Writing

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“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.

Walking, Work, Whoa Mama!

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Remember when I boldly proclaimed that I was going to walk 1,000 miles between Memorial Day and Labor Day?

Well, then I went to Nashville, where being outside in the summer is the equivalent of being in utero without an umbilical cord.  Is that gross of me to say?  I don’t know – do YOU remember your time in the womb?

Anyway, due to sheer self-preservation and the fact that I value my life, my walking fell behind.  And back in Denver, as of today, June 24, I am only at 119 miles.

Granted, 13 of those miles were yesterday.  THIRTEEN!  I will make up for lost time yet.  Because, as New Math puts it:

– – – – – – – –

I spent yesterday at an online marketing convention, manning a booth for work.  People were asking for my business card.  I’ve never had anyone ask for my business card before!  I was like, “Hello, I am An Expert.  Nice to meet you.”

My friend Scotty recently told me that she likes getting my emails so much that I should somehow find a way to get paid to correspond with people.  That was so nice of her – because after all, I do love to write emails.

But then I thought, hello.  That IS my job.

Hooray!

– – – – – – – –

A lot of you have asked how my mom is doing.  She had her final radiation treatment, and is completely finished with all scheduled cancer treatment.  She is currently in Washington state visiting family and friends, and will be active and walking and hiking the whole time – because she is Susan Freaking Parsons and she defies the odds.

I was on the phone with her the other night, and about to hang up.

“Wait!” she cried.  “I’ve been meaning to ask you something for weeks.”

I prepared myself for talk of money, or maybe why I’m single.

“Do you leave your curtains open?  Because I’ve been worried about sun damage to your couch.”

What would I do without this woman?