bought the special edition because I just had to see the special features. And then of course I bought the soundtrack, which was perfect. So yeah I am now a Twilight fan, and proud of it.

Because the books were labled as YA fiction I did have my doubts, most if it would be insanely and unrealistically angsty as teen fiction tends to be. Well there is angst, no doubt about it, but good angst, the kind you can believe in. The raw emotion I felt in the film is even more evident in the books, and I cried, if possible, even more whilst reading. I was in awe of Stephanie Meyer’s ability to write in 1st person, it’s something I’ve experimented with myself on occasion, but I’ve never quite got it right. This story is perfect for it though, by seeing everything through Bella’s eyes the reader gets more invested in the tale meyer tells. And as Bella is without a doubt the character who changes the most through out the series the reader is given a more complete picture of why Bella changes the way she does and why she makes the decisions she makes. Without  Bella there is no story, without her Edward can just go on with his life as he has for the last 90 years, he won’t miss what he’s never had.

In any case, reading Twilight inspired me to dig out an old story I started about 8 years ago and now i have two pieces for my ECA. Both are the beginning chapters of a novel, the first one, the one I was originally planning on sending in is a Timetravelling-ish story where our heroine jumps from 2009 and right into 1815 and the Battle of Waterloo. It let me combine my love of sci-fi/fantasy and the Regency era and I’m quite please with it, even if the ending is a bit weak. But now of course I have a contender and this is more a urban fantasy/ supernatural drama kind of story. It started out 8 years ago as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer sequal, except there was no one there from Buffy, the similar things ware The Watcher council, slayer lore and Watchers. There isn’t a single vamp in sight, instead we have other things which go ‘bump in the night’. As the story developed and I stopped plagarising Joss Whedon, the Watchers Council became the  Assembly of Elders and consists of humans, ‘good’ demons, witches and other beings (this is still a bit sketchy), the slayer becomes an immortal warrior who can live for ever, but who is not indestructable. So she could easily live for several millenia without aging, but shot her in the head, plunge a knife in her heart she is as dead as the next person.  The watchers are called mentors or companions, and can be human, or not. They live their normal life spans, so are regularly replaced, once a warrior has lived a while and gone through a few mentors these are usually relegated to the post of research assistant because that’s really all the use they are. In any case the story begins with the current warrior, a girl who looks ot be in her 20s, having almost lost a fight. She survives but has completely lost her memory, the beginning of the story is really her quest to get her memory back and identify who her true allies are. It’s changed so much since I started writing it, and I think some more changes are waiting to happen as there are quite a few things I want to change, need to change, but these are more in the later story so the beginning chapters should be fine as they are.

To make things even harder for myself I do have a third story ready for the ECA, a pure Regency story with quite a bit of drama. I am reluctant to send it in though because while I am really happy with 90% of the novel, I am not happy with the beginning and that is the part i would have to submit. Well I still have a few days to decide and polish so at this point everything is possible.

I’m not entirely sure how I went from a post on how much I love Twilight (wanna-be teenie that I am) to talking up my own writing, but oh well. All I wanted to say was THANK YOU Stephenie Meyer for a brilliant books series.

It’s been a while

It’d been a busy month and a bit, with work, studies and writing. Feel really bad about neglecting my blog especially as I have so much to say :0)
So since last time I’ve had TMA06 back, not as good as 05, but a respectable 75%. Quite happy with that considering I re wrote the whole thing after realizing I hadn’t answered the question first time around.
Now we’re on to TMA07 of course, the long awaited literature part of A103. I decided early on to use Wide Sargasso Sea a sort of prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, telling the story of the so-called ‘Mad Woman in the Attic’. Personally I’m not a fan of either novel, though I am becoming a bigger fan of WSS than JE. I think it is because I can’t understand why JE goes back to Rochester in the end, she is independent at least, not obliged to listen to anyone, and still she goes back to a man who betrayed her and made a fool out of her. Now fair enough she did this for love (what other reason could there have been), but how can she trust him after knowing he locked his first wife away in the attic and pretended she didn’t exist. What in theory is to stop him from doing the same to her if he ever wanted, by marrying him she would be relinquishing her independence again. Of course if Rochester looked like Toby Stephens, I might come running back as well 🙂

But back to TMA07, my second work to use for the essay is Strauss’ Don Juan

I was really worried about doing the music piece at first, after all I’m not very musical in the academic sense of the word. But I’ve passed the course now and as long as I make the pass mark on the last three TMA’s I’ll be happy, so the time has come to experiment. What clinched it for me was the A103 study day in Manchester on the 12th, the lecturer on Don Juan, Graham Roberts, delivered an excellent lecture and made the whole process so much clearer and simplified. it was definitely a very helpful Day School.
I’m off work this week, so the plan is to get kicking with the essay, but knowing myself I’ll find a way of leaving it to the last minute. 1st of August is the deadline, I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂

While I’ve been neglecting my blog Doctor Who has finished, as usual the finale had me crying my eyes out. Catherine Tate was amazing, she definitely proved that the Doc Who peeps had chosen the right person to be the Doctor’s companion. I’ll write more about it later though, as I think it deserves it own posting.

In other news I’ve been writing on a few new ideas, not really much meat on them yet, but they are coming along. One looks to be a fairytale, or rather the story of a fairytale, the other one is a contemporary story, though not quite sure of the angle yet. So far there are just a couple of characters on some unrevealing scenes, but I am putting Scrivener to good use, figuring it out. I’ve also been spending my time typing up my old hand written Forgotten Enemy story. But more on that some other time.

I suppose it’s time to sign off, more tomorrow if I’m good 🙂

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