Writing

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Just call me angel of the morning

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Morning is my least-creative time.  I am not –  how do you say it? – PERKY.  I don’t wake up before the sun, just bursting with inspiration to get the day started.  And because I don’t work in a traditional office environment, the most “ready” I get these days is a tank top and workout pants.

My best thinking is done when I’m not trying to think.  My best writing is done when I’m not trying to write.  Inspiration often strikes in the middle of the afternoon, when I’m troubleshooting HTML code or talking to a co-worker about email delivery (don’t be jealous).  My desktop is littered with text files, snippets of sentences and scraps of songs, which I usually return to late at night as I’m going to bed.

That’s when I write.

And yet, it’s before 8am, and I’m just typing as I think.

We’ll see how this goes.

Are you ever struck with just how lucky you are?  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had my fair share of pity parties (duh, you know this).  But sometimes, when I can take a step back and look at the good things, it’s a little bit overwhelming.

Today, my brother and sister-in-law have been married for 10 years.  They were 20 and 21 on their wedding day, and at 18, it was my first time being a bridesmaid  – little did I know how well-experienced I would be 10 years later.

When I think about Ashley, and all that she adds to our family, I just feel really thankful.  She is creative and irreverent and passionate, funny, self-deprecating, soulful.  When she really laughs, it’s this explosive, joyful sound that probably makes the angels dance.  And my dear brother loves her so well.

I look at their relationship, and at my sweet nephews (all three!), and I feel hopeful.

Unbeknownst to me, while we were celebrating their wedding 10 years ago, someone who would later become one of my closest friends was ringing in the big 2-1.  Today is Annie Downs‘s 31st birthday, ladies and gentlemen.  If you know her, you love her – that’s just the way it is.  Few people in this world have such a wide circle of influence and friendship, but Annie Downs is something special.  She is hilarious and selfless and ballsy and loyal.  If you live in Nashville and see her today, give her a hug from me.

And because it’s my unimaginative morning time and I don’t really know how to work this in, I’ll just say it: thank you, readers of this blog, for your words of encouragement and love in the past week or so.  I can’t pretend to know why people keep checking in on my little life (especially when I’m always in a tank top and workout pants – honestly, I need an intervention), but I am grateful for your companionship along the way.

Time’s up.  And in the words of Bon Jovi… have a nice day.

“The Undoing”

Monday, May 9th, 2011

It feels strange to not be writing here.

When I don’t write, I’m reminded that this blog was born out of a need in me, for myself, and not really for anyone else.  I can’t not write.  I think I have to, as a part of being the truest version of myself.

But I haven’t been writing here. And I’ll admit, I’m not feeling much like myself these days.

But here’s a new song, recorded yesterday with a stuffy nose, super lo-fi style in the living room.  It gives a glimpse into these days, the days when it’s difficult to write anything else.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

[Song has been taken down – maybe you’ll hear it some other time.]

Secret project: revealed

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A few times, I’ve mentioned the fact that I’ve been working on a secret project.

And each time, I’ve thought, “I’ll tell everyone what I’m doing soon” – but it just hasn’t happened.  I’ve written about things like Zumba and ants and Tom Hanks as Animals instead – because I just couldn’t help it (and really, who could blame me?)

So months have gone by, working on this secret project, and now it’s happening TOMORROW, and I still haven’t even told you what it is.

Well.  Okay then.  It’s time.

Remember when I wrote a little song about LÄRABAR?  And they rewarded me by sending me bajillions of Cocoa Môlé?  Well.

It turns out that LÄRABAR is based in Denver.

And it turns out that they’re really, really nice people – and they like ME, too.

So they asked me if I could come up with some more songs about the brand, to which I replied, “Holy môlé” – and then a resounding yes.

Some fast and furious writing has taken place, and tomorrow, I’m flying to Southern California to perform these LÄRABAR songs at Natural Products Expo West.  Need proof?  Here’s the poster:

I know.  I KNOW.  It’s so fun.

Oh, and you might be wondering who this “Matt Whitman” is.  Well, in addition to being my co-writer for these songs (and they truly would not have gotten written without him), he’s a Louisiana redneck who shoots squirrels and cooks them in gumbo.  He’s also a farmer who knows how to grow vegetables.

All I’m saying is that when the world ends, I want him on my team – because when the LÄRABARs run out, this guy will keep people alive.

More to come…

How to write a Nicholas Sparks novel

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

First, set the scene: waterside.

Next, choose a random hobby – coin collecting, or stained glass windows, or composing music.  This hobby will help create a narrative arc that will act as a metaphor for deeper emotional storylines.

Now, take an unlikely couple.  At first, they don’t like each other, because they’re just too different.  In the beginning, she acts like she can’t stand him.  But his boyish persistence and charming wit eventually win her over.

Both individuals must be obscenely beautiful.  She has big eyes and long, flowing hair.  He has chiseled abs and a strong jaw.  They fall into a passionate chemistry, and yes, they have sex.  If it’s their first time, it’s usually on a wooden floor – and maybe during a rainstorm.

But wait!  There is trouble afoot – war, or someone is secretly dying, or their parents don’t approve.

They are torn apart – maybe during a rainstorm.

Time passes.

They get back together – maybe during a rainstorm.

The end.  Make millions of dollars.

Holy Môlé

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

The best LÄRABAR that ever existed was Cocoa Môlé – but earlier this fall, they retired the flavor, so I gnashed my teeth and tore my sackcloth.

But late on Friday afternoon, Miranda pointed me toward an announcement on their Facebook wall:

We just uncovered 35 boxes of Cocoa Môlé (16 bars/box). It’s the last of the stash and everyone here agrees that we should give them away. Since we only have a small amount, we’re asking that you share with us an ‘Ode to Môlé’ – a video, a song, an illustration, something that demonstrates how deeply you care for that lovable Cocoa Môlé. Good luck!

So on Saturday, I wrote a little song.

And yesterday at work, Miles and I made a little video.

Behold:

Holy Môlé from Annie Parsons on Vimeo.

I hope “Holy Môlé” is stuck in your head all day long.  And I really, really hope they send me a box.

From Head To Foot

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

You know my friend Annie Downs?

Of course you do.  She is famous in the blog world, famous in Nashville, famous in my heart, and now, famous in honest-to-goodness book print.

When I first met Annie several years ago, she was in the beginning stages of writing a book.  She wrote and wrote and wrote, more words than I have ever strung together.  She poured her heart and her time and her stories into this book – and now it’s finally ready for you to read.

Anyone who knows Annie in real life knows that she’s the greatest to hang around.  She is honest and funny and loves people like she means it.  She draws people in like a moth to the flame – except in the end, the moth doesn’t burn to death, so it’s actually not like a moth to the flame at all.  It’s more like cartoon birds and chipmunks being drawn to Cinderella’s song, or me being drawn to men with scruff.  (Please note that Annie Downs does not have scruff.)

Here’s the crazy thing: so much of the good that is Annie translates directly over to the way that she writes.  I’m only a few chapters into this book, and reading it feels like we’re sitting across the table from each other, hashing out the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The girl is gifted.

For those of you who can’t get enough of her hysterical, heart-felt blog, you will definitely want to grab a copy of “From Head To Foot.”  It’s geared toward young women – and chances are that you either are a young woman or you know a young woman, so order one or five or enough for all of the high schoolers at your church.

It’s a really cool thing to watch a friend’s dream come true.  Annie Downs is doing one of the many things that she’s meant to do – writing good, truthful, life-giving words, and sharing them with others.  It’s a big deal.  It’s a great story.  I’m so proud to call her my friend.

Starting tonight

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

I secretly believed that if I didn’t post any blogs in November, I would still continue to write and stockpile posts so that when December rolled around, I would have an arsenal to draw from.

That didn’t happen. At all. In fact, I’m checking my computer for any scraps I may have written that I could form into a full post today, and all I can find is a short snippet about watching “The Business of Being Born,” and how I could have gone my whole life without seeing Ricki Lake naked in a bathtub, and ending with something along the lines of “I prefer my birth tidy.”

And yes, I know that statement will come back to bite me someday.  Something about placenta?

What I DID write in November is three new songs, and I’m recording demos while I’m here in Nashville – starting after work tonight. The process of writing these songs was different than it has been in the past, maybe because of the long creative drought that preceded it, or maybe because I moved 1,200 miles away from the weird comparison game that goes along with living in Nashville, or maybe just because the past year has included some personal earthquakes – things I haven’t written about here, but that have rattled me in a very real way.

As a result, I have no idea if these songs are any “good” – but I know that they mean a little something to me. It feels good to have something new to share.

Mountains and music

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

It’s September 28, and on tap to be 92 degrees today.  While I am seriously perturbed at Denver’s unwillingness to budge into fall, the good news is that there is no snow in the mountains, and I was able to get several more 14ers under my belt this past Saturday.

I did the Decalibron – that is, I climbed Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross, all mountains over 14,000 feet high.  I don’t know that I have a goal of climbing all 54 of the Colorado 14ers, but with 12 down, I’m well on my way.

– – – – – – – –

On Sunday, I bought a piano.  I know I’m only 36 hours in, but I am absolutely giddy over this new acquisition.  For the last two nights, I’ve stayed up playing it for hours.  It’s a necessity for getting ready to record some demos when I’m in Nashville in December.

That’s right, folks: new songs are on their way.  I’m stoked (yes, I said it: STOKED) about sharing them – even if a few aren’t entirely finished yet.  Nothing like a deadline.

– – – – – – – –

I’m pretty sure that my life these days could be summed up this way:

“You climb a mountain because it’s there; you write a song because it’s not.”  -Jon Foreman

New song

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

For me, writing songs is like kissing boys.  There might be some good luck for awhile, but then, for one reason or another, it just ends.  There is always the hope of it happening again, and that when it does, it will be fantastic – but it might take years.

Years.

Anyway.

I finally finished a new song!  It’s super sassafras, and I think I really like it.  Maybe one day you’ll get to hear it.

As for the kissing of boys, WOULDN’T YOU LIKE TO KNOW.

“Don’t you think it’s time?”

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Last night, I was working it at the gym with my iPod on shuffle, when this song came on.

Lazy Summer Love by annieparsons

Honest to goodness, I had all but forgotten that I ever wrote it.

This old demo made me remember what it felt like to write songs before anyone ever told me I was doing it wrong.  When I had an idea, I just wrote.  Unreserved.  I didn’t “know” enough to “know” what was wrong with my writing – which is what made it ME.

I miss that me.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve written anything, music-wise.  I don’t even want to say how long, for fear of no longer being able to call myself a songwriter.

But I’ve been getting inspired again (why does it take senseless, underwhelming man-drama to stir it up?  And yes, that is all I’m saying).  I have ideas. I even think they’re good ideas.

And I want to write them.

These ideas have been bothering me for awhile now – like a stray hair that gets stuck to your shirt somewhere between the armpit and the elbow, brushing against the back of your arm, out of sight and out of reach.  Phantom pains.  Rogue apparitions.

It’s time for them to materialize.

So I’m telling you.  I’m going to write them.  I’m going to finish them.

Hold me to it.

Just don’t tell me how to do it.  This is going to happen my way.