#ROW80 Round 3 update: Revisiting Some Goals

This is the point, halfway through the roiund, when I’m pretty sure that people are starting to say “eh…maybe I need to rethink this.” I know I am. Things are going all right, but there are some things that I’ve been ignoring, and I need to find a way to work them in. So, anyway, a status report:

Writing:

Having spent the better part of the last couple of months working on novel-length projects, I’ve discovered that I miss writing short stories, vignettes, short memoirs, etc. Mary thinks that I should work on stories of my family and childhood, of which there are many, some of which are pretty funny (such as the time my brother developed a fungus infection on his scalp because he was entertaining my cousins by walking around with a plunger on his head). The more I think about it, the more I think that she might have a point there.

I still plan on finishing the NaNoNovel that I’m working on this month and the Fast Draft novel I did last month. Those are significant pieces of writing that I should complete, and the NaNo challenge is still doable, provided I write in the neighborhood of three thousand words a day. Thanks to Fast Draft, I don’t see that as a problem; however, if I don’t quite make it, I’m not going to lose sleep over it. For the record, I am currently at 6,849 words on that.

Also, the “Thursday Ten” feature that I’ve tried hard to do every week will be a biweekly feature, at least until I get better at generating ideas for it. I might have one for tomorrow, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Reading:

I started reading Easy Innocence, another Georgia Davis novel by Libby Fischer Hellmann. I’m doing something that I have intended to do with just about every book that I’ve read lately: I’m identifying each of the scenes and making a list of what happens in each one, and relating each scene to the basic structure as per just about every book on outlining I’ve read. There’s something that I’m missing, and I had better find it.

Other:

I’m doing what I usually do when faced with big projects: retreating from everything (and everyone) else. I’ve been ignoring Twitter and not being involved with the ROW80 community. That’s really a part of what ROW80 is intended to foster, maybe even the second most important thing next to the personal goals. I apologize for letting it slip as I have. So, I’ll be around more frequently than in the past. (I know: don’t threaten ME, Buster!)

Two for Tuesday: The Guess Who

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, The Guess Who in their heyday were Burton Cummings (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, flute), Randy Bachman (guitar), Jim Kale (bass), and Garry Peterson (drums). A hit in Canada long before coming south, they were the first Canadian band to have a #1 on Billboard‘s “Hot 100” (since The Crewcuts’ “Sh-Boom” in 1954) with “American Woman.” from the 1969 album of the same name. Randy Bachman left the group in 1970, and was replaced by Kurt Winter and Greg Leskiw (Randy’s kind of a big guy). The group disbanded in 1975, reunited to close the Pan-American Games in 1999, and today Peterson and Kale own the name, are playing a few dates a year, and have a record planned.

Their music combined blues, jazz, and rock, gradually morphing into harder rock and progressive. These two songs were from the 1969-70 period. The first, “These Eyes” was their first hit in the US, released in January 1969. It was certified gold by the RIAA later that year. The second, “Undun,” never charted; it was from their American Woman album and has a definite jazzy flavor. This is a 1983 live performance, so it’s a little different from the record; I chose it because I like it better than the album.

The Guess Who: your Two for Tuesday, August 14.

The Thursday Ten: Ten songs about rain

It’s been rainy here in North Georgia, and it got me thinking of songs that involved rain. Here are ten of them.

“Rhythm of the Rain” – The Cascades (1963)

Originally released in 1962, it became an international hit in 1963. The Cascades started as The Silver Strands, a group of sailors stationed in San Diego, crew members aboard the USS Jason, in the late Fifties and called it quits in 1975. They have reunited on the oldies circuit.

“Raindrops” – Dee Clark (1961)

When Little Richard decided to drop out of music and study the Bible in the late Fifties, Dee Clark finished his tour and recorded with his band. This song has one of my favorite sets of changes in it. The verses start out in a sort of major mode, and take a jarring turn into minor. Then back into major. It finishes with some Little Richard-like falsetto singing at the end.

“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” – B. J. Thomas (1969)

The love theme from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, written by Burt Bachrach and Hal David. A talented rock, country and Christian artist, Billy Joe Thomas sang in his church choir then joined a local band, the Triumphs. Their first hit was Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” which he also covered as a solo artist.

“Rain” – The Beatles (1966)

Dee Clark’s former label mates (Vee Jay earned the rights to release their first album in the United States when Capitol refused) recorded this as the flip side to “Paperback Writer.” As John Lennon says at the end of this, it was the first song recorded backward.

“In The Rain” – The Dramatics (1972)

Probably better known for their “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”, the Dramatics got their start in 1965, eventually joining the Stax/Volt lineup. They’re still going strong despite losing several members to heart attacks over the years.

“Kentucky Rain” – Elvis Presley (1970)

My personal favorite Elvis Presley song. It was written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard and featured Ronnie Milsap (who, at one Grammy Awards, was referred to repeatedly as “Ronnie Mislap” by Burl Ives) on the piano.

“Walkin’ in the Rain” – The Ronettes (1964)

The Ronettes consisted of Veronica Bennett (later known as Ronnie Spector), Estelle Bennett, and Nedra Talley, three young ladies from Spanish Harlem in New York. The only girl group to tour with The Beatles, this song was the only one produced by Phil Spector to win a Grammy.

“Walkin’ in the Rain with the One I Love.” – Love Unlimited (1972)

Originally Barry White’s backup singers, this was their first hit, reaching #14 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart.

“It’s Raining Again” – Supertramp (1982)

From their album Famous Last Words, the last one to feature Roger Hodgson. It debuted at #31 on the Hot 100, the highest debut in 1982, and peaked at #11.

“Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970)

It was tough to choose between this one and the earlier “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” This was recorded for Pendulum, the album immediately after Cosmo’s Factory, arguably their best.

And there’s your Thursday Ten. Hope you enjoyed it…

#ROW80 Round 3: Two steps forward, one step back

Kind of a mixed week. Some good stuff, some not so good.

Writing:

– I didn’t actually start on my NaNo novel until Monday. After yesterday, I have 2,623 words written. I hope to have many more words by this time next week.

– You probably noticed that I didn’t post the Thursday Ten last week. You’ll get one this week and maybe every other week after that. It’s hard for me to come up with lists of ten things.

Reading:

– Finished Writing Love, at least as far as the movie breakdowns. A lot of very good information there. Not as much as Story Engineering, but a lot of examples, which can sometimes be even more useful.

– I ditched Salinger and started reading Doubleback, by Libby Fischer Hellmann. I read her first three Ellie Forman novels and enjoyed them, mostly because she talks about places that I’m familiar with, specifically Rogers Park on the north side of Chicago and the suburbs of Skokie, Niles, and a town that I swear is Northfield, where I lived during my high school and college years. This book is one of a series featuring Georgia Davis, a private investigator who had been a cop and who had helped Ellie’s daughter during her early teen years. The books on plotting and story structure have me looking for scenes and turns in the plot. And, it’s just a fun book.

So, that’s where I stand as of now. I promise this week to get around to other blogs and leave comments.

Two for Tuesday: The Ides of March

From beautiful Berwyn, Illinois, The Ides of March started as The Shon-Dels in 1964 and renamed themselves after the bass player read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. These are live performances of two of their biggest hits. The first, “Vehicle,” was the fastest-selling record Warner Brothers ever had when it was released in 1970. The second, “L. A. Goodbye,” was released in 1971 and was a local Chicago hit (it hit #5 on WCFL’s survey, and #5 on WLS) but only made it to #39 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. Both feature Jim Peterik on guitar and lead vocals. The band took a hiatus in 1973, and Jim started the band Survivor, writing several of their hit songs, including “Eye of the Tiger,” featured in the movie Rocky.

The band reunited in 1990 at the prompting of their home town, and, amazingly, all of the members returned. They still pursue an active performing schedule and are still wildly popular.

The Ides of March: your Two for Tuesday.