Tag Archive | Chris Cornell

Moonchild Manuscript Soundtrack a.k.a. Table of Contents

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 8.47.17 PMMusic permeates just about everything I write, and I often think of my writing in terms of music. So naturally, a full-length book manuscript is like a full-length album. A concept album, perhaps.

This is especially true for MOONCHILD, the memoir manuscript I’m revising (as in completely re-envisioning, you can read about this writerly overhaul and the revision process here and here). There is so much music in the text of the book. Always music. And discussions about the meanings of the songs that are incorporated into the story, an exploration of where music and life and self intersect.

Pretty early on, I knew I wanted to start each chapter out with a lyric. In fact, I wrote the first words (longhand, in a notebook) of this manuscript in 2003, and I think even then, I knew each chapter would somehow feature a lyric, a song. It’s not the first time I thought that way about a long-form piece of writing.

So, yes, each chapter starts off with a lyric from a song. I did up a little CD label thing (which proves why I’m a writer and NOT a graphic designer) that lists the songs that are quoted at the beginning of each chapter. Here it is:

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When You’re Eighteen with Crippling Writers Block, Music Can Set You Free

EMindexInstead of sitting down to absorb the album, I let it trickle in, play it over and over while I read my astronomy textbook, when I doodle in my journal hoping to come up with story ideas for my creative writing class, when I’m on the phone, when I’m reading books and when Jillian comes over to chill.

One night I sit on my inflatable chair writing away in my journal with half my mind on the page and half with the music. As I try to think up story ideas, a song called “Moonchild” starts, launching me into the ether in its intro. Something about the words, the singing, though I don’t know it by heart yet, makes me feel at all like my old vibrant self, or at least its shadow. By the time I get to the bridge, the song stops me in my tracks, using my foot absentmindedly against my bed to rock my chair. I have the seed of a story idea.

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Reflections on ’08

And here’s another old post I’m importing from my old blog, an end-of-year survey post for 2008. Funny thing, some of the stuff I was a little coy about and hinting at? I have no idea what most of it refers to anymore, and it’s only a few years later. Kinda sad.

Anyway, here’s the post:

2008imagesWell, my first reflection is that it flew by fast. I feel old. I’m not really, just approaching 28, but it feels old in a way. I remember having a discussion with friends about how people go through a major change around that age. Saturn return and all that. Oh, it’s coming for sure. My other thought is that I think this past year was sort of boring in comparison to the one before. Last time I filled out one of these things I felt present and sparky, this year felt a little blah.

So anyway, here’s my answers to the end of year survey, same one I did last year.

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Long Time, No Post

From November 2008:

DSCF0627Yeah, I know, it’s been like, two and a half months.

There’s lots of news to report, I suppose. It’s been an interesting few months. I lost internet connection for awhile, which drove me nuts. I don’t have TV so I rely on the internet for my fix. It drove me crazy to miss House and The Office, but what drove me even crazier was not being able to be really connected around election time. I like to keep up on those things, and it was like being totally disconnected from the world. And that’s not to mention all the people I fell out of touch with. It sucked. I spent hours and hours on the phone with CenturyTel, trying to figure out what was wrong. They were telling me I’d have to take my computer to an Apple store (not easy to do, since I live on an island). Then my friend Lissa visited, and fixed it in about two seconds. Now I’m trying to catch up.

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In Search of Censored Paragraphs

Another imported post, this one from June 2008. Quick fun fact: Diana Abu-Jaber actually teaches at my university but I’ve never taken a class from her.

Crescent Diana Abu-JaberWhen I first went to Diana Abu-Jaber’s website, I noticed something on there about a school in Texas banning her book Crescent and a link to the offending paragraphs. At the time, I was on a bit of a linking spree and I didn’t stop to read more. Crescent was a great book, but it’s been years since I read it and I read it on loan from a friend and I couldn’t think what would be offensive about it. It’s a story featuring Iraqi-Americans and so I thought maybe it had something to do with that. Mostly though, Crescent is a love story, rich with myth and story and family, faraway homelands, poetry and cooking. Reading that book will make your mouth water for certain.

Years ago, Diana Abu-Jaber came to Orcas for a signing/reading at our local bookstore, and I didn’t find out about it until afterward. Neither did my friend who’d loaned me Crescent. We were disappointed we’d missed her. Last week, I was pointing out Crescent to my good friend Leo and looked at some of her other books and ended up picking up her first novel, Arabian Jazz and just started reading it the other day.

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My Table of Contents Looks More Like the Song List on a Soundtrack…or Something

call her moonchild

So, all my chapters (except for the first four that cover childhood), are named after song lyrics. In fact, I’ll just put the list of songs on here, to give an idea, and then I want to talk about the general motivations. Some songs come up more than once, (“Moonchild” by Chris Cornell, for example), different lyrics are used in each chapter. That song is the repeating refrain of the story, for sure. Anyway, for now, I’ll just give song title and artist.

Here’s the current table of contents:

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Home, Home Again

eastcoastfallimages…and I can definitely say, to quote another band, “what a loooooooong, strange trip it’s been.”

Three weeks and a day of traveling all over the east coast. I went from Philly to Allentown, PA, from there a quick trip up to Albany for a concert, then back to Allentown, then Boston, then Baltimore, then back to Allentown, then to NYC, then to Philly (with a trip from NYC out to Long Island to meet my ride back to Philly). Then yesterday morning, I left Philly for my trek back to Orcas Island, which, all told, took 18 hours.

In a way it was a rock star kind of trip, waking up in all these different cities. So many nights, I had the sensation of coming in or out of sleep and being disoriented, wondering where I was. It was great. Throughout the trip, I slept on couches, in two hotels, in a basement spare room, in a shared twin bed in a dorm room and on a pullout couch. I saw so many friends it was amazing. Not just the ones I stayed with, but friends I saw at concerts, friends who came to my reading in New York City, a friend who I rarely get to see and who is going to Iraq in January. We met for two hours, went out to eat at a brewery, it was the fourth time I’ve seen in the last seven years. I get a little choked up sometimes, just thinking about how precious it is to have these short encounters with people who matter.

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