AND…if you order “Bridge” by the end of the day Thursday (Eastern time) and forward your receipt to Melissa AT jerismithready.com, I’ll send you an exclusive “Bridge” trading card signed by me and “Logan.” (International, too!)
For the most part, I am excited about moving. As I said in my last post, Seattle is the city of my heart, aside from finding and marrying my partner, I can’t think of a much better thing that finding and moving to my heart city. But I am also a worrywart. A big one….
At three in the morning yesterday… err, today, I sent off a draft of my latest YA novel to my agent. We’ll call it The Grief Book for now since that is how I operate—no real titles, just vague descriptions—when talking about book that are not yet published in public. It’s a contemporary YA about girl who’s lost her older brother, and while not really coping with that, ends up in an emotionally abusive relationship. I’ve been working on it since August. I’ve been completely immersed in getting it finished for the past couple weeks. It’s been practically all I thought about, so I almost don’t know what to do with myself now. I’m still just living it, in my head, and especially, as usual through music.
For a long time I couldn’t write while listening to music. I would create playlists of songs that reminded me of the story that I would listen when do everything but writing to keep me inspired, but while I was typing, especially drafting, my office remained silent. That started to change last year with the (abandoned for now, but being rethought) Modern Myth YA, and when I started working on The Grief Book, I realized I needed a certain sound and I needed it on repeat while working. Those bands have shifted and changed from the beginning to the end (because you do get sick of listening to the same thing day in and day out, no matter how much you love it) and my playlist for this book is a couple of scattered songs mixed with full albums and sometimes entire catalogs of certain bands. There’s over a hundred songs on it…. and I still think I listened to it at least twice yesterday.
Anyway since that music still feels like MY SOUL right now because this book is still MY SOUL, I thought I’d share some of it via this YouTube playlist.
It’s pretty much in the order that I discovered that I needed the songs/bands as my muse. The two Hole songs have been with me since I started this project and so has the Dinosaur Jr. song. They were the first band I was inspired to listen to over and over again while writing. Green Mind, Where You Been, and Without a Sound are all on the playlist in full.
I added Farewell Continental to my list of inspirations pretty early on, too, and “New Tile Floor” especially speaks to the story/characters. The Wheels are a local band whose whole EP is on my playlist, but “Front Porch” is the song I listen to most. I have a character named Riley and one named Justin and the songs with their names in suit them or their story arc in a way. The first Sunny Day Real Estate album is on the playlist mostly in full, but “In Circles,” is totally a theme song. “Reach for the Sky” and “Blackbird” both figure into the story directly. “Try” could be a theme song for my main character, Meredith, and “What Sarah Said” pretty much sums up the worst day of her life, and “One Last Time” by Veruca Salt (which I sadly couldn’t find a full version of on YouTube) is telling of her relationship. As for “Say Hello to Heaven,” well, it is The Grief Book.
In terms of the other bands whose albums appear in full on my personal playlist, when I needed to go beyond Dinosaur Jr., I turned to Hum, a favorite from my high school years, whose music and lyrics work as well as Dinosaur setting the mood for this story. The Soulsavers were my biggest discovery during the writing of this book. My friend Jenny introduced me to them at the end of January and I pretty much listened to their albums “Broken” and “It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s How You Land” on repeat for the past two months while shaping the last part of the book. When I needed a break from that, and was craving a female voice, I realized Mazzy Star was perfect.
So there it is, the new book in songs.
And now to take a week or two off while my agent reads it. Well, now to TRY to take a week off from it mentally.
Last night was Hollywood’s annual orgy of self-congratulation previously known as The Academy Awards but now rebranded as the fewer-characters-on-Twitter, Oscars. I tuned in to watch (and snark) as has been my wont since I was old enough to say, “No Best Picture for Bugsy Malone? It totally…
Day four of writing retreat I have finally rediscovered how I work.
Apparently at least for this book, I have to write in circles until I get the general sense of how it is supposed to unfold. This also includes emailing/desperately calling critique partners until one of them points out something very obvious about my character that resolves what was bugging me about how the book began. Then I no longer have to sit and plot instead of writing.
Same critique partner provides me with new music that helps me round out my playlist for the book. (I had the angry girl punk, but desperately needed some dark electronica/industrial/gothy stuff and I have been out of that scene for like 10 years)
Then I rediscover how I do the actual writing, which as I figured does not have to do with actual counting of words or even writing for specific blocks of time. I have a METHOD wherein I read over and tweak what was already written. The tweaks make me feel good and help sustain production of new actual good words. Eventually energy fades and I write crap, BUT I DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT because I will go back to it in the morning, polish and then move on. OMG it is so simple. It is probably what a lot of people do. I know now that it is what I do, but seriously the past year or so has been so rough, plus I’ve been doing either revisions or this figuring out of new idea/choosing of new idea or so long that I FORGOT.
Sadly I only have two days of retreat left to put this into practice, but hey it’s something. Plus I got to see desert for the first time, weeee!!!!
“I’m nauseous on the bullet train sitting next to K Cobain. Torturing myself in fine pointy ways. My fame. ha ha. It’s a weapon, kiss my ass, just like morning sickness … It’s private but I hate my talent more and more I think it’s worthless and I don’t care. Could it just be the commercial effect of too many sales and a semi freak accident semi meant to be but I’m starting to think I can’t sing can’t write that esteem is at an all time low and it isn’t his fault. God how could it be … Don’t you dare dismiss me just because I married a ROCKSTAR.”—Courtney Love (via itwaspunkitwasperfect)