Monday, 16 February 2015

February 2015 TCWT Blog Chain: “How does music relate to your writing?”

Hello there Teens Can Write Too community. I hope you are having yourself a lovely month, given, it is the month of love. But if I'm adding to your misery by reminding you of this phenomenon we call Valentine's Day, let me have a go at turning your frown upside down.

  “How does music relate to your writing?”

You know when I first saw this prompt I could not help but feel a pride within me. This was going to be the opportunity to show you all how "deep" I was. A maze of everything I listen to and of course fix in how it relates to my writing, and all that good stuff. Basically an attempt at being cool, even cooler than John Travolta in Grease, simple yet edgy, the classic white t-shirt and perfect leather jacket combo. Of course by now you will have probably guessed that that plan crashed and burned forest fire bright.

Imagine a typewriter, madhatter-esque writer just going at this typewriter in a manner to suggest that just as fast the ideas came to him they will escape from his grasp with Beethoven blasting from a gramophone and the cherry on top, a disgruntled neighbor banging on the door probably complaining about the music or the butler's daily alert that the mail has arrived. Either way this writer remains unphased. Yes, you guessed it, that in no way, shape or form is me, but when I was younger this was going to be me, at least, in my imagination.

The way I see it music could relate to my writing in two ways: While I write, What I write.

Well, while I write if music is on that would be the perfect booby trap. Singing, chair dancing, rapping, air deejaying and a whole lot more will go down but not even a pinch of writing . Usually it's some really mainstream track, a track that is non-stop on the radio, need I say more except, Uptown Funk- Bruno Mars.

"Michelle Pfeiffer, that white gold,"

"...Julio, get the stretch!"

You see lyrics like those up there, they usually end up within my drafts. Or worse, Grown Woman-Beyonce

"I'm a grown woman, I can do whatever I want"

"...That giiirl, she can get whatever she wants"

It's even worse, when I am listening to home grown music. I think all Kenyans will agree to involuntarily doing the Lipala dance when Sauti sol's, Sura Yako comes on while goofily mouthing the words of the song

"Sura yako mzuri mama,

mzuri mama x3"

Despite knowing that music serves as a distraction, my endeavor still continues, with a poor attempt at "toning down" by putting on some Hip-Hop. Anything from Motown Philly-BoyzIIMen to I-Kendrick Lamar or even Heavy D. What can I say, I am a nineties kid with nineties roots. How it usually goes down:

"In West Philadelphia born and raised,

in a playground where I spent most of my days..."

"...You're moving in with your aunty and uncle in Bel-Air"

Believe it or not I can spit a rhyme or two when provoked. Please note I did not say freestyle.

When it comes to music in what I write, I am not the type of writer to get a whole story from a three minute song but I do love incorporating a line or two, seamlessly yet effortlessly into my writing. It just gives my work the boost it needs,  the pinch of salt or dash of sugar to that finger licking good dish. But when it's in someone else's work, Nobel Prize in Literature anyone?

I guess, all in all silence would have no option but to be music to my ears.

Be sure to check out all the blogs on this month's chain.

6th and
11th and
13th and
15th and
16th and
17th and
18th and
21st and
22nd and
24th and
26th and
27th and
28th – (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)

 For now, in a while, crocodile and Happy Reading Y'all!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Book Review: If I Stay


If you read my last post here, you probably saw the note I left to my future self concerning the book review. So this is my future self giving a shout out to my past self for the much needed reminder. I can only hope that my shout out has successfully traveled back in time.

Now, the book review.

 I cannot begin to tell you how obsessed I was with this one, except I can so I will and that was kind of the point for the review so, I have to. The number of times I postponed reading this amazing piece of work has me questioning my sanity. But when I did pick it up, let's just say, I read the book in a day, okay a matter of hours, watched the movie the next day and the day after that, soundtrack to the movie was on my playlist. If loving this book is wrong, then cuff me up and throw me in the cell, heck, throw away the key while you're at it, because I do not want to be right.

See, this book could not have come at a bettter time. I was such a sight after finishing The Hunger Games, moping around, going through all the stages of grief. Then *drum roll* If I Stay.

The low down: Meet Mia a cellist and a possible Julliard student member of a really cool family; Dad current middle school teacher, former rock band drummer, Mom still a rocker and travel agent and her little brother an aspiring drummer and Sponge Bob enthusiast. Of course it would not be young adult without the love interest. In this case it is Adam, Mia's boyfriend and total opposite. A freak accident leaves her orphaned and comatose. While in her coma, she has a prolonged out of body experience, that has her being more than aware of what she'd be waking up to, that is, if she chooses to stay.

Mia's life was lust worthy of course minus the freak accident.

How awesome this book is cannot be described with my mere words. But I guess I have to be the little engine that could, and just i-think-i-can all the way to the finish line. Can you believe Mia felt like she did not belong? I mean who can blame her, with her mom, dad AND boyfriend being rockers, and then there's her, smack in the middle Rock Central,  a classical music lover. But her best friend Kim does not leave her be at the pity party, instead she gives her some rather humorous tough love.

Now be warned, I am going in to total girl mode here. One word, or should I say, name: Adam. Ladies, we had Augustus Waters(TFIOS), Park(Eleanor and Park), Four(Divergent Trilogy) so I think it is only safe to say that Adam has earned a spot among the top fictional guys.Don't believe me? He watches her play the cello nearly every day as she practices, small talk over a series of their music room meet ups and two weeks of pizza delivery tip money and a rushed explanation later, he takes her out to see her favorite classical musician Yo Yo Ma. Are you a guy having trouble in the ladies department? Borrow a leaf from Adam here. Maybe you shouldn't tell a soul your reading this book if you are going for the macho demeanour, but this guy right here has all the right moves.

Of course Gayle Forman does not save us Adam and Mia's relationship hurdles, case in point, their insane awkwardness. But what were we expecting? A cellist and a rock band lead guitarist to get on just great? Spare me. Bring on all the relationship drama you've got.

It's not all about mushy lovey dovey stuff that I will be the first to admit does get annoying there's an aspect of growth, change, gradual difference. Take Mia's Dad who goes from rocker dad to pipe-smoking, vintage suit wearing, middle school teacher. A personal choice, not sacrifice, choice to provide for his family, his kids with everything. Yet he still manages to keep that cool vibe going.

Mad props go to Gayle Forman for effortlessly reeling me in and keeping me hooked, separating each part of the book with the time.

So you know how the likes of New York Times have reviews like "Could not put it down" which always has me rolling my eyes with a snazzy comment like, "Please it can't be that good," guess what? If I Stay is that good. I literally could not put it down. Roll your eyes all you want, mhmm, I see you.

Happy reading y'all!

P.S On the TBR(To Be Read), of course, Where She Went the sequel. Homegirl Gayle Forman got me.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Media Monday #3:Clothesencounters, Olympic Ayres, Dan-i and Sia

Hello Internet! Can you tell that I am a danisnotonfire junkie yet or naah? Anyway, I have to say subjecting yourself to a blog series that is scheduled for a Monday is not for the faint hearted, especially when the mother of all Godzillas, procrastination, is breathing fire down your neck. But to keep a smile on your face I guess I have to put a brief frown on mine.

 Media Monday then!

Let's go to the world where I voluntarily and gladly get lost in, Youtube!

Today we are looking at none other than Clothesencounters. Jenn of clothesencounters has been like a well kept secret, of mine at least. I am not too sure the trail I followed to land in the Wonderland that is her channel, but I can tell you that I am one happy camper.

First up, what stands out most about this Youtuber is her constant infectious smile. If you ask me, it's the drug that got me hooked in the first place. It is no beauty-pageant smile, but a genuinely, warm smile, which on the smile Richter scale, is way better. Who would have thought that much could be said about a smile? Which brings me to why I love this channel reason number two. Jenn exudes such warmth, such humility that when she does a haul, it's almost as if they are your clothes too, when the video ends, that to-die-for Topshop jacket,will be hanging up there in your closet and these trips she's always on, she gives the feeling that she would like to take all her viewers and subscribers alike along with her on first class tickets. Lastly, her inability to be predictable. One video she is all nineties ready with a backward worn baseball cap, John Lennon glasses and a cropped hockey jersey, the next she is in some indie getup or a simple oversize tee for lounging. I could go on from here to Timbuktu about how Jenn may very well be "Queen" but I have got to keep it as short, sweet and as luring as possible to get you over to her channel. What? A sister's got to have ulterior motives.

About, no, not a week ago, two weeks ago I finished watching Got to Dance. May I just say that this season may have had the best acts yet. The ones that stood out in the last live shows? Original Kids and Dan-I and Sia.

Original Kids are a visual depiction of John Green's Paper Towns characters; Quentin, Ben and Radar except Original Kids can bust a move or two. When these little guys took center stage in an auditorium that looks to sit a few hundreds, it was like no one else was in the room with them. In their info inserts, Ben was clearly the one who said the best thing about being on the show was having Kimberley Wyatt's(their mentor) number; point of information, she was a former Pussycat Doll, Radar was the one patting everyone on the back when judges commended any of them and Quentin, he was the one who learned the most out of the whole experience. I ask again,Paper Towns or naah?

Then Dan-I and Sia. I will be honest enough to say when I heard they were another contemporary act, cold shoulder was given, next group was called out faster than you can say "dance". But as per usual, the joke was on me. Forget Bitter Harvest whom I gushed about here, Dan-I and Sia, dance is not sufficient to describe what they do. So maybe they gained favor in my eyes because they happened to dance to a Sam Smith number, Sam Smith whom I totally adore, but believe me when I say that these guys have a fire between them when they dance. To top it all of, they are a couple. They have constant eye contact with each other , even when they are not looking at each other.Do not mistake this to mean they are Abby Lee synchronized with each other. It is a connection, their connection, they are the connection. You felt the connection before they danced when Dan-I gave Sia that we-got-this look, when the music picked up and their faces just lit up and when the dance was over and you just did not want it to stop, and you could tell that they didn't want it to either with Sia tearing up and all. Writing about them just makes me feel more single than a single hotel room with Valentine's day just around the corner.

Of course I have to leave you with a playlist, not just any playlist, but the playlist. Let me introduce you to an Australian duo who have got me conspiring residence in a kangaroo's pouch after listening to their music. I remember craving for The Royal Concept on a Sunday morning and took to Youtube. After being my own DJ for a while I gave in to a Youtube playlist. The first song of theirs I heard was magic and that was a match made on Youtube. To this day I can't help but ask how a band like The Royal Concept and Olympic Ayres were on the same playlist, but it is what it is. I can confidently encourage you to visit their Youtube, tell them I sent you.

Happy reading y'all!

P.S. The book reviews, are totally in the works (notes to future self.)