I discovered some great music recently: the self-titled album by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
The first time I heard “S.O.B.” (you know the one, it’s not spelled out in the song, goes, “Son of a *itch! Get me a drink!”) on CBC Radio 2, I was galvanized by it, consumed. I wanted to hear it again; I actually reached for the dash, trying to replay the song. (My car doesn’t do that and we don’t have satellite radio…)
S.O.B. was so good that I ordered the disk, and WOW! The tracks are fantastic blues-y, rock-y songs that demand – and reward – your attention. You can hear hints of Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison, but while other artists may have provided inspiration, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats have their own sound. Also, the tracks are all very different from each other, the songs are not samey-samey. The rest of the disk proves it: these guys are anything but one-hit wonders.
I love the music but I really respond to the words. Their lyrics feel vulnerable without wimpiness and honest without drama. They sound like a bunch of big strong men who hurt sometimes but still can rock your World.
“Write a short story every week,” Ray Bradbury said, “It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”
I hope he was right. My schedule means that my 52 stories will take more than one year – no matter. I’m pretty sure he would have said something like, “Just jump, already.” Here goes!
PS: RIP Mr. Bradbury
Last year, I started my Creative Writing Certificate at University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. It is a 7-part program, with 6 courses and a Final Project consisting of a novel manuscript. They offer lots of on-campus classes, but most of the courses are provided online as well.
My goals for the program are (a) to learn more about how to write; and (b) to develop the habit of writing daily. I noticed that the kids need me less all the time, and decided to position myself accordingly. The plan is that my increased free time will coincide with an increase in my skills and training.
It’s really working – at the time of this post, I will have finished three of my six courses. I am learning so much! The instructors have been terrific, the work is pure thought-provoking fun and I love the deadlines. I haven’t made it to writing every day yet, but I am writing most days, so getting there.
And, I have even managed to refrain from posting comments on the Discussion Board about how it used to be called “distance learning” and you had to mail your assignments in.
Philippine Tarsier (NOT a self-portrait, LOL)
subject of one of my kids’ non-fiction books
One of my favorite parts of writing adult suspense novels is, well, the suspense part. I get to keep people guessing about what’s going to happen next. I can’t help it, I just find that fun.
For example, my 2012 NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month competition) novel features a man named Leon who has taken to saying ominous things to rationalize some highly inappropriate behaviour. He’s been a very bad man.
When asked, I like to give friends little snippets of what Leon has been working on lately. I tell them breathlessly, my eyes wide, with a “can you believe THAT?” expression on my face, and I end it with an enraptured, “Isn’t that just aw…” I want to say ‘awesome’ but they look both hooked AND horrified, so I quickly amend it. Instead, I finish with, “…aw…ful?!” Then when they want to know what happens next, I thwart them. I leave and dash off to write some more. Usually giggling. Gleefully.
Recently, though, I took a fun and satisfying break from my usual pursuit of the unusual. I used it to work on a great idea I had for a neat series of kids’ non-fiction books. Mailing the query letter was very exciting. I dropped the envelope in the post box, thinking, “Bye… Hope to see you again…fingers crossed…” The publisher’s website says they will respond in about six months. That gives me plenty of time to wonder what will come next. Talk about being kept in suspense! Serves me right, I guess. Payback: isn’t it just awe…SOME?! 🙂 Rd