Friday, October 16, 2015

Back to School

I'm taking a course in Creative Fiction Writing.

That line took a lot of courage to write.

I like to write, but commenting on music, books, movies, family, politics, travel and the like is quite safe. Facts are easy and opinions about ephemeral or concrete things are - for the most part - innocuous enough. A little humor. A little "life observation". Some encouragement to try out a song, or a new food, or to see a place of interest - easy and safe. People can take it ot leave it. Not really a big deal.

Fiction should be safer - but it isn't.

My fiction isn't safe because it is so close to me. It is so close to my core. It feels quite personal and when others read it I feel very exposed. Some writers call their stories their "children". I think some of my stories may be my "demons". And because it's personal I want it to find someone who likes it and appreciates it because when they do I will know it is safe in their arms. Or being dealt with in their hearts. But rejection - that would be the worst.

Still, here it is. I'm in a group every week, and I need to engage to at least get my $160 worth out of it. So I'm writing a short story - although I turned it into a screenplay for a two and a half hour movie driving back from class on Wednesday. I do tend to get ahead of myself.

What have I learned so far?
I need to focus. I am learning to think the whole process through much more. To look at what is happening on the page from new perspectives. This is helpful.

I think I can demonstrate. This was my first opening line:

"Everyone thought it was strange - except for Piper."

I thought I had the hook there but no, not really.

This is the new opening line - and it may not survive, but I think I'm going in the right direction:

"The morning assaulted Piper."

Same story, but I think the second line is better at drawing the reader in. I am learning to write to help the reader enter the story more easily and more fully.

Not safe - to be so exposed.

Worth it - I pray.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Grandpa Stuff

We traveled today to see our grandkids and their parents (of course). Well, two out of three anyway. Damian and his little sister, Rowynne live in one city and their cousin, Colson lives with hsi parents in another.
When I was small we traveled to see family all of the time. Every four years was the trip to Ontario to see my mother's parents and her sister and her family. On an alternating four year schedule folks from Ontario would come to see us - so every 2 years we saw cousins, an aunt and uncle and grandparents.
my father's family was in Alberta, but much less organized. We saw them more, but it felt like it was almost by chance. At the very least, when things were convenient and schedules aligned we saw my dad's much bigger family.
It always intrigued me how we seemed to feel closer to the Ontario arm of the family as opposed to the Alberta clan. I think it had something to do with the intentionality of our visits. We could see the Munro clan almost anytime - but we didn't. It was hard to see the James clan, but we made the effort.
Susie and I made the effort today, and our son and daughter-in-law and their kids were really excited to see us. Well, OK, I have to admit that Rowynne still plays shy with me in person. She blows me kisses and fist bumps me online when we Skype, but she is much more demure in the flesh.
But we are being intentional. And that is the point, I think, To make sacrifices. To travel. To sleep in strange beds.To gather oneself up and go.
I am often challenged in keeping my relationships fresh and vibrant - my relationship with the Lord most of all. It shouldn't be hard. He is here always. I am a word away. A click of my phone to "off". A closing of my laptop. Turning off the TV and stereo and He is there all at once. And, so often, I ignore the availability and ease of keeping that relationship close, vibrant and rich.
I'll drive across the province or across the country to see my grandkids. Lord help me! So often I won't go to my knees to be with you.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Audio Nerdvana

So after a long hiatus I am back and live on the internets.
I will not close this blog ever again, because if what I comment on here is reason for people to try to do me real harm, then "bring it".

So I'm on vacation and I'm geeking out over some new audio gear. The two photos are of the system - pre-upgrade - and I'll post new pics as soon as the new speakers arrive. Some folks have guns. Some folks have planes, trains and automobiles. Some have boats. Some do art. I do audio/video/music/movies and tech.

Anyway, last night I was rediscovering some of my music through a pair of speakers I'm demoing and I discovered a hidden psychedelic gem of a tune by John Hiatt. It's called "Further Stars" and it's from his 2001 album "The Tiki Bar is Open" .

It's not what you'd expect from John if you know any of his hits like "Drive South", "Have a Little Faith in Me", or "Thing Called Love".

I recommend it highly. This live video doesn't do the studio version justice, but maybe you'll be intrigued.

While we're on the subject of unexpected sounds, Pentatonix, the 21st Century Acapella quintet Supreme, covered Gotye's "Somebody That I used to Know" and their rendition is amazing. Again, I highly recommend it.

This time the video is great. I think a hi-def download of this would be killer on a decent system.

And in closing, I seem to discover just how good something is when it comes up in a genius mix while we're travelling. I just can't seem to get enough of the pop/rock sound Neon Trees serves up on their album "Picture Show". Here is a guilty pleasure that I always crank right up. It's called "Mad Love". Audio only, but it's all you really need.
Enjoy peoples!