Song of My Returning

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Monday, we return to the original feelings…

Phil Ochs’s birthday was last Friday, December 2nd. This lovely song was not on any of the original albums, though it was released later. He sung it on the air at WBAI radio in 1965, where he explained that this song was heavily influenced by his reading of the poetry of Yeats.

Thanks to YouTuber Krutponken

 

 

Not What It Seems

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This is a truly amazing optical illusion invented by Kokichi Sugihara.  A seemingly rectangular object has a cylindrical reflection. It really makes it clear how a change in perspective changes what we see. You can find out more about this illusion here.

Thanks to YouTuber The Illusion contest

 

Que Sera, Sera

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Who knows?

This is the first song I remember being sung to me. I must have been about three years old.

It was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans who also wrote “Mona Lisa” and the ever-popular  Mr. Ed theme song.

Thanks to YouTuber zennmann

The Stranger Song: Leonard Cohen

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Every song from Cohen’s album Songs of Leonard Cohen was haunting, but this was the song that I imagined myself to be, as I lay on my bed in my dark college dorm room.

Thanks to YouTuber Sadrak Kabir

If It Were Done When ‘Tis Done…

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macbeth-still02

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… said Shakespeare’s Thane of Cawdor about his bloody deeds. Well my deeds are not bloody, but after more than three years of battle with my novel, The New World, and 15 drafts, I have finally said, “enough.” This is it: best I can tell, it’s done. Yes, I could keep tinkering, but I no longer know whether the tinkering is doing any good. It’s time to get on to the next phase.

The manuscript is sitting there in a pile next to me.

Now, to get this published.  I think it’s very good. I still enjoy reading it, even after reading it through for the 100th time. So that’s one person who likes it. I still love my characters, and I still want to keep my promises to them.

I could self-publish, and maybe that’s how this will end up, but I suspect that would seem like a disappointment to me. So the next step—and God knows I’ve only been approaching this one step at a time, but at least that’s got me this far, to a point I would never have thought myself capable of—the next step is to get myself an agent. And in order to do that, I have to put together a query letter and synopsis to send out to prospective agents.

After writing a 90,000 word novel,  you’d think it would be a breeze to write a one page query letter and a two page novel synopsis, but it seems intimidating to me, and here I find myself without much of a compass. I’ve read a bunch of books on the subject, and the query letter is supposed to tell all the reasons that you think this particular book would be the right book for this particular agent, the subtext always being, “Here’s the reason why my novel is going to make you money.” To that end, you lay out what genre your novel is, and how it is just like popular books X, Y, and Z, and here’s the plot, where a, b, and c happen,” and maybe you’re subtly highlighting why this would make terrific movie material, and so on.

I’m not sure that my novel necessarily falls into any of these categories. It’s not particularly plot-driven, and I’m not sure it can fit into any well-defined category. I suppose one could say it’s what the agents call Literary Fiction, but even that designation doesn’t tell you too much. Is it a Domestic Drama? Maybe, but I’d like to think there’s too much humor in it to be considered strictly a drama. Maybe the kind of thing Anne Tyler writes. I recently read her A Spool of Blue Thread which I greatly admired, and thought, “Damn, that’s the novel that I’ve been trying to write!” Well, I’ve got to accept my limitations and understand that I’m no Anne Tyler, but at least I feel some kind of kinship with her book, so maybe the people who like Anne Tyler’s books will like mine.

Anyway, best I can tell, my work is now just beginning, and I’m about to plunge into a whole new world of learning about publishing. I never expected to get anywhere close to where I am now in terms of my writing, so anything else is gravy. I’ll just take the next step and tell myself: screw your courage to the sticking point and we’ll not fail. (Hmmm, note to self: maybe I want to rethink quoting Lady M as my inspirational source.)

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse

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One day, someone will write his or her Ph.D dissertation on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the most imaginative, mind-bending children’s show ever.

Here’s the intro and outro of the weekly television show that ran from 1986-1990.

And that’s Cyndy Lauper singing the theme song!

Thanks to YouTuber thatsclassicofficial