3-2-1 Quote Me: Expression

The wonderful Beckie’s Mental Mess tagged me in Rory’s game of quotes. For those who may not be familiar with this game, the rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the Selector
  2. Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.
  3. Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’

Today’s topic: Expression

My tags are: Fandango, The Magic Shop, and Pensitivity101

Music is an expression of individuality; it’s how you see the world. All art is, for that matter. You take how you experience the world, interpret it, and send it out there – express it – whether it’s sculpture, dance or singing.

David Sanborn

Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

T. S. Eliot

Music and Me

Music has always played a role in my life even though I can’t really play an instrument. I can tinker on the piano, flute, french horn, guitar, violin, glockenspiel, and can still play a mean recorder.

There were family fights over my brother’s music in the 80s (Queensryche and Iron Maiden), my mother’s love of Loretta Lynn and Anne Murray, but what I remember most is the music that influenced my life growing up.

I used to listen to the radio and write down that day’s Top 10, make mix tapes, and fan girl over singers. There was the crush on New Kids on the Block, Elton John, and Rod Stewart (I still want that man’s Downtown Train hair). There were the movie musicals that I grew up listening to and I discovered Broadway musicals in 8th grade and never looked back. By the time 9th grade rolled around, I was into Ozzy, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, and stayed up late watching the Headbangers Ball. I loved making those around me angry with my walkman’s volume. It was really the only way I could rebel.

I have always had an eclectic taste and vast music collection. Saying that just one was associated with a happy or unhappy memory is difficult. There are songs that remind me of that time in my life. What I listen to now, varies so much I often cannot tell what mood I am actually in–I can find a mood to fit every song, and a song to fit every mood.

<note here, I freaking hate WP right now! I had a lot more written when I edited my Spotify playlist screenshot and it wipes out the post and opens a blank post…GRR…UGH!>

That playlist screenshot only shows nine of the 1000+ songs on it and it grows more every day.

If I had to pick a song that reminds me the most of my youth, it would be this one:

Even though Elton John’s Sleeping with the Past album came out in 1989, it hit me very hard. I have loved Elton since I first saw him on Muppets repeats and through all the news programs with Ryan White. This song is just so powerful and I think really reflects the turmoil in his personal life.

A lot of music that I listened to in 1989-1991 really spoke about there being life after what was going on at that time. Nelson’s 1990 After the Rain, Phil Collins’ 1989 Another Day in Paradise, and Richard Marx’s 1989 Right Here Waiting for You were all played until their lyrics etched themselves in my psyche. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t play music to take me away from reality.

What Three Months on Medium Taught Me

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

If you happen to read this on my site rather than the reader, you may notice that the link to Medium is now gone. I have ended my three month experiment over there and now get to share.

First, for those who may not know, Medium is another blogging platform where writers/bloggers can post pieces behind a paywall and earn a small percent of the reader’s membership fee based on the number of claps/fans the post has. The actual amount of money earned depends on the reader’s total claps and blah blah blah. Medium, like most companies, hides actual algorithms as “internal processes.” At last check, nearly 80% of all posts made on Medium are behind the paywall.

Continue reading “What Three Months on Medium Taught Me”

Generic Writing — A Self-Confidence Killer

It was bound to happen eventually. Those three little words that all fiction writers dread to hear: it was generic. Ouch! The last thing any writer wants to hear is that their plot, setting, or characters were generic.

When I read that readers review, a few things came to my mind:

  1. If my story was so generic, then why on Earth did I have a hard time finding comparative titles for it?
  2. What exactly was generic about it?
  3. Why does it bother me to have it called generic?

To answer the first one, I thought about the book again in terms of how it relates to its genre: YA Dystopian. Now, unfortunately, you mention young adult dystopia to people and the first thing people will respond with is:

Oh, so it’s like Hunger Games

It’s as close to Hunger Games as Matilda is to Harry Potter. Sure, they share the same intended reader, and share a general overarching genre, but are they really the same?

Isn’t that something that is required to be generic? Carbon copies of each other with just enough variation to not be considered a rip-off?

Or were they referring to some trope that may or may not have been included in my book?

Does it really matter?

I admit I stressed over this for a few days, but then remembered that even though the reader loved young adult and dystopian, it didn’t mean they were the reader for me.

I love reading young adult horror. I absolutely adore Darren Shan but don’t like R. L. Stine. Shocker! Both are horror writers and both have a young adult series, yet they are miles apart in tone, style, and content.

So, can there really be such a thing as being generic in writing?

When you have too many people and you’re trying to satisfy everybody’s input, you usually end up with something so incredibly generic that it has no point of view. ~ Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie summarized writing as a whole in that short quote. If you try to satisfy all readers, you can’t satisfy any of them. This is perhaps why many well-known authors openly admit they do not read reviews.

Many love to hear from and interact with fans. On Twitter, you can often find authors responding to fans posts and retweeting even when they are not tagged. I nearly died the first time Darren Shan responded to one of my posts saying I loved his works.

They have learned, accepted, and embraced something that I had not until my work was called generic — I cannot write for everyone. I can only write for myself and the story that demands to be told.

Writers are not in competition with each other — and not in a competition over readers. While I could butcher Field of Dreams and say “if you write it, they will read” I am reminded of a much better quote by Greg Universe

If every pork chop was perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs

So to the readers who are searching for the perfect pork chop, I am sure you’ll find it. For everyone else who has been called generic — I’ll host a hot dog eating contest.

This first appeared in The Writing Cooperative publication on Medium. Please let me know in the comments if you guys don’t want to read my Medium posts here. I am trying to keep both separate, but sometimes I really want to share lol.