I’ve been stung

Blog, micropost

Nothing much to report, except that I have a little earworm which has been tunneling it’s way through my brain over the last few days. I listen to it on repeat when I write, when I go to the store, when I take breaks . . . you get the idea. The song is “GOOD” by Erin McCarley, and you can listen to it here:

What sorts of earworms have you had? Tell me in the comments.

where I could not go wrong

Blog, real life

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I’m in love with Bob Dylan.

Or, more precisely, his work.

A week and a half ago I learned about Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in literature. I thought that was a fascinating choice, all things considered. I was not, by any stretch, a Bob Dylan fan.

I asked my Introduction to Literature students what they thought about a songwriter being awarded literature’s highest prize. I was met with blank stares. Not a single one of my students knew who Bob Dylan was. I decided it was time to remedy that. I looked up information on Dylan and learned about his career and legacy, and what exactly made his songwriting different (though it’s evident when you listen to his music). Armed with this knowledge, I taught my students a bit about Dylan and had them listen to some of his music.

In the process of learning, I became interested in Dylan myself. I wanted to connect with his music and understand what exactly the Nobel Committee had seen, to understand why this was great literature. I felt inspired and excited to explore.

I started by turning to my own MP3 library. I didn’t expect to find more than a few songs, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a tidy, tiny collection most of which were from a “best of” type of album.

I am still, admittedly, wallowing through my current collection, though I’m sure I’ll broaden it soon. There’s so much depth to his work it’s easy to end up listening to the same song roughly a bajillion times and still want to hear it again (and again).

Here are a few of the songs which have been romancing me for the past week.

“Boots of Spanish Leather”: always one of my favorites, but listening to it again I can appreciate the simplicity and mastery of a poem which is a dialogue between parting lovers. It also made me cry.

“With God On Our Side”: this is, as the parlance of the internet goes, “salty” (saltiness factor Dead Sea, to be exact). Dylan deals sucker punch after sucker punch. It’s a wonder to behold, but it also can make one flinch — as it should.

“The Ballad of Hollis Brown”: also one of my favorites, mostly because I grew up listening to a Stephen Stills cover of the song. Stills has a beautiful voice, but Dylan’s original version is superior simply because it is spare and haunting. Though, I think the best cover of all has to be Nina Simone’s, which gave me chills.

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”: witty, lonely, and sardonic. I just really enjoy how Dylan writes about separation, the way he sings “gal”, and how he (again) gets salty when he says his beloved hasn’t wasted anything, just his “precious time”.

“Isis”: follows in the tradition of folk stories where a hero is seduced by a mythic love or lover. It blends traditional poetic tropes with contemporary language and attitudes, particularly the section when the “hero” returns to his wife, Isis.

She said, where ya been?
I said, no place special

She said, you look different
I said, well, I guess

She said, you been gone
I said, that’s only natural

She said, you gonna stay?
I said, if you want me to, yeeeees

Whenever he sings “well, I guess”, I laugh.

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#WritersLifeMonth Day 5: Free space.

Basically I get to choose this one, so I’m going to go with: a song that describes or embodies the theme of my current WIP. You can read about the basic premise in this post

That song would be “The Last Day on Earth” by Kate Miller-Heidke:

I’m going to go ahead and give each of the primary characters a song or two which embodies them.

Cal: Love the One You’re With 

Erika: I’ll See Your Heart and Raise You Mine

Michael: My Skin 

Kate: All that I Am

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https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/23944242/stream?client_id=3cQaPshpEeLqMsNFAUw1Q?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

I’m an engine driver
On a long run, on a long run
Would I work beside her
She’s a long one, such a long one

And if you don’t love me let me go
And if you don’t love me let me go

I’m a country lineman
On a high line, on a high line
So will be my grandson
There are powerlines in our bloodlines

And if you don’t love me let me go
And if you don’t love me let me go

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones

I’m a money lender
I have fortunes upon fortunes
Take my hand for tender
I am tortured, ever tortured

And if you don’t love me let me go
And if you don’t love me let me go

And I am a writer, writer of fictions
I am the heart that you call home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
I am a writer, I am all that you have home
Home
And I’ve written pages upon pages
Trying to rid you from my bones
My bones
My bones

And if you don’t love me let me go
(And if you don’t love me let me go)
And if you don’t love me let me go