Category Archives: #WhateverWednesday
Last night my sister-in-law and I took my son to his very first concert in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh. We’d been trying for a while to get tickets to go see Passenger, and as a first concert, I think it might have blown my boys mind. It blew my mind and I’ve been to some amazing concerts! But, what started as taking my son to his first ever gig, became a moment of self-realization, and for that reason alone, last night is one of the best gigs I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.
The thing about Passenger–Mike Rosenberg–is there is always a message to his music. I’ve always felt his music means more than just the beat, tempo or lyrics, and seeing him live proved that even more. The energy Mike has on stage is amazing. He never stops moving, plays the guitar like it’s part of his anatomy and sings like his heart is melting. Even his explanations for the lyrics and his amusing–sometimes sorrowful–anecdotes between songs tell me that Mike really means what he sings about.
There is emotion, amusement, tragedy, energy, amazing arrangements and just pure awesome on the stage of a Passenger gig. There is passion behind the lyrics, true meaning behind the words. His songs are not written with the express intent of gaining fame or money, but to send a message to all who might listen.
But there was one particular part of the show which really resonated with me. He introduced the song Twenty-Seven with a short explanation of why he wrote it. At a time when he was low, fed up, tired and frustrated about his career, he wrote Twenty-Seven to cheer himself up, and to remind himself that if you are passionate about something, don’t be discouraged. Do whatever it is, and do it from the heart. Don’t listen to those who might discourage you, because this is damaging to a creative mind.
The words he used last night were along the lines of feeling frustrated about getting nowhere, about feeling like you are doing something for nothing and no one is interested. As a writer, I often feel this way. There are times I’ve sat and cried frustrated tears and wondered why the hell I waste my time with writing books and blogs and make vlogs no one really looks at.
Often wonder why I bother, or sometimes why I even try. Yet I do it because I want to convey messages, too. I want to spread joy, amusement, my love of people, of animals, of good music and great stories. I want to raise awareness for those in need, want to fight for this world and everything which lives upon it. I want to tell folk how a stupid toy pony can make my day, or how my book sold a single copy and put a smile on my face for a week. I do it because I enjoy it, I love making people smile, and because it means something to me and others.
I wish I’d had my camera running at that moment last night just to remember the exact words Mike said. When I got home I wondered if he said them in another concert so I searched and found the video below, but with slightly different wording. The message is still the same, still means something. So while there are times I get tired, low and frustrated about the lack of interaction or interest, Mike is right–keep doing what you love, no matter what, and I intend to.
If you ever get the chance to see Passenger live, do yourself a favor and grab tickets and go see him. Amazing!
Facebook: Passenger Facebook
YouTube: Passenger YouTube Channel
F.R. Donaldson lives in scenic Scotland. She is the author of the psychological sci-fi MALEVOLENCE
A lot of my friends have a writing playlist. Some claim that they cannot write without music. I’m in a sort of…in-between category? There is certain music that inspires me. There are other songs I can and will listen to while I’m writing. But then there are also times that I just need the quiet.
Music that Inspires
What I listen to for this category kind of depends on what I am writing. Often, I am writing stories where bratty, bold women are the leading characters. For most of those, I listen to some fantastic female vocalists. Examples of this: Halestorm, Barlow Girl, Evanescence, Fireflight, Digital Daggers, Plumb, Halsey, Banks, The Pretty Reckless, Lana Del Rey. Of these, I often listen to Halestorm’s “Familiar Taste of Poison,” Banks’ “Beggin’ for Thread,” and Fireflight’s “Forever” on repeat. If this is something you like, try plugging “Familiar Taste of Poison” into Pandora.
(Note, this next one may not be safe for work)
If I am writing something emotional, I drift towards songs that have affected me in some way. I have a whole bunch of these that I’ve gathered throughout the years. Artists include Over the Ocean (“I Will Be Silent”), X Ambassadors (“Unsteady”), Anberlin (“Fin”), Avicii “Waiting for Love”), Starsailor (“Way to Fall”), Great Big World (“Say Something”), Imagine Dragons (“It’s Time”), Nate Ruess/Fun. (pretty much everything).
(Not gonna lie…75% of the reason I love this next song is because of this video)
Bonus: I loved all of the music of the early 2000s, and I have found that the magical formula to get Pandora to give you what you want is to make a Collective Soul radio station. Magic.
Usually for the actual act of writing, I need something that either doesn’t have words or has words I cannot understand. Otherwise, my mind focuses on the words and I end up wanting to sing instead of write. Either I listen to piano and instrumentals or I listen to music in a foreign language.
For the instrumentals, I love Frederik Chopin on the piano. Chopin also kicks out a KILLER Pandora station if you like that kind of thing. The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit soundracks are awesome. There is also Audiomachine, Balmorhea, Thomas Bergerson Two Steps from Hell.
My absolute favorites in this category, though, are the songs from basically the entire soundtrack of Fairy Tail. It’s Celtic inspired, heavy on the violin and electric guitar. SO AWESOME.
In the category of words I don’t understand, I listen to a LOT of Japanese music. Some I have found from watching anime and just thinking “That’s cool!” while some I found just by clicking round the internet. Among my favorites are Kalafina, Flow, and Wagakkiband.
And this one, which was on constant repeat while I was writing Achillea:
These two are on CONSTANT repeat,
The theme song for Attack on Titan
and one of the opening theme songs for Naruto Shippuden
Since my silver Mac died, I lost 600 songs. Luckily, I have amazing friends who stepped up to offer help. One is sending me a flash drive from California. My mother-in-law offered to let me try her Slacker radio app, my boss gave my flash drive to his wife to load up for me, and my sister’s boyfriend offered to transfer songs from his computer to mine.
I had to reload up the iTunes on the backup laptop, but unfortunately attaining the same magnitude of musical worldliness is going to take a long time, and, well…
NaNo is only a few weeks away.
Check out the #WhateverWednesday category every Wednesday to hear about whatever random topic has taken up all of the real estate in our minds!
Well, this is rather exciting.
I was just invited to a host a slot during S. Cushaway’s book release party. This will be my first time ever doing such a thing. Actually, I’m a little nervous! Putting myself in a spotlight is always a little nerve-wracking, but it’s for a good cause. S. Cushaway is another local author from my hometown, and this is her first book!
There are a thousand ways to die in the desert– desperate outlaws, deadly predators, murderous elements, and betrayal. . .
Kaitar Besh, a veteran scout as legendary for his cynicism as his skills, is ordered to brave the deadly Shy’war-Anquai desert one last time. Escorting Leigh Enderi– a greenhorn Enforcer with a reputation as shady as his own–he soon realizes the ghosts of his past have come to haunt more than his nightmares.
When the mission breaks down in the wake of bitter hatred and mistrust, even Kaitar’s fabled skills may not be enough to bring them home again. Stranded in the red wasteland without contact, food, or water, they uncover a betrayal that could bring all they hold dear crumbling to the dust. . . and tear down the wall of lies surrounding them.
This is an unusual subgenre that I just learned about called ‘weird western.’ It’s kind of like a Western adventure, but it’s also a science fiction/fantasy novel. It’s not a subgenre I’ve dabbled in, so now I’m looking forward to reading it as well!
I will be hosting the 8-9pm slot on Thursday, October 27, 2016. Go check out the event to RSVP!
So I had to research what the heck I’m supposed to do for these things so I don’t make an ass of myself. I have an hour slot. I was almost certain it was going to be like an hour of video or radio where I’d have to be constantly interesting for 60 full minutes. My greatest fear with that is that I’ll ask a question and get total silence because no one actually cares.
As it turns out, it’s way easier than I thought. Basically there will be questions, maybe some games, and maybe I’ll even give away my own book, THE BLOOD OF NERYS. Sadly, I have not yet found a cost-effective way to ship internationally, but maybe there is a way to offer the eBook for free? I’ll have to look into it.
And since the invitation, I’ve begun considering what it might be like to have my own release party. I didn’t want to get too fancy with my first book. The world doesn’t quite know who I am yet, so I figured participation would be incredibly low. After writing all of that fan fiction, I’m fairly certain that it will be easier for me to find new readers if I have more than one novel to offer. People like a little variety. My online popularity took off when I had more than a handful of stories, so I’m not going to get antsy until I’ve been doing this awhile.
So when the next book comes out, who knows? Maybe it will be my finest hour!
You’ll definitely be the first to know!
Check out our #WhateverWednesday category every Wednesday to hear about whatever random topic has taken up all of the real estate in our minds!
NaNoWriMo is coming sooner than I am ready for! I have too much to do!
On Saturday, I met with my Municipal Liaison (ML) for our regional NaNoWriMo group. She’s been asking for some help for a while and I had some ideas, so we met for about an hour at the library.
In the past, we’ve cited events and such that we’ve been wanting to do, but every year there’s this pattern of feverishly writing in November and then slowly dropping off in winter to be alone until next year. We keep saying we want to keep doing writing exercises and be more prepared when November comes. We keep saying we want to talk about publishing, too.
So she and I met and hammered out a schedule.
- For the last week of September, we’re going to meet with everyone who wants to know about NaNoWriMo and talk about the event.
- The first week of October, we’re going to work on the first steps of building a story. There will be character sheets, outlines, worldbuilding, NaNo veterans to talk to and share their experiences, prompts, etc. The focus will be on coming up with a solid idea that can get you through 30 days of writing it.
- The second week will be left open…the intention is that NaNos will spend it putting their idea together and making it more cohesive.
- The following week will be talking about what we came up with and focusing on what needs to be worked on to get it ready.
- The last week will be like a survival preparation. How to get through it. What to do when you get stuck. We’ll be sharing our experiences if we’ve done it before, and what common pitfalls we’ve run into.
As I told you on Monday(ish), I came up with the idea for the story I will be doing. I’m looking forward to the variety of reactions from the other NaNos.
I’m sure that Frankie and I will both have plenty to say before NaNo actually gets here. It’s a very exciting time of year.
P.S., sorry if this post seems…off? Short? I don’t know? I’m sick…my head is pounding. I’m going to head to bed now.
Today’s hashtag has never been more appropriate than it is for this week’s post. Not in a “Whatever Wednesday! Wooo!!!!” kind of way, but rather a “Whatever, Wednesday…” way. In fact, I’ve had a “Whatever, Monday…” a “Whatever, Tuesday…” and have the feeling it will continue to become a week of disasters which might end with me running naked down the road screaming and cursing while tearing out my hair–a thing of nightmares for anyone who might witness this.
I think it started a couple of weeks ago when a large wall-mounted mirrored jewellery box I ordered arrived in pieces. It wasn’t a build-your-own project, it had been mishandled by the gormless delivery man who appeared to be playing an old childhood game of Knock-the-Door-and-Run-Away. He thought it would be fun to leave my parcel on the front step, knock the door, then guiltily jump in his van and drive off at top speed. Instead of a gorgeous large mirrored box to store my bits and bobs and aid me in fixing my hair in the morning, I was left with cleaning up the shards of sharp mirror which fell from the box when I lifted it into the house. Since then I’ve been riding a wave of bad luck on a chewed surfboard as sharks swim in the surf waiting on me whale-diving into the water like an eager feast.
My main laptop keeps breaking down with all the flashing lights of death and blank screens of doom. It would appear to be a memory problem–badly seated RAM which is easily fixed–but it could well be signs of imminent motherboard failure. If this is the case, I will need a new laptop. Which will suck immensely as I grow rather attached to my tech.
Yesterday my dog ran excitedly across the room, dragging my little netbook with her. As a result, the charging port is broken. Probably an easy fix as my husband has fixed it before. He sure was glad to hear it was broken again…
This morning I went to take a photograph of a doodle I did in my drawing pad, only to find that the camera in my phone is not working. It is a brand new phone, it was definitely working last night and has had no accidents since. Upon reading about it on the net, it appears to be a common issue with no real fix except sending it back to Sony. There could be an easy fix if it turns out to be conflicting software problem or dodgy update data. I will find out if this is the case after I’ve charged its perpetually drained battery.
Then there is the case of the brusque belittlement I received in the form of an email which burned through my inbox like a flaming torch. I didn’t take the contents well even though they are innocuous enough. Bad timing to receive such a thing. Perhaps if I had received it last week I would have laughed, but this week I just want to return a napalm-laced reply and burn down sender’s inbox.
To top all of this off, we are still decorating the living room. Six coats of paint ought to be enough to cover even the most awful of graffitied walls, but apparently our walls are a little more resistant to paint colour. Either that or there is a platoon of elves coming in at night trying to recreate a Jackson Pollock masterpiece for us to find in the morning. Except I’m not a shoemaker, and I don’t appreciate their interference…
These are all bad enough, but I’m not mentioning half the stuff which has happened in the past few days. It would seem that I have ran out of luck and good fortune. Maybe I walked under a ladder I failed to notice, or kicked an invisible black cat or something, but there is a definite shift in my karma and it’s all making for a rather cantankerous and furious Dragon. I’m not exactly a pleasantly peppy princess today, nor was I yesterday or Monday when I discovered the parts for my new shower had been delivered to and signed for by someone else.
I’m more like a walking death ray on full charge waiting for an excuse to lose my shit. And that moment is getting closer with every mishap and breakage which trundles my way. In the back of my mind there is a voice that keeps telling me, “This, too, shall pass,” yet I feel the worst is yet to come. I’m scared to think of what might happen the rest of the week. Terrified to look out of the window in case a damned UFO appears and destroys my house while little smiling martians scream “Ulla!!”
At this point, I could honestly believe this could happen. I’m half expecting one of the sheep in the field next to my house to mutate and evolve into some horrendous representation of Albert King and sing me a deafening altered rendition of “Born under a Bad Sign” every morning when I open the curtains, just to prepare me for the day.
“If it wasn’t for baaaaaaad luck, you wouldn’t have no luck at all….”
So, whatever, Wednesday, I’m done with you and done with this week. I need to go find me a magical creature and turn this karma around….