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music music Monday poetry

Music Monday: Music and Poetry-The Connection

I wrote this guest post for the blog Spines in a Line (great name, right?) so I decided to post it here today.

Music and Poetry-The Connection

When you think about poetry, music doesn’t always spring to mind. When you hear your favorite song, most people don’t connect it to a poem. Song lyrics, on their own, have to be categorized as a poem, don’t they?

Definition of Poem: A poem is an arrangement words that convey or express a thought, feeling, or emotion, in an imaginative style. Poems will often have rhyming and rhythmic elements, sometimes in a repeating or predictable pattern.

It is a broad definition, which is why there are so many different classifications of poems. From the classic Shakespearean sonnet, Japanese Haiku, to concrete visual poetry, poem styles number in the hundreds. What I like about poetry is that as long as you are able to paint a picture with your words, you are a poet.

Music also has many styles, but I think composers have a harder time stretching the boundaries, because the human ear is used to the 12 notes in Western music (and a few more in Eastern). Because I am more familiar with the former, I will limit myself to that.

Music has been a part of humanity longer than spoken language, although you could say that music is a language in its own right. Tribal celebrations with music (or just rhythms) were some of the earliest ways to convey emotions and information. Early church chants were religious texts set to the seven notes of the modern scales. Traveling troubadours sang about events, and composers turned from instrumental compositions to operatic masterpieces. Africans, brought to America as slaves, fused their own culture with the music of colonial Americans, giving birth to Blues, Jazz, County, and finally Rock & Roll.

I started out writing song lyrics, some which became songs- others are still waiting for the right music to come along (good at writing melodies? Let me know…). Some of my songs remained short and unfinished, and those became some of my first poems. As I wrote poetry, sometimes inspiration would lead me to think that some of my poems needed a little something more to create that imaginative style.

The first poem that I set to music was, Never the Same, which describes the loss of a friendship. I think that I was noodling (that’s the technical term for playing random notes/chords on the guitar in hopes of finding something that sounds cool) on my guitar, and what I came up with was slightly sad, but introspective. It made me think of that poem as I played, and I believe that the poem is a much better creation because of the marriage of the two.

The next poem, If (The Refugee), started the same way, but this time I decided to write music specifically for it. I also experimented with recording techniques and layering.

I am going to do more with poetry and music. They are two of the things that I enjoy, and being able to combine them gives more depth to the creation.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
humor readers

Reading: Paper or eBook

I grew up with paper books. And encyclopedias. Remember those? Maybe you do and maybe you don’t. I remember reading (well mostly looking) through each volume in fascination. What an amazing world it was out there, and don’t get me started on those Time Life books, Mammals, Planets, Volcanoes, Insects…sooo cool. Needed to write a paper on Sri Lanka? Great, there was one whole column to plagiarize from. What, you would do that? There needs to be 300 words and there are only 265 in the book…

Anyhoo, here are some pros on each:

Paper
1. The smell. Of the pages. Especially if it is a scratch-n’-sniff.
2. The sound. Pages turning.
3. The feel. A tactile experience.
4. The look. Who doesn’t like the look of a shelf of books, and you can make a flip movie.
5. The taste. Not really, I just didn’t want to leave out a sense, but a few nibbles won’t kill ya.
6. Easy to go back a few pages because you missed something.

E-Book
1. Soooo convenient.
2. Not very heavy
3. Saves paper

I have both… 🙂


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Categories
cartoons humor poetry thoughts

A Poem: Wishful Thinking

Just a quick thought this morning:

Two days in
And everything seems status quo
Fingers crossed and hopeful thoughts
Only 363 days left to go

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
cartoons funny friday Just plain weird readers thoughts

Funny Friday: Survey 2020

Taking the pulse of the world. With my love of surveys. with a few of “The Miniscules” sprinkled throughout.

Thanks for participating!


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of two books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories. Visit www.linesbyleon.com

Categories
readers thoughts

Thursday Thoughts: Re-Reads

There are many books that I have re-read. The mark of a good/great book is one that compels you to return for another go. There are many reasons for a re-read:

– You missed something the first time. I do this a lot. Usually it is because I read at night and I fall asleep and forget
– It is exciting
– It tugs at your heartstrings
– You can relate to it
– It is so well written that you enjoy it just as much as the first time
– It brings back memories of where you were when you first read it.

So here is a list of books that I have read more than once, not in any particular order (not even alphabetical you ask? Nope, not even alphabetical…)

Ready Player One
Alive
Breakfast of Champions
Slaughterhouse Five
The Foundation Trilogy (and beyond)
Ringworld
Klondike
Cather in the Rye
The Stand
The Long Walk
The Chrysalids
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (and the other ones)
A Canticle for Leibowitz
The Arctic Grail
Oryx and Crake
A Wrinkle in Time
The Lord of the Rings
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes (and all The Far Sides)

There’s probably more…What books have you read over and over (or just over)?

-Leon

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Uncategorized

Weird Wednesday: New Year and More Cartoons

Here’s a question: When does your new year start? Do you follow the Gregorian calendar -or what most people think of it as, the calendar that hangs on your wall or is displayed on your phone/computer, or have you held on to that antiquated Julian system for the last 500 years? Probably the Gregorian…so that means January 1, right? Not necessarily. You might be like me and consider that the real new year should start on your birthday. Doesn’t that make sense? It does make for a logistics nightmare if you want to attend a New Year’s Eve party though. I can’t remember the last time I stayed up late on December 31st.

What about the winter solstice? Shortest day of the year. Things can only get brighter-and eventually warmer. Here’s another thought: If we didn’t have leap years to adjust the calendar, wouldn’t the shortest day of the year eventually occur in the summer? That’s why. I get it.  

While we are tossing around potential new year start ideas, why not the World Junior Hockey Championships? They start December 2020 but are called  the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship. So, we are in 2021 already. 

Enough rambling, Leon. Get to the cartoons… (If you need to get caught up: Weird Wednesday Dec 23)

This is still one of my favorites, but when I inked over it the waiter’s expression changed-I liked the original better.

People asked me who The Miniscules really are, so I granted the request:

Thanks for reading!

-Leon

Categories
humor readers thoughts

Read the Movie or Watch the Book

From inner dialogue to background information, many elements are going to be missed as a book is transformed into a movie. It is a challenging art form to do justice to a piece of literature. It is exciting to know that your favorite book is going to come to life on the movie screen (I don’t know if they are silver anymore). It can also be disappointing since other’s visions can greatly differ from your own. We all have our idea of what the characters and setting should look.
 
When I was young, I wasn’t familiar with actresses and actors, so it wasn’t difficult to believe that they were the characters that were portrayed. Case in point (and I know Star Wars is not a book but hear me out), Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher will always be Han, Luke, and Leia to me. When a book comes to life with a famous person a role, it does make it that much harder to accept them as that character. Not impossible, but just a bit more work.
 
The setting is not going to be exactly as you picture it. It could be close, or it could be way off. It is fun to see high-definition scenery compared to fuzzy mental pictures. It was a bit disjointed though, to see the Hogwarts grounds change between films.
 
I try to read the book before seeing the movie and I never get my hopes up. Here are some of the hits and misses in my opinion:
 
The Martian: As I was reading the book, I kept thinking, “This is written like a movie”. I could be wrong, but I think the author wrote this with a movie in mind. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I enjoyed the book.
 
Mars looked as close as it could. I’ve seen so many pictures (I’m a space/astronomy buff) that for me it would be difficult to make it completely convincing. My question is: Why is Jason Bourne there? I thought he did a good job.
 
Ready Player One: If you’ve read my previous ramblings, you know that I’ve read this book a few times. I was excited when the movie was announced. I didn’t recognize the actors, so that was good. Some of my favorite parts were omitted and others made just for the movie. That was fine, a few more topical ideas allowed it to reach a younger demographic. I heard a complaint that there was too much CGI (ummm, it took place mostly in a virtual world, what did you expect?).
 
The Hunger Games (the first one): Visually it was very close to what I imagined. Woody from Cheers was odd at first, although he grew on me.
 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: If I hadn’t seen “The Office” (UK), Martin Freeman would have been perfect. He was very good in this role and I quickly forgot the previous character. Set wise, it was close to my vision… I’m glad they stopped at one movie though.
 
Dune: Not even going to go there…
 
Field of Dreams: I admit I saw the movie first. It was quite a while later that I read Shoeless Joe. A few things were different, the reference to J.D. Salinger was changed, but overall, it was true to the book. It was also refreshing to see Darth Vader in civilian clothes.
 
The Lord of the Rings: Three long books, three 2 1/2 hour movies. There were so many scenes left out, but I understand the reason (5+ hour movies?). Visually it was stunning. Jackson picked perfect locations and I couldn’t fault any of the choices. A few recognizable actors, but that didn’t detract much. I thought the effect of the Ents was a bit cheap though.
 
The Hobbit: Short book, three long movies. Should have thought harder for the LOTRs. Hey, there’s that guy from The Office again (it was a good choice).

World War Z: The book was not what I was expecting, having picked it up after several seasons of The Walking Dead. But I was great book. The movie was not what I expected, after reading the book. To be fair, if the movie was exactly like the book, it would have been a yawner.

The Bourne Identity: Again, here is a book that I read much later. The book is very different from the movie, so it is difficult to compare. I liked them both.

The Chronicles of Narnia: My favorite book series as a kid. Each of the movies so far have been well realized. The actors that were chosen, look very close to what I imagined. Liam Neeson has a great voice, but I wish I didn’t know him. Side note: I always took pride in knowing-and obnoxiously correcting- that The Magician’s Nephew was the first book. Boy, was I an ass.


There are more that I could talk about if I could remember them. What movies would you add? 

-Leon

Categories
humor

I Am Not Going to Write a List

Bonus points If you know where this is. Super bonus points if you wrote it.

Why not, you ask? I’ll tell you why.

  1. Everyone does them this time of year
  2. They are—Aww, see what you made me do?

Let’s start again, shall we? It is almost the end of the year, so it’s time for the dreaded:

  • Year in review
  • Highlights
  • Lowlights
  • In Memoriam
  • Bloopers
  • Resolutions
  • Top Tens
  • Etc —Darn it!

OK, there were hardships and challenges of all kinds this year. What are we tired of hearing?

  • Things are going to be a little different this year. Well duh…
  • Cover your mouth/nose when you cough/sneeze. Don’t go out if you are sick. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. We still have to be told this?
  • “Because of Covid…”
  • “We still have to be vigilant in order to beat this Covid thing.” –Arrgh. I did it again!

Lists are helpful though, when used correctly. Shopping lists work great-if you remember to take them. Things to do? Write them on a list and cross them off when each is done. Yeah right, you always add more than you do. Credit and debit columns on your bank statement? You know which one has more ink-and it’s not the good one. I could go on, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

  • Write a blog post for today
Categories
readers thoughts writers

Thursday Thoughts: Writing

I’m going to take a few days off from writing here-I think. Unless something inspires me to craft something spectacular, I am going to spend some more time on my current project, a yet unnamed novel (or novella) based on a short story from my most recent book, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.

Most of my stories are short-some very short, less than 100 words, but I plowed away at this new project during NaNoWriMo. I didn’t make the 50000 word goal (their goal, not mine), not that I thought I would, but nevertheless, I wrote more than I would have and would like to finish.

Interested in reading some of my writing? I have some free sample eBooks on my book pages. https://linesbyleon.wordpress.com/books/. If you are interested in reviewing any of them, let me know.

So, if you celebrate anything during this time-or do not, stay safe, be happy, and reach out to those who can’t be physically present. See you in a few days.

-Leon

Categories
cartoons humor Just plain weird Weird Wednesday

Weird Wednesday: More Miniscules

Sometimes humor can make you laugh out loud, chuckle, snicker, giggle, smile, smirk, purse your lips, furrow your brow, or shake your head. As I have written before, humor is subjective (read my previous post here: Humor/Humour) and it is so diverse from the silly to the “I can’t believe you said that” to the just plain weird or bizarre.

I have always enjoyed the just plain weird humor. The Far Side cartoons were some of my favorites, and the humor of Steven Wright was groundbreaking. So, continuing with last week’s post, I am going to catch you up on my cartoon, The Miniscules, to show one aspect of my sense of humor. If you have read my other posts, you’ll know that I usually interject humor wherever possible.

I put together the rough drafts that became the finished product which I called ‘Scule-volution.

Notice the addition of various borders…

Most of the early humor was derived from the fact that they are just so small, which later will incorporate more current events.

And finally, on the theme of weird, here are my creatures. I don’t know how they came about, but they did, and they are definitely weird.

-Leon