Searching for my writing mojo…

Damian and I taking a selfie in the Mini
05 December 2016

I lack confidence. I really like, and am proud of, about half of what I write. The other half makes me cringe; it makes me internally shrink. I don’t know how to walk this painful line of opposites, of pain and pleasure. I don’t know how to speak. I don’t know how to be me… all of me. I am a writer. I have finally, almost 50 years into my life, accepted this as fact, and to exist without that part of me is to live only half a life.

So, given that I only like about half of what I write and I’m not happy unless I write, I guess I had better learn to become one hell of an editor, separating the wheat of my own writing from its chaff. How hard could that be, right? 😉

December 7th, 2016 | General | 1 Comment -

Lyrics

Lily and Damian sporting their chest tattoos.
11 November 2011

I think everyone has their favorite “amateur” singer on YouTube. I hate to use the word amateur because some of these folks are very talented and it feels disrespectful to downgrade their talent with a single word. But anyways, my favorite YouTube artist is, by far, katethegreat19 or Erutan (she goes by two names). I’ve downloaded most of her video game songs to my iPod and I’ve bought her self-produced and created CD. I love her music, her voice, and her will to produce and distribute her music.

I was recently listening to her arrangement of the Final Fantasy IX song “You’re Not Alone.” She didn’t write the tune, but she wrote the lyrics and the arrangement, plays all the instruments and sings. I am very romantic as I think many women are, and the lyrics she wrote are so romantic. I’m not linking the YouTube video because I think the FF IX footage set to the song distracts too much from the beauty of the song. If you’re curious, click on the play button below to listen:

[audio:http://www.angelsdesk.com/angel/audio/Youre_Not_Alone_katethegreat19.mp3]

My brother and I were discussing the power of lyrics just the other day. We were talking about Nirvana. Nirvana’s musical composition is powerful and Kurt Cobain’s voice is powerful. Both of these things carry an emotional depth that causes an emotional reaction in the listener. But the lyrics are crap. Even Kurt Cobain admitted that his lyrics were nonsense and he wrote them without thought. So Nirvana’s music lacks the depth, strength and power it could have achieved if they had taken that final step.

Matt and his brother Sam listen primarily to the melody whereas my brother, my cousin Justin and I all listen primarily to the lyrics. To us, the lyrics give the song meaning whereas the melody sets the mood. A perfect example would be “I Remain,” the song from The Prince of Persia by Alannis Morissette. The instruments and melody were obviously chosen to set the mood of a romanticized Middle East as Westerners have always painted it, and then the lyrics describe the relationship between Dastan and Tamina.

[audio:http://www.angelsdesk.com/angel/audio/I_Remain.mp3]

In my life, I’ve written one poem, but I’m pretty proud of it. It was written in a moment of deep pain and shame. Matt and I were both dating other people right before we got together, and we both got dumped (thankfully, or we wouldn’t have ended up together). Both of the people we were dating were crazy and, after we got over the pain and humiliation of getting dumped, we were grateful that they dumped us. But this is the poem I wrote just after getting dumped when I really wanted him back but I knew he was bad news:

Sugar-Coated Poisoned Candy

I feel his breath; I touch his skin.
There’s no one here but me.
We move together imitating
synchronicity.
I’m alone and he’s alone,
deep inside of me.
How I crave the saccharine taste
of dripping poisoned candy.

Lying in the dying promise
of the cold wet sheets.
Choking on the ashes
of false light and heat.
I’m alone and he’s alone,
sleeping next to me.
A cadaver breathes; the hole is filled
with salty poisoned candy.

It could be touched up a bit here and there (the cadence is off in the second verse, and the word “cadaver” is too cliche in a tortured love poem), but overall I’m pleased with my moment of pain creating art.

I didn’t upload anymore Halloween photos because they really are crap and Matt said the ones I posted did a good enough job getting the point across. Hopefully I’ll be a better flash photographer by next Halloween and can do the holiday more justice. Now I need to get decent photos of all the Christmas lights to post. They are things that the Brits do better than us, and there are things that we do better than the Brits. And our Christmas lights are quite impressive.

November 11th, 2011 | General | No Comments -

Long time, no blog

Damian and Lily carving jack-o-lanterns with Daddy
30 October 2011





I don’t handle stress well. I could never do Matt’s job because I do not perform under pressure. I hole up in the fetal position and weather it like a natural disaster, praying for it to pass soon.

Matt and I have been under a lot of pressure because we are carrying the burden of two mortgages at the moment. But the old house is on the market now and we actually have an offer on it. Hopefully everything will go well over the next few weeks, and this fellow will actually buy the house and we can then concentrate on the new house.

And that’s why there have been no blog entries. It’s hard to write a blog entry when you’re emotionally stuck in the fetal position. 🙂

But with a contract on the old house, things are looking up. It’ll be nice to have only one house to focus on instead of two houses in two different cities.

On a side note, my sister and her children got a new puppy, but they can’t pick him up until Christmas. So, for the next two months, Smokey (another chihuahua — Spikey’s brother, in fact) will be staying with us. He’s very cute and sweet. We just need to get through his house training and he’ll be a really great dog.

Spikey and Smokey
30 October 2011

Smokey
30 October 2011

October 31st, 2011 | General | No Comments -

Interpretation

I’m going to drop my angst-filled posts for a moment and step into the anti-war political arena. (All of sudden my blog has become very heavy. I’ll lighten things up as soon as I get my head sorted out.)

My husband and I listen to music in two very different ways. He listens to the melody and I listen to the lyrics. That’s why even if a song has a great tune, if the lyrics are utter crap, I have a hard time listening to it. The lyrics will annoy me until I turn it off in frustration.

I recently stumbled upon 009 Sound System’s song “Born to Be Wasted” on YouTube. There are two interpretations to this song: 1) Getting high on drugs, driving fast, living free and hard, getting your kicks, etc as a personal philosophy on how to live life. There are plenty of songs like this that speak to youth, and I find the concept shallow. Living fully, truthfully and passionately is extremely difficult, and I think, the much more noble and worthwhile journey. Drugs and fast cars are cop outs.

The second interpretation of the song as an anti-war message has much more significant meaning and actually makes the lyrics quite poetic and deeply meaningful. Here is a comment left on a lyrics site by Frantazle:

I think that this song refers to young kids being ‘wasted’ as in killed. The army gets them when they’re young and then shits them out.

As a song about drugs and fast living, the lyrics are generic. As a song about disposable soldiers, the lyrics are brilliant, sad and poignant. I couldn’t find an interview with Alexander Perls, the man who wrote and performed the song, so you will have to make your own interpretation. I’ve linked a homemade YouTube video from someone who took it as a war song, and the lyrics are below that.

oh the beat’s gonna bash gonna break it up
this car’s goin’ fast gonna speed it up
the night’s not gonna last so let’s keep it up
we were born to be wasted

oh the rock’s not gonna stop so let’s rip it up
the beats are gonna drop you can trip em’ up
your mind is on fire but it’s not enough
we were born to be wasted

baby out loud
knew that it would come to this
ain’t worth livin
if u can’t get your kicks

oh the rock’s not gonna stop so let’s rip it up
the beats are gonna drop you can trip em’ up
your mind is on fire but it’s not enough
we were born to be wasted

this gun’s blowin up it’s just a warning shot
this plane’s takin’ off on a terror run
this night’s gonna end like a missile drop
we were born to be wasted

March 23rd, 2011 | General | 2 Comments -

For Dad-in-Law

Matt and Spikey Baby Bear
27 February 2011

I’m afraid your son is being seduced by the Dark Side. Me and Spikey will own his soul eventually. Spikey’s cuteness will not be denied!

Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! 😉

February 28th, 2011 | General | No Comments -

How Angel Got Her Groove Back, reprised

This is how Austin chic we used to be:
Matt and I took our niece, nephew, and younger cousins to see the
midnight showing of Red vs Blue at the downtown Alamo Drafthouse,
and the creators of Red vs Blue were there as well for a Q&A afterwards.
Given that they were all teenagers, they enjoyed the cuss words in a
wonderfully new and innocent way. As adults, cuss words become
saturated and worn — they are no longer cool as we realize that they
actually impede communication. But it was fun listening to the kids play
with them and enjoy the fun and “cool factor” of them. But we did tell them
they had to clean up their language (they especially loved “f*cktard”),
or their parents would not allow them to come out with us again.

This is a photo of the teenagers with the creators of Red vs Blue
outside the Alamo Drafthouse around 2am on 22 July 2004.

(Now, we live in the suburbs and have only vague memories and old photos
of when we used to be hip. Maybe one day, after I manage to lose
the middle-age weight and buy clothes that don’t accentuate my matronly
role, I’ll be hip again… maybe…)

I haven’t written in a very long time — a very long time — and I feel so rusty. I imagine it’s similar to a musician who hasn’t played her instrument in over a year. My craftsmanship is weak: my timing is off and I’m out of tune. These three sentences took five minutes to write since I had to work and rework the words and the cadence.

With practice, art and ideas flow. With neglect and disuse, the mind becomes fuzzy and unfocused. Ideas and art are no longer spontaneous. And that spontaneity, that inspiration has an almost magical or divine sensation to it. When you let your talent atrophy, though you still have inspiration, it’s not nearly as powerful. It’s like you’re not resonating with the universe anymore. You have to plug yourself back in.

I know that some folks don’t have the same spiritual views as me, and I totally understand and respect that. Of course, this blog is from my point of view, and writing, for me right now, feels very discordant, a cacophony in my head with no focus or theme. Writing is not easy right now. The ideas and words, the art of writing that I enjoy so much is all scattered around in my head. And because I have the spiritual views that I do, I attribute this feeling of discordance not only to disuse and letting my skills get rusty, but also to a muffled connection with the universe. I’ve been unplugged for a year.

But I know that not all folks feel that way. I understand that we all have a personal place inside of us from which we create. And we all have a different way of creating. This is just how I do it. I realize that others’ experiences may be very different from mine.

It will take time to get back into the flow of writing. But I’m really looking forward to it. As much as I enjoyed Warcraft and quit with great reluctance and, at first, slight bitterness, I’m glad things worked out the way they did. I’m excited and eager to be back with my first and true love: writing.

February 22nd, 2011 | General | 2 Comments -

Warcraft Reboot

A very very very old photo from a photo booth.
That’s me and Ben in the bottom photo.

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft for a year and a half.

It’s been a lot of fun.

It has also been extremely time-consuming.

I tried to work my hobbies in around Warcraft, but, given that I haven’t updated this blog in a year, I can say with confidence that I failed. The hobbies were shelved while I played a very fun game.

Matt quit Warcraft about three weeks ago because there is lot of exciting things going on in real life for him and our family right now. I continued to play without him, but he would spend his evening watching Bones in the living room, while I was logged into Warcraft all night in the computer room. I waited for him to come join me again in the virtual world, but he never did. So, after being apart for three weeks, I decided to join him since he wasn’t joining me.

So I’m back in the real world. It was time. My hobbies had been shelved long enough, and Matt and I both got to play the end game content of Wrath which was very cool. Our little toons both got the “Kingslayer” title right before the Shattering (the night before, actually). We didn’t get to play the end game content of EverQuest, which we were both a little sad about, so it was nice to play some of the end game content of this MMO.

Do I miss Warcraft? Absolutely. But I missed my hobbies while I played Warcraft. Unfortunately, one must give way to the other. Maybe I’ll play Warcraft again in the future, but, for now, I’m back in the real world. And, as much as I miss playing my holy priest, it’s nice to be back.

Our camera is messed up right now, so I can’t post pictures of the kids (as I’m not taking any), so, for a little while, old archived photos will be posted with the entries.

February 2nd, 2011 | General | 4 Comments -

Podcast, baby!

I got a new webcam. After Matt installed it,
the children and I played with it for about 15 min,
but then I got tired of playing around and left.
The children, however, continued to play with the
new webcam for another 45 min. This is a photo
that the children took while goofing off with the webcam.
17 January 2010

Shelrie and I made our first podcast. I don’t know how much fun it is to listen to, but it was a lot of fun to make. 🙂

Our Five Favorite Movies Right Now

January 18th, 2010 | General | No Comments -

Juggling

Lily and Damian being silly while I was taking pictures.
08 January 2010

So I’m trying to keep two blogs at once. With this one, I’m trying to write about family and friends, and with Benign Chaos, I’m trying to write about my journey through life. But the two are inseparable, aren’t they? One’s journey through life is all about family and friends. People and connections are at the very heart of being alive.

I probably would just combine the two blogs back into one except that I’m doing Benign Chaos with Shelrie, and she is really keen on podcasting. I’m excited and intimidated by the idea. I tried podcasting once already and found it very hard to act natural. But, the thing with Shelrie is: almost any activity you do with her turns out to be a fun adventure. So I’m jumping into my second podcasting attempt with a trusted and delightful friend.

I’m excited about the New Year; 2010 seems very very hopeful to me.

And a big hug and thank you to my extended family in England. We all had a wonderful Christmas. ♥

January 9th, 2010 | General | No Comments -

To Dad-in-law

I have said it before and I will say it again: I am amazingly lucky in my in-laws. I married into an awesome family. This includes a really nice, very thoughtful father-in-law who is always planning and executing events for the family.

And to this very nice father-in-law I have lied about four times over the summer. He has continually asked for pictures of the children, and my reply has repeatedly been, “I’ll post those tonight!” but then I would never deliver on my promise. So to Dad-in-law, first a public apology for not being reliable and then the promised photos… finally.

We visited my grandmother in Tennessee in May.
We tried to wrangle the great-grandkids together
for a photo with Great Grandma. I’ll let you decide
whether we were successful or not.
16 May 2009

This is me and my siblings
with the paternal side of our family.
16 May 2009

The next day, while we were still all together in Nashville,
was Matt’s birthday. All the nieces and nephews wished him
a happy birthday in their own special way.
17 May 2009

Before everyone went home from Nashville,
we took a picture of Nana and Granddad with all the grandkids.
17 May 2009

Damian enjoys watching his cousin Cody play videogames.
03 July 2009

Damian fell asleep on the couch.
27 July 2009

I’m sorry that there aren’t more pictures. Besides not blogging, I also have not been taking many pictures. The summer of 2009 was extremely oppressive in Texas, and I got depressed with the drought and the triple-digit heat, as I think many Texans did. But, with the arrival of autumn and cooler temperatures and rain, my mood is starting to lift. It’s nice not being stuck in recycled air.

September 24th, 2009 | General | No Comments -