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Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Some of my writing friends listen to music for inspiration, mostly notably Lia Keyes who is working on her steampunk novel and listens to Phantom of the Opera. Seems like the perfect choice for what promises to be a deliciously, dark mystery.

Normally I don’t listen to music while I write, but I’m intrigued by the idea of using my auditory senses to help ‘set the mood’. 

Here’s my dilemma though. What in the world would make good background music for a book with cats as the main characters, an evil professor and his Whisperer, a magical book of power and a host of mythological characters ranging from the dark to the light side, and settings that range from the ancient Library of Iskandriyah to a small public library in the foothills of California.

See what I mean? Suggestions welcome.

In the meantime, I’m going to check out Five great ways to find music that suits your mood,  a Mashable article that reviews several websites that let you pick out music according to your moods and emotions, rather than artist, genre or title.

What do you listen to, if anything, while writing?

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I have quit listening to the news and watching TV (almost) because it is bad for my mental health. Much of what we are fed daily keeps us stressed about money and financial security, while at the same time it encourages us to keeping buying and going deeper into debt. Vicious, vicious circle.

It’s time for a revolution! Time to break out of our small Walmart ideas of the perfect life and start living. Time to stop cruising around the shore going in circles and think of life as a voyage. It is truly an adventure and it’s all around us. The cup is half full overflowing!

This quote, by Sterling Hayden stopped me in my tracks because it is such a powerful expression of what I’d like to say. And besides, he actually followed through on this. He would have loved Matt Harding of the famed “Where the hell is Matt?’ experience.  (video embedded below)

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.

If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. “I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it.

But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”  from The Wanderer, by Sterling Hayden, actor and author

Thanks to Sid at Right Brain Therapy for introducing me to Matt. Watch a truly joyous contemporarywanderer.

 

 

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Marco

Marco

 

 

Marco is the protagonist in my (yet to be published) children’s book, The Dead Cats’ Society.  He’s also a real cat. See photo at left. 

Marco has another role in my life, being that of my muse. It’s a complex relationship, but it works. He’s the one I talk to when I need a sounding board for something I’m writing. See A Conversation with my Muse. and “How to explain cyberspace to your cat.”

So, knowing he’s the hero of my story,  my hidden partner has suddenly decided he wants some of the limelight. Being a subtle cat, he didn’t make a lot of noise about this desire of his. Instead, he left me the following note in my ‘Suggestion Box’.

“I’d like people to know I’m more than just a furry paperweight. Have you told them I am a Reader cat? You could share something about my favorite books with your readers? They might find this interesting.   Marco”

Furry paperweight

Furry paperweight

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I hadn’t got around to writing a post specifically about him. Up ’til now he’s only appeared in the form of my muse. But Marco definitely deserves a blog post of his own. Not only does he fulfill that warm, fuzzy pet need and the higher calling of a muse, but Marco is also one of the endangered species of cats who can read.

You read that right and there’s others out there. Your cat might be a reader too, but you might not be aware of it. Cats will wait until everyone is asleep before cracking a book, since they hate it when everyone makes a big deal out of it. They embarrass easily, so if you do catch them, just pretend like you don’t notice or that it is normal. If you’ve encountered books scattered out on the floor when you get up in the morning, now you know how it happened. Whatever you do, don’t try to make your cat put the books back on the shelves. They will absolutely balk at this and probably never pick up a book again.

I like to keep my cat happy, so I will post things that he leaves in the Suggestion Box from time to time.  A recent read on Marco’s bookshelf is  The Palace of Laughter, by John Berkeley. I picked this one out myself, but he finished it before me. (He has loads more reading time.) Marco liked this book, but not quite as well as I did. I found Palace of Laughter well written with a great cast of characters and just the right touch of the wicked evil. 

The story begins when the Circus Oscuro comes to town in the dead of night. Miles, an orphan boy who lives in a barrel, is the only one who sees their mysterious arrival. When Little, a tiny circus performer who is actually a 400 year old winged girl, escapes from the sinister circus, the duo sets off to rescue two friends from an even more sinister sideshow called ‘The Palace of Laughter’.

With characters named Lady Partridge, the Great Cortado, The Null and Baltinglass of Araby what’s not to love? Marcos’ favorite characters were Lady Partridge and Miles. We agreed on that much. We tried to work out a compatible book rating system, but they don’t quite mesh. (Marco’s ratings are from one to four paws. Mine is on a scale of 1-5 stars.)

Marco rated The Palace of Laughter is:  three paws.  He would have given it four, except he said there were no cats in the story. I mentioned the tiger, but he said it wasn’t the same. I didn’t argue with him, but I gave the book a big 5 star rating. I would highly recommend for any younger reader.

Thankfully, Mr. Berkeley kept on writing. Palace of Laughter is part of the “Wednesday triology”. The next one is titled The Tiger’s Egg which we will review soon.

Do you suspect your cat reads? Please share your story.

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“What are you writing?” asks my cat, who leads a double life as my muse.

“A blog post,” I answer.

There’s small silence while he considers admitting his ignorance. “O.k. what’s a blog post?”

“Hmmm,” I murmur. How do I explain this to a cat? “Blogging is writing down your thoughts on subjects you are passionate about,” I begin.

“I can understand that,” he says.

“Then you publish it on the internet where, with the click of a mouse, it flies off into cyberspace and you hope someone will catch it and read it and maybe even write back to you.”

This time there’s a longer silence. Whether it’s the clicking mouse reference or just the concept that has him most confused is hard to tell. I wait to see if his curiosity will win out over his need to appear all-knowing.

“What’s cyberspace?”

Now I’m in for it. What can I tell him when I don’t really understand it myself? I give him an evasive answer. “It’s kind of a mystery.”

“I love a good mystery. Go on.”

“All I can do is try to give you an analogy. You are familiar with analogies?”

He gives me that look; the kind that means the question is too ridiculous to answer.

“Cyberspace is a very ethereal place. You can’t see it or feel it, but there is so much going on out there. Millions and billions and gazillions of words and thoughts and feelings that people have typed onto their keyboard to share with others. Friends and strangers. Lost words swirling in a vast unseen world. Words waiting to be found. Words begging to be read by someone who will understand their passion.”

My muse finishes the analogy for me. “So, cyberspace must be something like cosmic space and the words are bits of stardust floating everywhere. No,” he pauses as he collects his thoughts on the subject. “More than stardust. Words and thoughts clustered together like galaxies waiting to be discovered.”

“Oh, that’s perfect! Can I use that in my blog?”

“I think you already have.”

He purrs and I scratch behind his ears. Having a cat for a muse is nice.

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Infinity

“Until it is kindled by a spirit as flamingly alive as the one which gave it birth a book is dead to us. Words divested of their magic are but dead hieroglyphs.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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