Life in progress


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What Day is it Anyway? #SoCS Edition Saturday, June 6th, 2020

I’m not a fan of the humidity, but I don’t mind a hot dry day with a cool breeze, and that’s what we got this morning. Alex and I went out for a walk around the block and found a cute little bun.

I didn’t get too close, because I didn’t want to miss the shot. Do you see him, sitting between the sidewalk and the pine tree?

We had a nasty storm this afternoon, but as I sit here in my room, writing this post, the moon is huge outside my window. Very low in the sky. I think it was supposed to be full last night, but it looks pretty full to me now.

I’m a fan of the moon.

I love the moon.

Have I mentioned I’m a fan of a Japanese band named Buck-Tick?

I must have.

I’ve gone all the way to Japan just to see them in concert.

It’s been a while since I shared a song of theirs, so here’s one.

It’s a sad song about a little boy who goes to the movies with his brother and while they’re there, the Nazis drop bombs on the city. It’s based on the true story of the bombing of Guernica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.

The artwork projected on the back of the stage is amazing. The audience of thousands was, I’m sure, stunned into silence at the end of the song. I’ve seen Buck-Tick do this live–stun the audience into not being able to clap. They’re that good.

 

 

You might want to read the lyrics in English if you don’t understand Japanese or Spanish. Here they are, courtesy of the amazing translation skills of Cayce at NotGreatestSite. Check the site for extra notes on the translation and an interview explaining the experience that drove Sakurai to write the lyrics.

Night of Guernica
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi
Music: Imai Hisashi
I gather up the stardust in my hands
Off into town, to the corner cinema
Just my beloved elder brother and I
Gazing up rapt at the night screen
 
I wanted sweets, but knew there would be none
Just one stick of gum for us to share
If Mama had come along with us too
I would have liked to sit on her knee
 
Suddenly the heavens rage flames and thunder1
Suddenly we disappear and are gone
 
Oh please don’t let me go
I’ll be torn apart
I won’t cry, I won’t tell lies anymore
Oh God have mercy on us
I’m begging please
Why, oh why? Why, oh why?
Please hear my prayer
 
Ah, no longer can I dance anymore
Marionette with my strings all cut down
Ah, no longer can I smile anymore
Marionette with my head cut away
 
I scrape the stardust up off the ground
Into a shape I could name Love2
You drip, you fall, you overflow on me3
Forgive me, onto you now I rain down
 
As you stared into the night’s black reaches
You were lost, you were not you anymore
 
Oh please don’t let me go
I’ll be torn apart
I won’t cry, I won’t tell lies anymore
Oh God have mercy on us
I’m begging please
Why, oh why? Why, oh why?
Please hear my prayer
 
Your body blows away
Scattered to the winds
All of the ones I loved
Carrying away4
Oh oh my city lies
In flames my friend5
How I love you how I love you
This is goodbye
 
And who am I to say?
And what should I do?
I who sing songs of love and romance to you
And how about you all?
How do you feel?
Someone is killing someone else even now
 
Your body blows away
Scattered to the winds
All of the ones I loved
Carrying away
Oh oh my city lies
In flames my friend
How I love you how I love you
This is goodbye
 
That was the dream I had, and then I woke up
I want to go home now, as fast as I can
I want to see Mama now, as soon as I can
(A note should be made that Sakurai, the singer and lyricist, lost his mother in his twenties. A tragedy he’s never truly recovered from.)

 

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! https://www.quaintrevival.com/

This sad adaptation of #WDIIA and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you by both. To join us in the SoCS tradition, click the following link where you’ll find all the instructions and the other participants’ posts in the comments. It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2020/06/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-6-2020/ Or you can link to this post if you just want to write a What Day is it Anyway? post.


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AtoZ/What Day is it Anyway? Monday, April 13th, 2020 – K

 

My day today so far–10:53pm: 

K. As in the short, very lazy text form of “okay.”

K, today went by quickly. It felt like a Sunday for some reason.

I promised myself I’d edit 100 pages today. I’m at 33–only 67 to go. And I’ve been working on it all day.

K.

I keep seeing memes on Facebook that say don’t beat yourself up over being home all day and not getting loads of stuff accomplished.

Yet, I still feel like I should be beating myself up.

You ever feel that way?

Yesterday:

Last night, my son Chris came out to the living room and asked if I was going to put Alex to bed yet. He does this every night.

I said I would, and I closed all the windows on my laptop right down to the desktop, which had a picture of Sakurai Atsushi on it. Chris asked me if Atsushi was in Japan in the picture, and I said I wasn’t sure. He might have been in Tibet.

Chris: What’s Tibet?

Me: It’s a region in Asia.

Chris: How do you spell it?

Me: T-I-B-E-T.

Chris: Okay, thanks, Mom.

Me: You’re welcome. Now I’m going to put Alex Tibet.

That got a laugh.

It’s the little things that keep you sane.

Sakurai Atsushi – definitely not in Tibet

Why I’m writing this post:

Because if you’re like me and stuck at home already, or if you’re going to be like me soon, the days of the week are going to be hell to keep track of. We have a wonderful community here on WordPress and all over the Internet as well, and I’m sure many people are feeling nervous and/or isolated. I want to make sure every one of us has somewhere to congregate and someone to talk to.

I want everyone to know that you can start discussions with each other in the comments, and if you’d like to write your own “What Day is it Anyway?” post, you can link to this one. Hashtag #WDIIA.

Let’s keep in touch!


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Zone – #AtoZChallenge & Song-Lyric Sunday

When you see me staring blankly into space and it takes several seconds for me to answer a simple question, I’m in the zone.

For the final post of this year’s A to Z Challenge, I chose from my thesaurus the word “zone.” The first thing the word always brings to my mind is the zone I need to be in, in order to create. Free from most outside distractions, particularly ones that require concentration on things I’m worried about.  I’m able to do mindless things and stay in the zone: I can get up and make a grilled-cheese sandwich for my son, but not answer any questions; I can let the dog out, but God forbid the phone rings. Having said that, sometimes I burn the sandwich and the dog will scratch at the door to come back in for half an hour.

Getting into my little bubble of creativeness is often difficult. I can’t do it when I know I’ll be distracted in the near future–I’m okay if Alex is due home from school in an hour, but not if I expect him in forty-five minutes. But there is one thing that always helps: my inspiration, my muse. Buck-Tick.

This week’s prompt for the lovely Helen Espinosa’s Song-Lyric Sunday is “consequences, good or bad.” (Click here.) Claiming that my favourite Japanese band’s music is the consequence of being able to write is a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it because it fits.

This song inspired my upcoming novel, The Great Dagmaru. The lyrics tell the basis of the story. I can’t not disappear into the world of my creation when I listen to this song and watch this video. The English captions are available when you watch it (please do–it’s a fantastic performance), but I’ve copied them out below.

Enjoy.

 
Megami (Goddess)
Lyrics: Sakurai Atsushi (vocals)
Music: Hoshino Hidehiko (acoustic guitar)

Within the heat wave,
a goddess alights
Now no longer lonely,
grant my wish

I’m going mad in this overwhelming emotion
consoled many times
I sin and wait anxiously for punishment
just getting corrupted

I’m in an agony of immorality,
shivering with a premonition
She smiles at me
and grants my wish

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

It’s a quiet night, isn’t it?
Such a beautiful night
She smiles at me
–my wish did not come true.

Screaming out, I explode
It’s maddening, precious
Even that profile distorted by fear
is beautiful, precious
Turn into chaos before my eyes
Hold me… I can’t see anything

Only you are kind to me
Only you


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Song-Lyric Sunday – Cities In Dust, The Mortal (Cover)

The theme for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, a prompt from the lovely Helen Espinosa, (find her post here and join in today! https://helenespinosa.wordpress.com/2016/10/30/song-lyric-sunday-the-devil-in-i-by-slipknot/ ) is “scary.” The song I’ve chosen isn’t really scary, as such, but it’s about as Goth as you can get.

Originally written and recorded by Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1986, Cities In Dust may arguably be one of the most popular Goth songs of all time. Still haven’t heard it? Well here’s your chance.

I’m so excited to be able to share with you The Mortal’s cover of the song. Sakurai Atsushi, the vocalist, translated the verses into Japanese for his version of it. In my opinion, the arrangement of the song is even better than the original. Add to that the fact that I WAS ACTUALLY AT THE CONCERT in the video:

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My name is on the ticket!

and it’s even more awesome. The video was filmed at the NHK Hall in Tokyo, in November, 2015.

Here’s the video (subbed in English), and below are the lyrics.

Courtesy of A-Z Lyrics:

Cities In Dust

Water was running, children were running
You were running out of time
Under the mountain, a golden fountain
Were you praying at the Lares’ shrine?
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend

We found you hiding, we found you lying
Choking on the dirt and sand
Your former glories and all the stories
Dragged and washed with eager hands
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Your city lies in dust

Water was running, children were running
We found you hiding, we found you lying
Water was running, children were running
We found you hiding, we found you lying
Your city lies in dust, my friend
But oh, your city lies in dust, my friend

Hot and burning in your nostrils
Pouring down your gaping mouth
Your molten bodies, blanket of cinders
Caught in the throes
And oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend
Your city lies in dust, my friend
Oh, your city lies in dust, my friend…

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#SoCS – The Artful Dodger

When I came up with this week’s prompt, my outlook on “art” was so very plain. I was thinking, you know, art, music, writing… the “arts.” But now that I’m writing this post I’m realizing that everyone has an art that they’re good at. I might be an okay writer, and you might be a proficient draw-er, but how about all the other things we can be artful with?

The art of manipulation is one that comes to mind. Very big in the news these days – politics in particular. And how about the art of wine-making? That art is currently my friend. But hey, I only bottle it. My friend Al is the expert.

Some people turn their bodies into art.

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Hell, some people do it daily before they’ll walk out the door.

I’ve never been one for make-up. I’ll put some on once in a blue moon… actually, there are more blue moons that have happened in my lifetime than there are occasions when I’ve put on make-up. I’m a little awestruck at how some women find the time to do it on a regular basis. Like women (or parents in general) who have the time to work outside the home and then come home and take care of their families.

We finally did the lemonade stand today (speaking of parenting). There was no art put into the lemonade itself. It came out of a carton. But Alex did make up some nice signs. Three of them said “Lemonade 25¢” and the one we put up down the street said “Lemonade $25.” Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot of traffic from that direction.  Having said that, one man actually gave us $10 for 3 glasses, so we were close!

Apart from that it’s been a rough day. The dog has found a way under the fence into the neighbour’s yard, so I can’t let him into my back yard anymore. At least not until I can get some extra boards nailed up. Luckily he didn’t decide to take a dip in their inground swimming pool.

Escaping is an art, isn’t it? Yeah, let’s go with that to get me back on track before I end the post.

SoCS badge 2015

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday: https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/29/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-3016/ Click the link to see how you can join in! 😀


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Song Lyric Sunday – Long Distance Call by Buck-Tick

Buck-Tick is a Japanese band who I was so impressed with right from the first time I heard them, that I’ve traveled to Japan to see them in concert. Twice, in the case of the lead singer, Sakurai Atsushi.

I thought I’d share the first song I ever heard of theirs. It’s called “Long Distance Call,” and was written about Mr. Sakurai’s mother and the last time he talked to her before she died. The band was out on the road, and he couldn’t get home to see her. Honestly, I don’t know how he keeps it together when he sings it.

Unfortunately I’m not able to copy and paste the lyrics. It’s sung in Japanese, but the translation is available; the lady who translates them prefers to have a link back to her site, which is here. However, if you watch the video, the subtitles are there and easy to read. You just have to click on the settings button (the cogged wheel) at the bottom of the video and you’ll see how to access them.

Enjoy.

This post is part of Song Lyric Sunday, brought to you by the lovely and talented Helen Espinosa at This Life One Word At A Time. Click here to see this week’s prompt, and join in!

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My Plans for February and Why I’ve Been MIA

That would be Missing In Action, and the reason is also what is behind my exciting news. A friend, who is also an avid reader and a respected author and reviewer of fiction has accepted my request to read my manuscript. I’ve asked her to give me a no-holds-barred opinion on whether or not my novel needs a professional editor. Yes, I know how many authors and editors insist that every novel MUST HAVE an editor, but seriously… My novel is 750 pages long. I’m looking at paying more money than I can probably ever hope to get back. So this is my last-ditch attempt to really see what’s up with my grammar.

So why have I not been around? I’m concentrating on getting this baby as good as it’s going to get before I give it up. And then, it’s either going to an editor or not because come hell or high water, it’s getting published this year. Why is it going to be published this year? Because I told my muse in a letter that it would. And that’s what it all comes down to.

Just had to slip that in

That’s right.

Not that I’m delusional enough to believe that even on the off-chance he read my letter he would remember it ten minutes later, let alone remember I’m writing a character with his sense of fashion, his stage presence and his face, he’s damned well going to (potentially if it gets to him) receive a copy of my novel in the mail, complete with his name in the acknowledgements! So there! (Disclaimer: The preceding run-on sentence is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an example of the grammar in my novel.)

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing and what I’ll be doing for the next week or so. But I haven’t forgotten about you! I realize I’m terribly behind in my reading and replying to comments. I’ll be going back a couple of weeks to get to them, so if you get a reply to a comment you’ve forgotten you left, don’t be surprised. In the meantime I’m going to try to post every day on my fiction blog, plus blog about my trip to Japan here, and, (of course) keep up the weekly prompts. In other words, I won’t be as busy as I was last month. 🙄

Wish me luck. 😀


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Just Jot It January 12th – Skulls

Skulls, for me of late, have been all about inspiration. It began a few months ago with the release of a solo project, a band called The Mortal, by my favourite singer Sakurai Atsushi. The music of The Mortal with Sakurai’s Shakespearean inspired lyrics, and the Gothic look they created with their tophats and props spoke to me from the start.

skull sakurai

But today, with the news of the death of David Bowie the co-incidences and the very meaning of how deeply music can inspire us was driven home and has been revolving in my head faster than I can process it.

I fell in love with “A Space Oddity” the first time I heard it. I was in my parent’s best friends’ basement with their niece, Beverly. She was a teenager – a mythical creature to me at my tender age of about six years. On this particular afternoon she was listening to the song over and over. I’ve never tired of it.

At my first glimpse of the man himself I was totally fascinated. His slightly feminine features which seemed to blur but not hide his masculinity, his style (which was his Ziggy persona at the time), and his lyrics made my mind whirl at the possibilities of what even my life could be like: wild, bohemian, and perhaps out-of-this-world exciting. Bowie made me dream. Ultimately he sparked my imagination and guided me to the worlds my characters live in.

skull db

As a young man this “cat from Japan” was also inspired by David Bowie.

1987 db

1987 bt

Sakurai Atsushi with Buck-Tick, 1987

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During Sakurai’s first solo outing in 2004, before I knew he existed, he covered “A Space Oddity.”

And so we fast-forward to my discovery of Mr. Sakurai. Eleven years after this video was recorded I had the privilege to see Sakurai perform for the second time. He described The Mortal as an opportunity to be himself; to do what he wanted on stage, with the dark, Goth-inspired atmosphere that moves him.

I suppose you could say that I’ve been influenced twice by the same man. First directly, when I was very young, and now again indirectly by the influence he had over Sakurai Atsushi.

David Bowie, the hero that blew the spark that lit the flame of our imaginations has flown. May his influence live forever.

The “Skulls” prompt is brought to you by Dean Kealy at Dean’z Doodlez. Please check out his amazing doodles, and tell him I said hi while you’re there!

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today. It’s never too late! And don’t forget to ping back your January 12th post here!


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Random Stuff – #SoCS

It seems the concert I came all the way to Japan to see was the stuff of inspiration. I started writing a new novel today. Only 1,333 words into it – not quite up to NaNoWriMo standards, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish my first draft by Christmas. Thanks, as always, go to this guy for his inspirational lyrics:

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Sakurai Atsushi

And the rest of the band for the awesome music:

The Mortal

The Mortal

Some of which you can listen to here:

(I’ll leave the video here for a limited time, so if you’re interested, listen to it soon.)

And so that’s most of my interesting stuff, at least the stuff I’ll disclose before I get back home to Canada. I have loads of fantastic sights to share and stories to tell. It’s been a trip for the books… so to speak.

This random update post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Find the prompt here: https://lindaghill.com/2015/11/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-2815/ and join in!

SoCS badge 2015


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Cities In Dust

When The Mortal, the solo project of my favourite singer Sakurai Atsushi, released a sample of their new song on Youtube today I spent some time deciding whether or not to share it on Facebook. The song is a cover of “Cities In Dust,” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. This being the 11th of September, the very title of the tune stirs feelings of unease. I don’t know if the band released it today on purpose, or if they’ll realize belatedly the significance of the date and apologize for it. After much careful consideration, I think it’s a good idea to share it.

The lyrics of “Cities In Dust” you see, read to me more like a celebration of destruction than a lament over it. And while it might seem insensitive, in a way I find it helps. The images that were burned into my mind on that fateful day are all over social media, and with those images are messages that we should never forget, lest we somehow cause the tragedy to be repeated. That all wars should end is a vision many of us share. And yet how do we as individuals stop a war from happening? I return to the song.

In the lyrics I find a lesson; that no matter how much hate and ill-will we have for our enemies, none of us should ever wish for destruction. Understanding of opposing views by both parties, cooperation and learning to live together is the only way we will ever find peace. As I always say, we have to start small. With our own communities and most of all, in our own hearts.