Friday, November 25, 2011

Not that anybody reads this thing

But I created this rap beat of sorts that I really really like, but I can't come up with lyrics for the life of me.  I've got the general rhythm of how I want the rap to go in my head, but there is nothing.  Complete blank.  And it's bizarre how sometimes I can write a rap so effortlessly that I am scrambling for paper to get it all down before I lose it, without trying, and then sometimes I'm completely blocked.

But I guess that's what it is - I have to wait for it to come to me.  Patience, I suppose.

And none of my pre-existing raps quite work with this.  It's frustrating.  Maybe I should just sell it to someone haha

Monday, October 17, 2011

In the past month and two weeks...

I've lived in Malibu, confided to a "studio apartment" in the corner of a mansion, on acres of land that hosted horses and a rooster.  And it was more "in the middle of nowhere" than my hometown of Jamestown, NC, in which I at least didn't have to drive fifteen minutes before I hit something other than the homes of millionaires.

I've lived in Eagle Rock - well, more so unofficially housesat in Eagle Rock for a hipster couple that I never met, in a cute little one-story house with more records than I'd ever seen at once in my life, fruit trees in the backyard, quirky decor and stray kittens.  I ironically felt at home in that house of a stranger.

I've lived in Hawthorne, in a cozy little Marriott.  So close to the airport that the planes fly right above us on the freeway, almost like they're going to land right ahead of me.  There's free breakfast and daily maid service, and surprisingly non-claustrophobic.  I feel like I've been here much longer than I actually have.

And by the end of the week, if all goes well, I'll be living in Culver City.  And hopefully be settling in Culver City, at least until March, and finally, our living situation won't be week-to-week, but rather there's five months of at least some kind of stability ahead of us.  I wouldn't trade the adventure of it for anything, but it's nice to see an apartment of our own in the horizon.  It's been a journey - I anticipate it still will be.  But slowly but surely, we're getting somewhere, and it's making for one heck of a story.

Not many other people can say they've lived in four different cities over the course of a month, after all.  To state it simply, it's cool.  But I am ready now to settle into this new place, and see what other aspects of my life adventure will rile up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The musical facade.

I like to pretend I’m Brian Wilson (Pet Sounds to Smile era)  when I compose music on Garageband and try these unique, different things that are kind of unconventional when it comes to what music commonly is to create something new, fresh, maybe a little strange, with these special little, unexpected touches.
But unlike him, my attempts probably suck.  Maybe not suck - but instead of sounding brilliantly unique, it just sounds a little off.  Alas, I’m not quite a composer, but I sure like doing it.
Except the last two non-rap songs I’ve composed have ended up sounding peculiarly like they could be a part of the soundtrack to a Legend of Zelda game or something (here's one, if you care to listen to my mediocrity:  My brother and I used to share “Link’s Awakening” on our Gameboy pockets when we were kids, and we legitimately loved the music.  I may or may not have two of the songs on my iTunes right now.
The stuff I created isn’t anywhere near as good.  But I like moments of them.  Certain moments really resonate with me, and I know that’s a start.  If I can create awesome moments in a song, then I’m on my way to creating great, complete masterpieces some day.  I’m still young, I’ve only been doing this for a few months - I’ll keep experimenting, and I get it.
Because those moments are important.  I realized that with songs I really love.  I can like a song as a whole, but what really gets me are those special touches that stick out and really make the song great. I know nothing of proper musical terminology, so bear with me, but sometimes at the end of a bar, an artist will do something different with the note progression there.  Like in “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, I absolutely love the part in the music every time after they sing “something” in the chorus.  I think it’s the bassline, maybe.  Whatever it is - I live for that part.
And in “Love You Like a Love Song” (yes, Selena Gomez - really take in the subtleties of that song before you judge), which is actually driven by a bassline (a synth bassline, but a bassline nonetheless - Billie Jean style, sort of) - the progression of the notes in that line at the end of each bar helps make the song for me.
Then you have that moment in one of the latter choruses of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” when he sings “I look at you all” but doesn’t complete the line, so it really draws your attention to the music at that part, and you can hear that piano shining over that guitar, and I just listen to that song in anticipation for that part.
So it’s important for me to have these little moments that I absolutely love in every song I created - whether it’s a certain chord change or how the drums go in one particular part.  Because that’s what makes a song for me.  That little special embellish that sets something apart.  The thing to look forward to, that clicks with you, that gets a little rise out of you every time you hear it, you know?
I’m such a poser.  I got my degree in film and act like I know what I’m talking about with music.  But it’s amazing what you can teach yourself just by paying attention.  Really listening to music - and I mean really listening to it has changed up my whole experience, and has really helped me to improve as I experiment with song writing.  I’m not expert by any means, but now I really understand a lot about music that I didn’t before.  Now I can actually talk about its composition and such (my lack of knowledge of the correct terminology aside), and the further I get, the more I enjoy it and really appreciate what goes into crafting a song. 
Adding onto the list: someone I can really talk about music with.  Not in a “yeah, I like this, I like that”, “oh, that’s good, but that sucks” sort of shallow, comparing tastes way, but really talking about the composition of songs, comparing songs in that sense, talking about what really makes a song great - picking it apart and truly appreciating it.  Someone I can really learn from.
This wasn’t the most eloquent or relevant of posts, but I wrote a song yesterday, so why not write about it in a sense?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I don't care too much for mansions. Mansions can't buy me love.

I'm watching the X-Factor in my hotel room, and in this episode, the contestants go to the judges' houses to perform for them.

Wait, did I say houses?  Because I meant ridiculously obscene mansions.  Epic estates in the most cliche of places (The Hamptons, Malibu, Paris), and I don't think I could ever build something like that using cheat codes on The Sims.

And as I sit in this hotel room I got at a huge discount that honestly not that much bigger than my bedroom back home, I realized something:  I wouldn't be any more content than I am now, sitting on an overpriced couch in one of those mansions as opposed to being in this hotel room.  I absolutely wouldn't.

Money, when it boils down to it, is meaningless.  And no one is going to believe that.  No one is going to believe that I believe that.  But I've spent the past five weeks living minimally in humble places that don't belong to me (and okay, I was technically in a mansion in Malibu for a month, but I was confined to just a singular, unfurnished room, so it was nothing like Nicole Scherzinger's pad that they're showing off on this episode), and it's just reiterate what I've kind of always know - true experience, true joy, true life is not found in what you have, as far as material possessions go.  It's Who you believe in, and what you do with that.

And it's such an interesting experience, to see these mansion on television and rather be in this hotel.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hodgepodging it up.

Today marked the first time I have ever done well in an interview.  So maybe the tides are changing.

Found out that Demi Lovato also has some social anxiety issues.  Obviously we're meant to be best friends.

Heading towards a path of permanence, of settling.  And I know it's for the best, but I will honestly miss this nomadic lifestyle.  Part of me feels like I could hop from place to place every month or so forever.  It speaks to a part of me that I've never got to indulge in, being stuck in Southern suburbia for way too long when I was in those antsy and angsty teenage years

One day I'll travel all around with my wit, creativity, and camera.  Most importantly, with my faith.  And it'll be awesome.  I can wait.  If God has taught me anything in this past year specifically, it's patience.  I can sit here, knowing that not everything isn't quite how I'd like it at the moment, but certain that great things are coming.  There are certain things I am so sure of in my gut (I won't divulge - eventually you'll know when they happen), and I'm content (mostly - I'm not perfect) to wait on the Lord for them.

I'm not without my lofty dreams still.  There's something in particular I would so love do, that speaks to so many of my desires, and it's such a long shot that I definitely won't be distraught if it doesn't happen, but it doesn't stop me from praying for it daily.  Because I can at least ask - puts me in a better position than not asking.  I know God can make it happen if it's in His will for me.  And if it's not in His will for me, then I'm totally fine with that, because He knows best.  I trust that.  That's something else He's been teaching me this past year - what it truly means to trust in Him.

So this hotel room - I'll miss it.  There's nothing like a hotel bed or watching sitcoms on couch.  And the loud hum (so loud that it actually can't really be considered a hum) of the flighty air conditioning.  I really do love it.  Like I said in a previous post, I will hotel hop someday.  After I travel with my camera, but before I take a year living on the beach in a tent amongst a surf community (that's for a different post).

Yep, it's the good life.  It's the suite life.  I've used that terrible pun twice on this blog now.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Home is where...?

The heart is?  The heart's in my chest, so I guess I'm home wherever I'm at.

Not exactly true, but this hotel room - feels a little bit like a home.

I sit on this couch, watch MTV documentary shows about people losing weight, pull out an old teleplay to rework, cook myself some dinner in the kitchen, believe in God's timing, and have spontaneous, celebratory dance parties to Demi Lovato's "Who's That Boy?" with Nina, and I've found my content place.

And it's one of those days that you review in your head and realize on paper, you didn't really do much (went to two post offices and a UPS store in search of elusive P.O. boxes and sat in 405-S traffic), but in all actuality, feel like you accomplished a good deal today.  Ideas flowing and progress inching forward, and it feels good - knowing that something was done today.

And knowing that God's got it all under control feels the best.  There's not a worry I have in the world.  Just enjoying life - with its ups, downs, challenges, and everything else in between, because I know that if I do my part, then He is definitely going to do His.

So it's good.  Even with my bum car and my period, it's good.  Joy comes from the inside, and I'm basking in all the joy I've got.  And I'm at home, because my heart's in me and Jesus is in my heart, and hey, this is life right here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Suite Life (Sorry for stealing your pun, Disney)

If I had minimal possessions and the money for it, I think I would consider just living in (nice) hotel suites.  Staying awhile in each, then when I wanted a change, going on to the next one.  Hotel hopping, if you will.

Here's why:

It's nice set-up.   I love hotel rooms - the feel of it, the coziness, the odd familiarity (maybe because I spent my fair share in them growing up).  It exemplifies a getaway, something different.  It's a nice room to yourself - a nice little living space.

Free, unlimited toiletries.  Soaps, shampoos, toilet paper, and in this hotel, paper towels - all at my disposable and refilled when depleted.

Cable television - mainly times with HBO.  This hotel has a pretty sizable HD flat screen.  The quality is pristine, and television is the ideal background noise.

Fitness center.  No gym membership, and not as many people take advantage of it as you'd think.  Here I have treadmills so nice that there's a TV attached to it (I prefer my iPod, though - I can listen to Demi Lovato's new album whilst burning calories, which is the best of both worlds).  Plus towels and a water dispenser, right there.

A/C.  This is the first time I've been with an air conditioning unit in over a month - it's very nice.

Free continental breakfast.  This probably should be first on the list.  Yes, it's small, but it's free!  Yes, it ends really early, but it's free!

It comes furnished.  This one even comes with every kitchen appliance I could need (except a blender, but then again, I never really used the blender when I did have one at my disposable, so I don't probably need that).

Maid service.  Another one that should be higher on the list.  I come back each afternoon to my bed made, dishes cleaned, new towels, and everything straightened up.

I like collecting hotel keycards.

It would cater to my sense of adventure.  If I get tired of it, I could check out and move on to the next one.  I could live wherever I wanted.  Obviously, I need to just start my own film-related business that can be done anywhere I have a camera and Final Cut Pro, so I can just hop around the country and different hotel rooms...

I think I legit might do that for a few months sometime in the future.  Hotel hop.  Explore the new surroundings I settle in.  I could probably turn it into some sort indie documentary while I'm at it.  "180 Days of Hotels."  Don't steal that - I'm in the process of getting the rights already.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Important Conclusions.

I've come to some important conclusions tonight.

I effing hate my car.  So much that I dropped a faux f-bomb.  Well, I don't really hate it, because I just don't have it in me to hate (that's a really dark place to get to, if you've ever experienced true hatred), but as I drove it tonight, I realized that because of my relatively positive demeanor, there was only thing in my life that I absolutely detested - and it was that car.

Funny to think that for a very brief period, I loved the thing.  It's sort of like that relationship you jump into, because the guy (or girl, to make this relatable to everyone) seems so perfect, and you just love him (her, it, whatever) so much because he (tired of making this universal) seems to be so amazing.  And then as time goes on, you find out that he is not at all amazing, but just actually really sucks.  If it was earlier in the day, I'd make that metaphor a lot more poignant.  Point is - thought this car was sweet, turned out to be a dud, and as much as I love this adventure I'm on, this car is just getting on my nerves.  I paid $40 to get my turn signal fixed today, only for it to stop working again not even two hours later.  It smokes like a "thinks she's cool but she's not" indie college student at liberal arts college (like, you know, NYU) and oh, a headlight and a taillight is out.  But hey, I go to court over it in less than a week, so hopefully it's off my hands, and I can start a new.  Literally, I am never purchasing an used car again unless it's over $10,000 and from a legitimate dealer.  Not from sketchy, four months' "pregnant" (yet I see no bump...) women named Eda.  Yep, just called you out on my Eda - whatchu gonna do?

Next conclusion.  Decided that I want to direct Anna Kendrick in a movie.  Nina and I saw 50/50 tonight, which is a very good movie, and she is just so charmingly awkward and funny that I have to write a role especially catered to her and then direct her to Oscar winning glory.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt can certainly be in it as well.  In fact, they can play love interests.   But both are fantastic actors, so they've been added on to the list of "must-directs", which include but certainly is not limited to Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez (do not ask, just embrace), and Emile Hirsch (quite possibly solely because I find him totally charming and if you close your eyes, he sounds just like Leo).

Those are today's conclusions.  Well, tonight's, rather. This early morning's?  Yep.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

An Adventurer's Life - That's What's For Me

The adventure of my time in Los Angeles has spoiled me and now I don't know I can really ever be truly satisfied with a "stable" life ever again.  Of course, this has been a little extreme and far from planned, but once getting into the swing (or rather, lack of swing) of things, I have come to enjoy it, and I just can't imagine a life without a certain degree of spontaneity.

Which is why if all does fail in thirteen days and my time in Los Angeles is unfortunately forced to come back to an end, I really just can't go back to North Carolina.  Not that it's anything against North Carolina.  I love North Carolina.  I want to be in North Carolina.  But I can't stay there, because what it represents to me is stagnancy and monotony.  The wrong kind of stability - I don't want to be rooted in my mother's house in the same town I lived most of my life in.  I need some sort of on the edge living.  Something different.

So my overly active and very imaginative mind that often works on its own whims has come up with a list of Plan B's that I will pursue in thirteen days if things just don't come together in the way I really hope and pray they would.  Please note that these are absolutely secondary plans, and my utmost priority is finding anyway possible to stay in Los Angeles.  I post these a little bit in jest, except I do feel like I will consider at least one of these options seriously if it comes down to it.

1. Become a groupie for Demi Lovato.  She's going on a brief tour in November, so armed with my DSLR, I will follow her throughout the midwest and Northeast, documenting my experience, and trying to finagle my way into her shows.  At the very least meeting her or people she's associated with, living on the road, being super adventurous, and of course turning the whole thing into a Sundance hit.

2. Pitching a tent on my dad's plot of land on the island of Nevis where he was born.  Once again with my camera, documenting the whole thing.  Living off the fruit of the land.  Buying a fishing pole.  I have family there, so that's helpful.  Getting back to my roots.  Robinson Crusoe stuff.  I actually have never read that novel, so I have no idea if it actually is Robinson Crusoe stuff.  Probably actually more like that terrible 80's movie with a young Brooke Shields, minus the blonde boy and awkward sexual tension.  Blue Lagoon.  That's what it's called.

3. Find a friend somewhere, anywhere who will let me visit and crash indefinitely in a place I've never been or at least never lived before (so High Point and New York City are out, but if I can get back to LA, then bet your dogs I'll be back) and just explore and discover life in somewhere new.  Fall deeper in friendships and even if there is no goal in mind, just do it for the experience, see what comes of it.  Find something to film while I'm there.  I have a few friends in various places, so maybe I can at least swing it somehow.

Those are three I have right now.  In a sense, they kind of boil down to "make a documentary", but it's much more than that, of course.  I absolutely want to stay here.  I am going to do everything in my power to stay here.  I will not resign to the absolute last possible second, but if God has other plans (and let's face it, His plans and my plans often don't line up, and His always turn out to be infinitely better), then I'll at least see what I can do to avoid returning to High Point living - at least not under these circumstances.  I honestly can see myself living in North Carolina again, but I'm far from that right now in my heart.

I just have come to love this little adventure I'm living.  I can't remember the last time I've felt so simply happy in life.  Not that I'm not generally a constantly happy person, but this feels a little bit different.  It feels so great, and I've realized that this is kind of what I've always wanted.  So I always want to stay on the tip of my toes, pushing forward into the unknown, taking risks, and all that good stuff.  Because this right here, what I'm living in right now, feels so right to me.  As honestly frustrating as it has been in some moments, I wouldn't change the way things have been going out here for the world (minus the piece of crap car I purchased.  I don't like that).

So adventure it is for me.  That's what it's gonna have to be.  I really can't wait to see what adventures God leads me in the future.  And I pray that I don't have to end up settled back in High Point come thirteen days from now.

The Greatest.

I think part of the reason why I got into The Beatles was the intrigue.  It's incredibly fascinating to me to think of how they're widely considered the greatest band ever - at least the most influential.  And there's a sort of mystique there.  For ten years, they created music that would outlive the life of the band by a long run.  Something that started out so small that exploded into a long-lasting phenomenon.  And can you imagine - being the greatest at something?  That mystique, as I listened through Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the first time, captivated more so by the reputation of the music than the music itself.  To think I was listening to what many say is the greatest album ever released - some part of me grabs onto that.

Probably the lingering vestiges of pride.  The last remnant of a desire within me to be the best.  Something that has been melted away, courtesy of the Lord's work on my life, but lingers in the sense of that I know a part of me still wants to create something so indisputably and widely great.  I don't care to be better than anyone else, but to be the best of myself - it's so alluring.  Not enough to drive me to obsession - I realize the importance of life lies not in the opinions of others about you.  I won't strive for it - not for approval, no.  But I do believe there is merit in creating something great.  Why create at all, I almost wonder, if you're not aiming for it to be some kind of great (whether or not it actually ends up as such)?  And I cannot lie to you or myself or God - I want to create something great.

And the small part of my flesh that will probably never die wants to create the greatest.  I won't indulge such pride, though.

But I think that want helps solidify my fascination and love for Paul McCartney.  He had such ambition - to the point that it annoyed his bandmates.  His desire for perfection in his works, how he kept trying to innovate and push forward - I see so much of myself in that, and I'm not sure how good or bad that is.  I don't stop at snippets at idea - everything because grand visions for me.  I always want to push forward with my work, but am hindered by how I feel no one else around me feels that same passion quite to the level I live in it.

And then I'm especially intrigued by Brian Wilson - creative genius behind The Beach Boys.  And how that same ambition and drive that McCartney had ended up failing Wilson in - driving him crazy.  I was reading yesterday in Barnes and Noble about his unfinished album - Smile.  It was slated to be an absolute masterpiece - something that would've thrown a wrench into The Beatles ascension into most influential and widely praised rock band ever.  Wilson slaved over it, and I have the feeling that no one around him quite understood his obsession - how nothing was good enough, how he had to keep on pushing boundaries to create his perfection.  And it's so interesting how his quest for greatness ended up tearing him apart - because he set standards for himself that he couldn't quite reach.  It's as tragic as it is absolutely intriguing.

So I see the flaws behind such a pursuit - how easily the creative process can destroy a person.  But yet I can't help but feel inspired.  Driven to create a masterpiece, and I'm not sure why.  It's not for acclaim.  It's not for meaning.  I can't even say it's to give something to the world, which is what is at the heart of my usual creative endeavors (minus the few times I create purely to create - a self-indulgence because I just need to since it's such an integral part of me).  Maybe it's simply just to do it.  Or it's the most appropriate outlet for all this passion and energy residing inside me.  I want to pour my all into something - not obsessively, but thoroughly and create something that had never been seen.  That rocks the world.

I can't say if it's terrible or alright.  The intent of isn't bad.  I think it's quite innocent, but seeing how the world approaches such a desire - I know it can be a dangerous pursuit.  If it happens, then it happens.  I think it's alright to want to create greatness.  But I know it can lead straight into the meaningless, superficial path of everything the world glorifies and nothing that God does.  And that is the last thing I want.

I think where it lies is that if I create something great, I create it for God.  To use the talents He's given me - to enjoy His gifts and to glorify Him in the process.  And if that forever resides at the heart of it, I think it's fine.

I'm slowly easing into a creative oasis, it feels like.  Maybe it's this hotel room or this nomadic life or just a new season, as happens so often.  But I'm gonna ride it, because I love creating.  And I will strive to create greatness.  I will explore, experiment, learn, and have fun.  I will push the bounds to grow and better my work, because I think regardless, stagnancy isn't optimal.  And maybe I'll even try for a masterpiece.  But if I fail, I won't be upset, because I know there is so much more to life than just that.  I'll do it because I enjoy it thoroughly, not to earn some intangible praise from people who don't even know me.

Paul McCartney, though.  He's definitely an inspiration.  I'd only be so blessed if I could accomplish in my field what he accomplished in his.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My two weeks.

After a month stay in the isolated guest room of a beautiful house in Malibu, CA and almost a week foray at a humble, but enjoyable home in Eagle Rock, CA,  tonight marks the beginning of my stay in a Los Angeles hotel for up to, but no longer than, two weeks.

So I've decided to meticulously chronicle these two weeks.  Maybe because I should've done the same with my five California weeks before.  Maybe because these are to be a pivotal fourteen days that will determine so much about my near future.  October 21st could be so many different things; only these two weeks will be able to tell.

Mainly, I want to see closely what God will do in this time.  He has already done so much with the time that has passed - I am certain that there is only but more to come.  This is an exploration of faith.  What it means to abandon all worry and embrace uncertainty in the confidence that God will come through in the end.

This is adventure.  Living out of a hotel in yet another new city after playing nomad the best I could.  This is all I see, learn and experience.  And creating the best I can along the way.

Today I applied to two things.  Then took another step forward in a video I've been editing.  Sound editing is crucial - unfortunately in my current limited existence, I don't have all the means to make it perfect, but I'm making do with what I have.  It's amazing how much music can color something, change something.  The entire feel of a piece, transformed entirely just because of song choice.  I've experimented a bit - too tired to attempt to compose my own soundtrack, plus honestly too impatient, I've taken to the stock instrumentals my Mac has provided me.  They're decent - some painfully mediocre, but in their midst, I've found suitable matches for my piece that create the kind of mood I'm aiming for.  I'm close to done now.  Just some minor tweaking - mostly with other sound issues - and perhaps by the end of the weekend, it'll be online for all to see.

As I did that, I had Martin Scorsese's documentary about George Harrison on in the background, which of course riled up that creative sense in me, which is now rearing to go with a camera and take on the world, explore the world, reveal the world in all sorts of ways.  But if there's one thing I've learned these past few months, it's patience.  The merit of waiting.  God knows the desires of my heart.  He blessed me with these talents.  He'll make use of them when the time's right.  I truly believe that, and trust me, I'm much more at ease all the time because of that.

Lastly, I listened to the best composition I've created to least it's my favorite.  I'm not entirely sure what to do with it - I know it'll remain instrumental, but I want to put images to it.  There are snippets, but it's not quite gelling yet.  Once again, I'll wait.  I'll wait for it to come together in my mind and wait for the right means to come along to put it into action.

Here's that composition:

I feel quite almost poetic and serene in this moment, and it's probably from watching that documentary.  George Harrison - quite intriguing, wasn't he?  Still is, even in death.  It's interesting to see how much his spiritual faith touched and influenced his life, though it's a spiritual faith much different of my own.  It's interesting to be able to relate to him on that facet in a way, despite inherent differences in our theologies.  I understand - just in an entirely different way.

I'm about to go downstairs to the lobby because there's a 24 hour mart with food.  Frozen dinners, in fact, and because Nina has my car, I'm confined to this building for now (there's a Trader Joe's a block away, but I'm in an unfamiliar area and don't really like getting shot, so we won't risk it since the sun's gone down).  I'm not picky with my food, so I'll glad throw something in the microwave and enjoy.

This will be less journalistic, more creative minded, but still a little of both - the nature of these posts that are to follow.  Whether I feel like it or not, I'll update at least once a day.  Probably more on most days.  I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to create, and there is so much to explore.  Plus, I'm living an adventure.  Heck, the dream - not the one I came out here to pursue (not yet) but the one of my youth that craved spontaneity and adventure and taking risks and being free.  It's funny how that turned out without me even trying, with me completely forgetting that I ever had those urges at one time.  So it's more fun than anything.  But that's probably because it's physically impossible for me to get stressed, so I'm not worried about the fact that I have to resort to living in a hotel for right now if I wanna stay West (and even that wasn't certain until a few days ago - before then, I had no idea where I'd be come today.  But I'm here, because God always comes through).  I'm just living life and loving it.

I feel very content in these moments.  I'm glad for this happiness, peace, and knowledge that even though many things aren't certain in my life, I at least am certainly living it.

Good night.


Friday, May 6, 2011


So for the past four months I've been trying to get together a treatment or something for a movie about my hometown.  Well, not about it, but highlights it.  Like the Coen Brothers - their films really utilizes the setting.  So Fargo isn't about Fargo (in fact, like 5 minutes of the movie is in Fargo), but it kind of is.  Well, about North Dakota and a tiny bit about Minnesota.  Their wide, establishing outdoor shots in each of their films are amazing.  So I want to do a movie where I can do epic, beautiful shots like that while incorporating the culture of my hometown without it being a documentary or some awkward character study.

At first it was going to be autobiographical, but it was too long for all I wanted to capture.  Then I was going to split it in two parts, but I never really returned to it, because ehh, just wasn't feeling it.  A few weeks ago, I had another idea of how to incorporate my idea, but it was still lacking whatever thing my other ideas lacked.

But as I was driving today, it hit me - the perfect opening scene, and it just unraveled from there.  And now I'm sure I got it.  The problem was, I was making it too much about myself - making it too sentimental to me.  And I want to capture my city, not my necessarily my life.  This story is undoubtedly so inspired by my actual life, but it's not autobiographical, and it's not "High Point: The Movie."  I'll call it "High Point" in the sense that the Coen Brother's called their movie "Fargo."  It's not about High Point, but rather about characters who live there.  But still at the end of the movie, I want people to come out understanding where I grew up - hate it a little, love it a lot, and just appreciate this random place in the middle of North Carolina.

Practically the whole movie came to me in the thirty minutes I sat in Panera waiting for someone (and of course I didn't have a notebook on me), so I got myself a good skeleton.  Gotta brush somethings up, but I might be writing this soon.  It's about time I started on another screenplay.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Project: That same rap I've been talking about

Some words just don't flow off the tongue.  Like they sound great and pretty when read, but when you're pairing them with other words within a certain rhythm...just does not work at all.  And so frustrating trying to find a synonym for a whole phrase that you've already become attached to.

Also, it's about finding a rhythm for your words that not only work but convey the right emotion.  You know, putting the right emphasis on the important words and delivering lines in a such a way that creates a certain feel.

Real Quick Beatlab Before Bed

Project: Beat for a light-hearted, humorous in concept rap for Girl Conception potential

Just figured out the tempo for this rap.  96 beats per measure!  That's quite slow in comparison to the last three songs I composed.  But I want this to have a laid back, sort of late summery kind of feel.  There's a specific nostalgia I'm bringing up for this rap, in fact.  August back in my early teen years as school is about to start. A kind of "Dirty Souf" esque ditty that embodies the last days of summer.

That sounded way to deep for the kind of song I'm creating here. haha

About 15 minutes maybe has gone by of me actually working on the track (more than that in total time because I really don't think I have an attention span), and man, I think this is the quickest I've ever gotten the skeleton of a beat together (I am so uneducated in the proper vernacular of this - I'm a self-made woman, what can I say?).   Okay, it helps that it struck me last night in the midst of my recent bout of insomnia, so I guess all I really had to do was pull it off of the paper.  But it just struck me within seconds last night, so I can still say this may be the quickest.  At least in the comparison to the turmoil I went through perfecting my last beat.  And I'm so loath to say that this beat is complete because of how quick I got it together, but it's catchy, the bass is hittin', and though it's simple, I think the musical accompaniment (which I'll come up with tomorrow and sort of have an idea for) will help with that.

Sometimes you have to practice restraint and know brevity and/or simplicity sometimes is the best.  It's a problem I have creativity - always wanna keep going.  I tend to be long-winded (as you can tell from this blog), never quite know where to stop.  But right now, I think I gotta just let it lay to rest.

Except I gotta figure it out if maybe I wanna do something a little different for the chorus.  I'll figure out the structure right before I turn out my lights.  Except no, what I've learned with that there has to be something consistent throughout the whole piece in rap songs.  Maybe I'll layer it for the chorus, but the main skeleton of the beat is gonna remain unchanged.  Man, I already really love this beat.  Like some rap songs excel in the musical accompaniment, but man, this is definitely a beat song.  It's already stuck in my head.  That's great! (Sincerely stated, for the record).  Definitely a winner.  How do I make this a career because I think I might just have a knack at it?  Like, seeing how I've improved in the four days since I've been doing this...this is really cool!

Perfecting the Flow

Project: The rap I've been working on

So I wrote the lyrics.  I made the beat.  I even created a skeleton for the music video. The next stop is practicing the delivery of the rap for recording.

I read through it out loud, but normally, once or twice, just to get a feel of the word rolling off of my tongue.  Then I rapped through it.  But probably prematurely, I launched into rapping to it with the music playing in the background.  The tempo is kind of fast, so there's definitely a lot to iron out there still, and since I have headphones on, it's not exactly a clear run through since I can barely hear my voice.  But it counts for something.

So here I am now.  I've gone through this rap about 5 times with the music.  And taking a breather, I realize...I feel emotionally drained.  Now I do this often with raps I've written - rap through them to perfect the rhythm, that is, so they'll be solid whenever I finally get a chance to record them.  But never have I felt like this EVER after these private "rehearsals."  But that's probably because it's always usually been comedic/satirical rap.

But this rap.  I didn't even realize how emotionally attached I was to the meaning, to these words.  I mean, it's about an issue that's very important to me and that has been for years.  Something that's always weighed on my heart - heck, it's a big part of my heart.  And I guess all these years of thinking it, writing it in my journal, scribbling random poems and prose around it has added up and culminated into this rap.  Because man, I feel these words so much.  I was vaguely aware of it as I was rapping - the emotion building up with the verses and the music.  My voice cracking - the true sincerity and earnestness.  Like any sort of spoken art is about creating emotion in the words, but with this, I don't have to create it or make it or fake it.  It's just takes a life on its own without me realizing.

I could feel myself almost almost to tears.  Getting to the point where I could see myself tearing up.  My hand motions are fervent, and some lines I'm practically yelling.  And it's just kind of confirmation throughout the doubts I've been having about this project - I have to do this.  Seeing how much this means to me, how much I care about this...

I'm watching Vh1's Top 20 Countdown simultaneously as I write this, and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is on.  And you know, this rap of mine - it's kind of my "Born This Way."  No, it's not about the same thing that Born This Way...well, actually.  But no, the point I'm trying to make with this comparison is that this song I wrote is a message I believe strongly in, that I truly believe the world needs to know.  And I know songs have been made about it before - 3 from the past few months alone come to mind - but I have to take a stab at it.  And it brings a little something different than "Who Says", "Firework" and "F***** Perfect" does.  Yep, I'm getting more explicit about it.

I'll say the only reason why I haven't been completely explicit about it is that there is a very specific hook to it that sets it apart, and I have this mild paranoia of my ideas being copied, so I'm wary about putting that out to a blog that anyone can see.  But I'm fine with saying that the song is about loving yourself  and realizing that absolutely everyone - including yourself - really is beautiful.  I think it's the saddest thing when people think they're ugly, not good enough - tears my heart apart, so this's about that.

Allow me toot my horn for one second, though.  I know this post is about the flow and the emotion behind it, but man, I somehow managed to create a really great, emotional musical accompaniment for the lyrics.  I think that's part of what gets me so much as I rap it.  Because the music speaks so well to the desperateness in which I wanted to deliver this message with.

There you go.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Project: Music for lyrics I typed up last night

Lots of trial and error in the creative process.  Editing is pretty much all the same - whether it's film or music, it's all about creating the right rhythm and making sure everything fits together.  This sort of "play with it until you got it thing" - I don't have to deal with it too much in screenwriting.  Not so much in prose either.  But lyrics, then especially music - there's a lot of messing around until I stumble upon something, even if I do have a loose idea in my head to start off with.

I feel like I've been toying with the music for this chorus forever.  I guess it hasn't been that long - an hour, maybe?  But I had three or four different progressions, and it just wasn't working.  With one, I worked on the two parts separately and when I put them together...eww, clash.  Those pesky "keys".  Another sounded way to cheesy.  This is supposed to have hip hop roots - I'm not making a nursery rhyme.

But then finally, it just hit me.  Laid down a skeleton of the piano, then added flourishes from there.  This is shaping up kind of nicely.  I'm hoping that this will allow me to really exercise my creativity.  I've been dying to film forever with no real opportunity, but now I'm hoping I can get a music video together for this.  It could be epic...or it could be kind of lame.  There's a line, and I gotta be careful.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

2nd draft of the lyrics

Project: Rap lyrics for a potential project I’m really excited about
I come up with my best ideas at the most inopportune times and places.  Common locations where creativity slaps me in the face: in the shower (I can bring neither a notebook nor my laptop in there) and church (where I squeeze my ideas into the margins as I take notes on the sermon).
Tonight, however, it was while I was running at the gym.  Naturally this stroke of potential genius would hit me at the beginning of my run.  I run for an hour.  And I tend to be forgetful.  So most of my run was spent praying desperately that I’d just remember the lyrics.
Unfortunately (maybe fortunately), I had that whole hour to write lyrics in my head.  I kept on trying to stop myself, fearful I’d lose something great before I had a chance to drive home and scribble these things down.  But there’s no bridling creativity when it hits, so I kept reciting the words to myself over and over again, occasionally adding more.  On the plus side, it made the run fly by.  I had a really good run tonight, actually...but this isn’t a work out blog, so...
Anyway, got home - remembered the gist of everything I wanted to say, but not in the exact words.  And with me, when things suddenly hit me, it’s right the first time.  So kind of disappointed that I lost my original words, but I think if I keep revisiting the lyrics, I’ll be able to get something just as good.  Maybe even get back to what I came up with while I was running.
I don’t know if this will end up being too long.  I’m about to type up my scribbles now so I can get a clearer look at them and put them in order.  This is what the lyrics look like on my notebook:

So yeah, typing them in a necessity.  But first - a snack.
One of the most dangerous things about rhyming - it coming off as super cheesy.  That line I just typed up...yeah, doubt that’ll be making the final draft.
Ripped off...I mean, paid homage to Jason Mraz in there.  Subtle reference - even if anyone recognizes it from his song, they won’t put two-and-two together.  But it’s one of my favorite lyrics of his for the sheer bluntness of sincere emotion behind them, and it really fits here.  It really fits more than I can even explain right now...
The thesaurus = a writer’s best friend.  Especially since this use of it helped me score some alliteration.  Love alliteration.
This rap is a hybrid.  In addition to the things I came up on the track, I’m pulling from a bunch of previous works.  In fact, I pulled out a poem I wrote 5 and a half years ago for this.  The rest is a bit more recent - a song from this past summer, and a poem from February...that I just happened to rediscover last night, before I even had the idea for this.  That’s pretty awesome.  God’s at work in the subtlest ways.  It all connects...gotta love it!
I took the best parts of that song and stuck them in this rap.  Hmmm.  I mean, I don’t think I’ll regret, but I was fond of the music of that song.  Not like I’m pursuing a singing career - I don’t have the right to, vocally - but with the right help, it could be something someone else could sing.  Oh well, push comes to shove, I’ll write a new part to it.  Or reuse the words and use it as a companion piece haha
Oh, I love imperfect rhymes.  They’re up their with a thesaurus.  And this case was so accidental too.  It was like “Oh, wait...’friend’ kind of sort of rhymes with ‘mean it’ if I say it right - now I don’t have to come up with another line!”
First verse - a page and a half.  This is gonna be a long rap.  Better make this catchy as heck.  But I’m pretty satisfied so far.  Some definite good moments in there.  The kind where you feel a little elated as you read over the line because you know it’s gold.
I kind of want this chorus sung rather than rapped.  Why can’t I have Demi Lovato handy in my back pocket?  Is that creepy?  I don’t care - I’d have Demi sing every hook of one of my raps if I could.

Half of the power of this rap is gonna be in delivery.  I don't mean theatrics in the way that Nicki Minaj does 'em.  I want this to be conversational, but still retain that rhythm.  And I want sincere emotion to ring through.  Which it will...because I'm sincere about what I'm saying here.  Probably the most sincere I've gotten in a rap.  This is something that has meant so much to me for years.

If someone listens to this rap, and nods their head fervently in a "preach it, girl!" sort of way, then mission accomplished.  Or you know when you hear a good line - whether it be in song, rap, slam poetry, sermon, whatever - and it hits you hard and you let out a soft, but meaningful  "Ooooh!"  Almost like this grunt that signifies that that line registered with something in you.  I want that reaction out of this rap.

I think you may be able to tell by now that it's not a satirical rap I'm working on here.

I like building miniature motifs within stanzas.  I don't know if anyone will ever analyze my words to the extent to pick up on it, but even if it's not glaringly obvious, I think it definitely adds something to the overall feel.  I used to think analyzing text in high school was a joke - it's so subjective.  But as I grow as a writer, I realize that these metaphors, themes, motifs and all sorts of literary devices do exist in the words, just wanting to be found.  Writing is so layered.  What an art!  As technical as it may seem, I think it's definitely a right brained thing.

Okay, good, the second verse isn't as long so it cancels out the extreme length of the first verse.  Now to verse 3...but it's also short, so it's kind of more of a bridge part.  Except I envisioned an actual bridge part while on my run, so I dunno.  And actually, I was struggling with verse 3, and I've said so much already.  I might just keep half of it.

Almost done and I'm stuck on ONE line.  I need a rhyme.  Ironically, I just created a rhyme right here.  Ugh - okay, so I've been super vague about the subject of this. But I've thrown in some secret hints throughout this post.  But this time around, I'm gonna tell you that this is a hint: I need a word that rhymes with "worth it" and for a reason I won't state (but I think it's pretty obvious), I can't use "perfect."  You know what a writer's third best friend is (specifically a writer of poetry)? Rhyming dictionary!  Or in the modern age,

Just occurred to me to look up the lyrics to Pink's "Perfect" and making sure I'm not unintentionally ripping her off with any of my rhymes. I barely know the song, so it would definitely just be coincidence/no one owns the word "perfect" or anything that rhymes with it, but you know, just wanna make sure, since that song is currently popular.

Oh, it seems like she rhymes perfect with...perfect.  That's perfect! hahaha I'm corny.  But good, that means I don't have to worry about anything.  So apparently "unchecked" and "perfect" rhyme...and despite my initial skepticism, I see that they do.  I'm not using that, though.

Okay, found my rhyme!  Second draft done!  The night's still young as far as I'm concerned, so...well, you'll find out where I decide to go from here in the next entry, if it's anything creative.

Thursday night beatlab

Project: Beat for a Comedic “Girl Conception” rap
The structure of the beat conceived last night in the midst of ridiculous insomnia.  Lyrics written months ago.  Started it on garage band earlier today.  Finishing it up tonight.  Everything made entirely and originally by me - no pre-made loops or any sorts or kind.  Just me, a keyboard, and garageband’s nifty feature of making piano notes sound like other instruments.
Here are some random thoughts as I finished it up tonight:
This melody I created makes me smile.  Not because I think it’s amazing...just the tone of it - it’s playful, kind of silly.  Makes want to snort out a giggle, too.  Perfect for a comedic rap.  Doubly, perfect for a comedic rap about a tween star...
Ahhh, I love the transition between the verses and the chorus.  The best things happen by fortunate accident.  Like at the end of the chorus - I have this sort of cymbal sound that gradually crescendos.  I put it there because as I was listening through, I took a sip of soda, and I could hear the fizz settling right at that part.  And it sounded good, so I knew I had to make it happen for real in the song.
I wish I had a decent microphone.  My vocals aren’t amazing, but it’s better than having this poor piano substitute.
It’s hard to play the keyboard with a keyboard.  My dang Mac has a bad case of sticky keys.  On the list of things I wish I had: a midi cable so I could connect my actual keyboard (you know, piano that uses electricity) to my laptop.  Luckily garageband lets me edit that mess of notes.
Back when I took piano lessons as a kid and then was in middle school band and even last year when I was taking piano lessons again did I ever really think I’d appreciate what it means to know what an eighth note is.  Tempo and how many notes in a measure and time signature and a bunch of other stuff that I know what it is, just not necessarily the right term for it - it was good to know, but never thought it would be necessary.  But as I’m creating beats - man, it’s very good to know.  That way, I don’t even need to be at my computer to create a rhythm.  I can make it in my head then transcribe it so that when I get to my computer, I know what I want without having to scour my brain to remember it.
Like, I wrote down last night in my insomnia how I wanted the breakdown to go.  And of course, being me, I didn’t remember it at all.  But all I had to do was look at the notes to re find the rhythm.  Music is awesome.
Making beats is like playing with legos.  It’s half knowing what you want to build and half improvisation.  If this was a tweet, I would’ve added “#fakepoignancy” to the end of that statement.
The ending is practically the most important part of anything - sometimes my whole perception of a movie is changed just by the way it ends.  So I assume the same goes with a song, too.  Fade out?  End abruptly?  Repeat the refrain over and over again?  Well, it’s a rap song, so I gotta leave the customary 15 or so seconds for asserting our identity in gangsta voices (“Dis yo’ girrrrrl!” “You know how we do!”)  So beat only?  Have the melody in there?  Should I change up the piano part a little?  Well, it’s a rough draft so I’ll just end it how I started it.  When it doubt - sandwich it!
Time to listen through the first draft!
hahaha The breakdown sounds like it’s being played by a marching band.  There aren’t even any horns in this arrangement.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  The beat is hip hop enough, so I might be able to get away with it.  Something to mull over when I come back to this.
The thing about doing this alone is that you’ve really gotta be confident in what you’re creating.  I have no second opinions readily available - just gotta go with my instinct, and I have to trust that instinct for the time being.  And sometimes I wonder if my attachment to a piece I’ve been working on overrides my ability to honestly critique it.  But you know what?  I think the most important thing is that you love what you made, regardless of what others may think.  I saw a quote like that.  Really - what’s the point of creating something, owning on to something, if you don’t love it?  And this right here - I love it.  And maybe I am delusional, but this tune is catchy as heck.  At least it has that going for it.
Okay, on to the next project: