Writing 101 – Commit to a Writing Practice

Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?

Nailing Brahms’ Hungarian Dance Number 5 on your alto sax. Making perfect pulled pork tacos. Drawing what you see. Or, writing a novel. Each requires that you make practice a habit.

Today, try free writing. To begin, empty your mind onto the page. Don’t censor yourself; don’t think. Just let go. Let the emotions or memories connected to your three songs carry you.

Today’s twist: You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

I don’t really have a favourite song above all others or a song that is most important in my life, but I do have favourite artists whose body of work speaks to my soul. Today I’m going to write about Michael Jackson, whose albums are a soundtrack to my youth. Aside from all the accusations that came his way towards the latter years (who knows what was true and what wasn’t), MJ was truly the most magnificent artist of a generation. His presence in my life as a provider of musical beauty is unparalleled, even among all of my other favourite artists whose music inspires me.

I don’t know if I can describe how even the first few bars of any given MJ song will stir up a nostalgia in me like nothing else can. Not only does hearing the first few notes of Rock With Me return me instantly to my childhood, but my mind actually travels into the music and senses every note and every chord straight to the fiber of my being. I have memorised every melody, every word, and even the words only MJ can spout will emanate from my lips like second nature (mamasay mamasa mamakusa – of course those aren’t the words but who cares, my soul will sing it how she pleases).

Every now and then I’ll come across a documentary or a recording of MJ, some studio clip that shows his process while creating the magic that is his music, and all I can tell you is that to hear him work is to hear angels singing, it to see a genius lay it down and tell it like it is. Michael Jackson’s music is perfection. Every note in its place. Every note, every lyric, every melody… absolutely perfect.

Sometimes when I hear his music on the radio, or when it pops up in my iPod playlist, I cry at how beautiful the sound is to my ears. Tears for how beautiful the music is, tears because the world will never see the likes of him again, and tears because I’m so thankful that I grew up as part of a generation of children who were witness to his genius.

I still remember the day he died. I was pregnant with the preshus, a few days into my maternity leave, waiting for the preshus to make his appearance. I had gone for a nap with my trusty twitter machine close by. One minute all was well with the world, the next minute I woke up to a world that was short one shining star. I’ll never forget, still half asleep, checking my twitter feed and watching it blow up with the news of his death. I couldn’t believe it. It was unbelievable, unthinkable. It was devastating, but it was true. The first thing I thought was “but I never got to see him in concert!”, then I thought, “how is it possible that my children will be born into a world where Michael Jackson is dead?”. Unthinkable. And true.

My son was born just a few short days later and every chance I get I play the king of pop for him. He doesn’t understand yet why I’m playing this music for him. And for the most part he just begs me to put on something he recognizes. But one day, when he’s older, I’m hoping he’ll appreciate the musical foundation I’m laying for him. He’ll hear a tune inspired by MJ and think “hey, I know that song” and my work with him will be done.

Don’t ask me which MJ song is my favourite, they’re all my favourite. Now excuse me while I go fire up my iPod. I’m gonna put my headphones in, turn the lights off and just feel the music. Let my soul rock out with the king of pop. And, for a few minutes, drift into a world where there is nothing but the sound, his sound, and all things will be perfect and beautiful.


Writing 101 – A Room with a View (or Just a View)

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time? 

The buildings are a gleaming white. Built on the bones of the old city, they rise into the sky like shimmering swords with transparent windows that reflect the summer sun during the day, and expose the citizens within at night. At ground level you can see the brick walls in the old style. Strictly facades now, the interior of the buildings gutted long ago to accommodate the modern smart buildings. Entire city blocks that contain within them, space for work and play. Each building containing assigned living quarters, shops, education ports, and industries, each building with a focus on one aspect of modern life. The Food Building where the grow labs manufacture food for the entire city, the Automotive Building where personal and shipping transports are made. The Garment Building, the Print building, and on and on. The Life Building where central population control resides. All employees live in assigned units within their assigned buildings based on aptitudes designated in childhood.

People are free to travel between buildings and they do, availing themselves of the different services contained within. The streets wind through the tall spires like rivers of light, embedded with auto sensors that move personal transports to their destinations, efficiently moving people from one place to another. Pedestrian traffic moves smoothly, separated from traffic in their own grass lined lanes. Pedestrian lanes are connected by parkettes that are home to benches, playgrounds and public works of art, as well as the communication towers that everyone relies so much on. Communication towers with their vid screens that show the daily news and schedule for each working group. The towers also house port hubs where individuals can connect to their personal com lines on the go.

TipsyLit: Prompted: On Trial

Dear Brain,

I’m putting you on trial. Why is it that when I’m in the shower you can come up with the world’s most brilliant post when you know full well that I’ll forget it all by the time I’m near a pen? Do you think composing brilliant things on the fly while I’m stuck in traffic on the way to pick up the kids is helpful to me? FYI, it’s not.

I try to get around you by writing pop-up topics on a handy-dandy notepad I keep around for just such occasions, but then when I look at my notes later I start to wonder if you, Brain, were on crack when I wrote them. “Party Mix”? You mean like the chips or the iTunes compilation? What does that even mean? I have no idea, but you thought you were being brilliant when you made me write it down. “Kid-free shopping”? Yeah, I can write about that, but I can’t seem to remember what you though was soooo hilarious about dragging screaming kids around a grocery store. It’s not funny being that mom. Trust me.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you, my Brain, the most creative part of my entire being, is systematically trying to drive me insane, a little bit at a time, each and every day.

It wants to write. I want to write. I’m a busy woman. I have 2 kids, neither of whom are conducive to me spending large amounts of time in front of a keyboard. My Brain knows this. I’m sure of it. Hey Brain! Why can’t you be all brilliant when I have the time to write your thoughts down in full? Do you think you are being helpful by making me think I’m a scintillating writer while I’m washing dishes, and then summarily blanking on me as soon as I boot up my laptop? I assure you, you’re not.

As I sit here typing this I’m frustrated because I’m thirsty and I know that as soon as I get up to make a cup of tea, you’ll start spouting all kinds of brilliant stuff at… yourself. Only because you know I’m 100 feet away from any means of writing it down. Why do you hate me so?

In conclusion, I charge you, Brain, with making me creative, but holding me back from being the truly artistic person I KNOW I can be. That I KNOW I am.

I’m sorry Brian; I’m going to have to sentence you to a lifetime of me getting better at writing your genius down. It’s not fair that you keep it all locked up inside my head. You know what? Screw you Brain and the cranium you rode in on. I’m calling you out.

And I’m writing it down.



via Prompted: On Trial.