There's a song by Pink called, "Just Give Me a Reason." Currently it's my favorite song. I chuckle each time I hear because it starts out with Pink (yes, it's a person NOT just a color) singing a harangue about how bad things are going in her relationship with the other singer. She sings with passion on how he picked up the broken pieces of her life but that now... things are just... perhaps, broken...
Here is how he responds:
I'm sorry I don't understand
Where all of this is coming from
I thought that we were fine
Your head is running wild again
My dear we still have everythinl
And it's all in your mind
Typical guy response. We usually have absolutely no idea that something is wrong or what the lady is thinking. Basically, the guy is usually clueless. I would like to add here that this is just some game we play but reality is we're just not that smart. To be completely honest we spend most of our time thinking about, well, ourselves. Even when we work hard to tune in to her thoughts or emotions or try to be of service to our better half's we struggle to be successful. Recently I heard a story about a husband who watched his wife carrying in a bunch of boxes. He set her cell phone on top and with a huge smile said, "Hey honey! I charged your phone!" and walked away. You see, even when we're doing something nice we figure out a way to screw it up. Certainly this isn't true of all guys (there may be some exceptions to the rule, but I have a feeling they may be... okay, I won't go there) but I think most well intentioned husbands would agree.
Anyway, back to the reason I brought up the song in the first place. I love music. I really love music when it tells a story. And I truly love music when it tells a story that has complexity and all the ingredients that equal a great story. Back when I was in high school I won a lip sync contest with the song by Billy Joel, "The Longest Time." Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, and other "non" heavy metal artists and bands made my collection. But I couldn't tell anybody. In fact I played it off with the "cool" guy in school that I really didn't like the song or Joel at all (he pumps gas somewhere or asks people, "Would you like fries with that?" or so I heard). You see, in high school I had long hair, a black Levi jacket with Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Dio patches all over it (my stepdad and I ironed them on, but that's another story), and an image to keep up. Today I listen to anything and everything if it has a great beat and good lyrics. I have found that I even enjoy musicals (oops, I promised myself I wouldn't mention Les Miserables in this post, "oops, I did it again!" (bad Brittany Spears pun) sorry). If I like it - I listen to it - since "being cool" almost killed me I figured I'd just be me instead of trying to be... I'm still not sure what I was trying to be!
Pink's song is a classic. It has everything that's needed to create what the listener craves: believable lyrics and characters, passion and emotion both in the words and the music, great tempo, and shows depth. Artists like Taylor Swift and groups like One Direction can give us a beat and from time to time catchy lyrics but nothing can make up for the experience needed to really hit us with a profound story in a song. Sure it's sad that Swift is "never, never, never, getting back together" but it feels more like a high school romance than that truly gut wrenching feeling many of us have experienced later in life. That's great that "she doesn't know she's beautiful" but it doesn't quite match up to the true beauty we see in our spouse after spending more than a summer with them. The moments that count and that allow us to truly see the face of God (sorry, did Les Mis again).
Good writers affect us... it doesn't matter what they're writing... I hope I can be that kind of writer...
No matter what - I get to say something that less than 1% of the population can say - I finished a novel - and hopefully - soon - I will get the chance to affect you as writing has always affected me.
Until next time... God Bless!
I have been spending a lot of time watching baseball. It's that time of the year and I can't go without my dose of October ball and the brilliant pitching that usually goes with it. In fact, as I write this post I am watching game 3 of the NLCS. The Dodgers are winning (thank God, I can't root for St. Louis, too much Cub in me) but are down two games to none. So far all the games in both the American League Championship Series and the National League Championship Series have been real nail bitters. I'm rooting for a Dodger versus Tigers series (sorry Marty) so I can see Kershaw pitch against Verlander. In the baseball world that would be like having the opportunity to see Joe Montana play against Tom Brady (when it comes to rings these two are the best of all time; they just know how to win) or Tiger Woods go head to head with Jack Nicklaus. FYI - I usually root for the National League in the World Series unless, of course, St. Louis goes.
My passion for baseball has inspired my writing. Today I finished writing the first draft of the flash fiction story I'm writing to enter in a writing contest through Writers Digest (I fear I have overused a form of the word 'write' in the last two sentences, please, forgive me). It needs to be 1500 words or less so I have some revising and cutting and rewriting (there it is again) to do. The shell is good and I hope to make it even better between now and the deadline of November 15.
November is national write a novel month and I hope by then to be deep into revising and editing Welcome to Utopia. I should be getting back the manuscript within two weeks. There have been some minor issues that have come up but we are still moving forward. Everything is just going a bit slower than originally anticipated. I'm now looking forward to climbing back into it. The time away has been good and I have been doing my best to keep on writing. As some of you know there are times when all the balls one must juggle as a teacher needs your full attention just to keep from letting one of them fall.
I have become the assistant coach for Oral Interp and this past weekend was our first meet. I can't express in words (and I'm supposed to be a writer) how proud I am of all the kids we took to the competition. We had three individuals take first place and one of our duets took first place. Awesome. It really is a blessing in my life to be able to do what I do for a living. In the words of Jean Valjean... Now I am blessed.
I must do a shout out for a teacher at Douglas High School here in the Rapid City area for his brilliant performance of Thenardier and the rest of the cast that brought to life what my wife calls my obsession of Les Miserables. Yes, I love the story, I love the music, I love the play, I love the book, and I love both versions of the movie (the latest being in my top two movies of all time - Casablanca is first). I loved the play they put on here so much I saw it twice.
I hope you all had a wonderful three day weekend. Thanks for reading and... God Bless!
Rapid City, SD
Well, we got a bit of snow the past two days. We have been stuck in the house since Friday morning and it looks as if we will be unable to get out today. The real outrage is missing the play, Les Miserables. Yes, I did go last week but since my wife was unable to go I sacrificed and said I would see it again (okay, it was my idea, but still...).
I have been thinking lately of what I would like to start writing next. I've started a few projects recently and in the past. Once I finished the book I took some time off because I had no idea what to do next. I've been doing some free writing now and then but nothing has jumped out of me. I've been trying to force myself to write a short fiction story and haven't gotten very far. One of my stories is a historical fiction about an alcoholic and his wife that started a movement back in the 1840s called the Washingtonians. I learned about them when I was at college and thinking about majoring in phsycology. Since I can't spell it I figured I might want to change my major. The Washingtonians started with six guys in a bar and grew to (according to some reports) over half-a-million members. They thought, perhaps, they had found the answer to alcoholism but all but disappeared after about ten years. I thought it would make a great fiction story on what happened and its eventual demise. Really it ended up being a love story about the husband and wife and perhaps some day I will finish it.
I also wanted to write a sort of Achilles versus Hector story (their battle gave me the idea) of how both of them die and go to something like purgatory where they must learn to stop fighting and learn to forgive before they can make their way to heaven. It would be a fantasy mixed in with a redemption theme with a sprinkle of learning to love people for who they are instead of who we wished they would be. I haven't really ironed out my main characters enough yet, obviously they would be warriors with the drive of Hector on one side mixed with the ego of Achilles on the other side. A battle for their very soul that they learn doesn't involve weapons. I have started some character (if you have ideas for names I'm all ears) background writing and written some pages on what their world looks like plus the in between world but I really haven't gotten that far. I do what to complete this project and this may win out by the time next summer shows up.
Another thought was a horror book based on a story a started writing back in high school. It is about a group of teenagers that go up into the hills in Orange County only to learn that one of them is a killer. I originally wrote it in first person but wanted to change it to third person. The idea was ironed out by with the collaboration of my best friend back in high school. The real inspiration came from Stephen King. I always wanted to write horror novels like him; at least that's what I wanted to do back then. I'm a bit more sappy now (evidence: Les Mis) and learn towards telling stories about love and freedom and forgiveness - but - there still is a dark side within.
Finally, I decided to start on a book that has been swirling in my head for a couple of years now. Anyone who knows me knows my love for movies. I've always wanted to write the "Layman's guide to the Best Pictures of the Year." I want to write the average person's reviews of every movie that has won the Oscar for Best Picture. If you have seen as many movies I have you probably have seen some Academy Award winners that really weren't 'winners' at all. It would be a fun and entertaining look at these films with "did you know" sections and "look who might've been cast in this role" mixed with blunt, (hopefully) funny quips about each film. The only drawback would be that for the year of 2012 Les Miserables (I realize I'm obsessed) did not win for some reason. I figured I would just mention it in the introduction (possibly titled "The Best That For Some Unheard of Reason Did Not Win!"). Argo was great and so was Lincoln but... Okay, okay, I'll wait until the book.
So there you have it. A new project. Every writing book will say, "Just start writing the next project." And so I have.
On a personal note: it's a good thing my wife and I get along or I might've seen her as the female version of Jack Nicolson in The Shinning. Not the type of book to be reading when you're snowed in! I'm just saying...
Anthony D. Flores loves to spend his summers writing fiction. His strong Christian faith and love for this great country find its way into his fiction. His work is also available on Amazon by Clicking Here.