Blog, Nonfiction

A Change Is Gonna Come

Big changes brewing around here! I’ve been strategizing and rethinking and tinkering when I have the time, and now I’m getting ready to implement some major structural changes to both Self + Pen and my Patreon campaign.

The gist of it all is that this site will become more of a standard author site, with links to work in various places, and to the Patreon campaign, and with news updates as necessary and also a few freebies. The Patreon campaign will become the main hub of activity for those who want to read me regularly, and want to know more about my creative processes and such. I’ll share more details when everything is ready.

This is going to be a rather big project, and it will be happening bit by bit, so please bear with me as I rearrange and get everything situated.

Uncategorized

Butterfingers?

Althea, out of the blue, this morning: “I want butter on my toes!”
Me: ??
Me: “What? You want to put butter on your toes?”
Althea: “Yeah! Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah.”

There was no explanatory context. No one had recently had toast, nor had we talked about it, nor was she pretending she had toast.

Originally posted on my personal Facebook account on November 1, 2016.

Uncategorized

Hektor, Seeing (Audio)

I’ve been practicing reading my work—a misleading term because I feel it’s more like performing, almost acting. No, it is performing. Even though it isn’t acting. Maybe live voice acting, or something close. I actually have a lot to say on the subject, but I’ll save that for another post. (Tl;dr: simply reading is boring; adding gravitas to words produces “poet voice,” which is silly; you need to express—act—the emotions of the work.)(Tl;dr the tl;dr: feel the emotions in your body, let them out in your voice.)

Instead, right now I’m just going to share a quick practice recording that I did for a friend. It needs work (e.g., on the plosives), but it isn’t half bad. In fact, I daresay it’s a damn sight better than most of what you’ll encounter at poetry readings across the anglophone world. (Just to be clear, I’m not talking about content—amazing poems can be read poorly, and poor poems can be read really well. I’m talking only about how the content is presented vocally.)

Here it is.

Nonfiction

Two very different uses of sighing

I’m for the moment just posting this because I find it an interesting example of how a single artistic gesture can be used to greatly differing effect in two different works. (Not that this should be surprising; but it’s nice to see it done so well and so differently.)

Anyway, listen to the two songs below:

 

 

 

Hear the sigh each singer uses? How do they make you feel?

Of course, a sigh isn’t just a sigh, nor is it sighed in isolation. The musical context contributes heavily, creating the atmosphere that the sigh breathes. In the case of “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”, it’s creepy and disturbing; even more so for the way it works with the whole song—thetremulous voice, the quiet, tender melody that worms into your head carrying the initially unremarkable and eventually deeply dark lyrics—to create something profoundly unsettling, and unsettlingly attractive.

Meanwhile, in Buckley’s rendition of “Hallelujah”, there’s a hell of a lot of sex appeal. Buckley notably trims down the lyrics to focus almost exclusively on those pertaining to love and desire. And the inhalation at the beginning, as if Buckley had just been touched for the first time by a long-desired lover…