Tag Archives: jazz

Leaves that look like rocks

The Good Men Project . . . and all that Jazz

Since my last post I’ve submitted my first article to The Good Men Project. I stuck to my guns and stayed on this topic of musing. That’s not so easy, given that the only gun I own is the one under my cap!

The Unexpected . . . 

It was a hard article to write, but with some fine editorial advice I think it came out pretty good. How do I know it’s good? Some might call it by “gut check” or intuition, but for me it has become more than that . . . it’s what I sometimes refer to as, “unexpected pleasant surprises”. They happen often enough in normal life, but when they show up in the creative process, it’s different.

Each surprise is a unique, though what’s common is this “just knowing” feeling . . . it’s a selfless kind of self-confidence. There is a personal trust in the musing that happens . . . like a little jazz? Sometimes there is this kind of a “wow” reaction, sometimes it’s more of, “Geez, that’s really nice!”

I’ve come to the point where I’ll seldom publish anything without doing that kind of check. Sometimes though, with complex or abstract issues, I’m guilty of being less focused than I need to be, for the benefit of others. One issue ties into many others, becoming complex, hence the need for more focus.

The Excruciating . . .

Strangely, the most difficult kind of writing for me is what I’ll call the promotional kind, and yet I spent the majority of my corporate life in that very activity.

There really are no “ah ha” moments in that kind of writing, except maybe with one recent exception. Like most writers, describing one’s work in a book description – the blurb – can be excruciating. It never seems to come out right. However, about a week ago a book reviewer offered to take a look at Dawn at Last. First she wanted me to answer one simple question, “What makes your book different than the rest?”

The answer flowed out with almost no effort. It took me longer to type it than to think it, which is always a good sign. Here’s how I answered her:

  1. It’s the way the lives (and stories) of six quirky characters interweave.
  2. It’s about love more than a love story – by the end you may wonder whether Love herself is the unsung hero.
  3. It’s excruciatingly difficult to peg the book into one or even two genres – it’s erotic but not erotica; it’s a mystery, though the crime is perhaps debatable; the underlying issues are really quite serious, yet dealt with in a playful & humorous way.
  4. When you read it for the second or third time, after waiting awhile, most likely you will read it slightly differently, and discover something new.
  5. Other than that, to finish the question, it has a great cover!
This is really what I’d like those curious about the book to know. I’m seriously thinking of changing my book description on Amazon and elsewhere to include these five points. You many not realize it, but my answer above says a great deal about the muses, about musing.
 
 
Now I’d like to just sit back and listen. In this context “listening” means reading, as in your comments. Since most of my readers are Americans, and given that’s basically thanksgiving now, I’d love to hear what you have to say . . . an anecdote here or there . . . one of your own little unexpected surprises . . . the ones that make for great big memories!
 
Happy Thanksgiving . . . and all that jazz!
 
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Rainy Days Here and There

Oops!

If it wasn’t for a friend sending me an email with some nice words about my blog, I would have totally forgotten to keep my promise about posting this video today, Rainy Days and Mondays.

Where I am there is no rain today, but in the last 24 hours or so the fresh snow is now pressed half up my picture window. I live in a first floor apartment, a building where the ground floor units are a few feet below ground level, so the bottom of my picture window is about a foot off the ground.

There’s not much for me to say here – actually I could say a lot, but sometimes it just seems too many words can be distracting.

So to keep those words to a minimum, I hope you enjoy this music, especially this performance by Sharon Clark – the passion and courage and love in it all – her genuine emotion so very inspiring.

It’s nice, isn’t it? How sometimes the blues can just feel so good.

Enjoy your week, and if you feel like adding a similar video link, please feel free to do so.

A Tender Page of Beige

Typohhh_Cover_WP2

A naughty little book

for quiet fireside evenings!

An imagination,

a glass of wine.

and…  thou ? !

Such a poetic note, handwritten, and a rather pleasant surprise, as it was found upon opening the book, on a blank page of paper no less…one with many shades of beige.

I picked up this book at what is now my favorite used book store. It’s full of pleasant surprises and mysteries, some of which are too private for posting. What’s pleasant about this handwritten note above is not only the words but the beautiful calligraphy, almost a work of art in itself as it looks so genuine. And as this wonderful gypsy that sold it to me pointed out, “I wonder who she was?” which were my thoughts exactly, as in, “What was her story?

As it turns out, the book is a hard cover first edition. It is a book of short stories by an author who’s work I’ve only read once before, about 30 years ago now. It’s called “Little Birds: Erotica by Anais Nin” which was published shortly after her death.

I’ve mentioned a little about erotica in my last few posts, including a discomfort in getting caught up in its current popularity. So I received another surprise in this book, and this occurs before the stories begin, in the preface. I’m including a quote from that preface, as she expresses how I feel about the whole issue of writing of the erotic better than I can…really quite remarkable!

Before adding this quote I should mention that Anais Nin had a soft spot for these writers, ones she knew at the time, who wrote a lot of erotica. She talks sympathetically about how these people were poor and hungry and wrote in this style simply for the money. She then goes on to say:

It is one thing to include eroticism in a novel or a story and quite another to focus one’s whole attention on it. The first is like life itself. It is, I might say, natural, sincere, as in the sensual pages of Zola or of Lawrence. But focusing wholly on the sexual life is not natural. It becomes something like the life of the prostitute, an abnormal activity that ends up turning the prostitute away from the sexual. Writers perhaps know this. That is why they have written only one confession or a few short stories, on the side, to satisfy their honesty about life, as Mark Twain did.

But what happens to a group of writers who need money so badly that they devote themselves entirely to the erotic? How does this affect their lives, their feelings toward the world, their writing? What effect has it on their sexual life?

As I’m typing this quote I keep thinking of it in the context of not so much the writing of the day, but of mass media in general, the eroticism of it all, whether it’s magazines, the internet, music videos or television. The words of Anais Nin become somewhat prophetic in the sense that our culture has somehow lost its way in this assault on our senses…how much candy is too much?

And with that I look forward to finding another book of hers, titled, “The Novel of The Future”.

PS – I didn’t realize it before, but her writing is the epitome of “The Elements of Style”…a wonderful companion!