Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Microsoft Word AutoCorrect,

Today I was working on my children's novel and, quite innocently I thought, decided to use the word "peckish." You decided that by "peckish" I really meant to say "puckish" and that wasn't gonna get by you—no, sir, not old M-Wordsley. So you went right ahead and fixed that for me.

But I did not in fact meant to say "puckish." "Peckish" and "puckish" mean two completely different things. If someone says he's "feeling a bit peckish," then he is announcing in an adorably British manner that his belly is rumbling for some fish and chips and bangers and mash. 

Conversely, if this person says he's "feeling a bit puckish," that probably means that he wants to have sex with everyone or make people have sex with the wrong people or whatever it was that Puck did in A Midsummer Night's Dream (high school was a long time ago).

I tried to change "puckish" back to "peckish" over and over but you just kept switching it back again. What is wrong with you, man? Are you so determined to get your twisted smut into our schools that you're willing to sneak it in through a fantasy story about monsters and talking animals?

Good DAY, Microsoft Word AutoCorrect. Good day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Short Post and a Song #42: O'Reilly

Due to this festering case of Book-Writing I've come down with, I failed to get my shit together enough to even manage a Short Post for this week. I'm sorry about that, but until next week, please enjoy these pictures of the nuthatch who flew into my parents' house one night while I was home over the holidays. Despite our efforts to get him to go back outside, he remained in our home for hours until he quite matter-of-factly walked out the back door. I named him O'Reilly.

O'Reilly found himself drawn to the top of the refrigerator.

He also became quite enamored of my mother's artwork. A bird of fine taste.

This picture is blurry and horrible, but can you see him peeking out of the flowers? Aw, O'Reilly. The times we had. I miss you, buddy.


"Your Hands (Together)" by The New Pornographers

If you've been looking for some good music to accompany writing action scenes, look no further: This song is utterly badass. It reminds me a bit of "Eye of the Tiger," except it doesn't instantly bring G.O.B. performing magic on Arrested Development to mind. I haven't decided whether or not that's a good thing, but it does tend to be less distracting while writing as a result. 

The music video is pretty great as well. There are dancing ninjas. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Short Post and a Song #41: Just don't say I never did anything for you, English Majors.

A tip to my English majors out there:

When stumped on your final essay, just write, "All the characters in this novel were really in a mental hospital the whole time and were operating under a joint delusion.” It works for any story and is the kind of literary speculative bullshit that is impossible to disprove.


"Mountain Sound" by Of Monsters and Men

I know I just recently featured another song by this band. But My Head is an Animal has quickly become just one of my most favorite albums, and I will not rest until it is one of yours as well. This song is three and a half minutes of Instant Good Mood. I give it to you, just in case you don't also have a three-day weekend and woke up bummed about that. I mean, I would be if I didn't have a three-day weekend. 

By the way, did I mention that I actually have a four-day weekend?

Yes, yes, that's right, my Velocininjas. You listen to "Mountain Sound" until the pain goes away.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Short Post and a Song #40: This is perhaps why I've never pursued a career in directing.

When I was in sixth grade I directed a play at my school about Rosa Parks. And let me tell you, it is not fun to be the kid who has to explain (repeatedly) to ten other incredibly sheltered white Ohio children why doing a play in blackface would be a HORRIBLE idea.


"Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" by Tame Impala

Tame Impala reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorite bands, the Beatles, and that's not a comparison that I make lightly. Frontman Kevin Parker has a distinctly John Lennon-ish vibe to his voice and music. And like the Beatles' post-Revolver music videos, Tame Impala's music videos have the power to convince a stone cold sober person that he or she must be on some kind of drugs.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Short Post and a Song #39: I know you're out there somewhere, Crazy Cat Lady BFF, and I will find you.

I would really like to make friends with a crazy cat lady someday. I love cats but am fairly allergic and also enjoy owning black clothing that isn’t covered in cat hair. So a crazy cat lady friend would be the ideal solution. I could go and pet old Georgina’s fifteen cats every so often, and sip lemonade and eat butterscotch candies and listen to Georgie’s tales of life in the theatre.


"King and Lionheart" by Of Monsters and Men

While writing Renaissance Lab, I had a very special moment with a very special song. The song was "In the Backseat" by Arcade Fire, and when I first heard it I suddenly understood my protagonist in a new, much deeper way. Two days ago I had almost that exact same experience with Moorhouse and "King and Lionheart." Whenever I hear this song, I know exactly who my protagonist is, what she wants, and what makes her special. 

I'm not going to share how many times I've listened to this song on obsessive repeat, nor how many times I've watched the beautifully whimsical music video. I'll just say an enormous thank you to Of Monsters and Men, Arcade Fire, and all the other songwriters who write the music that makes so many other jobs in this world that much easier. 

I'll leave you with the quote that always comes to mind when I think of how grateful I am to the people who write the songs that guide my writing, by Stephen Chbosky from The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person.”