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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Has Been or Been Had? (#IWSG & #BOTB Results)


Insecure Writer's Support Group



Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog




       
The Past Is Not a Prognosticator of the Future

      What is to come has a foundation in what has been, but our past does not preclude all future success any more than the great things that we may have done will determine that we will always do great things.  Once a hero is not always a hero anymore than past failures mean that our entire life is doomed to failure.  

        Successful writers have often started their careers with a succession of rejection.  When giving up is not a reasonable option, persistence and patience will often win out.  There is no guarantee in this as there are no absolute guarantees about anything about goals we set for ourselves.  For some, the whimsy of fate might lead to success without paying many dues.  Timing and chance can play a role in success while connections with those in the know rarely hurt one's opportunity to make it big.

          If I'm writing my memoirs then the past is vital for me to know.   Otherwise the past is often meaningless to most people.  A former celebrity might make the rounds with oldies tours or fan fest conventions, but so what?   They can make a living based on something that they've accomplished in the past, but the meaning of that past has limitations.  Some people care, but the great majority don't.  

          Legacy?   Body of work?  Name brand?   What does it all really mean?

          Maybe I've been reading too much Ecclesiastes.   Or is that something you can ever read too much of?

Battle of the Bands Results



"Glory Days" vs "Candy Apple Red"

          As I stated from the git go, my previous Battle was a somewhat risky move for me to pit the little known underdog Robbin Thompson against a mega rock star like Bruce Springsteen performing one of his biggest hits.  Typically I think a match such as this can swing heavily in favor of the song listeners already know, but in this case Thompson's song was strong enough to persuade a slight majority to vote in his favor.  This was a close race all the way with Thompson maintaining an edge throughout.  In the final stretch it looked like Springsteen might take the lead, but "Glory Days" never quite overtook "Candy Apple Red".    My vote just cinched the win.

          For my vote it was an easy one.  While Bruce Springsteen does a great job with his classic "Glory Days", in my opinion his song is weak on melody and mostly just shouted as opposed to Thompson's fine singing with good playing and harmonizing from the band.   I find "Candy Apple Red" to be lyrically stronger with clever phrasing and nice referencing to iconic imagery of the early rock era.  Production-wise the inclusion of some fun nods to do-wop singing and surf guitar add to the song's effect.   Some voters saw this the other way around, but to me "Candy Apple Red" is a superior song. And besides, I prefer the playful optimism of Thompson's tune and some of you agreed on that.

Final Vote Tally:

Bruce Springsteen       13 Votes

Robbin Thompson       15 Votes


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Next Battle on Friday July 15th

       My annual vacation road trip is coming up and I'll be traveling for the next couple BOTB posts, but I'll schedule mine ahead of time and do my best to make my rounds to other Battles in a timely manner.  If I am late to yours be assured that I should make it eventually as long as I have internet access and in this day and age it is a rare thing not to have that access.

       My next Battle will be themed in keeping with my travels.   The song is one from the late 60's by a songwriter who wrote for the Carpenters as well as a number of other well known artists.  You've probably heard much of his work by other artists, but it's likely you've never heard this song before.  Hope you'll enjoy it.

         Do you look forward to your future life achievements?   What milestones in your past have been most significant to you?    If you could go back to one time of your life what would it be?






67 comments:

  1. I think persistence and patience (in lorry loads) is a pre-requisite of being a writer :)

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    1. Nicola, I think it's a prerequisite of accomplishing anything worth doing.

      Lee

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  2. I think dedication and teacity plays a big part in being a successful writer.......you have both Lee.
    Lost out on the BOTB this time.
    Yvonne.

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    1. Yvonne, I do have both at times, but not always in enough doses to fulfill certain dreams that I come up with.

      Lee

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  3. You can never read too much of the Bible.
    It's the old what have you done for me lately. What we accomplished is important. But what are we doing now?

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    1. Alex, you can never read too much of the Bible, but you can sometimes interpret it the wrong way or let its words have unintended influence.
      Sometimes I try to do too many things so that not all of them get done as well as they could have or don't get done at all.

      Lee

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  4. I don't think you've been reading too much of Ecclesiastes. It is my belief that we all want to leave behind a legacy of some kind. For me, legacy means sharing my hardships, showing people my tenacity not to give up or give in, and to keep moving forward. I hope that people will see that my persistence and my faith in what I write paid off for me, and I hope it will give them the courage to keep going on their own path.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Pat, I think the best legacy any parent can leave is to set a good example for the children they bring into the world and I've tried to do that.

      Lee

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  5. Living in the past is bad. Reading from the past is good. :) I don't think any of us ever shake the past off of us. This is why oldie bands make a comeback. We want to be the person we were when those good songs were new. :)

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    1. Teresa, the past is too much of a part of us to let it go, but we should never let that past take over our future.

      Lee

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  6. I tried to find some lyrics that seemed on point:

    The lines of life are never long
    When seen from end to end
    'Cause the future's never coming
    And the past has never been
    (Dan Fogelberg)

    That wasn't quite what I wanted to say. I think our lives are in the present, which is formed by the past, but which forms the future in its turn. I remember walking to class with the 'I turn to stone' (ELO) running through my head, and I think, 'That was me, and that made me what I am. I'd go to an Electric Light Orchestra concert in a heartbeat.

    (Great post!)

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    1. Me too!!!! I have loved ELO since I was in junior high in the 70s!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
    2. Diana, Dan Fogelberg is an old favorite of mine. Nice lyric to use as an example. The present is the only reality that we can touch and really know, but it is fleeting.
      I never went to an ELO concert, but it sounds like it would be a cool experience.

      Lee

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  7. I'd go back to when Jerry Garcia was still alive and attended more Dead shows than I did. Those were some fun years.

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    1. JoJo, oh for a time machine! So many cool places to visit, but I'd still want to come back home to where I am now except bring back my healthier body.

      Lee

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  8. I can't remember who said, "the unexamined life is not worth living" or something like that. For me, that's been true. I've had to look at my past in order to heal it. But then I had to move beyond it.

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    1. Karen W., if we don't examine our life it's almost as though we have never lived. We can look back now and then, but it's essential to recognize where we are and try to see where we are trying to go.

      Lee

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  9. My, my we are deep today. :) I agree, the past is vital, but so is moving into the future.

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    1. HR, yeah, I'm deep in something, but I won't say what that proverbial something is. But you made my point in your few words.

      Lee

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  10. I would go back and change too much, deleting the person I was and changing the person I am. Not a good thing because I'm really not that bad. :)

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    1. Yolanda, if you changed things you might turn out worse. Best to leave well enough alone.

      Lee

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  11. Though the past might help make us great, I think we need to be careful not to dwell there too long. Otherwise, we will get caught and forget to live in what's happening today. Great food for thought, though.

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    1. Loni, great in the past could mean greater in the future as long as we keep at it. Never give up as long as you've got that tiniest bit of strength.

      Lee

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  12. A line I used to use when signing my books fits so well - the past does not equal the future.

    There are some mistakes I'd like to undo, but I don't think I want to go back and change anything. It might make it worse.

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    1. L.Diane, first law of time travel is you can't change the past.

      Lee

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  13. Don't know just how much my Past will effect our Future, But, due to health issues, we do know a bit of Future... Not a pleasant thing to look forward to reaching...
    but these days... we try not to allow "little things' to get to us (but, a Lot of "little things"over a short period ... that is more difficult to take)... We know the Worst of "what"lies ahead for us..."Accepting" of that Fate is what we had to overcome... So, trying to make the mot of the time we have left to us...
    Hello from Marshville
    our best to you and yours, good Sir...

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    1. Dr Theda, hope the health issues and everything else improve for you. I guess what we do in the present is the only thing that really matters since that can influence the future and help us in the here and now.

      Lee

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    2. I put my reply in the wrong box... sorry about that...

      Delete
    3. Dr. Theda, no problem. I suppose we all have somebody who judges us and often unfairly. As long as we judge ourselves honestly and do what we can to continually become better by the standards we hold for ourselves and others that's about as much as we can do. Best to ignore the forces that bring us down and grab onto that which lifts us up.

      Lee

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    4. We do try,good Sir... we have no other option (rather than just "give up")

      Delete
  14. HI Lee...

    So true, many don't care much from the past, but there is so much to learn from the past....

    As a writer, you MUST persevere. That's a given these days as with any career really.

    And I believe timing is everything. If you have the right property at the right time you are truly lucky. In most cases the success does;t come from the talent... it's timing.

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    1. Michael, luck, timing, or whatever happens, if we don't recognize what comes our way and act upon it when it does then we lose out. Eyes open, feet on the ground, and an resilient outlook is the best way to go in life.

      Lee

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  15. I suppose there are many paths to success, some short and easy, others long and incredibly difficult. But for writers especially, if the journey is not a reward, it may be time to look for something else to do. Then again, I was pretty shocked to hear Judy Blume say during an interview that writing the first draft is "pure torture".

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    1. Tamara, I'd rather just write a first draft and leave it at that.

      Lee

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    2. the Past (and my many mistakes and failures) is the measure by which the people of this area judge me...
      You gave a great bit of "Advice"... we have learned to try and make the Best of that which we do have.... sure there are a lot of things that we must do without...and makes us treasure much more anything "pleasant"that comes into my life... even if it only stays for a short time (and never even returns)

      Delete
    3. Sorry for putting my response in this box, dear lady... a pleasant day to you and yours.

      Delete
  16. I think going back into the past is a horrendous idea but I would love to see my maternal grandmother one more time. She died in my teens and I do miss her. Paths to success are littered with all sorts of stuff. Life has no guarantee except that you live and one day you will die. Also life is what you make of it.

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    1. Sheena-kay, either you live life or you watch life pass by. I didn't get born to watch a parade.

      Lee

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  17. I like that word "Prognosticator". New one for me. I will have to remember that.

    I guess as writer's we all live in hope and nothing in this life is guarantee. We just have to do the best with what we do have and seize the opportunities as they present.
    Happy IWSG Day
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Juneta, it's not just writers--if we don't live in hope then the road ahead of us can be a bleak one.

      Lee

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    2. Dear Sir Arlee.... We lost Hope a while back... sorry there is little to no Hope for Stacey... so we try to enjoy the time that we do still have... that is about as close to Hope that we have...

      Delete
  18. There are no guarantees, of course, but persistence does win out often. It's more important than talent. I think there's research to show that, but I also have seen that in my life and among my other writer friends.

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    1. Jenni, so true. Talent might win the sprint, but it doesn't always win the marathon.

      Lee

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  19. I wouldn't change a thing because it was all a part of who I am today. A couple of highlights were when a creative writing teacher sent in a poem I wrote and it was accepted by Scholastic! And (retrospectively) the day I walked away from a job I had for 26 years. Time may test, and sometimes tell, but moving on is time spent well. Sometimes I miss swing-singing, but I don't want to be 4 years old again ;-)

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    1. Diedre, standing still is not progress.

      Lee

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  20. There are never guarantees in life--especially in writing or acting or music. You may publish a good book or act in a good show or movie, but the next one may not work. I know I have my share of dues paid and am still paying. But Diedre is right. Your personal history is part of your life. Thanks for sharing this with your followers, Lee.

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    1. Victoria, connections and timing probably help more than anything in achieving opportunity which can lead to success.

      Lee

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  21. "Successful writers have often started their careers with a succession of rejection. When giving up is not a reasonable option, persistence and patience will often win out."

    Absolutely my belief, Lee.

    Damyanti

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    1. Damyanti, to believe otherwise would be courting failure while relying on chance or luck much of the time.

      Lee

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  22. Every time I reach a milestone, there is just one more thing to look forward to. Life gets exciting sometimes, lol. Then its back to normal until the next thing.

    Good luck on the road; stay safe and have fun.

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    1. Dolorah, thank goodness for the highs and lows. If life was always intensely exciting I'd get worn out and have to rest in a state of inactivity anyway.

      Lee

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  23. I gave up writing in the '70s after suffering constant rejection and regret it to this day. The past offers many lessons to learn from and shapes who we are now. I revisit the past all the time through memoir writing. Good, bad, happy and sad, it's all there.

    The Boss lost BOTB? Aw....It was an interesting story between the two friends.

    Enjoy your road trip! We're heading out on a weekend one today and I'm also taking a vacation from blogging for a week or two. Cheers!

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    1. Debbie D, the 70's is when I gave up a lot of my writing for the same reason and typing up a manuscript was always so difficult for me anyway as I never had my own typewriter. If I had had a computer with word processing back then I would probably written like a mad man.

      I wasn't sure about the BOTB pairing, but I really felt that Thompson's song was so good that he would get some votes. Besides I knew there were a few anti-Bruce folks out there.

      Lee

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  24. LEE, I haven't read any of the comments above yet, so I don't know if this has already been guessed but...

    >>... My next Battle will be themed in keeping with my travels. The song is one from the late 60's by a songwriter who wrote for the Carpenters as well as a number of other well known artists.

    Hmmm... might this be a Paul Williams song? If so, there's a good chance I know it and like it.

    >>... a somewhat risky move for me to pit the little known underdog Robbin Thompson against a mega rock star like Bruce Springsteen performing one of his biggest hits.

    Yeah, those match-ups can end in disaster OR wind up being surprisingly competitive. Gotta have a really A-list underdog recording though to make it work.

    I got away with one like that when I used Tito Puente against Dave Brubeck on Brubeck's own mega-classic 'TAKE FIVE'. Dave rightfully won but it was a good, competitive Battle.

    David Lindley beating Steve Miller; Tom Waits beating The Eagles; Cybill Shepherd beating The Marcels on 'Blue Moon'. Yeah, these Battles can be done, but the BOTBer needs to be very sure of what he/she has.

    Yours was a good example of that. I knew instantly, right from that opening piano, that Robbin Thompson's song was getting my vote.

    >>... "Glory Days", in my opinion his song is weak on melody and mostly just shouted as opposed to Thompson's fine singing with good playing and harmonizing from the band.

    I totally agree. But I would say the same thing about the vast majority of Springsteen's songs: they're weak on melody and shouted more than sung.

    Very good Battle, Lee. You've had two close ones in a row now, haven't you?

    ~ Stephen

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    1. STMcC, yes, that's a couple of close battles recently--just the way I like it. Springsteen is mostly a shouter/rocker to my ears. I'm okay with that to a degree, but my preference is to hear more musical presentations.

      Your Paul Williams guess is a good one and it's very close as my songwriter pick has collaborated with Williams on occasion. I've also used the artist in another battle some time back.

      Lee

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  25. When I go back to revisit all that's happened since I started writing for publication, I'm amazed at how much I can attribute to luck and timing. The other part is definitely hard work and no quitting.

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    1. C.Lee, luck and timing may get us to a better place, but rarely do they keep us there. After we've attained a position then we must act and fight to retain our status and continue to climb the ladder of success.

      Lee

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  26. Nice close battle! My guess for the artist is Burt Bacharach. I do hope that you have safe travels. Personally, I've got so much going on in my life right now, I think I'd like to go back to a slightly more peaceful time in my life. If I could have a do-over from my 30's forward with the knowledge that I have now, my life would be vastly different. or not. who knows, I may make the same mistakes again. I do love a good repetition.

    Mary
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

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    1. Mary, your guess is close--the song sounds like something Bacharach would have written, but it's not by him.

      If I could go back I'd pay more attention to what was going on around me so that I could remember more.

      Lee

      Delete
  27. I'm glad Robbin (with two B's :) ) won! I really enjoyed being introduced to his music. I'm also thrilled that your battle was so close. It's exciting when that happens. Great battle.

    I'm sure you're getting pumped about your vacation coming up. Keep us posted on your travels. I travel via my friends since I can't get away at this point...
    Be safe out there!

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. Michele, This latest battle was the kind I like best--especially since my favorite came out ahead.

      Just a couple more days before we set out on our journey. I've been scheduling motel stops for the trip to NJ. I'll do the trip back as we get closer to that time. Hopefully I will have acquired enough loyalty points to get free rooms on the way back.

      Lee

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  28. Hi, Lee!

    You know me. 9 times out of 10 I vote for the less obvious choice, but this time it didn't work out that way. For some reason my ears couldn't latch on to the melody of the Thompson tune and I didn't perceive its greatness the way you and the majority of others did. It was a very close race, nearly a photo finish, and that's a great outcome for you.

    Have a safe and happy weekend, good buddy Lee!

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    1. Shady, maybe you need to give the song a few more listens. I think the song has a wonderful rock and roll melody and those lyrics are a lot of fun.

      Lee

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    2. I went back and listened again, Lee. I liked the song a little more the second time around but not enough to change my vote. To me the nostalgic lyrics are trite and I don't like the quality of Thompson's voice as much as I like Springsteen's. I'm sorry our ears didn't match this time. I'm confident they will sync up in the next round of battles.

      Delete
    3. My next Battle will be so nuanced that I'm not even sure my own ears will sync up to what I prefer most.

      Lee

      Delete
  29. Lee,I'm surprised my pick won. I thought for sure Springsteen's hit classic would win. Both songs are good and it was great fun to pick between them. :)

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  30. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. I forget how that quote actually goes, but you know what I mean. I'm very impressed this battle was a true battle. Even though Bruce was one of the contenders. You played a risky move and it payed off. I wonder if my risky move this next BOTB will pay off or not. We shall see.

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee