NaNoWriMo 2014 – My Top 10 Songs

Must do my own post

Café Moi

Music has always inspired me. People resonate with story, and music is story, even without the words. My 2011 NaNoWriMo novel was inspired by The Rolling Stones’ Jigsaw Puzzle. My 2010 NaNoWriMo novel was partly inspired by April Wine’s Weeping Widow. Some songs inspire story, but some songs help motivate me to write, a sort of positive reinforcement.

I need some positive thoughts as NaNoWriMo approaches and John has no story idea, yet. Maybe I should listen to some music. *grin*

Here are my  top ten songs about writing, writers, or inspired by novels for NaNoWriMo 2014. There are many more, and some of my favorite didn’t make it this year. I could easily include Sympathy For The Devil, and while it is one of my favorite songs, it doesn’t inspire me to write. That’s my only criteria – inspiration. Enjoy.

1. My Baby Loves A Bunch Of Authors

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The Power of Invisibility

I am the mother of two very active, energetic boys. Like a lot of other parents, some days I feel as though I’m trapped in the whirlwind of their schoolwork and squabbles, their interests and insecurities. It’s not uncommon for me to forget to sign an assignment book or to make the cookies I promised for a birthday or class party. And there are a lot of days that we’re standing at the bus stop and I notice that my younger son is wearing an orange shirt with yellow stripes paired with black, blue, and white plaid pants, or that my older son’s pants are about an inch above his ankles. On those days I cringe and hope that their teachers don’t think I’m blind or fashionably-challenged, or worse, that I sent my kids raiding the Community Aid donation bin in our church parking lot (please don’t take that the wrong way; I love thrift and consignment shops). It’s just that in the rush-rush-rush of getting ready, I just didn’t notice.

Yes, sometimes I’m left feeling a bit like the survivor of a natural disaster. But that’s not the mama issue I’m addressing this morning.

I just read a blog post by a young mother in which she bewails the fact that there are times she feels a bit invisible. Now, the cause of her invisibility is the absence of candid photos of her and her children. In her post, she states that she feels quite adept at capturing photos of her husband being an awesome father to their young children–wrestling with them, reading to them, snuggling on the couch with them. The invisibility comes in when she realizes that her husband isn’t quite as into snapping candids of her and the kids as she is, and that makes her feel a bit invisible, or unnoticed, as she puts it. (You can read the whole post here Feeling Invisible )

This got me thinking about the whole maternal invisibility issue, and I realized that up until recently, I had been suffering from my own invisibility, or unnoticed-ness. As I stated in the beginning of this post, I have two boys who are fairly active. Neither is involved in any kind of sport (they definitely get that from their mother), but they are both involved in Scouts, as well as in church-related activities like Junior Bible Quiz and the Christmas plays, and my older son attends Bible Released Time and plays the violin.

How does that make me feel invisible, you may ask? Well, one of the best things about being a stay-at-home mom is that I have the time to be involved with the boys’ activities. I’m a Den Leader with Cub Scouts, I teach Sunday school and try to help with JBQ and the Christmas plays, I’m the School Coordinator and Song Leader for Released Time, and I’m as active as I can be with PTO activities at school. By the sound of that list, I should probably be writing about being exhausted, not invisible. Well, I could, but that’s another post.

Because of my involvement with all these things, I am quite well known at church, at school, and in the community, so how am I invisible? Well, it may seem kind of silly, or even self-centered, but for a long time, I felt as though people didn’t know ME. They knew me as Wesley’s mom, Wayde’s mommy, or even Mike’s wife.While I am happy to be all those things and I wear those badges proudly, I often felt as though people didn’t know who I was. So many times, I’d volunteer in one of the boys’ classrooms, and another parent would approach me and say, “You’re Wayde’s mom,” or I’d hear another volunteer say, “Go ask Wesley’s mom to help.” A part of me wanted to scream, “I’m more than my kids’ mom! I have a name!” The issue became even more overwhelming to me when I realized that these same parents knew that my kids were into dinosaurs or trains or Minecraft, but they didn’t know that I liked to write or that I have Lyme disease. I picked up little tidbits about the other parents, like Rikki’s mom works in finance or Kyle’s mom is into photography, but I wondered if anyone knew anything about me? Sure, some of that was and is my fault, as I fully embrace the Introvert part of my INFP personality. I am far more apt to listen to the conversations going on around me than I am to jump in and offer information about myself.

So I often felt smothered by the invisibility of ME, but I never did anything about it. I just accepted it as part of being a mom and told myself that this too would pass. Until one day when I was visiting my aunt. We got to talking about my mom, who passed away when my younger son was only six weeks old. I mentioned to her my feelings of invisibility and commented that I was really starting to feel like my own mother, who to me never seemed to have much of a personality. My aunt told me that I was doing a wonderful job of being involved with the kids, but she cautioned me against becoming so wrapped up in my family that I lost who I was. She told me about an Aleta (my mom’s name) that I never knew. Oh, I had heard about her from my much-older brothers and from much-older cousins, but she had never existed as far as I was concerned. My aunt told me how clever, witty, and creative my mother was in her younger days, and how she somehow lost that part of  herself along the way. And she said something that truly scared me–she said that I was on the way to having the same thing happen to me.

I think that may have been the point where I realized that I needed to reclaim myself. I knew it didn’t mean pulling out of all the kids’ activities, nor did it mean leaving my husband and kids. It just meant that I needed to get honest with myself and think about what I wanted to do, about who I wanted to be, and then to take steps towards doing it.

That’s really how I got myself on the road to publishing my first novel. I have always been a writer; I have stacks of notebooks filled with poems, story ideas, and musings to prove that. But I realized that somewhere along the way, publishing had become something I’d get around to someday–when my Lyme disease is totally gone, when the kids are grown, when we have more money…

Everyone knows that someday so very often turns into never. I didn’t want that to happen any more than I wanted to remain so invisible that I completely lost myself as my mother had. That’s why I pursued this dream so vehemently, even when my husband wasn’t so sure about it. I admitted that it might blow up in my face, that I might be a complete literary failure. But I just knew that I could not, would not allow myself to get to the end of my life and then have to look back in regret, wishing I had given it a shot.

To me, that was an even greater fear than being invisible.

My Halloween Playlist

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So, as most of my friends and followers know, a lot of my writing tends towards the spooky. I can remember growing up that this was one of my favorite times of the year, even over my birthday, because the stores started carrying the jack o’lanterns, the ghosts, the skeletons, the black cats and bats, and all that fun creepy stuff, and because for just one day of the year I could be whoever or whatever I wanted. I waited on pins and needles for The Wonderful World of Disney to show The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and for CBS to show It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

I guess I just never grew out of that. I still look forward to all those things (well, except that we don’t have The Wonderful World of Disney anymore), although now the decorations and the costumes are so much more elaborate, and most of the scary movies and TV specials are a lot scarier.

Anyway, I digress. Every year I tell myself I’m going to come up with a playlist of songs for Halloween, or for myself, a playlist of songs for writing ghost stories.  🙂 Well, this is the year I’m finally going to do just that. Yes, some of the songs on the list are probably on every other Halloween playlist in existence, but I think my list has some that a lot of people don’t think of. In any case, enjoy the list, and leave a comment if you have a favorite spooky song, whether or not it’s on my list.

1. Thriller by Michael Jackson. Right, let’s get the obvious ones out of the way first. I can still remember all the hype over this song and full-length video when it first came out. The whole spooky movie inside a spooky video makes it an instant favorite.

2. Monster Mash by Bobby Boris Pickett and the Crypt Kickers  Yep, another obvious pick. This one is more fun than frightening, but it continues to be a staple at most Halloween parties.

3. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.   This was a favorite movie from my teenage days, and the song is pretty cool too. One of my favorite memories of this song is the little girl I babysat so many years ago running around her house singing, “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts!”

4. Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell.   It doesn’t matter if it’s a ghost or the government; the idea of being watched is enough to give anyone the willies. It’s also a good plot bunny.

5. Something in My House by Dead or Alive.  Bummer, I couldn’t find the original video to this song. I love the image of being haunted by the memory of a significant other (Heaven knows there were times I could relate to that), and it makes it both a great Halloween song and a great song to write to.

6.  Crazy in the Night by Kim Carnes.  Now who can’t relate to the fear of monsters under the bed, in the closet, or in the hall? I love how she takes a classic childhood fear and turns it into an awesome song.

7. Nightboat by Duran Duran.   The creep factor for this song really kicked up a notch for me after seeing the video, which is full of zombies, foreboding images, and an odd-placed quote from Shakespeare.

8. Missing by Arcadia.   This is a beautiful song with haunting lyrics that hint at a bit of a ghost story, and it still gives me chills when I hear it.

9. Nightmare on My Street by DJ Jazzy Jeff.   Will Smith in his early days, lol. Yes, this is based on the Nightmare on Elm Street movies that scared the daylights out of so many of us in the 1980s. This song is a classic combination of typical Will Smith/DJ Jazzy Jeff humor, horror, and a rap beat.

10. Calling All the Monsters by China Anne McClain.   This one was a favorite of my younger son when it first hit Radio Disney a few years ago, and even at my age, I think it’s a fun Halloween groove.

So there you have it. My own personal Top 10 Halloween/Spooky Songs. Drop me a line in the comments to tell me your favorite song to get your spooky on.