Posts Tagged "music-inspired"

(Re)treat Yourself

Posted by on Oct 28, 2016 in Life in Writing | 1 comment

I mentioned a few posts ago about how much I miss spending time in the forest and what an important recharge it is for me. That period of time–early September–became a turning point for me. The downward spiral I have been suffering from a period of heavy depression for a good part of this year. Essentially, it began and April and only started to taper off in August, and I didn’t even really realize it until I started feeling better and more like myself again. Most days, I could just do the bare essentials of taking care of my daughter–taking care of myself was hardly a part of the equation. I haven’t even done any meal prep since May. I haven’t posted much in this blog all year. I can’t say what brought me out of it, but I remember walking to the library in early August to talk to some kids about writing and being a writer, and it hit me that I actually felt like myself. I hadn’t felt that way for awhile. It hurt a bit. But I felt something else, too–the drive to continue on this route. I don’t even remember feeling awful, but I don’t really remember June or July at all, so that might be telling enough. In late August into September, for about two weeks, my back went out. I was finally starting to feel better mentally and my body decided to betray me! So I had a meltdown. I remember sitting on the living room floor sobbing about what a terrible mother I was because I couldn’t move (?!). I spent some valuable recharge time in Alma that week, hobbling through the forest as best I could. And then, two weeks later when I was feeling better, I started thinking about what I could do to spend more time in the woods. I had spoken to my therapist about it as well and she talked about finding strategies to take that feeling of being in the woods with me. Being in the woods is beneficial for many people, which explains why I feel so good when I’m there. The next steps I spent a whole week out and about with my daughter. We’d wake up at the crack of dawn, as we always did, but we’d eat our breakfast and then go out almost immediately. There’s a lovely little playground that’s very toddler-friendly about a fifteen minute walk away, and we often go there. We went every day that week. I packed a plethora of snacks to ensure our stay was well over an hour long. One of my co-workers had been talking about going to a horseback riding retreat, and it got me thinking about how nice a writer’s retreat could be. This led to a little mental back-and-forth of me telling myself there likely weren’t any in the area, and certainly not ones that would fit my schedule. Maybe not even retreats that would be the kind of wilderness escape I was longing for. So what was I looking for, then? Well, I told myself, you don’t have to be around other people to do it. And that was what set the wheels into motion. I started thinking about what I could do, and when. And I settled on September 29th, in an oTENTik in Fundy National Park. Why oTENTiks? I’m not prissy or anything, but let’s be real: camping in late September in a tent on the cold hard ground–where there are critters, and you need to duck down low and huddle up in your tent, sleep on rocks, and hide your food from potential predators–was not my idea of a relaxing and inspiring time, especially when I was doing this to escape obligation, not create a different one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it wouldn’t have suited my purposes. oTENTiks are basically the baby of a cabin in the woods and a regular tent. Perfect. I had been wanting to stay in one for awhile anyway, so this was the ideal opportunity. I decided on Point...

Read More

Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

Posted by on Jun 17, 2015 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Dear Nightwish: please forgive me

I mistakenly said, in this post, that Kamelot had dethroned Nightwish as my favourite band. I’d like to formally retract those words. I’m sorry, Nightwish! Please forgive me! I was feeling somewhat jaded and, yes, a little heartbroken over the fact that Anette was gone. After going through the heartbreak and uncertainty of Tarja’s dismissal, then coming to love Anette and having the same thing happen, I was, somehow, still worrying about the lead singer. I got caught up in the drama and the personalities, when any true Nightwish fan knows that the band doesn’t revolve around the lead singer at all. I’m a little ashamed. Because I reacted that way, I needed a good reminder that Tuomas was and still is the mastermind behind the whole project–that the music hadn’t changed, and, despite the talents of the various singers involved, that it didn’t really matter who sung. That reminder came this past March, when Endless Forms Most Beautiful was released. I could get into a story about how excited I was for the album. How I had listened to live shows, featuring Floor at the forefront, for months in preparation. How I was waiting for the album, forgot about it, then my husband surprised me with a copy of it after coming home from work on the day of its release. How I put Amelia to bed that night and raced downstairs to put my headphones on and blast the whole thing uninterrupted while in a state of awe. How, later that week, I’d wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby and put my headphones in and use the music to keep me awake. Yeah… I could get into a story like that. But I’d rather just gush at oh my God, you guys, this album is so freaking good. After the first few listens, I decided I had to see where it fit with the rest of their discography. So, I listened to every Nightwish album, from beginning to end, in order. It took about a month and a half, because of baby duties. Despite this, I also decided to watch every live DVD/documentary, also in order. And now I’m reading the book. My final verdict on Endless Forms Most Beautiful is that it’s kind of like Once’s older sibling. It has hints of a more hopeful, organic Century Child. A sequel, of sorts, to Imaginaerum. And, actually, the perfect transition from the latter (“Interstellar/Theatre play/The nebula curtain falls/Imagination/Evolution/A species from the veil” – “Shudder Before the Beautiful”, the opening track). You see, I was initially disappointed about Anette leaving because they had just gotten into their groove with her. Imaginaerum was a masterpiece, and it was written specifically to suit Anette’s voice. There was even a jazz track on there that managed to fit perfectly. So, yes, her departure may have hit me a bit harder than it should have. After Anette brought my doll onstage and had been so kind the three times I met her, I took her separation from the band the wrong way. As much as I loved her voice, I was so attached to her as a person that I refused to see that her departure was the best thing for her and the band. My perceptions have since changed. You’d think I know all these people personally, wouldn’t you? I don’t. I’ve met them a couple of times, but their music has been a part of my life for more than half of it, so I’m allowed to be a little emotional about it. I’m a Pisces. Emotional is kinda my thing. I love Kamelot. I was living in the moment to an extreme when I wrote that original blog post. I had just been fresh from seeing them play, meeting some of the band members, and was obsessing over Silverthorn. On top of it, I was still reeling from the news about Anette. But there’s something about Nightwish that I’ve never been able to find in another band, even if I had a year or so that I lost hope. Their music inspires...

Read More

Ten most important albums in my life so far

Posted by on Sep 30, 2013 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

Ten most important albums in my life so far

Everyone who enjoys music has at least one album that is THE album for them. I have ten of them–at least. One of the side effects of having too many interests and an intense love for music makes this the case for me. Rather than trying to just say “I like a bunch of stuff”, I’ve embraced my diverse tastes.  The ten albums in this list are important to me in some way. They might not be my favourite albums necessarily or even albums that I deem are the best for the artist, but they may have helped me through a difficult time in my life, or may remind me of a happy time. It may even define an entire era of my life for me. Music has a deep impact on how I live my life–it always has.  With each album on the list I have included either my favourite song on the album, or the song that got me interested in the album in the first place. I tried to rank this but it was very difficult, other than the top three.  So, here you are. 10. The Days of Grays – Sonata Arctica I don’t really have a reason for this one in particular. I preferred Unia as an album on the whole, but this album in particular reminds me of cool autumn mornings, gaming before dawn and taking long walks through fallen leaves while sipping coffee. I love this album and there’s something really magical about it that I can’t put my finger on. While Flag in the Ground may be the single from the album that initially got my attention, Deathaura really sets the tone and prepares you for a mysterious journey. When I listen to this album, I want to write. Or go on an adventure. Or… both. 9. Hot Show – Prozzäk When I was 13, I couldn’t get this album out of my head. It was the first time I’d ever really listened to an album and thought “this is what I want out of music”. While it was often blown off as silly pop, something about it made me see more. I saw past the cartoon pair of Simon and Milo and felt like I understood what Jason and James, the real musicians behind it all, we’re trying to say. My prepubescent fawning over the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls aside, Prozzäk was my first foray into the world of following bands. I still regret that I never got to see them live. My fondest memory is having one of their questions answered enthusiastically by them on a live chat. For the record, I asked them if they were influenced in any way by the Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star. They were. 8. The Sticks – Mother Mother At the end of last summer, this album appeared. I was already a Mother Mother fan, particularly of their masterful O My Heart. I’d seen them live twice. I still wasn’t expecting the haunting surprise that awaited me with The Sticks. This is one of the few albums that I can listen to the lyrics and really get them. It’s all about packing up your stuff, getting away from all the crap in the world and moving out to the boonies–the sticks, if you will–with the animals. Wow, is that ever something I can get behind. 7. Oceanborn – NightwishI’ve mentioned my love for Nightwish before–in fact, it can be hard to get me to shut up about my love for Nightwish. I first heard of them upon stumbling across Sacrament of Wilderness before their music was even available on North American shores over ten years ago, and I’ve been happily hooked ever since. Oceanborn was the first metal album I ever listened to in full. Kind of like a gateway drug. I found myself instantly wanting more. 6. Discovery – Daft PunkEver heard a commercial and had an urge to know what the song playing in the background was? That happened to me when I was 15. I’m sitting...

Read More

When Kamelot went to Montreal, and I went to Kamelot

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Life in Writing | 2 comments

When Kamelot went to Montreal, and I went to Kamelot

The year is 2000. A 14-year old me is scouring the internet for news about the new Zelda game, which was up until recently known as “Zelda Gaiden”, set to release later this year. The game, now titled Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask promises to be an darker, deeper sequel to Ocarina of Time. I stumble across a site called Hyrule: The Land of Zelda. The splash page loads a flash video of the Skull Kid wearing Majora’s Mask. Suddenly, the most mesmerizing piece of music I’ve ever heard plays in the background. It’s the first 26 seconds of this song. And all I see is “Music by Nightwish” at the bottom.   And this is what got me interested in symphonic metal. Weirdest, stupidest way to get interested in a type of music, but it’s the truth. To be honest, a very similar event occurred to get me interested in Daft Punk: a clip of Digital Love on a GAP commercial. I had no idea what the song was called, only that the first 26 seconds had pulled me into an obsession. I had to know what that song was. And instead of doing the obvious thing and emailing the webmaster, I decided my best course of action would be to download songs until I found the right one. I underestimated Nightwish’s discography.  It took me about a full year to find the song, but in the meantime, I fell in love with the band. It hadn’t been long after Wishmaster had released, and the first full song I heard had been Sleepwalker, the bonus song from that album.  Years later, after their album Once had released in late 2004, I discovered they were playing a show in Montreal and knew I would have to go see it. I took a 13 hour train ride with a friend who wasn’t even remotely interested in this kind of music and went to see them live. As the first notes of Dark Chest of Wonders swept across the crowd in the Metropolis, I knew. This is my favourite band.  Years still later, I managed to see them live–in Montreal and Quebec City, because few good bands come to New Brunswick–three times with their new singer, Anette. The first show, I even brought the band a small doll I had made based on the character Eva from one of their songs. I was floored when Anette brought it onstage during the encore. Anette told me after the show that she was planning to bring it for other performances as well, and she was true to her word–she brought it onstage in Toronto the same week. Again, Nightwish was cemented firmly as my favourite band.  Slowly but surly, a contender appeared. Kamelot, at first, was unassuming to me. Seeing their video for March of Mephisto on MuchMusic in 2005 got me interested, but it wasn’t until I sat down and listened to the Black Halo as a whole that I truly understood what a fine band they are. I spent the entire summer of 2009 listening to that album on repeat. I couldn’t stop. “All right,” I told myself, “this is your favourite album. But Nightwish is still your favourite band.” Then, disaster struck. Last October, just a day before I was due to make a trip to Montreal for work, I discovered that Anette was no longer a part of Nightwish. I was heartbroken to hear that yet another of the band’s prolific, talented singers was gone. I’m not ashamed to admit I shed tears at both Tarja and Anette’s respective departures. Both times, the future was uncertain. The second time, though, I was starting to develop trust issues. I don’t like to take sides when I don’t know the full story, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bitter. Floor Jansen joined Nightwish to promote their Imaginaerum album and, from what I’ve heard from the live videos uploaded to YouTube, has done a magnificent job singing in the interim. Since the summer of the Black Halo, I had fully...

Read More

Creating These Random Memories (Anticipation Part 2)

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

This evening, after I was done work, two of my friends picked me up and we got into their car to listen to the much anticipated Random Access Memories, as referenced in the previous post. I looked at them and I said “Guys, this is the last time we will listen to this album for the first time”. The sunroof down and wind whipping past accompanied the warm, late May air. The sky boasted clouds of all different shapes and textures, hanging in the sky against a perfectly sunny backdrop. The bass thumped at a reasonable level behind us as the the album revealed its beautiful secrets to us. I remember the entire journey as we drove and listened. When the final track played, the sun was low in the sky, but not yet to setting. A dull gold-orange glow cascaded through the modest urban forest we passed by, light peeking through the trees and creating long shadows behind. At one point, during the album, the sun had gone behind a cloud, and just as the song reached a pivotal point, it came back out, right through the sunroof. As is common with a group of people who are familiar with each other, we cracked our fair share of jokes (such as when my friend Sally thought the song Fragments of Time was called Fragments of Tim–I laughed for an uncomfortably long time at that). As we listened, the three of us crafted a memory together. We’ll always remember cruising through town, visiting random locations while Random Access Memories played as our soundtrack. From what I’ve heard from the interviews that Daft Punk gave, I can’t help but wonder if that crafting of memories is one of the things that they were hoping to achieve with this...

Read More