I’ve got a novel coming out soon. It’s a piece of urban fantasy about small-time crooks, and about a socially awkward musician learning how to do magic, and it’s about how cool it is to be up at night. I borrow a lot of tone from noir, from punk rock, and from how it feels to be twenty-something and directionless.
I’ve been running some anti-ads for it, because if there’s something worth doing it’s worth doing sideways.
Keep a weather eye for City Song by Oliver Blakemore (that’s me) to hit a virtual outlet near you at the end of this month. …
This is my November Fifth Check-in. I do one every year.
Five years ago, I embarked on a mission. I determined that after five years I would support myself by my writing. I did an inventory of the resources I had at my disposal, and I decided that I would wield every tool I had in my toolbox to make it so I could put “Writer” on my business cards and mean it.
It has been a journey.
The time has passed.
Today, I can say that all the income I had this year was earned from writing. …
Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, wrote a weapon.
Doctor Zhivago represented a destabilizing element to Soviet Russia. Which was his point. Soviet Russia was an empire policed by ideology, and so it felt threatened by invasions of opposing ideologies. Doctor Zhivago was the story, in part, of people reacting to being victims of the Soviet system. That viewpoint scratched the Soviet propaganda the wrong way.
It would have been ridiculous to try to publish Doctor Zhivago in Soviet Russia. Ridiculous? It would have been life-threatening. …
I’ll tell you a scary story: sometimes I’m convinced that I’m a different person than the child I remember being.
I have no breaks in my memory. I have a continuous flow of memories from four until now. I remember my birthdays and foods I’ve always like (fish sticks). I remember my mixed relationship with mornings. I remember spending a lot of time wondering how other people somehow “got it,” when I had no idea what to find funny about Family Guy. Life’s long, and I remember all of it.
Except for the few confusing clues.
When I was about sixteen, I started writing a story about some kids who started to discover that they were lifelike androids. They never realized it before, but in their early teens they began to notice strange features of their memories and biology, and it turned out that they were robots. I’d become fascinated by the question of whether memories could be programmed, and if they could what that might say about personality. …
I wake up with music already stuck in my head most days. I don’t know if it’s a good habit, but my habit is to use that music to give my day definition. It’s a marker at the beginning. It sets a tone for the morning, and morning sets a tone for the rest of the day.
Today’s song was “Devil on My Back” by Mark Stoney.
It’s a thumpy, grumpy march of a song, heavy on the attitude and light on the complexity.
But that’s fine, because it strikes an evocative tone. Not all songs need to be the kind you can analyze for years without divining their deepest purpose. …
Joseph Harris neither confirmed nor denied this story.
We all know what it means when people can neither confirm nor deny the story, don’t we?
Bass can be a hard instrument to talk about. Bassists, for whatever reason, haven’t gained the star power that guitar players have.
I don’t know why. When basses are strangled well, they’ll make your spinal cord jiggle.
It might be a personality thing.
Joseph said there’s a particular cool thing that he likes about watching Victor Wooten play bass. The way Victor plays reminds us why it’s called playing.
Joseph said that you can spend all your energy learning technique and skill. …
I have a novel coming out soon. For the length of time I have been developing and writing and editing the novel, I have been building a playlist of music.
The playlist started partly because of the couple-few song references I made in the first few pages, and partly because the story is about a sorcerer who uses rock and roll lyrics as incantations and I wanted to keep a centralized list of the right songs. It started with “The Devil Within” by the Digital Daggers. From there it grew.
It started like that. From there I would add songs that had meaning for the novel. Maybe I thought the characters would listen to this song, so I’d add that. Maybe I thought, “That would be perfect in the movie” — it goes in. Maybe there were lyrics or a guitar riff that perfectly captured some spot of bother in the prose I’d struggled with; that song falls in. …
Before I met him, I knew three things about Dylan Charbeneau, and it made him sound like the world’s karmic answer for Rodrigo y Gabriela.
I told him the story that I came up with, and he liked it.
It is a story about Dylan Charbeneau. It doesn’t have any facts in it and it hasn’t got anything to do with reality, but it’s a true Story.
I told Dylan his origin story, and he said it’s more interesting than his “real” origin story. I disagree, but I understand the feeling.
You ever come across figures in history who feel like the embodiment of something? Like how you can’t imagine Frank Zappa having any hobbies aside from music producing. …