Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Nick Hinton and Delving into the Music Industry

Recently I had the pleasure to work with Nick Hinton, a talented singer, songwriter and composer, on some promotional materials for his website and upcoming releases for his CD, The Brave Unknown. Though I hadn't heard any of Nick's music before we started collaborating, I was instantly drawn to his soulful style and moving instrumentals. This is going to be his first full-length album release and hopefully will help him break into the U.S. from the U.K. Check out some of the songs on his website or his MySpace page.

This is my first freelance project in the music business and I've really enjoyed getting to know the vocabulary with which musicians talk about sound, rhythm, and structure of composition. Although I don't have very much experience in many fields, this project proved to be very rewarding in the process of research, and I look forward to honing my skills in writing about music for future projects.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Doubts on Teaching

Every now and again, I'll doubt my desires to be a professor. I worry I don't know enough. What if I can't think of books to read? What if I don't know a reference someone makes in a paper? What if someone asks me about a 19th Century Irish novelist whose name I have never heard and I appear suddenly small and insignificant to my class?

Thankfully, I usually pull myself out of this doubting situation rather quickly and easily. It's called research. It's not like it's going to stop when I'm the one assigning the papers; if anything, I'll be doing even more. It's called Google and Wikipedia and that ancient thing called a library.

And then there are days like today, when I was prepping for a seminar I will have to teach as one of my graduation requirements for the MFA. I literally outlined the whole thing on the hour-long train to Providence this morning, and couldn't stop yammering about it over lunch with some of my classmates. I had so much fun figuring out how to engage the class, present the information, and create the handouts, that I was reminded that this is why I want to brave those random questions I might not be able to answer. It's because I love to do it.

The doubts will probably not go away. I will probably doubt myself all the way through my first semester. But hopefully I will still love to do it, and still have moments of epiphany, and still wade my way through Freshman comp papers. I guess at this point all I really can do is try it and see.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Evolution of a Writer

First poem is written. "Down went the celery, down went the cat. Down went me but not dat dat." Very proud of self.

First Grade:
Cute furry animal is happy, cute furry animal gets into trouble, cute furry animal gets out of trouble. The end.
Writing method: Dictation to mom, original artwork by me.

Third Grade:
Joint story with best friend about the misadventures of bat and flying squirrel.
Writing method: Two heads better than one. Original artwork by both of us. Giggling abounds.

Fifth Grade:
Possibly embarrassing time-traveling story involving middle school gym teacher.
Writing method: Mechanical pencils and legal pads. Inspiration hits anywhere and everywhere.

Eighth Grade:

Painfully cliched natural disaster story inspired by hit mid-nineties movie. Stilted dialogue and too many adverbs. Lots of fun to write, though. Flew through it.
Writing method: Mechanical pencils and mead notebooks. Lots of Mead notebooks.

High School:
Mushy stories about having lots of free time with my boyfriend. Writing as coping mechanism and escape from "overly strict" parents.
Writing method: Sparkly pens in secret journals and notebooks, scribbled behind illegally-locked doors.

Senior Year:
"Real" fiction as learned in college creative writing class. Previous writing shown to be positively awful. Damn, this stuff is hard.
Writing method: Parents' slow, slow, computer.

Character development, plot, theme, setting, description? Story arcs...inspiration and ideas coming slower, pushed out by craft. Am I actually going to major in this?
Writing method: Laptop at Village Coffee Shop, caffeine addiction begins.

Senior Year of College:
Tackle novella for senior honors project. With 3 weeks left before due date, decide to completely switch from third-person to first-person POV. Write straight through spring break. Accomplishment. 130 pages. Phew.
Writing method: Village Coffee Shop, Granville Coffee Shop, Library, Quad, Maine, on Floor of Room, on Ceiling of Room, on Top of Fridge. Caffeine IV inserted.

Last Semester of MFA:
Write a paragraph. Check Facebook. Walk away. Write another paragraph and decide that character isn't flushed out enough, so write a character interview. Make coffee. Decide that that character wouldn't do what I wanted him to do so change what he does. Do laundry. Research antelopes. Stare at the ceiling. Check Facebook. Write another paragraph. Wait until the last weekend before submission to write the majority of the story and then wonder why I'm developing an ulcer.
Writing method: Survival.