Monday, July 30, 2012

1 throw away song, 1 maybe keep some of it song

Ok so the full first song sounds something Patti Griffinish because duh, that's who I have been listening to for inspiration... But it's not really me. So scratch it. I've been fooling around on garageband and found a couple sounds that fit together. There are no chord changes or progressions. It stays in the same key the whole time! Ugh. Embarrassing. But it's super annoying "composing"  because I'm literally using my computer keyboard to write out the music. How unmusical. It feels so creatively dead. Guess I'm not destined to be a DJ. I need to get my violin shipped out here. Thinking of sending this song "sketch" attempt to my band as well to see if they have any instrumentation inspiration.

Here are the lyrics to my first garageband song. It's about the victim blaming I went through:

You shocked the girl
storm of grenades
in private passages
vulnerable veins

love me I scoff
kin we are not
the dog will always
track the bad blood

refugee tramp
don't call me again
i'm better off this way

like a bird
i have flown
the crystal ball is clear
you've shown no regret
the laceration is too deep

you're always right
mommy dearest why 
my bullet train
should have sped
on by

it stopped because
we've let each
other inside
I no longer take passengers
that won't look me in the eye

I have gone all the way for you
gone all the way for you

refugee tramp
don't call me again
i'm better off this way

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Vocal Interludes

So nothing has been coming to me in terms of a full song about the whole rape experience. What has come instead are these vocal bits and pieces, kind of like interludes. I'm not working with instrumentation so I've just been using my voice to layer rhythmic sounds over my main melodies.   I've been recording them in garageband.

Gabrielle loves a lot of my interlude thingys!  But she still wants me to try and write a whole song. She asked me to go back into the time period of my rape and try to write from that place, from what I was experiencing then. I have five or six songs from a band I was with in the year after my rape. I need to take a listen to that material and see if I like any of it. She also suggested that I use some sort of instrumentation. So I am going to fumble my way through Garageband's instrumental offerings. Ugh. I am totes not skilled at this and pretty impatient with trying to learn. I'm sure it will be really simple but whatever I guess I have to at least try. I wish I had my band on me. We would kill on this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

2nd read-through with Gabrielle

I've been non-stop editing and editing and editing my piece which is a way different energy than being in the writing flow. It's stop and go and return and return and return to a single sentence for 10, 20, 40 minutes. And even then I'm sometimes not be satisfied.  I'm trying to make the piece as sparse as possible and still move the story along in a descriptive, paced way. This writing style is very different from my other piece. Plus Gabrielle is just trusting me to do the edits on my own for now which makes me a little uneasy since I could have ruined my piece last time but I am taking her direction and going for it.
Today I did a second run-through at G's loft. It was completely sweltering but the air conditioner in the main room of the house was too noisy so we went in her back room and I read the piece aloud Nilaya and her. At one point G closed her eyes and I immediately thought, "Oh great, she hates it. Now what?" Her eyes continued to stay closed and a few paragraphs later I stopped and said, "Um, did you fall asleep?"
"No, no, no, I'm just really hot, babe. I'm right with you. Keep going." I finished the piece. G said that she was really proud of me. "You've resurrected your piece. Now I have something I can work with. Good work. I'm so excited to be working with you."
She said that we now need to find a reputable dramaturg but in the meantime she gave me the next step -- musical composition. She told me to write a song about the whole drug rape experience.
I don't have my violin, guitar or band with me so I will just have to get creative vocally.
I can't believe I essentially wrote a whole new piece in 3 weeks! I am glad to step back from the writing. Definitely need a break from it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July read-through with Gabrielle

Today I met Gabrielle at her loft and read her my draft. She said it’s good but it might be too long as your voice was like, "dead by the end." I promised her it was from the tail end of my cold. She asked me a lot of questions about parts of the story that weren’t clear. She mused on particular parts of the story that could be brought to life theatrically especially the part about the inspector trying to sway me from pressing charges against the suspect. Her husband Robert (former defense attorney), came home so she asked him to come into our meeting. She asked him enact being the mock defense attorney and cross question me. He launched right into a barrage of questions that left me stupefied and backed up against a corner. Everyone agreed that we had to incorporate this somehow into the piece. As we were wrapping up, Jonathan's girlfriend, Morgan, stopped by. She showed us a blue dress she had found on sale for $20 bucks at Nordstrom rack. Gabrielle asked her if she knew anyone in college who had been raped. She said she only knew one girl but that she thought that a lot of women didn’t speak up about rape in college. Then we talked about dogs. G told us about Kim, a police trained german shepard that was given to her because Kim hated working with policeman. G was walking Kim when a man in a car flashed a knife and exposed himself to her. He told her that if she wanted to live, she knew what to do. G said, "my dog will fucking kill you." Before she even had a chance to command the dog, Kim had knashed right into the man’s leg and didn’t let go for several blocks as the man tried to run away. 
It's Fourth of July so I met Chaela and her BF back at her BF’s parents place to watch the fireworks on the rooftop. As they first started to spray over the Hudson river, I became teary-eyed. I thought, holy shit Heather, you’re doing it. You’re like, an artist. This is what you’ve always wanted to do and it’s happening. So be grateful to yourself and everyone who had supported and believed in you along the way. Just stop and take it all in.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The writing flow

I've been writing nonstop for the past five days and checking in with my director daily. She was worried I was writing the next American Novel. I promised her that I was a slow, ADD writer. Writing about the rape from a current voice was provocative for me. There was a lot of anger that came up and confusion about what to do with that anger since the event had happened two years ago. I had a dream where I was vomiting and barfing non-stop. I also wondered about what my rapist was up to now. And a lot of not really caring since so much time had passed. I got to a point where I just couldn’t write anymore so my director said, send me your stuff! I sent her the first four pages and said a prayer that she liked it. She left me a voicemail, saying, “it’s great heather, it’s really great.” I was on the subway to harlem when I heard her vm. Flood of relief. I knew she was a tough critic. 
So I was planning to back to San Francisco to sublet my place and tie up some loose ends before coming back out to NYC. But my director said, I don’t really see why you would break up your flow right now. You are in a great writing groove. If you need your violin just have it shipped or better yet, just rent one. 
My friend Chaela and her boyfriend had just moved into a new place in Harlem and offered me their extra bedroom at a reduced rent for a couple months. I said, fuck it, let’s do it. I just bought a bed. I have three dresses, three pairs of heels, about three changes of clothes, and my computer. I guess I'm set for now.