Spotlight: Chris’ Desert Island Discs

March 21, 2012

Skipping ahead a little in Rich’s original challenge, today I’m sharing my top 20 favorite albums, and a little bit about why I like each one. I’m limiting myself to one custom compilation, (more about that later,) though commercial ‘best of’s and anthologies are fair game. In alphabetical order:

And then we wrote, Flanders and Swann and Swann, with friends. I love nearly all of Flanders and Swann’s music, but this one is dear to me for more than just the great numbers from their musical revue days like “Excelsior” and “The Lord Chamberlain’s Regulations.” It’s a classic that’s never been released onto CD as far as I know, but I fondly remember listening to my Dad’s vinyl record. (Now I listen to the digitized version.)

Camelot. Another vinyl classic from my Dad’s collection. Knights singing show tunes – gotta love it.

Dreams, by the Corrs. Thanks very much to the Irish band for releasing this cut, a mix of covers and best-of, so that I don’t need to agonize over which studio album I’d take to the desert island for a Corrs fix.

Dress Rehearsal, by the amazing Canadian singer and songwriter, Carolyn Dawn Johnson. This album comes to mind as a tour de force of the songwriter’s art, from the lyric poignancy of the title track, “I’ll let you go”, and “Just another plane,” to the energy and fun of “He’s Mine.”

The Essential Billy Joel. I discovered Billy Joel’s music late, after noting down a song playing in a coffee shop that I wanted to look up, which was “The Longest Time.” ‘The Essential’ was the first step in my journey of discovery, and well worth it.

Face to the Gale, by Ron Hynes. I remember hearing “Godspeed” on the radio when I was in University, and loving it, but I didn’t get the album until much later, and I really like the music, as it comes crashing in with the power of a Newfoundland storm behind tracks like “The Final Breath” and “Saint John’s Waltz.” Read the rest of this entry »


Insecure Writer’s support group – Writing in the Monastery

March 7, 2012

(Note, when I first posted this last night, I completely forgot that I’d meant to tie it into IWSG – so I’m making edits on Thursday morning

I have entered the monastery – and I came out on the other side to leave this post for you all. There’s no blogging from inside the Holly Lisle Monastery. (Which isn’t a real Monastery, just a state of mind for doing a particularly intense exercise in Lesson ten of the ‘How to Revise your Novel’ course.)

It was an interesting and cool experience. I dawdled a bit this evening – first, because you’re not supposed to listen to any music with words inside the Monastery, I spent time going through my itunes and coming up with an iPhone playlist of instrumental tracks – covering Bach cello by Yo-Yo Ma, Mozart piano sonatas, Serenity and Simpsons movie soundtracks, John Sheard and Natalie McMaster. Holly suggested just keeping ‘Classical Gas’ on single-track repeat, but I knew that sticking with any one song would drive me crazy.

Then I did a bit of review – going over my scene cards and every exercise that I’d done in the course so far, not trying to memorize anything so much as refresh my subconscious memory of anything that might be useful. That took about three quarters of an hour, and I put it all away and ventured into the Monastery at five minutes to eight, with my list of promises, my Alphasmart and a power cable for it, and the netbook a few feet away with the instructions and the Monastery progress thread on the Holly Lisle forums set up just in case – and a project tracker to count my Monastery time for NaNoEdMo.

And I started to write out scene sentences. And paragraphs, because I didn’t always get them down to single sentences, but I think I did a pretty good job of including the five elements of a good scene in most of them.

Read the rest of this entry »

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