Writing Challenge

I wrote in a post earlier this week that I decided to do the National Novel Writing Month Challenge this year. Yesterday I reached 12 000 words out of the 50 000 required to complete the challenge, and I have to admit that I am very proud of myself.

When I put in my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, I received an email congratulating me for surpassing 10 000 words. I also received a challenge to write a farewell letter from one of my characters to the other. The idea behind it was for me to get to know my character a little better, but I decided to share it with you too as an added challenge from myself.

This is the first time I’ve shared my writing with anyone. (Unless you count the stories we had to write in school) I am a little nervous, so please be kind, but I would love some feedback as well.

Here it goes.

Dear George,

First of all, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for you. (Or well, we both know exactly where I’d be, but that’s not the point.) I know that the relationship we have now can never compare to what we used to have, but I love you very much and you will always hold a very special place in my heart.
It’s because of that, that this is really damn hard, but if I’m honest, I can’t really see any other way to move on.

Secondly, I want to apologize, but I don’t know where to begin.
Maybe first, I should say I’m sorry for what you lost when I lost my memories. Everyone always focused on what me, but I’m more concerned about you. I don’t know what I lost, but you do.
I want to apologize for all the trouble you have gone through for me. You told me you would gladly do it again, but I am still sorry. No one should have to go through what you have been through for my sake.
Lastly I want to apologize for leaving. Despite everything I’ve just written and despite all you’ve done to give me a new chance, I can’t properly start over with you around, as harsh as that may sound. I need a fresh sheet without any stains from my past to try to define who I am.

Give my love to your mum for me, please. I am eternally grateful for the kindness, and generosity she’s shown me. She’s been so patient and understanding, and I can’t thank her enough. She’s the coolest woman I’ve had the pleasure to meet so far in my life, and it makes me sad that I might never see her again.

That being said, I’m really excited to start my new life in New Zealand, because that’s where I’m going. You once told me that I used to be quite the drama queen, and maybe some of that still lingers, seeing as I feel like I have to move to the other side of the world to start over. But I think the other side of the world is exactly what I need right now.

If you ever get the chance to travel again, I want to invite you to Wellington. (I’ll include my address, just in case. And I’ll also send you my number as soon as I get one, but I must ask you not to use it unless you really have to. I need to establish myself in my new life before I can invite anything from my old one into it, if that makes sense.)

I know that you will understand why I have to do this, but for some reason that just makes it even harder. Which is why I’m writing this to explain justify myself. I hope that despite my poor letter-writing skills, I managed it to some degree, at least.

I hope I see you again sometime in the future.

Lots of Love,
Mana

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Traveling England on a whim

“You do make some weird choices sometimes,” My dad told me on the phone today and I suppose this is what he’s talking about. It was only four weeks ago that I sat down an ordered planned an eleven day trip to England.

Why?

To visit universities, but not to look for a place to continue to a masters once I’m done in Iceland next year, but to start a new bachelor degree.

When I was younger, I could spend hours thinking about the future, making five- and ten year plans. I would write lists of what I wanted to do by the time I was 25, 30 and so on. What I wanted to achieve.

I don’t do that anymore.

I sit now in a little hotel room in Leeds while fireworks pepper the air with sounds like guns, and I think back on how my life has differed from those plans. I took a gap year after high school instead of going straight to university. I went to the north of Norway for my music education instead of the capital. Then I ended up doing my two last years in Reykjavik instead of just one year on exchange. And now I want to go into popular music instead of going onto masters.

I visited Leeds College of Music yesterday on their open day, and the coordinator for popular music said something really good; “You can change your mind”.
Of course, he was talking about changing courses and mixing them up, but I apply that to a lot of aspects in my life.

I decided to make violin my main focus when I started high school and had to choose a main instrument for the music program I was entering. That is now seven years ago, and I’m working on changing my focus. Some people I know will not like that, they will think I have wasted the past seven years of my life. That is not the case however, because iI’m not quitting the violin, I just want to change my current focus

So, I suppose my dad has it a little wrong. I don’t make weird choices, I just don’t make up my mind at all, and that’s what makes it interesting.

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I’m writing a book!

A couple of weeks ago I finished the first draft of my first novel. It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever had to read through, and I felt kind of sick when I finished, but I wrote it, so it’s worth something no matter how bad it is.

Not I’m well on my way with the second draft, and it’s incredibly exciting! It’s probably not going to be much better than the first draft, but it’ll be progress.

What I have found very difficult however, is when people ask me what the story is about. I just can’t seem to explain it properly. I read somewhere online that this is a sign you don’t really know the storyline yet, and to be fair that is kind of true.

So many people want to tell you how to go about it when you write a novel, and they all know best:

“You shouldn’t start without a proper story outline.”
“No, the best is to just start writing.”

“Know your characters in and out.”
“No, that could damage the story.”

Well, I’ve always been the kind of learn-as-I-go-along-person, and that goes for writing as well. I started writing and then I started looking up tips on how to do it. I try to do a little bit of all of them and see what I think what works for me.

What I will do now, however, is to try to explain to you what the story is about. As a kind of exercise.

Mana Jones is a world famous singer and actress, who was pushed into the spotlight as a young girl by her mother. One day while in her early twenties, she wakes up with complete retrograde amnesia and a contract with a management that is reluctant to let her go.

The story follows Mana as she tries to handle her amnesia, but also jumps back to show key moments in Mana’s life leading up to the memory loss.

That’s the best I can do so far without writing a whole page. Also, I’m really afraid of spoiling the story if I explain too much.

Today I decided to join NaNoWriMo, which starts on Wednesday, November 1st. I have to write 50 000 words in 30 days. I’ll say like Pippi Longstockings: “I’ve tried before, so I’m sure I can do it.”

Wish me luck!

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R.S.’ 500 best albums: 491- Born under a bad sign by Albert King

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Born Under a Bad Sign by Albert King, is that this is prime example of Stax music. The label formed in 1957 has cultivated great artists like Otis Redding, Jimmy Hughes and Shirley Brown. Albert King is only one of the pearls from this label.

Sean McDevitt wrote in a article about the album in 2007, that the album “would change the face of American music, modernizing the blues.” I will not pretend I’m an expert in Blues history, but I can definitely see what McDevitt means. King went on to later record Still Got the Blues with Gary Moore in 1990, which is probably most famous Moore’s slow, sexy guitar solo in the title track Still Got the Blues.

The ensemble on this album is so good, and it works very well for this genre. It’s a rather common blues ensemble, with guitar, bass, drums, keyboards- including organ, and saxophone, but he also included a trumpet which is not very common.

King himself plays lead guitar as well as vocals on the album, and his guitar playing is so subtle and cool! I absolutely love it. It’s especially good in Oh, Pretty Woman- Can’t Make You Love Me. It’s my favorite song from the album without a doubt. It’s so damn sexy.

Another song I especially like, is As the Years Go Passing By. It’s a perfect song for swaying around the living room in your underwear.

I truly love this album. It might go down as one of my favorites on this list. It definitely is, so far. (Only 490 albums to go)
It’s such a smooth listen. The songs work so good together, the order works very well. It’s a kind of album that works as a soundtrack to so many things. It’s both an album to work and dance to.

 

 

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