Today it was Beck’s new album “Morning Phase.” At the first listen last week, I thought it was a little derivative of “Sea Change,” but after a while, now that I’m familiar with it, it has its own distinct sound. And the whole thing is very good, all the way through, no dud tracks.
I usually don’t like vocals in music I write with but his were unobtrusive and I can concentrate very well.
I almost always listen to music when I write, but it could make good working music for any task since it’s almost always instrumental. So I might as well link what I listen to when I write here, for my own reference and for yours. A lot of times I listen to the same album over and over until I hate it, then rotate.
Today I listened to Makeup And Vanity Set’s 88:88. It’s synth-y and cool and it’s good for the “suspense thriller” part of a story I’m working on. I hate the inserted dialogue in soundtracks (I always do—why do they do that?), but they’re only like 30 seconds long, total, over the whole album. The short movie it’s based on is worth looking up.
Whew! I really blasted the last few in at the end, but this year I almost matched last year’s number—42 movies, to last year’s 44. I treated the Christmas week like my own personal film festival, minus the partying, except when I partied.
Anyway, as I do every year, here are my (brief) thoughts about all of them. I remark if I put any spoilers into the opinions right next to the title.
To make the ratings a little clearer: I’d recommend seeing anything considered “Solid” or above. Watch the others at your own risk.
Here’s what I saw, ranked for when you want to find it after the “read more” link:
Man of Steel
White House Down
Liked A Little:
Pain & Gain
Now You See Me
The Way Way Back
Only God Forgives
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
The Place Beyond the Pines
Iron Man 3
Star Trek Into Darkness
World War Z
The World’s End
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Out of the Furnace
This Is The End
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street
Might as well track of them here, since they’re not on paper, and so I can’t do the Stephen King thing where he had a nail on his wall that he’d use to impale his rejection forms.
Anyway, Rejection #1 was on 11/30/13, from Clarkesworld Magazine. It took them 1 day to decide and the rejection was not personalized. (According to the submission grinder, which is a site that uses your GPS to find the nearest publications that want to have sex with you, the vast majority of every story that is rejected is rejected within two days, and nearly every rejected story is rejected within a week. Their rejection rate is 98.67% as of this post.)
Disappointing, yes, discouraging, no. I’ve already sent it to another magazine.
This morning I woke out of a dream where I was in a giant and empty mansion, and I couldn’t see the ceilings because they disappeared into a fog.
In real life, I heard a faint noise that sounded like my car alarm. It was 6:15 so it was still dark. I got yesterday’s clothes on and took my car keys with me outside.
It was raining hard and there were some cars pulling out of spots and leaving for work. The sidewalks were like creeks and I had to walk in the grass next to them. Raindrops fell on my glasses, which made the street lights look like lightsabers.
My car was dark and quiet and I realized that the noise was actually coming from the other direction. I started walking toward it and gradually several police cars came into view and I could see the red flicker their lights were making as they echoed off the buildings.
Since it was so early in the morning and I was so close to having been dreaming, I started feeling scared as I was coming around the corner.
I finally passed between two houses and saw the whole scene, which was that there was a huge firetruck, with its siren off but all of its lights flashing, tending to an alarm at the heat generator building.
There was something weird about the lack of siren, like I was in a movie and the sound mixing had dropped one of the channels; I could hear the rain, my footsteps in the rushy water, the security alarm of the heat building, and the firetruck’s engine rumbling, but no wailing to go with the lights. I turned back to my house.
When I opened the door the light the hallway threw into my apartment made everything look like I had turned over a rock. I took off my clothes and lay in my bed and, for some reason, felt like I had done something wrong, like I had wandered off into the employees only section of the morning.
Sometimes the Flaming Lips really get me with their lyrics and music combo. On The Terror it was the lines “Try to explain why you’ve changed/ I don’t think I understand/ Try to explain why you’re leaving,” and recently they put out an EP (listen to all of the tracks here) based on Ender’s Game which has another song that does it.
I think the EP must be informed by the book (the song “Wolf Children” refers to part of the book that isn’t in the movie). The song that’s in the movie is pretty good but the one song that does it for me is “Is the Black at the End Good.” (Song won’t load at your first click—press reload and it will.)
Even though the line that follows the chorus, “‘Cause everywhere that love is/ that’s where I wanna be” is a little bit on the overly sentimental side, the line and music that comes before, “So you see/ I’m happy without it,” is like “Try to explain why you’ve changed” in how many things it could imply, and so it sort of is like a cold reading of moods, and it makes me a little bit obsessed with the song and I listen to it a bunch of times.
Just to be super clear, there’s nothing I’m “happy without” right now, this post has no subtext, I just wanted to explore why I liked the song so much.
By the way, I’m still productive with the writing I’m doing, which is why I post very infrequently here. When it comes to what I’m doing, I alternate between thinking “Hey this is pretty good” and “No this is pretty much garbage.” I’m sure that the truth is something close to “It could be better — just try harder after you’re done the first draft.”
As of today, though, I have a little over 70,000 words written. A lot might get cut, but still, that’s progress!