Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2018 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Cleaning the Clutter"--I might literally be cleaning my closets or figuratively clearing the excess from some other part of my life. I'm sure you can think of other things this could mean for you as well.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Once Upon a Time (Battle of the Bobs) (#BOTB)


     Knowing how to begin and where to begin is sometimes the biggest challenge in story-telling.  That is the point where readers will often decide whether a story is worth their time.

How Do I Begin?

         If you're doing NaNoWriMo this year then you are likely not reading this post of mine, but many who do read are writers so you still might have the concern of how to start a piece.  "Once upon a time" is an oft-used standard approach--trite perhaps--but it can be effective either verbatim or in some variant.  A story has to begin somewhere to fit within the parameters of a readers expectations and economic use of words.

        Then again I suppose any story can begin in any place that seems appropriate.  It depends on what a writer is trying to achieve and what is the most important information to give readers in order to achieve said purpose.

           "Once upon a time"?--it's a vague reference that begs continuance.

           Midway into NaNo month I hope participants are meeting goals while being productive and having fun.  But let's take a moment to listen to some music.  It's the "Battle of the Bobs"  and they both have a story to tell in their own personal styles.  Enjoy...


Battle of the Bands

      Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.


Once Upon a Time

          This pop standard comes from the 1962 musical All American.  I don't know the musical, but I know the song well.  It has been recorded by numerous artists over the years.  It is a very slow but beautiful song.  I hope you'll give it a chance as it tells a wistful, but familiar story.  In this current Battle I offer two versions by two Bobs--Bob Darin and Bob Dylan.  These live performances were recorded fifty years apart.  The story never changes...



Bob Darin   "Once Upon a Time"   (1966)




Bob Dylan   "Once Upon a Time"  (2016)





Time to Vote!

       
Now that you've heard the beginning of my blog post story, it's time for an ending where you provide an outcome with your votes.  What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside



Winner of this Battle Announced Wednesday November 21st

         Hope you take the time to listen and enjoy these song stylings.  Maybe you'll want to listen when you are wanting to get in a mellow mood.  I can understand if you might get bored, but really--this is a beautiful song and each rendition is special.  May the best Bob win.

          Do you find it difficult to write good openings to stories or other written works?   Are you more challenged by how to begin or how to finish?    Do you like hearing Bob Dylan sing pop standards?












Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My Theory of Evolution ( #IWSG & #BOTB Results)


       I didn't start out my writing life as one of a million monkeys with a typewriter, but as a regular ol' kid with a number 2 pencil and some lined notebook paper.  No monkeys in my family tree as far as I'm concerned though a few of us have been known to monkey around...

The 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

Co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman--be sure to stop by their blogs to thank them.


November 7 question - How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

      Since I've been writing as far back as the third grade, my creative life has grown along with my life in general.   I began thinking in musical terms as I began writing poetry and songs.  I played violin in the school orchestra.   I learned to juggle and joined our family juggling act.  Experience has been my greatest teacher.  A curiosity about life and the world around me evolved into a quest to create

       Writing certainly did not set off my creative life, however writing became an integral part of my creative life.  The ability to express myself through written word opened up a whole new world of imagination, communication, and analysis.  I welcomed most writing projects in school when others dreaded the idea.  In my spare off-school time I would often turn to writing as well as reading. I imagined myself as a writer early on.

        Maybe it would be more accurate to say that my writing evolved in tandem with my creative life.  Writing has just been one part of the creative side of me.  It has been but one of the many things that I am.  


Battle of the Bands Results



        This most recent Battle put Michael Jackson against Willie Nelson with the old ballad "All the Things You Are".   From the outset I figured that Willie would pretty well out-distance Michael in the final vote count, but I wasn't concerned about a shut-out for this match because I was sure there would be a few who don't care much for Willie Nelson's vocals.  I was right.  No shut-out and actually not a horrible outcome for the late King of Pop.

        Since "All the Things You Are" is one of those songs that I like a great deal, I had been planning on using it for quite some time.  Finding the unique disco take by Michael Jackson cinched that choice as one for me to use since it was new to me and I quite frankly liked it.   Still Willie does the song the way I think it should be done and does it exquisitely.  I've got to join in with the majority and cast my vote for Willie.


Final Vote Tally

Michael Jackson       5

Willie Nelson           16


Next Battle of the Bands on Thursday November 15th

          I'm doing a special NANO tribute post for my upcoming Battle of the Bands face-off.   This one will be a bit quirky and a Battle that I think you'll have some fun with.

         
      Did you enjoy writing when you were in school?   Which of your talents have you honed the most in your life?   What would you most want to be known for at the end of your days in this world?  







Thursday, November 1, 2018

All the Things You Are (#BOTB)


        There are so many things in life that we might dream of being.  On Halloween we can be some of those things for a fantasy fun time.  Sometimes the fun gets lost in the fantasy...


Sloppy the Clown Mask
from Morris Costumes
All the Things We've Been

       Another Halloween gone by and I hope yours was okay.  I've tended to mostly ignore Halloween since I stopped working in the business.  But the event of Halloween had a good run through my childhood.  I dressed up every year until high school and made my rounds candy gathering.  I was good at that sport, reaping a stash that would always last until the day after Thanksgiving.  On that Friday I'd either eat up whatever was left (and typically not much good was left by then) and then I'd dump the rest unceremoniously.

        Over the years we've seen so many costumes come and go as well as the traditional favorites that have likely been around for decades.  My mother usually bought us the packaged costumes.  One of my better costumes was the one I wore in 1962 when I was 11 years old.  My mother was in the hospital giving birth to my brother, Jeff, so my sister and I had to put together homemade costumes.  She used some old dance clothes and went as a ballerina.  I patched together some old clothes and hoop earrings and went as a pirate complete with facial hair drawn on with an eyebrow pencil.   Looking at a photo taken by a neighbor, I must say that my sister and I looked rather professionally costumed--far better than those prepackaged jobs we'd always gotten in previous years.

        It's not surprising to me that I eventually went into entertaining on stage and later managed a costume company.  I've played a lot of roles in my life, but we all do wouldn't you say?   Each day we can appear in different ways to different people.  Sometimes pretending just seems to be the way things are.  Some of us do our pretending with our writing.  With NANO now upon us there will likely be a lot of mental role playing as participants write (or attempt to write) their novels.

         What are your roles?   Who will you be tomorrow?   Or maybe we should just listen to a song about a more metaphoric, poetic way to look at this question...

Battle of the Bands 

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

All the Things You Are

         This Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein tune was originally written for the mostly now forgotten 1939 musical Very Warm for May.  This is the most well known song from this "lost musical" having appeared in a few subsequent films and recorded by a myriad of artists over the years.  Unique in its melody and chord progression, the song has become a true jazz and pop standard.

        "All the Things You Are" is another of those haunting melody songs that I have heard and loved since I was a child.   My BOTB post of a year ago today was another similar type song, "Where or When" which was from the 1937 musical Babes in Arms.   Sadly, songwriters of recent times don't seem to write as many melodies such as these songs. 

          For this Battle I've chosen relatively recent versions by two very well known artists.  Who wins for you?  I have a feeling how this will turn out, but I'm almost always surprised by the outcomes of these Battles.   Take a listen to both and tell us who you like the best...
     

Michael Jackson  "All the Things You Are"  (1973)

         This recording comes against a visual backdrop of earlier live performances by MJ and his brothers before he became the "King of Pop" serving as a reminder of a more innocent but still immense talent that Michael Jackson was.  This version gets a lively injection of disco pop sound which might just get you to dancing in your seats...





Willie Nelson  "All the Things You Are"  (1994?)

        Slowing things down more in keeping with the original versions of the song, this video comes from a live performance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.   I'm not sure about the exact date, but I'm guessing he was promoting the album that featured this song and that one came out in 1994.  With lush orchestration and Willie's expressive vocals, this rendition of the song might instill a reverie filled with memories or it might bore you to death.  You'll have to decide and let us know...





Time to Vote!

       
With elections coming up this is a good opportunity to get in voting practice while having fun.  What's your favorite between these two choices? Which song version do you like best? You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

         Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.



Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Angel's Bark  


Debbie Doglady's Den

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 


Cherdo on the Flipside



Winner of this Battle Announced Wednesday November 7th

       Not only will the winner of the above Battle be announced next Wednesday, but I'll also be submitting my contribution to The Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Best of luck to all of you who will be participating in NANO.  I've chosen not to be a part of this once again, but that's become a tradition with me--not participating.  

        Are you doing NANO this year?   Did you dress up for Halloween?  Do you like to fantasize about living a life other than what you're living now?  What would that be?