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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

bits of me are scattered in the trees and on the hedges

The cat is going back and forth over my ankles like an eventing horse navigating an in-and-out. She also woke me up just as I was falling asleep last night (after a fairly long bout of insomnia) by BITING MY SHOULDER, so she is not my best friend right now. Or my neighbors' I would guess. Nobody likes shrieking at 1:00 am.

I finished reading Stiff last night, and kind of loathed it. Twee, shallow, and full of adolescent giggling: the funny thing is, at one point the author makes a point of talking about distancing behaviors, including inappropriate joking. Ahem. *g*

I figured out something today about why I'm finding the writing I'm doing less immersive and addictive, more an exercise of craft than passion, skill than inspiration. What I'm writing now, in many ways, is less cathartic than what I was writing in 2002. It's often somewhat better than the more cathartic stuff, especially (I think) as its more about storytelling and less about addressing my own kinks (using "kinks" in an artistic rather than sexual sense: i.e., it's more about the narrative and less about the squids these days.)

But that does mean that I'm approaching the storytelling in different ways. What I'm writing now, in other words, is less about me getting naked and hoping somebody finds it interesting, as it is about tricking the reader into getting naked for himself. I'm not just doing it for myself any more.

Which--and this is interesting--doesn't mean any shift in the artistic values behind the work. Or any less commitment to the art. If anything, I'm working harder to get it right, to make it as deep and resonant and layered as possible. I've become very interested in the nuances of character interactions--one of the things that needs a fair amount of work when I start revising "Chatoyant" is this thematic thing about self-acceptance when what one is isn't the sort of thing that society deems acceptable, which is echoed in several characters but needs to be brought to the fore.

But yanno, I have grown tired of angst for its own sake. And I'm no longer quite so addicted to tragedy as I was. In some ways, I think that period--of intense unrealistic emotion and profound tragic angst-- reflected my adolescence as a writer. It's very easy for that to slip into melodrama, after all. And The Drama is sexy. And a bit addictive. In literature as it is in life.

But I think there's a place in fiction for quieter and more complex emotions as well, for layers of piquancy beyond the fanfare of trumpets. (Which is not to say that I ever see a day in which there is no boom in what I write. I am after all rather fond of boom. BOOM!)

The art is about communication, after all. Communication, one hopes, on levels deeper than the obvious.

But also about fun. *g*

I am learning odd things. Like, my version of Eleanor Rigby is eerie (It may be the lack of fiddle), and my version of Leaving on Jet Plane is sardonic, and likewise the version of House of the Rising Sun I'm developing has this Jack Palance rasp.

I kind of like the Jack Palance thing, actually. It's something about the way I'm delivering "and it's been the ruin of many a poor girl and god I know I'm one."

...why do you suppose "The Gambler" is coming out bouncy and upbeat?

"The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep!" (GET UP AND DANCE EVERYBODY!!!)

(Imagine that last shouted as if by Jello Biafra in "Pull My Strings")

It's an astoundingly upbeat song if you play it in 4/4 *g* Which is all I am capable of right now....

(stwish tells me that the first song he learned to play was "House of the Rising Sun" in Am, which is the version I am learning, so I am declaring it a family tradition. Actually, technically speaking, I can play "Horse With No Name," but I'm not sure that really counts as a song, as it only has two chords and one of them is just plain made up.)

Also, "Eleanor Rigby" kills my wrist. It's all those E minor chords. Only four chords. C, Em, Em7, Em6. (Em6 is a creepy ass chord, by the way. It sounds like shattering glass.) But they require you to crane your wrist around in a hurty manner.

...And I just got to see a sneak preview of Green Man Review's, er, review of Carnival, which is generally positive, although I did not succeed in kicking Mr. Tilendis in the squids this time. *g* I'll link it when it's live, or I have permission to cheat.

ETA: This is officially live Sunday, but I have permission to sneak it here. Carnival review by Robert Tilendis.

And now I shall Eat Something, and take myself to the gym, and Trader Joe's, and then come home and fart about the house. And possibly do some of that Necessary Cleaning.




Yes, I have heard it done. *g* It is pretty.

I don't have the Blind Boys version, though....
Yes. I found the book irritating and frustrating by turns.

It is a very odd thing--not that I was ever particularly autobiographical, but I was certainly processing my damage more then than I am now.

And yes, one becomes more aware of what one is doing, I think, and brings the intellect to bear. Skillz! They are good to have.
It's amazing the number of songs I can sing as lullabyes, low and sweet. I discovered this when timprov was in the hospital. Some of it was extremely creepy ("Come As You Are" made all soft and sweet and breathy on "no, I don't have a gun," for example). Some of it was surprisingly fine. Most of it made him laugh pretty hard.
...why do you suppose "The Gambler" is coming out bouncy and upbeat?

Dunno... it's always sounded upbeat to me. But most Kenny Rogers songs do. I suppose it's just difficult for me to hear them without seeing that huge freakin' Nashville grin on his face.

And yes, "House of the Rising Sun" is a great one to start off with, especially as you can move straight into finger picking from there! SERIOUSLY! You don't have to move your left hand and more than you would to strum it!

Another good into song - if that's your taste, and times being what they are - is the Violent Femme's "Blister in the Sun." Bit of personal advice on it: Use the Alternate G chord and the C-something or other (320033 and x32033 respectively) and it's a GAJILLION TIMES easier. Then you can change the strum pattern a bit and toss in a Dsus2 and Asus2 (x00230 and 002200) and you've got Green Day's Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

But, come to that, I don't really know your musical tastes - even time being what they are - so I'll shut up now. Especially considering if I was really all that hot snot I'd be playing myself right now. :-(

Ya know, for someone who subscribed to this journal for insight into your writing processes, I never seem to comment on THOSE...
thank you!
Good true words on emo and balance.
bad kitty!

mine has awakened me on occasion by

a) biting the tip of my nose -- hard -- painful!


b) licking my eyelashes until my eyes open

and yet she still resides with me...

Sounds like your cat is (any of the following): in season (female), smelling an in-season female outside (male), trying to tell you about something going on and can't get your attention (either), having a reaction to some kind of food. Mine are both neutered but when a stray cat comes into the yard they will roar and howl and hiss. Pirate Jenny, after surgery, was manic -- howling and running and throwing herself around -- as a reaction to one of the meds.

And Grasshopper, our previous cat, woke me out of a sound sleep at 4 a.m. a while back, by stepping on me and shoving me around (significant for a six-lb. cat) and led me out to the room where a mouse had one leg in a trap and was dragging it around and crying. She was determined to have me fix it. So I put the mouse and trap in a frying pan lid, took them outside and let it go; I was not about to tell her now, and I couldn't kill something that was crying.
No, she's just an obnoxious cat. *g* Always has been.

It's what I love about her.
If I recall correctly, Me & Bobby McGee only has two chords for most of the song as well. And they're easy ones, no bar chords or stretching across the fretboard required.
qu'est que-ce "Spook"?

It could have been good, sans the flip.
You are a wise and forgiving ghoul.
Regarding Eleanor Rigby, I wonder how much of that is because one of the composers was lefthanded, so held the guitar backwards? Maybe the chords are easier that way.

(Dunno if the E minors would have been bass, lead or rhythm guitar -- this is why I play piano.)