We Need Diverse Books!

If you haven’t seen the We Need Diverse Books funding campaign yet, please go check it out, and I hope you will be inspired to contribute. They’re more than halfway to their goal, but there’s still plenty of time for you to get in on the action.


While we’re on the subject, here’s an article on “The Thorny Issue of Race,” intended specifically for NaNoWriMo participants, but useful for anyone interested in writing stories incorporating different races, ethnicities, and cultures.

This season with the Madrigalians

We have so much new music this time around! I am really going to have to practice and work hard to keep up. Let me never complain about this kind of work, though: I enjoy it immensely.

Some highlights include “La Roza Enflorese” (a love song in Ladino) and “A Little Pretty Bonny Lass” (harder than it sounds).  Here’s the one I’m most excited about, though, and I can’t even tell you why except that the recording gives me shivers every five seconds or so:

It’s by Orlando di Lasso, that sly devil. There are no bar lines; this is the hard stuff. Just listen to those chord transitions, though. It’s like water, full of motion and sunlight and refraction. I wish it were longer, but maybe it’s hard to endure any more shivers than that.

To remember:

The sky was up to all kinds of dramatic shenanigans as I was walking the dog this morning. It was overcast, as it so often is in this corner of the continent, but the sun was just rising and for a fleeting moment it found a window and shone underneath the cloud cover. It turned West Van golden, made the ships out on the water glow, and lit up the top of a single yellow tree like it was on fire.

Wow, I thought, this can’t get any lovelier, and then all of a sudden there was a rainbow right in front of me, full arc, crossing the entire sky.

Sometimes nature in Vancouver really doesn’t know when to quit. Get yer gilded lilies right here, folks!

I thought, Huh, it must be raining west of us for there to be a rainbow, and within seconds the sky opened up and it started raining on us. The rainbow and transcendent illumination vanished, and my dog – whose jacket I’d forgotten – started pulling urgently on the leash, trying to run home.

That was all par for the October morning course, though. The thing I don’t want to forget is that I was listening to “Crush” by DMB, and thinking that that’s the song my Journal of Crackpot Musicology ought to tackle next. I have anecdotes dating back to Amy Unbounded, and of course your usual delicious ration of half-baked analysis. Tune in soon*!

*”Soon” is always measured on a geologic time scale around here, of course.

Safe to Write

(Another bit of silly filking for your amusement)

You can write if you want to,
You can leave your words behind.
Jot ’em, ripe or green,
By hand or by machine,
And everything will work out fine.

You can write where you want to,
Someplace where they will never find,
Or teach yourself to fly
And write it in the sky,
And leave your critics far behind.

You can write, you can write,
It’s ok if you look like a fright
(Just look at me, now)
You can write, you can write,
Dawn or dusk, noonday or night,
It’s safe to write!


You can write what you want to,
If you don’t, nobody will.
You can coin new words
And make ’em all absurd
And then laugh like a burzbagill!

You can write if you want to,
You can read your words aloud,
You can hold it all in
Or whisper to the wind,
In any case you should be proud.

You can write, you can write,
Ponderous or silly and light
(Just look at me, now!)
You can write, you can write,
I struggle, but it’s well worth the fight.

It’s safe to write.

Rebuild the Wall

Do you like Pink Floyd? Do you like bluegrass music? Have you ever said to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone combined the two?”

No? Me neither. That’s why I’ve been totally surprised by the awesome that is “Rebuild the Wall” by Luther Wright and the Wrongs. Here’s one of my favourite songs (and one of the most unrecognizable, in bluegrass form) —

Covers can be hit or miss, I know. We were discussing this with friends over the weekend, how the best covers don’t just give you a new insight into the original but make you glad they exist in their own right. That’s how I feel about this album. (And those of you worried about how cringeworthy “In the Flesh Part 2” is going to sound in a southern accent, they solve that problem rather elegantly, I think, with some judicious lyric alterations.)

In the course of that discussion, our friends introduced us to the Scissors Sisters’ disco version of “Comfortably Numb,” which is also well worth your attention:


There you go. A good laugh in the morning makes the whole day worthwhile.

Shadow Scale sample chapters, and a song

Random House Kids have posted the first few chapters of Shadow Scale at Scribd, and they’re available for free! I encourage you to go check ’em out. Of course, this little taste might merely be more frustrating than anything else. It’s still a bit of a wait until the book comes out.

To help pass the time, here’s one of the bands I went to see last night:

They even played this song, which is one of my favourites. It’s in Norwegian, but the band is actually from the Faroe Islands. Sometimes they sing in Faroese. Sometimes they even wear shirts. Well, a few of them do, anyway. It’s possible the band only owns a couple between them, and they have to share.

Edited to add: Hat tip and thanks to Ms. Carina Olson, who brought the sample pages to my attention yesterday, and who has written this very nice blog post after re-reading Seraphina. She also appears to be Norwegian — that’s apparently the theme for today!

I Eat at Chez Nous: a YES Sandwich with a Glass of Wine

Here it is, at long last: the post wherein I finally compare a YES song to a sandwich. I have carefully considered which song to use; I wanted something representative, something long and complicated and full of whales YES-ness. Well, I found it. Those of you who are nerdy brave enough to handle it, join me below the fold at my favourite YES-centric eatery: Chez Nous.

The rest of you may want a real sandwich, after all this. Anything with melted cheese sounds good about now.

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