Monday, November 30, 2015

Mentally poor


I post a lot of poverty-related articles on Facebook, and there have been several that have talked about the mental burden of being poor. There are all of these calculations to make, and it wears you down. There are two stories I want to tell about that.

I referred to one of the stories before, but not the relevant part. You may remember a post from a few years ago about my various attempts to get on Jeopardy, and how I missed one tryout due to getting ill and ending up in the emergency room. I did not write about how I ended up there. It is embarrassing, but this post is embarrassing.

I am diabetic. Back when I was unemployed, keeping all of my medications paid for was hard, and at about the same time that I lost my health insurance my endocrinologist moved to New York, so I was back to my medical care going through the drop-in clinic.

They had some good doctors that I liked, and some horrible ones, but as we get close to this event I'd had a really horrible one. Her bedside manner was bad in general, but I was also behind on my diabetic eye exam (ophthalmologists are expensive out of pocket) and she berated me for that and indicated I had better have that done before I went in again. That mattered because it was getting close to the time when the doctor needed to approve extending the regular prescriptions.

I ran out of my medications, and I was trying to stall until I could make something happen, seeing if I could maybe get in at another doctor or something. I think that was when I found out how useless a lot of programs that are supposed to be helpful are. Anyway, it was lack of medication that sent me into the emergency room. The lack of $275 for an eye exam led to a $1200 emergency room bill, basically.

Fortunately, the ER doc renewed all my prescriptions, and it got me through a little longer.

The funny thing about that is almost immediately after it occurred to me to just call the drop-in clinic before going in and see who was on duty. I never had to see that doctor again, but when I was worrying so much about the eye exam I couldn't figure that out.

That's been a few years now, but I am still susceptible.

Things have gone from being tight financially to being really out of balance lately. I'm going to write about how that happened tomorrow, but for today, let me tell you something that just happened.

I had a bill that was due before the payday where I could pay it. This was stressful, but I thought I could at least schedule the payment through the web site as a show of good faith. The calls started coming after the deadline anyway, so there wasn't as much value in that plan as I'd hoped, but it actually became harmful.

The deposit came in, and because that payment was already schedules I looked for it to be withdrawn. It wasn't. I thought it might take 24 hours. My paychecks come in on Fridays, so there is always a weekend there, but Monday it still hadn't gone through, and I started panicking about it. The web site did not show any scheduled payments, and I was worried, and so I just set up a payment right then.

Well, a day or two after that the previously scheduled payment hit my account. There was no longer enough money to cover it, so that led to a $30 overdraft fee. I hadn't been expecting that. A $20 check I mailed for something else hit, and then there wasn't enough money for that, leading to my second $30 overdraft fee. I could have found better uses for that $60.

Once that had happened it occurred to me that what I should have done is called and asked about the scheduled payment. Do you see that? When will it be withdrawn? That would have been smart. I am usually smart, but when you put financial stress and worry and all of the associated guilt and shame together, it gets harder. It being harder then makes those types of circumstances come up more.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Band Review: Buffy Sainte-Marie


My introduction to Buffy Sainte-Marie came through Sesame Street, like it did for a lot of people in my generation.

My primary memory is of a fascination with the mouth bow that she played, and it is only one of many instruments that she plays, but it was one that I had never seen before, or since really. (I believe my love for the steel drum comes from Sesame Street too.)

Listening to her again after all these years, the first thing that struck me was the unique timbre of Buffy's voice. It was familiar, but something I had forgotten. Then, as I continued to listen, it was the overwhelming variety of the music.

Many of the songs have a folk music/protest song feeling, and that makes sense for someone who has always been an activist. There are also songs that sound country, and songs that sound rock, and an amazing amount of variety. Some songs seem to reference the Middle Ages. The variety should make sense given the longevity of her career, but the variety was already there at a time when the career had been much shorter.

I have to go back to Sesame Street, because that's where I started. I looked up some old clips, and there were some of regular performances, which is more what I remember, but there are also clips of her with her son Cody, and of Buffy turning bath time and swimming into songs. Even the most basic activities can be set to music that incorporates the activity, because the music is so much a part of her.

Everything else comes from having the music be so strongly a part of her that it flows through everything around her, or from her recognizing the music around her so well that it goes inside.

That's what I will remember now.




Thursday, November 26, 2015

Band Review: Eion Willoughby


I often do something a little offbeat on Thanksgiving because I am concerned that with the holiday not many people will read it, and that seems unfair to the artist.

This year it was a relief, because I really hated this music, and I feel bad posting about it.

I do admit that listening to Soundcloud instead of watching the videos was a lot less annoying. That is not a reflection on Willoughby's appearance, because many of the videos don't even focus on him that much. The issue was more the apparent carelessness in the making and the utter lack of craft, giving the impression that everyone involved was so sure that they were wonderful that there was no need for effort.

Merely having it playing in the background did not have as bad an effect, though I did have the volume a bit lower than usual.

The songs done with Kendra are a little less annoying, so collaboration can have a positive effect, but I just don't care anymore. I will still post one of the videos as a song of the day next month, because this review did happen. He did follow me on Twitter. But then it's over.

Mainly it feels like a reminder that electronica has similar accessibility to hip hop, where a lot of people can do it, and so many people who aren't really that good at it still produce a lot of material.





Wednesday, November 25, 2015

So wrong


Not that long ago a politician was sounding absolutely ridiculous in his efforts to not admit to actually being wrong, as opposed to having merely misspoken or been fooled with a trick question, or anything other than legitimately having said something stupid and terrible.

(Doesn't really narrow it down much, does it?)

I remember thinking how important it is to be able to admit being wrong. It allows so much stupidity to be avoided, and that's not just by eliminating the absurd attempts at saving face. When you own mistakes you are able to learn from them better. You become less careless about future mistakes because you remember having to correct.

I was never a big liar before, but it was having to confess a lie that really set me against it. It just wasn't worth it.

(Though learning that you don't have to tell someone something that is none of their business can also make honesty easier.)

Anyway, I was thinking that maybe I should set an example and have a blog post admitting something I was wrong about, but I couldn't come up with anything good. Many things where I have been wrong or stupid about things have already been blogged about extensively.

Some things that I still have trouble with relate to a lack of patience with annoying people. It is possible to write really interesting and humorous things about how some people test my patience, but that seems more likely to get mean-spirited than make a good case. And I can just say sometimes I have really mean thoughts about people - in fact, I just did - but I don't think it helps anything.

However, I have been thinking about poverty issues a lot, along with my own financial issues. Some of the experiences that I have affect a lot of people, and maybe there are things to say. There are some taboos on talking about money openly, and also, I get really defensive about it. I certainly have made some financial mistakes. In that way it could accomplish similar purposes.

I had been thinking about writing about that this week, but it seemed like a bad lead-in to Thanksgiving. So, I believe I will be doing that next week.

If something else comes up, that may not work out, but still, be willing to admit when you are wrong. It takes a heavy weight off. Yes, try to understand things and make good choices so that you are not wrong all the time, but when it happens, embrace it.

Even if you're a politician? ESPECIALLY if you're a politician.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The stuff that is not writing


An amazing and horrible thing happened today.

Yesterday I wrote that I had submitted a new version of the Family Blood screenplay. While I had updated some information, one of my goals for today was to look at other submitted projects and see what I can do better with my own descriptions and information.

That may still be a good idea, but the urgency has been deflated a bit because the screenplay has already been rejected.

I'm not going to lie; my first reaction was to just sob for a few minutes. I really thought I had a shot, and that this particular shot would be my last chance of finishing the year in a fiscally sound place. In that way it was a big blow, and it coming within 24 hours felt really harsh.

However, once the sobs died down, I have to admit that's the first time I have gotten any response other than a notification that the 40-day review period has expired, indicating that this submission has at least been taken more seriously. I don't know if they automatically take a deeper look at second versions, or if it was because I added the image, or because I mentioned it being tied to a book series but then they saw that it is not a heavy-selling book series. It's just one more step, I guess.

Amazon has been helpful and frustrating lately. I added reviews to all five of my books on Goodreads. I followed the prompt to add a review to Cara on Amazon, and it allowed me to fill in some parts then rejected it because I might be biased.

However, when I was looking at adding excerpts on Goodreads, I see that previews are available via Amazon, which can be helpful. I still think adding a few paragraphs to the page itself that don't require any clicking or windows opening is a good idea, and will be getting those added tonight.

I guess there's always next year.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Apologies to G T Denny


Some time ago I was mystified by a television commercial for a book that appeared to be self-published.


In addition, I noticed that the author seemed to have posted four out of the five reviews that were there at the time, one of them being remarkably incoherent for an author.

I suppose I was a little judgmental, but now I have to back off, because tonight I am going to be posting reviews on Goodreads and Amazon for all five of my books. (Still no plans for a TV commercial.)

I will only post one review each, as myself, and I will specify that I am the author. I may even write that this feels weird because I am the author, though if I put that in each review it will get a little repetitive. It does feel weird. It just also feels necessary.

I would see the prompt to post a review on both sites frequently, but it didn't feel right. Writing a book is not the same as reading it, though you do get very familiar with the content.

I do like them. I feel they are good, but then if I give a good review is it arrogant?

Also, I hardly ever give five stars, I don't think I should give myself five stars, but then does that look like I don't have confidence in my work? Because four stars from me is pretty good. I think four stars is about right.

(It's just that they are fiction, and not trying to be anything other than a good story, so that's not "It was amazing"; that's "I really liked it".)

It's also weird to put a date on when I read them, though I am going with the publication date for the books published this year, and when I was looking over the proofs for the books I published last year. This will at least up my book count for the year, which is nice.

Or maybe I should just put the publication date for all of them so it doesn't look like I read the sequel before the original. I wrote them in the order they happened, to the extent that they did happen.

I'll try and get excerpts up for each book too, but that may not happen tonight.

What I can tell you happened today is that now that there is a Family Blood novel trilogy, I revised the Family Blood screenplay and reloaded it:


I write better now than I did in 2013. (I should. I've been doing it a lot.)

So now it's like the movie is based on the book, but the book was based on the movie first. See. It's all weird!

And please, please, please, if you have read any of my books, please post reviews for them. It makes a difference. Thank you!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Band Review: Frank Waln


Frank Waln is a Hip Hop artist from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.

Waln has a degree in Audio Arts and Acoustics, and I suspect that greater understanding of sound has been helpful to him in creating the powerful and memorable tracks. "AbOriginal", "Born on the Rez", and "2 Live & Die on the Plains" work especially well, making an impression while playing and then lingering in the memory.

I will say that on the Soundcloud page there is a lot more experimentation with distortion and screeches, and I don't like that as much. The officially released songs have been chosen and polished.

Often when I am reviewing Hip Hop I feel I need to give a caveat that Hip Hop isn't my favorite, because other people will probably like it more than I do. Then there are other groups that make me think maybe I do like Hip Hop.

Frank Waln is one of the latter, and the youngest I have come across in that group.

These are worth checking out. Music can be purchased on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Amazon.






Thursday, November 19, 2015

Band Review: The Tiger Club


I liked The Tiger Club quite a bit.

It was started by Baxter Robertson, a professional musician who nonetheless wasn't getting chances to play live. Getting together with other musicians who rotate in and out, Robertson was able to solve that issue. They play around Los Angeles and San Francisco, with several upcoming dates in San Jose.

Their 2014 release, Mephisto Island, has a light jazzy sound that makes moving your body irresistible. That seems like it could be a great show in an actual club.

Instead the web site indicates that the live show consists of a lot more covers, going among various genres.

That it interesting, because as interesting and dynamic they make it sound, there are no video of live performances on the Youtube channel. Instead that has five collage art videos that include one cover ("Purple Snowflakes") and one illustration video, none of which really do justice to the music.

So I do think the band could definitely do things to be more effective. If all of the members are professionals with busy careers, then there may not be time to develop and promote the fun side project, but it feels like some lost potential there.

Regardless, I do recommend listing to Mephisto Island, which is a lot of fun.




Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Talismans


I am writing this with a bat around my neck.

We are pretty fond of the Fossil Cartel, and like looking there.


My favorite things to look at are the carved pendants. I once expressed interest in an amethyst manatee, and Maria gave me hers, but the bat came later.

It came because I saw that turquoise is supposed to fight writer's block, and they had bats. Bats are associated with good fortune and happiness in China. It seemed like a good necklace for a writer who needed some luck.

I'm pretty sure Maria bought me that too, but it took a while to use it for writing.

When I finish a project, I need some downtime. After finishing Morgan, I wanted to get started on Family Reunion right away, but I needed a break, and fell once more into my Spider Solitaire addiction.

I do understand addiction a lot better than I did, but I was still having a hard time fighting it. There are a lot of reasons not to write - it is super easy to avoid, no matter how much you love it or have to say. That's when I started thinking about the necklace.

I have written plenty without the necklace as well, but I started thinking of it as a way to shift my mind. I am on the computer for lots of things, but when I am there for writing, I want to be there for that, and not get distracted. I thought the necklace could function symbolically. Symbols are important to writers. Putting it on would say "I am sitting down to write now."

And then I couldn't find the bat at first; the beginning chapters were written with the manatee.

If I am using it specifically for being in writer's mode, taking it off might make sense when I leave, but I actually keep it on a lot, especially if I am not done for the day.

I also enjoy that when I lean over our kitten to pet her and it dangles in front of her, she will try to eat it. (She can fit the entire manatee into her mouth easily, but the bat is a little harder.) And I am a little sad that she seems to be growing out of it, even though that again does not have a writing purpose.

It is not a perfect system, but I have avoided the game playing and I have gotten a lot of writing and editing done.

Family Reunion is ready and I am starting the upload tonight.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Vision Boards


I have not yet created my vision board. I do now have an idea of what it will look like.

I was getting ready for a journal session Sunday, and I realized that the next thing to do was create my vision board. Doing so has always felt baffling for me, but if that was the thing to do, it was the thing to do.

I read over the list of things that I wanted a few times before church.


At church I am the ward librarian. Right before and after Sunday School is my busiest time. It gets busy enough that I do not go to Sunday School, but there are often lulls in between. I had gone over the list because I wanted to take advantage of such a lull to try and visualize. When I had a free moment I started sketching.

Suddenly pictures came to me. They weren't pictures that I was capable of replicating with my pencil, but whereas previously the visual had been evading me, it stopped.

There were a few things I learned in the process. I had been thinking I needed a way to represent every single thing, and that does not seem to be the case. It may be that some things are already present enough in my life, or they will naturally follow with other things. Also, some pictures will do double duty.

For example, one image that came to mind, and you can find lots of different illustrations of it, is a woman seated in the lotus position with all of the chakras represented. As I've written before, the chakras have come to represent balance to me, and with that they also represent health.

Health blurred with my desire to be financially secure and be able to give in the image of a cornucopia. Shown spilling over with seasonal fruits and vegetables, it does reference health, but it also signifies abundance, and that will be mean that I am both safe and able to give.

I may very well draw little stacks of money, and that's fine if I do. I had thought about drawing a gift-wrapped box to show the giving, but I know what I want to do with it already. Maybe I don't need that reminder. At that point it became more about creating a feeling than a list, and the feeling could be accomplished with greater simplicity.

There are other things that I could use for embellishments but don't need. For example, I have thought about things that signify creativity - like pens and paintbrushes - or music - like notes - but I have those things in my life. They are important, but they are also already here. However, I do want to depict two bookshelves, one representing what I want to write, and one representing the things I want to learn.

The other image that came strongly to mind is of a woman being embraced by a man behind her. It might even have a heart around it.

My first thought was that I'm not even sure that should be a priority. I have accepted that it is unlikely, and that I can live with that. Those are really the same issues that I had with putting down feeling cherished on the original list, but I did still put it down.

However, thinking about the positions, the woman has someone she can lean on, and arms encircling her, so there is support and warmth, but also she is not blocked or hindered at all, and there are non-romantic elements to that, even if the first thought is romantic. And also, the heart wants what it wants.

This may not be how everyone does it, but this is how it's going for me.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The last Throwback Thursday


One of my to-do items is almost done.

In January I started posting pictures on Twitter and Facebook for Throwback Thursday. The goal was to do 43, one for each year of my life. This Thursday will be the 43rd.

It has been important for multiple reasons. There has been reviewing my past and seeing whom I have been and how I have gotten here. There was getting used to seeing myself physically and looking at myself physically when I had avoided it for so long. There was seeing that other people don't hate my pictures nearly as much as I do.

That has been about perspective, but it has come in other ways too. The picture I really hate is from when I was unemployed, and that was an unhappy time in many ways, but then there were a lot of pictures from that year where I was doing thing with friends. Having more time, I was able to connect more, and that wasn't miserable. I had already remembered that it was a very creative period, but it was a connected period too.

I am mostly sure that the Thursday picture will be selfie that I took with a goat about a year ago. That is partly as a bridge to the next project, but also, a lot of the more recent pictures have been posted already. 




That's something that has changed. I have been making an effort to get more pictures taken, and I have been posting them more. This has not killed me, but don't be too impressed with the transformation. My current Facebook profile picture is painful for me. 



Most of the photos have been my upper body, which is fat, but I have been getting used to that. This current picture shows my legs, and I have not gotten used to those. They're bad, but I saw that they were bad and still left the picture up.

The reason it went up in the first place is that I needed to replace the Halloween shot. It's a picture of me with Cookie Monster, and since the songs of the day are Muppet-themed this month it made sense. I took a picture in a Santa hat for December, though really only the white trim shows, so it may not be obvious it's a Santa hat.


I have been updating my profile picture more as part of this. I don't know that I will keep changing it monthly, but it's something I can do to keep the knowledge and the acceptance and the conquering of my body issues going until I can start the next thing: taking a selfie each day for a year.

My camera broke in September. It wasn't going to be ideal for selfies anyway, which seem to be more of a cell phone thing, but it at least would have been a possibility. I have been borrowing my sister's camera for these other shots, but I'm not going to borrow it once a day for a year.

So I don't know when that will get started. I know now that for it to be fully effective, I should probably make sure to get the lower body in on a regular basis.

I also know that once I start posting selfies daily some people will think I'm a narcissist. Well, maybe, but not because of that.

Thinking in terms of the 365 feminist selfie project, I'll be starting it about two years late. That feels pretty typical for me, but it's okay. I will get where I'm going, and I hope I'll bring others along with me.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Band Review: Robert Mirabal


Robert Mirabal is an award-winning musician and performer from Taos, New Mexico. That encompasses a great deal.

It includes recordings of Native American flute playing, as well as making the flutes. It includes dancing. It includes playing in a multicultural band in New York and supporting world music, but also fusing traditional music with rock and funk, collaborating with Mark Andes of Heart (among other bands). In includes composing for modern dancers, two Grammys, and a Christmas album.

Unsurprisingly, you will hear a lot of different things as you work through the catalog. The Story of Land sounds very traditional, as do some tracks on more recent recordings, like "Drum Battle" on Music From A Painted Cave. Some tracks are more like spoken word, like "Theo's Dream", while some are more similar to rock, like "Skinwalker's Moon". The most interesting track may be "The Dance" for all of the different qualities it incorporates.

Mirabal does have some videos online, though the video often extends past the audio. Separate from his channel, there are many other users who have posted parts of performances. Being able to see the costumes and the movements may be the best way of enjoying the music. The comments I saw showed a lot of enthusiasm, with many people having been greatly moved.

Only links for his own pages are included below.




Thursday, November 12, 2015

Band Review: STASH


STASH is an electro-pop duo based in Hollywood.

I find something sympathetic about them, so when I look at pictures of them I want to like them. Their beats are definitely catchy, so it should be there, but then I always find myself irritated instead.

Some of that is a brashness to the music. It feels like there are some effects that should be modulated, with a greater balance between the treble and bass. Without that, the music lacks sophistication.

I also notice what feels like an overemphasis on image and sexiness. Maybe the real problem is superficiality. The music keeps feeling like it should be good and I should like it, but then it ends up feeling stupid and annoying.

Your individual mileage may vary, but I found STASH very frustrating.

They may just be aiming too low.





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Spock


Without being really into it, I enjoy "Star Trek". It is enough of a part of our culture that you can recognize the references without being a big fan. So, when one of my friends in grade school started saying I was Spock, I knew the reference, but I have thought different things at different times about what it meant.

Jonathan's complaint was that I was too logical, and he was specific about that. I heard it as "no fun", which he probably was not saying because we played together a lot. I must have been at least kind of fun.

I also don't remember for sure when he called me Spock. It happened more than once, but it was probably concentrated into one time period. When we were playing together a lot was during Graveyard Airlines times, which was after Jennie came and I had my first best friend. That may have loosened me up more that I realize.


(Spock would have found the Graveyard Airlines game highly irrational.)

I don't want to give the impression that Jonathan devastated me, but it was something that I remembered, and it's something that I return to periodically because how I feel about it has related to my values at a given time.

Spock's logic kind of has two different opposites. One counter to logic is intuition - going with your gut instead of reasoning through everything. The other is emotion, where you are led by your heart. Spock was all brain.

I have at various times romanticized both intuition and emotion over logic; who wants to be all stuffy and thinking about everything? I am nonetheless sure that the Spock thing must have come from me explaining - possibly quite pedantically - why something was a bad idea and wouldn't work. I do remember that when it was first said, and rankling in my soul, that I eventually decided that I was just practical. I can be very practical.

I still am practical, but I am also idealistic. I think things through, and then I do what feels right. This may only mean that I know exactly why I shouldn't do something, but a lot of it works out.

I may be thinking of it more, because in the last "Big Bang Theory" Sheldon had to come to a realization that choosing pure logic over emotion wasn't working for him.

I do see the allure. There are things that really hurt me that I can logically see are wrong, and unfair, and so I should be able to shake them off, but I can't. That can suck a lot.

In the end, I have a good brain, but also a good heart and pretty good instincts, and I use all of them together, mostly appropriately.

That feels very human.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

This season


Getting back to the screenwriting, if you look at my list of projects submitted to Amazon, not only did Jade Mask and Hungry get their start with dreams, but so did Out of Step and Family Blood.


If we look at the 6-page scripts that I did last October, Kate, Holly, The Taking, Future Shock, Jen, and Theme Park also all started with dreams:


Clearly I remember my dreams and take inspiration from them. I may miss higher meaning from them because I get so caught up in stories. That's not necessarily bad. Stories are a normal way for me to think, and there can be symbolism and layered meaning in a story, with potential to view different aspects at different times.

I have also had dreams that were clearly symbolic, or revealed emotions, or contained deeper messages, but there was this concern that I could be missing something.

The dream reading list was supposed to be done adjacent to the gardening reading list, and I had set them for the beginning of the year partly because I wanted to have greater gardening knowledge when it was time to plant. I was going to alternately read dream and gardening books right after finishing the Native American Heritage reading.

That didn't work out. I was dealing with a lot of emotional pain and financial anxiety, which are still hanging around, and also I was concentrating on writing, which seemed like the right thing to do. Eventually everything does get read anyway.

At some point I realized that the reason I was trying to put all of those books together then was to try and get in touch with something both more earthy and more spiritual.

I spend my days on a computer. That's how I write, that's how I research, and that's how I earn a living. It's a lot of screen time.

Spirituality is also important to me, and receiving guidance. That happens in my life, but it happens in a very matter of fact way. I will often think "Oh, I should do this" and when I see someone in distress I know what to say, but it happens in a very business-like manner.

Often when I am reaching out to people and comforting them, it is through the computer anyway. My eyes will be drawn to a tweet, and I will know exactly how to respond. It's brief and easy, but sometimes it really matters.

I am glad to be there for that, but I also remember times when it was much more common for me to get chills or be moved to tears spiritually. I have a friend who is doing some heavy spiritual lifting right now, and she has some amazing experiences happening.

That caused me to question whether I am really where I should be. Should my life be bigger right now? Because of that I was thinking that maybe I needed to reconnect with the dream world, and work the earth, and get in touch with my non-digital side.

(Or, if we think of it as a data-driven side, going along with my solution to everything being to read more about it, then we could see some irony in my thinking that reading more books would be the answer.)

I think there are still valid questions there, but I am also accepting my current state. One thing that I see with my friend's experiences is that they are exhausting, and I do not have the resources for that. I have so many demands on my time and patience that I cannot afford to be overwhelmed. That's not necessarily a good thing, it's just where I am now.

One thing that I have been able to remember is that life goes through different phases. The year before I was in the garden plot almost every day, and did a lot more. This year I couldn't see that, so I just planted a few things outside my door. It was less ambitious, but there was still some satisfaction in that. Next spring something new will take shape.

In this phase of my life, I have to be efficient, and there might not be room for messier things. That could change surprisingly quickly, and I will adapt to what comes next. That's all I can say for this time.

Each season brings its own fruits.


Monday, November 09, 2015

Another reading list?


Last week I made a passing reference to one book I had read, The Secret History of Dreaming by Robert Moss. What I did not mention was that it too was part of a reading list.

The dream reading list wasn't that impressive considering some of the other lists I have had going on. Only the Moss book was excellent. However, there were some relevant things about it.

There were only two other books:

Dreams: A Way to Listen to God by Morton T. Kelsey
The New Secret Language of Dreams by David Fontana

This started with a dream I had in 2008. It was really time for me to start writing screenplays, and I thought I should work on Hungry, because I had been working on that idea on and off since I was in junior high. It wasn't flowing though.

(Of course, Hungry started with a dream, and was updated by a dream, but that's not what this post is about.)

In this dream I was walking down a street in Rome with a guy I knew from the singles ward. He was in a wheelchair, having been paralyzed in an accident. We weren't close, so dreaming of him was a little unusual.

We were arguing because there was something that we needed to get. We believed it was the key to helping him walk again, so it was important, but he wanted to break in and steal it. I was frustrated that he was so determined that he wasn't even considering that there might be easier, better ways. That's why we were arguing.

There was this image of a silver disk with a human face, and a jade mask of the same face that would fit over it, unlocking what was behind.

That became a story in my mind very quickly. Specifically, it became the first screenplay I wrote, and the one on which I learned formatting. You can view a PDF of it here:


The story fell into place easily, but the image of the jade and silver faces were so real and so outside of my experience that I worried that maybe I had seen it in a movie or on television somewhere.

I posted on IMDB.com to see if it sounded familiar to anyone. It didn't, but one person replied about the dream itself and said that I needed to find out what I was hiding behind my mask, and what treasures it would unlock.

I didn't think too much about that at the time. I was too into the story and the excitement of writing it out and having it flow. I had written short stories and a novel before, and I had imagined many scenes that were intended for movies, but this was the first time I was writing in that format. Having learned it once, then I could go on and write the others, including Hungry. The dream and the story that came from it were a huge deal for me in that way.

That doesn't mean that the symbolic value of the dream wasn't important.

There was a book recommended in that discussion, but later I couldn't remember which one. That is how there got to be a dream reading list. I don't think it was the Moss book, but one of the other two. Therefore, the recommended book was one that resonated less, but it still got me there. Also, maybe it resonated less because I am missing something.

Right now a lot of what I am looking at is whether or not I am missing something. At the beginning of the year, when I read the other two books, I was thinking in those terms, and for specific reasons.

But those reasons can wait until tomorrow.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Band Review: Jana Mashonee


I first became aware of Jana Mashonee through her appearance in For The Generations. They did not play enough of her music to really get a sense of her as an artist, but I had thought it might be more dance-oriented.

That aspect is there. Her new single "Rocket Launch" could be played in dance clubs. Generally speaking, though, many of the songs off of her 2010 album, New Moon Born, could fit better into adult contemporary, and show strong Gospel roots.

Her 2015 songs may show a different direction, but her slower songs are beautiful. I was especially taken with "Solid Ground".

There are funkier tracks on New Moon Born as well - "Miracle" is a good example of that - and her take on Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" merits listening. Thinking about the songs separately they don't seem to go together, but listening to the album together works.

The 2015 tracks have videos up as well, so it seems reasonable to assume there is more content coming. It is worthwhile to review her past songs first, and I enjoyed them.