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Angel of Music

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Written last night at dinner... [23 Apr 2009|04:25pm]
[ mood | contemplative ]

Here I sit at a sports bar. Technically, it is a haven of chicken wings and beer, neither of which I am particularly fond. With the spastic television screens flashing at every angle, each showcasing a different sporting event, and the thumping, over-loud dance music echoing off the walls that is matched in intensity only by the raucous, half-drunk patrons, one must wonder why anyone could NOT understand why Americans have no attention spans. I sit here sipping a glass of water with my quiet-natured husband and scrawl my thoughts in my ever-present book so that I can assure myself that I am indeed still capable of HAVING thoughts. This is one of many reasons why I don’t go to bars. Even though I don’t drink, I always end up with a hangover. It doesn’t take booze or beer for me; merely the ambiance does the trick. All I have to say is that this chicken better be good.

2 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

The word of the day is...Editing! [21 Mar 2009|12:58pm]
[ mood | productive ]

(syndicated from my website wordpress www.amwhitsett.com/wordpress)

So, that novel I was working on? All the way back in November? Yeah. I finished it. I. Finished. It. Are you screaming for joy yet? I am. I finished it in February–all 110,000 words of it. Now, they are not a pretty lot, these 110,000 words. Some are quite homely and many of them are prone to break out in skirmishes between each other when the wrong ones get too close together. Not good. However, I have discussed the problem with each and every one of the 110,000 words and we have decided to work out a compromise so that I don’t get a stress headache every time my eyes wander over them. We have agreed that I shall EDIT them. Edit them ALL. I will appraise each for his or her usefulness and fit and move or REmove accordingly. Thus far I have already shaved 1,100 words off of chapter 1. That’s only like 1%, but by the time I get to chapter 22, we’re getting somewhere significant with this. Do you know what I found out? Not ALL of the words are homely! Some are pretty and nice and help old ladies across the street. I intend to pet those, give them hot chocolate, and tuck them in safely where they belong. I have more scenes to add, several to move and spread out, a couple to rewrite entirely, some to delete entirely, and a whole storyline to lay in as a seam to the two plots that I have going. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I would like to tell you a secret about it: It’s not going to suck! When I’m done–I truly think that it’s not going to suck. That is not to say that it doesn’t right now, but the future is finally bright and shining!

Huzzah!

Is this worth the sleepless nights and the multiple overpriced Moleskine notebooks I filled in the process? YES!

I’ve procrastinated enough. Back to my timeline. Who knew editing was FUN?

*squee*

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Consider the Night [20 Mar 2009|06:57am]
[ mood | annoyed ]

(double from my website wordpress)
I generally like to think of myself as a (hopefully) good-natured and (usually) even-tempered kind of person. If I was a horse, I would be the steady sort on which kindly uncles would place children for easy rides around the paddock and afterward they would pat my nose and I would gently lip sugar (sugar is a must!) off their tiny, sticky hands. However, the thing that makes me want to run crazed around the room, foam-flecked and kicking everything into oblivion, is INSOMNIA. (I would like to thank Stephen King for making it a big, red word with raised letters that are coated in a mixture of sulfuric acid and children’s tears. Thanks, Stevie.)

My problem is this. I cannot GO to sleep. I must FALL asleep. My mind generally goes along all day at jaunty clip, getting me through whatever I’m doing with relative clarity and focus. I rather like these happy daylight times. But when the sun sets, it morphs into some evil, werewolf-like thing, ready to seize sleep from my tender grasp with giant gnashing jaws. Suddenly, everything I’ve ever repressed in my entire LIFE comes barreling at me in a slideshow of contemplation, confusion, and worry. I am aware of my tendency to over-think EVERYTHING, so I’ve got a system out to keep the mind-wolf at bay so that I can slip off, ninja-style, into dreamland.

TV. You know how you’ve been told your entire life that TV makes you stupid and rots your brain. All true. I love TV. But, I know the brain-rot theory is absolutely true because the second you put me in front of a rerun of The Golden Girls or my beloved Simpsons, my brain goes completely flat-line. Seriously. Shouting hello in there would bring an echo that would reverberate for miles. This is not to say that TV CAN’T make you think (LOST, anyone?), but, thinking is not necessary. My poor husband, who is of the normal-folk who can just flip off the light and march right into dreamland with waving flags and blaring trumpet, has had to adapt to me crawling in on silent toes, a refugee trailing in on the heels of King of the Hill and Home Improvement.

However. What happens when I wake up in the middle of the night? Oh, you tricky insomnia. You got me. When I had a room to myself, it was no problem to flip on the giant sleeping pill and watch some infomercials (ask me about the Magic Bullet and the Ronco Food Dehydrator. I know LOTS!) until I would be blissfully unconscious again. Now that I’m married, I can’t get away with it. I’ve tried the video iPod with some success, but sleeping in either headphones or earbuds is not recommended. Ouch. Besides, as soon as Boo the Devilcat seems me stirring, she’s in there cooing, drooling, kneading, and begging for me to pet her RIGHT NOW and ALL NIGHT (or ELSE!).

So. Here I am. Victim again of my old foe termination insomnia. What am I doing about it? Whining like an eleven-year-old deemed too young for Twilight. “But all my friends are sleeping! I won’t understand what they’re talking about!”

Good morning, world. Happy to see you.

NOT!

11 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Welcome 2009! [02 Jan 2009|04:20pm]
[ mood | dorky ]

Well, 2008 finally got the heck outta dodge and not a moment too soon. It's been an..interesting year. Good and bad, but there was a little more bad happening to the people around me than to make me comfortable. This year there were losses of dear loved ones that will echo on, regardless of the calendar. There were a lot of rough patches and speed bumps, including a broken foot for yours truly that just seems to not want to heal. Still, as always, I will choose to wash over much sentimentality by focusing on more literary pursuits, including my books of the year list. On the writing side of things I completed Nanowrimo for the second year running, and this year I did it early and got closed to 70,000 words before the end of November. Many of them are useless, misplaced words that will be plucked out and disposed of accordingly come time for the editing fairy to descend, but I've got a long way yet to go before that happens. I have also gotten a few flashes of inspiration for future attempts, maybe including Nano III. We'll see what happens. :)

Well, on the literary front, this year I read a lot of crap. As I said before, this was a bit of a strenuous year on a lot of front and I didn't have much wherewithal to attempt many literary giants. There were still quite a few gems among my 50 books for the year (the least I've read in the last five years), but there was a lot of fluff too. I guess there is room for both. I'm not a TOTAL snob, after all! I have starred the books that were my favorite NEW reads. There are some on the list that were rereads and I have exempted them from being starred. On my personal website I keep a book review blog and I have reviewed several of these there in further detail.

Without further ado, for all one of you that might actually click the cut:

Books Read in 2008Collapse )

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Wow... [02 Dec 2008|06:19pm]
[ mood | confused ]

I'm babysitting, and the kid is watching some weird puppet show thing on the DVR. Amy Sedaris was on as the tooth fairy. I was fighting not to crack up. She's pretty hilarious no matter what she does. Still...weird.

I think I'll be fine as long as she doesn't want to watch Barney anymore. We watched the same episode three times. Last time I sat it was the I Want To Be a Fireman episode four consecutive times. I don't know how much more I can take of that...

I'll just continue noveling. I won Nanowrimo, but I'm trying to actually finish the novel before the end of the year. I'm at almost 70k, and I've got a long way to go. A ton will be cut in editing, so I'm still just trucking along.

Okay, back to kids' tv...

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Take Two [28 Oct 2008|09:13pm]
[ mood | excited ]

Hello long lost LJ buddies! I know I've been evil and haven't posted here--or anywhere in a long time. I've tried to be good and update the blog on my website, and I intended to syndicate here, but I'm a slacker so that didn't happen. Anyway, I'll try to pop in a little more often. And now the cause of my head being pulled from the sand...

Okay, it's time to begin the madness that is Nanowrimo for the second time. Last year was tough, but ended up being a blast...a successful blast. So, I'm at it again. The madness begins November 1, so if you wanna read, drop me a line. I'll be posting as I go, but it'll be friends only in my nano blog paper_cuts2007. I'll need all the support I can get, so readers are a good thing. Kind, gentle readers that understand that a MONTH is not a LONG time to write a novel, so they will be easy on me for the GAZILLIONS of mistakes that are inevitable.

Let the countdown begin!!

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So awesome... [22 Apr 2008|11:03pm]
I worked an event with Kevin Brockmeier tonight. It's the second time I've met him, but this time since I was hosting the signing I got to talk to him a little more naturally. He's just awesome and I LURVE his work. We actually have a lot of reading taste in common as well, which was fun to talk about. Anyway, everyone run out and buy The View From the Seventh Layer (and turn to the back and read the last story immediately).
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Another day, another book [19 Feb 2008|11:54pm]
[ mood | thoughtful ]

I just finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry for the first time.

Wow. It's like Fahrenheit 451, A Wrinkle in Time, and Ender's Game all rolled up into one with a good dose of Plato and Philip K. Dick. Pretty good for a kids book, eh? I LOVED it. I'm just sorry that I didn't read it sooner. For the record, as I often say about certain "children's" or "YA" books, its not JUST for kids. Any adult would be well served to read some of the books that are labeled thusly. I'll definitely be picking up the "sequel," Gathering Blue, tomorrow. It's supposedly only loosely in the same canon, but I want more!

I also finished up The Old Man and the Sea this morning. There were some really beautiful things about that book, but it was a different approach to writing than I was used to. I think I need to try another Hemingway and see how that goes.

4 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Shaken, not stirred [06 Feb 2008|07:18am]
[ mood | relieved ]

I just wanted to post to let everyone know that Chris and I are fine after Tornado Night here in Memphis. I heard that there are some areas of town that are like a "war zone" according to the news, but Chris, Bella, Boo, and me are all just fine. It got a little scary here in our second floor apartment and finally we took the animals (including Boo in a carrier--you should have seen it--fireworks) and went down with our downstairs neighbor and sat in the hall with all the couch cushions, but nothing major happened around our place. Thanks to everyone who called and emailed! I hope everyone else was as lucky.

4 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Recap [31 Dec 2007|11:09pm]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Well, another year is coming to a close. This year my resolution was to complete a writing project. I managed to somehow scape and scramble and I finished Nanowrimo, so I consider that to be mission accomplished. I had also set out to read 60 books this year. I just closed the cover on my 60th (granted, it was chosen for its simplicity and length--its not cheating!), so I can check that one off as well. I'll have to do some further thinking about what I'm going to do for my resolution next year. I'm leaning towards massive overhaul of the hunk of wordy mess that is my novel and perhaps getting it in some kind of shape to submit somewhere. I'm not all that pleased with it, so I'm not expecting any bites, but I'm in it more for the learning experience. Then, maybe I won't be so wet behind the ears when I have something that I'm more proud of to submit. I guess its best to get used to the rejection while my self esteem is NOT hinged on it!

Anyhoo, in recap of my literary year, here are the books I've read and my overall thoughts for what I've read this year: BooksCollapse )

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Done! [29 Nov 2007|10:38pm]
[ mood | jubilant ]

I finished Nanowrimo!! The novel is still in progress, but I actually finished the 50k with a day to spare. I'm very relieved and pretty proud. I've never written that much before. Despite the fact that a LOT of it is crap, its still all mine and I love it. :)

Now, back to write the rest of the scene I abandoned to celebrate!

1 comment|Know where YOUR towel is?

New Layout [12 Nov 2007|08:58am]
[ mood | chipper ]

I have a GORGEOUS new layout featuring my absolutely drool-worthy (if you're a trumpet geek) brand-new love of my life Bach Chicago C trumpet. Stacey made it for me. (The layout, not the trumpet). All kudos to her for its fabulousness. It's purdy.


By the way, I'm still truckin' along on Nanowrimo. I think I might actually finish this monster. It ain't pretty right now, but its growing none the less. Kind of like the blob. Anyway, faithful readers, stay tuned. (Trampy skimmers are welcome too, but I don't love you as much).

4 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Concert [17 Sep 2007|10:36am]
[ mood | envious ]

We saw Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra last night.

Wow.

That show made me want to do one of two things: give up eating and sleeping and practice trumpet 23 hours a day for the rest of my life OR introduce Mr. Trumpet to Mr. Trash Can...

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Yay! [14 Sep 2007|10:49pm]
[ mood | tired ]

Chris and I are going to see Wynton Marsalis on Sunday. Woot! We're also going to try to go see Doc Severensen next month as well. It's trumpet heaven. If anyone is a jazz fan they should come up on Sunday for the Wynton show. It's going to be AMAZING and there are still tickets available. Come on! We'll do lunch! :)

And now to sleep. I just got home from work and I have to go back in the morning.

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[27 Aug 2007|05:25pm]
[ mood | chipper ]

Everyone go see Stardust. I command it.

I LURVE Neil Gaiman.

7 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Edwin Mullhouse [22 Aug 2007|12:27am]
[ mood | nerdy ]

I'm currently reading Edwin Mullhouse:The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 By Jeffrey Cartwright by Steven Millhauser. I've posted before about my growing love of Millhauser. Everything I read by him makes me like him more. I started this book a loooong time ago, right after I read Martin Dressler: Tale of an American Dreamer, but for whatever reason, (probably school) it got kicked to the curb. I finished Stardust by Neil Gaiman the other day and got out a pile of things I want to read. Then, of course, picked none of them and ended up grabbing this one up as I passed by the shelf on the way out the door to leave. Anyway, I just thought I'd post a recommendation for it, even though I'm still so near the front of the book I hardly need a bookmark. Millhauser is just so skillful. I would give anything to be able to write like this guy. He's quite whimsical...at times almost like an adult literary version of Dr. Seuss. To give background for my example, Edwin Mullhouse was one of the greatest literary minds ever to be born. Too bad he died at age 11. However, his best friend and biographer Jeffrey Cartwright gives us a play by play of every memory he had of Edwin, beginning when Edwin was born and Jeffrey was six months old. He goes into detail about the breadth of Edwin's pre-language language. Check out this alliteration:

"Some of his bolder experiments in sound were later suppressed by the polite requirements of civilized noise. I refer not so much to his intricate belches and exquisite winds as to his astonishing salivary achievements. How I long to convey to the adult reader his breathtaking combinations of the buzz and drool, his dribbles and drizzles, his bubbles and burbles--whole salivary sonatas enhanced by gushing crescendos and hissing fortissimi, gurgling glissandi and trickling pianissimi, streaming prestissimos, spouting arpeggios, those slurps and slops, those drips and drops, those sputtering splattering splurts of sputum and drippy splish-splashings of melodious spittle. Adult speech, Edwin used to say, is ridiculously exclusive."

I can't think of a more poetic way to describe baby-talk. :)

Anyway, I just thought I'd share. I need to hit the hay. I've got work tomorrow at DK. I'm liking it there pretty well so far. They do a lot of things differently than the Nashville store, but books are the same and customers who want books are the same, so that part I can handle. :) I'm still waiting to hear back from the Symphony after the face to face interview. They said it could be up to two weeks before they would have anything to tell me, so I'm content for now. Ah, sweet income. How I've missed you, however meager you are. :)

2 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

[09 Aug 2007|12:08am]
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer = good

(Its the small fraction of girly-girl in me talking)

Still. Those of you without Y Chromosomes, please begin reading Twilight followed by New Moon then Eclipse right away. Thank you.
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Nashville bound... [20 Jul 2007|08:00am]
[ mood | chipper ]

I'm heading to Nashville this evening for Potter-palooza at DK. I'm going to be helping out at the party which should be a lot of fun. Then, spending the night in Woodbury with Laurie, then back to Memphis in the AM so Chris can play for a wedding and earn us some money! I hope to see some of you folks at the party. Come find me at the Trivia "booth"! I'm told I will be wearing a few Gryffindor accessories, which is fine, but don't expect much out of me costume wise. However, if you're there, make sure to seek out Derek--a fantastic Hagrid, Erin, McGonagall extraordinaire (as will be Laurie, as well), and Danielle, a pretty creepy lookin' Bellatrix Lestrange if ever there was one. Hope to see some friends there (however, as much as I love some of you, anyone spoils the book for me and I will Avada Kedavra you SO fast...)

3 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Thank heaven for nine lives... [30 Jun 2007|11:29am]
[ mood | relieved ]

Well, Boo just had a near death experience this morning. Chris and I were sitting on the couch watching a movie when I hear choking. I look over and Boo is under the dining room table with her little pink tongue sticking out choking to death. We both ran over there, as did Bella (who actually looked quite worried) and I grabbed her and gave her the kitty heimlich maneuver several times and she eventually squeaked and meowed. That was about the sweetest sound I've heard all day. Anyway, after that, she was just fine and started snuggling with me and cooing. I, however, was still QUITE shaken. We still have no idea what she was choking on. We looked around under the table to see if there was something that she could have gotten, but we didn't see anything. I'm certain it wasn't like a hairball or anything--she had her tongue out, her eyes were bulging, and she couldn't make any sounds. SCARY stuff. Anyway, I'm SO glad that she's okay but I just had to vent. I love that little cat, evil or not.

2 comments|Know where YOUR towel is?

Millhauser [28 Jun 2007|06:58am]
[ mood | geeky ]

I'm taking a break from Glass Books of the Dream Eaters to read The Barnum Museum by Steven Millhauser. Glass Books is good, but I have been looking for this other book for ages and have finally procured it, so it could wait no longer. I've read three of the short stories contained within, and it definitely backs up my previous opinions of Millhauser as an absolute master. Probably the biggest hook I've noticed in his writing is the minute attention to detail expressed in long, detailed passages. In using this technique, he has a way of invoking images in the mind not reminiscent of anything you've experienced before. He also has a penchant for the grandiose, and uses his elaborate descriptive passages to illustrate absurdity in extreme extravagance. This is illustrated clearly in Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer (Pulitzer winner, 1997) and in the title story of The Barnum Museum. The stories I've read in the book so far (A Game of Clue, Behind the Blue Curtain, The Barnum Museum) have all been just excellent. A Game of Clue was especially interesting, intertwining action with a family playing a game of Clue, the relationships of the players, and also the thoughts and actions of the characters on the board--including an "encounter" between Miss Scarlet and the lecherous Colonel Mustard.

I have some other Millhauser short story collections/novellas I've admittedly not delved into yet, including In the Penny Arcade, The King in the Tree: Three Novellas, Little Kingdoms, and The Knife Thrower and Other Stories, but I do look forward to them.I just thought I'd go ahead and recommend this book if you're looking for some small bites of high octane literature by an amazing contemporary American writer. (That's saying a lot for me, considering the almost absurd amount of Brit lit I read!)

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