Monday, November 8, 2010

Take a walk with me

So I've been gone awhile. But now, I'm back, hopefully. Thanks to the encouragement of some friends and family as well as watching (well, not literally, more figuratively) some friends make the effort to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in November (something I will not be attempting), I'm going to give this blogging thing yet another shot.

A muse is a cruel, fickle mistress. Showing up at inopportune times (seriously, when I'm at the park playing with my kid is not the best time for an inspired idea to strike), abandoning me when I've got loads of free time and going weeks or months without calling or even sending an email. All the while I see her gallivanting around with my friends. Well, enough is enough. I'm through with you. I'm going to create my own muse.


I get the feeling I don't use my iPod like I'm supposed to. For one, I named it 'The Lusitania' so I can regularly say 'The Lusitania is synching.' For another, I use it primarily for listening to podcasts. When Apple was running commercial after commercial promoting it, they always had shadowy figures dancing to upbeat songs. They never bothered to show the guy in his early 30s taking a walk and listening to two guys yammer on about the benefits of Steve Johnson or Peyton Hillis. That, however is the primary use of my iPod. The overwhelming majority of what I use it for is to listen to Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz discuss the fantasy news of the day on their daily podcast ‘Fantasy Focus 06010.’ You’d think I’d be better at fantasy sports, but despite listening to primarily advice from experts, I still generally suck at it.

Sure, I’ve got some songs on there, but they’re mostly an afterthought (well, except for the roughly 100 songs for my kid, who points to the iPod and the player anytime he wants to hear Raffi sing (which is far, FAR more often then I want to hear it. In case you weren’t aware, Baby Beluga swims in the deep blue sea. She swims so wild and she swims so free.) But after realizing that waiting for the Muse to inspire me to write could result in a lengthy wait, I figured I’d try something to inspire myself.

I’ve got roughly 300 songs on my iPod (I’ve also got roughly 250 podcasts, for comparison’s sake). The plan is to use each of those songs to be my jumping off point. Be it the title, a lyric from the song or a tangent that spins off to something else, I’m going to force myself to write at least 500 words springing from each song. Now, I’m not crazy enough to think I’m going to get through every song I have. Assuming I did two a week, that’s 150 weeks, or almost three years. If I’m still working on this project (and, just as unlikely, you’re still reading) at the beginning of 2014, then three things happened.

 First, it means I’d have written at least 150,000 words and hopefully at least seven of them were arranged in such a way as to elicit a chuckle. Second, it means you’d have read at least 150,000 words of mine, which would suggest that you need to visit your nearest mental health professional. And finally, it means the Mayans were wrong, which will be good for everyone. Well, except for the Mayans who will be exposed as liars and no one will ever trust another Mayan prophecy ever again. (However, if you want to hedge your bets in 2012, I’d be more than happy to keep your valuables for you while you’re hiding out in whatever underground bunker you used for Y2K. I’m nice like that.)

Some basic rules (that I’ll likely break): Number 1: Other than the first song, all others will be chosen at random by whatever system Apple used to program their shuffle. The first song will be the first song on my playlist, The Allman Brothers’ Midnight Rider.

Number 2: No skipping songs. If Eric Clapton’s Willie and the Hand Jive shows up, I have to write at least 500 words inspired by it, which will be somewhat difficult since I know no one named Willie and while this isn’t necessarily a family blog, I do try to keep it somewhere between PG-13 and R, so a blog heavy on innuendo springing from the phrase ‘Hand Jive’ won’t be forthcoming.  

That’s it. That’s the list. Some songs I’m expecting to be fairly easy, like Statesboro Blues. Others will take every bit of gut, guile, creativity and selective plagiarism . . . err . . . sampling that I can muster.


Dan Underwood said...

Can we suggest songs for you to add to your Ipod (just to make your job harder)? And as long as you write, I will read.

Mary Beth said...

I like the idea of creating your own muse--one that can be controlled! I believe I will steal that idea.