Music to my Words – Billy Brag and Wilco – Eisler on the Go.

About Music to my Words :

Music to my Words is intended to be a column about the art of writing and the music that can spark specific emotions, moments, transitions or (yes!) sex scenes in your work.

I wholeheartedly believe music is an essential, unavoidable part of writing and I felt it was a subject that was not covered enough in the writing community so here I am.

Now the concept of this column is to squeeze the most (and the best) words out of your brain as you are typing away. Some of these songs may be hard to listen to in a different (non-creative) context but the point of this selection is to use the music to foster creativity in a different field. You may use those for design, drawing, painting… anything in fact.

Billy Brag and Wilco – Eisler on the Go.

I think I’ve discovered Mermaid Avenue on youtube about eight years ago and I have to say I really wished I had known about this record back in my factory days when I was young and angry and directionless, losing jobs every few months only to land in another warehouse and/or factory.

Because this is working class music, or at least one type of working class music. It’s not the kind you listen to on a shift, not AC/DC or Metallica, as you’re shoveling shit around of building things you’d never use yourself. This is not “the guys are on a strike” music like Dropkick Murphys’ would be, this is “I just lost my job and I don’t know what the fuck’s gonna happen music.”

You need that mid-west, rust-belt, former industrial-gone-to-shit-white-trash feel for a book or a story, go for this song, trust me.

This is a song of dust and pain and uncertainty.

This you walking out the side door of a fucking factory because they wouldn’t let you say bye to the guys once the foreman was done with you and you don’t get to make a scene through the front offices this time around like you may or may not dream you could. This is you walking down those metallic stairs besides a loading dock, facing hundreds of yards of cooked asphalt that have long been claimed by wear and weeds. This is you dragging your ass in the hard summer head without money for cab fare or something to drink and you lie to yourself thinking there must be a water fountain in a city park around somewhere if only there were city parks for guys who worked industrial wastelands. But there aren’t. So you take your blue shirt and those blue pants and you sweat your life away as semis rush by and this stretch of Sherbrooke Street doesn’t even have a sidewalk.

You look at miles and miles of abandoned refineries and find yourself longing for days when throwing so much pollution up in the air was a sign the guys were having a good time. You dream of hockey tickets and fast cars, you dream of a cold beer and travels down south in winter. You dream of socks that don’t have holes at the bottom of them and boots that don’t cut the back of your ankles and there are still miles before you make it home.

Then food, maybe? A beer? If there’s any left. You got your papers, Services Canada opens tomorrow at ten. Give yourself a night to feel like shit and then maybe, who the fuck knows anymore?

The End.

Hope you enjoy these,

Take care,

Ian.

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Over Half a Million Words and Counting – Resilience and the Creative Mind

I am about to announce my first “officially” published work, as I was lucky enough to team up with an up and coming indie of the publishing world, and I found myself thinking about the path that led me here.

Part of my intellectual process is to understand patterns very easily and part of my spiritual search is to understand the origin of such patterns (or paths) and their influence on the person I am today.

It is often said that any artist who’s “made it” had to fail time and time again in order to learn and grow. I can only say that the clichĂ©s are true as I was trying to figure out how many pages I had written and scrapped before getting to this point.

I did a pretty complete breakdown of everything I could think of between being a geek writing his own role-playing games when I was in fourth grade and looking into a chunk the huge market of mystery writing. (soon to be announced officially.)

I wrote

3 role-playing games – say 90 pages total

4 short stories in high school – say 20 pages total.

2 personal essays in junior college – 80 pages total.

5 “short” political dissertations – 200 pages total.

20 smaller college works – 8 to 12 pages – say 160 pages total.

(I’m not even gonna count all the weekly 2 to 7 pages assignments)

About 50 songs (music and/or lyrics) – 50 pages total

1 really bad script – 90 pages

1 really bad novel idea – 60 pages

2 full length plays – 120 pages total

1 short movie script – 6 pages

1 good full length movie script – 100 pages

3 novels : say 800 pages

1 self-made translation : 140 pages

2 poetry collections : 160 pages

4 years of curating texts for the MainLine Gala for Student Gala.

An unspecified amount of arts events and designs

Plus plans for a series of 5 graphic novels which I have yet to count…

2166 pages of “unsuccessful” or DIY writing to get here. At least 420 pages of which I literally scrapped. Most of it I used but have yet to pay out and some if it I actually look to make small amounts of money from.

I’m not even counting the letters, proposals and blog posts.

@250 words a page, that’s over half a million words I wrote before I got a book deal. (541 500 to be precise)

(With all the proposals, treatments, blog posts, letters, homework, submissions… I’m confident I’ve hit the million words by now… but let’s stick to manageable figures for now.)

So I guess the message is this, If you write every day, or even every week. If you started young because it felt natural to you, keep doing it. Half a million words and counting…that’s what it takes.

If that number scares you, you should probably do something else.

“Until you die or it dies in you” – Charles Bukowski.

Take care,

Ian