calvado’s chopper

I love songs that bring with them a sense of place and time, and listening to State Radio tends to do that, as did the weird 9-11 version of Linkin Park’s Crawling I listened to this morning. Songs that make you feel horror, as did Crawling combining news reports of the planes hitting the towers with the Linkin Park classic.

Songs that make you feel love. Pain. Sorrow. Anger. Mania. Laughter.

You know. Music. Essentially, anything that doesn’t spend its time promoting someone’s ego or regressive political stances in that “aw, shucks” way (I’m looking at you, country.) It’s why I didn’t have any respect for Kanye even before all this political nonsense. Other rappers may carry across truths about the street; that dude has only ever sung about his own ego.

And that’s fucking boring, no matter which way you slice it.

Target: 1100 words
Written: 450 words, novella: The Mungk

some songs just get you

I don’t know what it is, but certain songs just pull a guy in. Heavy Metal Drummer by Wilco. Criminal by Fiona Apple. Liar by Rollins Band. It’s A Good Life (If You Don’t Weaken) by Tragically Hip.

(Anything by the Hip, really, for me).

Most music I can feel, but some stuff is so consistent. Every time I hear it, it pulls me right in.

Black by Pearl Jam. The Weight by the Band.

Some songs cannot be denied.

Target: 1000 words
Written: 683 words, novella: The Mungk

lift your head up high

And blow your brains out.

It’s a juvenile song, bleak and I’m pretty sure intended to be mean, but I always found it optimistic. Despite the offensive lyrics, it always struck me as truly saying, “everyone’s fucked up, everyone has shit”, so fuck it. Let it go, clear your mind and just live. If we’re all fucked up, why not enjoy it?

Or maybe not.

Target: 900 words
Written: 734 words, novella: The Mungk

everly brothers

I’m going to an Everly Brothers tribute band tonight. I’m not actually sure how that happened, because I don’t really have any particular love for the Everly Brothers (although I’m sure I know a few songs). This feels different than the Roy Orbison one or the Starship concert.

Still, you do what you do for your family, and if that means sitting through a few bars of “Wake Up, Little Suzy”, I’m game. I try not to be prejudiced when it comes to music and take it as it is, even if it’s not my usual cup of tea.

Target: 900 words
Written: 784 words, novella: The Mungk

sympathy for the devil

Was ever a better song written? Maybe, but it’d be close.

I don’t really like to rank or say something is my favourite, because that’s so often dependent on situation, mood and realistically, isn’t it enough to say something is cool or awesome or great without having to put it in some kind of order?

Still, there are songs or books or shows or movies or people that consistently suck me right in every time and I can’t help but love them. Cracker’s Low, Heavy Metal Drummer by Wilco, Pearl Jam’s Black, and of course, Sympathy For The Devil and Paint It Black.

I suppose my roots are showing, in age and pedigree.

Target: 900 words
Written: 3501 words, novella: The Mungk

three little birds

Music plays a big role in synchronicity in my life. The right song at the right time – like Bjork’s Undo yesterday when I was on the verge of a meltdown, or Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds this morning when I’m overwhelmed with all the things I have yet to do today – can be life-altering.

There’s a reason I like to build playlists around the things I write – the connection to the song allows me to understand my characters and their circumstances in greater depth, or even ridiculousness. It lightens the mood (or deepens it, depending).

I think I missed a calling creating soundtracks for movies, or as a director. Tough to say. I’m not sure I can deal with the Hollywood machines. As much as I might enjoy the art industry, it’s populated with some ridiculous individuals, and in my growing age, I’m finding myself far less tolerant of other people’s bullshit.

Politics and art may have to do without me. Perhaps I can carve my own niche and ignore them all.

Target: 700 words
Written: 538 words, novella: The Mungk

forty-five

I don’t know why, but this birthday feels different. Perhaps it’s because I just went through one of the roughest periods of my life. Call it my Mungk phase, in which I learned most definitely what I did not want in my life.

It could also be my mother-in-law’s hospitalization. I’ve already had three grandparents die, but this is the first in the generation right before mine that’s gone. Everyone younger has been more tragic than fact-of-life aging.

I’m definitely feeling it. Still, I can’t claim no progress. I’m writing a novella. I had three things published – two short stories and a haiku. I wrote a one-shot comic that could be fun to draw (and it’s increasingly looking like I might need to do that myself, despite my lack of ability).

The process could be good. Find the pitfalls on my own so I can have a better rapport and understanding with future collaborators.

As I head into a new draft of The Mungk, having ideas for a four-issue crime comic, three more short stories (including one that strays into novelette territory) and another couple of poems, I’m actually a little proud, even if the work is a bit raw and I’m feeling less than inspired lately. I’ve read over forty books since I penned that first haiku back on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve read almost five hundred comics. Lost a pound. Built my meditation practice up to five whole minutes a day. Listened to almost a hundred and fifty albums. Learned forty new recipes.

I get it. It’s a little ridiculous, but it’s important to acknowledge even small steps forward. If The Mungk was about feeling all the bad things at once to understand how I don’t want to feel, the next one has to be about finding a way forward. Finding a few moments of kindness in the dark. Being nicer to myself, included.

Target: 700 words
Written: 1324 words, novella: The Mungk

new hip

My father-in-law’s hip is back to normal, as much as it will be, per his doctor. Thus ends a chapter of running around for him, because in his literal manner, he’s now good as gold and where we had to do all things for him yesterday, today, he’s Superman.

Go figure.

It doesn’t end well, naturally.

Target: 700 words
Written: 369 words, novella: The Mungk

running up that hill

No offense to Kate Bush. Good song, but I’m on a Nirvana kick. Matches my mood.

It’s taken a lot of strength to get up off the floor and keep moving this week, with this godawful workplace, my wife’s mother’s hospitalization, new floors being put in, a thousand different chores popping up at each moment…

Plus, I’m trying to write still. And read a little. I feel a little like Abel in Middlewest, tossed violently on the wind by circumstance and relentless emotion. Beautiful comic, FYI. Props to Skottie Young and Jorge Corona. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colours are fucking gorgeous. Buy it if you get a chance.

I love stuff that hits you right in the gut with bad feelings, and then does its best to pull you out. The Mungk doesn’t quite fit that concept, but maybe the next one will. A glimmer of light, in the dark.

Target: 700 words
Written: 498 words, novella: The Mungk

pounding heart

It’s too much. All the extras. The work stuff. The family stuff. The internal existential crisis stuff.

All I wanted to do was write and read. Have some peace and fucking quiet. Some good music. A couple of beers or a nice glass of wine, maybe an old fashioned, done up right.

I want time alone with my family, relaxing. I want Saturdays around the pool and Sundays at the theatre.

I want quiet mornings. I want a workday that ends at a particular time, not “you’re salaried, so whenever”.

Every morning, I wake with palpitations. Every. Single. Morning.

I have so much left to do, but at this rate, they’re going to kill me first.

Target: 500 words
Written: 721 words, novella: The Mungk