Tag Archive | Nirvana

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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Writing, Music and the Places Where they Overlap

West_Seattle_Easy_Street_02So many things have me revisiting my musical past as of late. It’s really kind of odd how so many things converged at once. Sometimes I feel like, for whatever reason, I just really let music slip away for awhile, and over the last month, a switch has flipped and all of a sudden, I’m back.

I think I’m a little too embarrassed to admit one of the things that started all this. I’ll just say this: it was a TV show. And it wasn’t that I loved the music on the show so much as one of the characters reminded me of how I used to feel about music, and that got me listening to CDs again, and trying to rebuild my old music collection by buying a bunch of used CDs, and looking into concerts and shows again. Okay, I’ll give a hint, since it sort of relates to the remainder of the post, this TV show I don’t quite want to name is named after a song.

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All of Our Rubbish Dreams

hsbguitarplayingSome moments are crystallized in memory, even if they are ordinary.

I remember one early evening in the springtime of ninth grade, I was sitting on the arm of the couch, which Mom hated, and wearing my Hole t-shirt with the heart logo, probably the band I loved that Mom hated most, and she stood by the stove getting ready for dinner. I was watching MTV–this is when they still played videos all the time–and singing along. Low spring light came in from the window near the TV and left big fans of light on the rug that stretched all the way to the kitchen where Mom stirred frozen vegetables in a pan.

“So, Emilia,” she said, and I could tell by the way she wasn’t turning towards me, the way she was trying too hard to sound like a thought just occurred to her, that whatever was coming, she’d worked herself up to it. But I didn’t move my gaze from the TV. “What do you want to be when you’re older?”

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A Sad Day in Music History

KCimagesIt is just impossible to imagine that Kurt Cobain has been dead twenty years today. And Layne Staley twelve. A day heavy with sadness to be sure.

I wasn’t sure if I would feel much of anything about today–it’s been so long now–and wasn’t thinking about it too much this morning. I got up, went to my computer, and did some heavy editing to the last section of the second chapter of Moonchild. It’s been slow going and the editing process has been more like a complete overhaul. I’m keeping the bones of the story, but reworking so much of it that it hardly seems like the same manuscript sometimes. So, editing the last five or six pages of the chapter took two or three hours.

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Warding Off Eclipses with Sex and Music: A Memoir Chapter

My Binder Cover

My Binder Cover

I was fourteen. I was an alternative rock goddess. I’d found Nirvana. I was in love with a dead man.

I sat with my brother Randy, my neighbors and my friend Lissa from blind camp in the very back of the backyard on pink plastic chairs. “So, which would you rather do?” said Ryan from across the street, turning to me. We were playing Questions. “Have sex with Kurt Cobain for one hour, Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam for ten hours, or the guy from Silverchair for twenty hours?”

I was a loyal girl. “Kurt,” I answered without a thought. “Okay, Lissa. If you were going out with a guy and he wanted to 69, would you do it?”

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Hahaha, so, it only continues from there. This chapter was published in Shark Reef a few years ago and so is also available through the Published page on the site, but I know sometimes those things can be hard to find so I thought I’d bring it out for this week’s writing sample. Fair warning: it’s not a particularly easy read. Still though, I once was reading a passage from this piece at an Open Mic type deal and was laughing so hard I was crying and could barely read and almost peed my pants.

As always, for more writing samples, you can always check out the Samples page. There’s also a section for Published and Early Work (most of this latter section is downright mortifying, but you know, oh well).

~Emilia J