Friday, November 4, 2011

Playing With the Writing Prompts or NaBloPoMo Day Four

To celebrate the momentous blog post for Day Four, I am going to combine some of the recent writing prompts that NaBloPoMo has provided in the past few days in this post.



I am not new to writing prompts. Livejournal (livejournal.com) provides them on the home page with a link that allows you (once it is clicked) to go immediately to your blog and commence wiritng. Wordpress.com provides prompts on the page that appears once you post something to your blog. In fact, the page is a helpful tip list that provides things like recommendations for tags for that post, how many words the post was, when you last posted and of course prompts to help create future posts.



One of the cool things about participating in NaBloPoMo are that they provide prompts because as I've said and even such luminaries as David McCullough (who make it look easy) said: Writin' is TOUGH.



Admittedly I usually don't use prompts. When I do blog, I pretty much know what I want to say and just say it. A prompt really has to grab my interest to make me use it. I can't quite say what that it is. I have no "heart in the box" yardstick (see the 11/3/11 episode of 'Grey's Anatomy for further explaination). However when a prompt strikes me the right way, there is music to be made.



So without further adieu...



[Caveat - the prompts I am listing will be my paraphrasing of the actual prompts provided. Have to do that for the nitpickerz out there. ]





Prompt: Do I listen to music when I write and if so, what?



Answer: I completely listen to music. Always have. It comes from growing up in a household where the radio or stereo or tv was playing something all the time. I am actually one of the people who miss the boombox era where you'd walk down the street especially during the summer and you'd hear great music-everything from the latest tunes to old time music. In another life I probably would have been a record producer. I say that because I put together actual playlists and have burned specific cds for writing. My musical taste is all over the place. I grew up with what might be termed Rhythm & Blues (that's what was played by my family usually). I also like funk, jazz, alternative, classical, hip hop, varying flavours of rap (I came of age during gangsta rap), new wave punk, jpop, etc.



I name my playlists according to what it reminds me of. So I have two playlists for my 'Angry Gondals' stories about the Northern, Southern and Unique Societies: The Kindred Spirits playlist and the The Kindred Spirits' Scotch. The characters in these groups refer to each other as "kindred spirits" because they are fighting on the same side. They also refer to allies outside of these groups this way. The songs in this are about fighting, overcoming, secrets, rallying, etc.



I came up with the "Scotch" series of playlists on reflecting that I wanted to put together a series of songs that were the kind of songs you'd feel inclined to drink scotch or another alcoholic beverage to. These are songs that are usually sad, full of longing, pain and regret - essentially a "What The Hell" list. Not surprisingly, lots o' Morrissey, RobinElla, Badly Drawn Boy, Solomon Burke, Bobby Womack, Joy Division, New Order, Billy Stewart and the like.



Right now I'm listening to a "Drive" list, which are songs that I would want to play if I were doing long distance driving and the song playing right now is "Aint No Future In Yo Frontin' " by the late MC Breed.





Prompt: Do I write on paper first and then write on a computer?



Answer: Sometimes. I did this a lot with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I confess that I really hate typing. I could never make my living transcribing. I generally plug things I believe in and use. I do use Dragon Naturally Speaking and I highly recommend it for those who hate the donkey work of typing. Admittedly you have to train it, but compared to IBM's Via Voice, which I had in the dark ages 10 years ago, it's the difference between washing your dishes by dishwasher and washing them by hand. I still at times have to go in and edit, but this is easier for me to do it seems.



For straight ahead blogging, I don't write on paper first. At most, I will write down talking points on papers and use it as a guide when I create a blog post. For example, the piece of paper next to me has the writing prompts listed and a one word example underneath each prompt. Everything else is me "feeling my flow." ("Feel Me Flow" by Naughty By Nature is a great song to write too along with Big Country's "Poorah Man.")



I do enjoy writing on paper. I like watching my hands form letters and for the amount of time spent in school practicing cursive, I want to get my money's worth out of it.



Prompt: What would I want for my last meal?



Answer: This struck me as funny because the day before I watched the Top Chef - All Stars marathon and one of the challenges for the final was to cook the last meal for three top chefs:: Michelle Bernstein, Wolfgang Puck and Chef Morimoto of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America fame. I also remember this challenge in Top Chef: NY with Jacques Pepin loving that the chef that cooked his meal (Carla Hall, currently on 'The Chew,' owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall) got the peas just the way he wanted them. What stuck me about the choices that the chefs in both seasons of Top Chef made is that they chose simple food connected with a strong memory usually of home and Mother. These are people who could have asked for the most complex meals and flavor profiles and didn't. Wolfgang Puck wanted Apple Strudel, Michelle wanted chicken, biscuits and gray and Morimoto wanted a hamachi bento. Jacques Pepin in the other season wanted roasted squab with peas. The cheftestants, though presented with these simple requests, did, manage not just to give them what they wanted, but to elevate the dishes to give each something special.



My last meal would be simple, but odd. I want fried chicken. It has to be fried chicken done right. My mother made the best fried chicken. Unlike what you get at Popeyes and Kentucky Fried Chicken (which these days can be really salty depending on the franchise you go to), my mother knew how to get the batter just right and fry the chicken just right. Anyone that can come close, would be a hero in my book. I'd also want plain udon soup. I've always liked it. Key lime pie for dessert. I used to have it every year for my birthday, but I can't get it homemade anymore. I would also want Mitsuya Apple Cider to drink. I came across the stuff when I was in Japan during my high school years (before the bubble not only burst, but left a huge crater where prosperity used to be). I couldn't get enough of the stuff.



So there you have it. An extremely long post using the writing prompts. Not bad. All me, Nothing more to say except goodnight and good luck.

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