Friday, November 16, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. That's an average of about 1,700 words a day, which, for me, is about two to three hours of writing.

Many people are doing this all over the world, including here in Chicago, where the average number of words completed at this point is, I estimate, around 15,000. Currently my word count is 17,733, which, as you can tell, is still far behind the goal.

I will be writing for the next six hours with the hope of catching up for some lost days. I will post periodically on the blog because I think keeping a record of my thoughts while writing for six hours straight will be amusing to others (and to me in the future).

I will also post about book-related music when it crosses my mind -- and when I need to take a break from my fictional world!


At 900 words and Creedence's greatest hits is just getting started. I'll take it.


My back hurts. This cafe put on a cover of this Nina Simone song. I can't find the version. The original is better anyway.


Tried to see how long it would take me to write one page of text. After ten minutes I am halfway done with the page, but I've also gone to the bathroom and found this pretty cool music website called Passion of the Weiss.


I wrote a page in twelve minutes, but it included the phrase "docking along the shores of friendship." What is happening to my brain! Best Coast is playing now. They good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Blues

If you want to self-monitor your current attitudes toward the U.S. political system, just gauge your gut reaction when you hear Chuck Berry's "Back in the USA" on Election Day morning. It was hard for me not to ignore the wave of ambivalent feelings that washed over me shortly after voting when I heard Mr. Berry singing "I'm so glad I'm livin' in the USA". I grew up with my father telling me and my brother on Tuesday mornings in November to never take for granted the right to vote that living in this country grants us. Growing older, becoming aware of systems of voter disenfranchisement, not to mention a prison system that bars a caste of former inmates from the polls, I feel both tempered gratitude and resentment.

It just makes me think again: how could a black man sing this shit in 1959 and not die inside? Clearly turning on their radio and hearing Chuck Berry long for a carefree ride through the Deep South helped whites feel more at ease about segregation and racial violence. I'm not a Chuck Berry expert, so I wonder if anyone can inform me the details of this particular moment in his career. What were the factors pushing and pulling him to spout this dangerously untrue version of America?

Meanwhile, last month Lupe Fiasco released Food and Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1. His depiction of the real issues facing Black Americans is honest, angry, and seems to flow from somewhere deep within him. What I mean is: it doesn't seem like Lupe will ever run out of lines like this one, from "Strange Fruition":

Now I can't pledge allegiance to your flag
'Cuz I can't find no reconciliation with your past
When there was nothing equal for my people in your math
You forced us in the ghetto and then you took our dads.

If Obama wins another term, I, for one, would like him to start addressing the reality that there are a whole lot of dads out there who have been denied the right to vote for him this Election Day.