Musicians

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On clinging to the past.

Published March 4, 2013 by mandileighbean

On Monday of this past week, I found the moon.  It was fat, full, gluttonous, and bright.  I have a picture to prove it.

moon

I have another resolution for this relatively new year: to be as artistic in possible in all that I do.

I deposited my second royalty check – $23.22.  From October 29th to December 31st, I have made $95.40.  I am not, and have never been, a “numbers person.”  I am not sure if this means I am doing well, average, or poor.  All I know is that I want to keep writing, and I suppose that is the most important thing.  I did little to no writing this week, which is possibly why this blog post is so scattered and superficial.

I am convinced that in a former life, I was happily married to Ricky Ricardo.

Running in the wind is romantic and freeing.  Running in the wind and the rain is stupid.

There is a dry, red, and raw patch of skin on my hand between my thumb and pointer finger.  When I stick the cap on the opposite end of the pen, the plastic irritates the area.  I have icky winter skin.  I am over the cold, bitter weather.

I am sick of being tired.

I am envious of Winona Ryder – or at least her hair, especially when it is short.  I remember feeling similarly after seeing, “Girl, Interrupted.”  I watched “Reality Bites.”  I liked the tone of it and I do sincerely miss the 1990s somewhat.  I really am a fan of the earthy, sloppy fashion that was considered chic.  I would like to bring that style back, but am unsure if I would be able to do so single-handedly, and am equally unsure if there would even be any other willing participants; I might have no other choice than to embark on a lone wolf fashion revolution.  Either way, I am going to dress and style my hair accordingly – I am excited to buy new clothes once I lose the weight.  Manufacturers really do not make fashionable habiliments for larger people.

winona90srevival290srevival

I am mostly excited for Spring Break and vacation in Florida.  I called my Aunt Kim tonight and squared away the details.  Dad and his friend Andy fitted my car with new struts and fixed a leak that had to do with the transmission.  I am constantly making a mental list of what I want to do before leaving.  Lately, the trip has been all that I have been thinking about.  I do not mind going alone, but Mom is thinking about coming along, and that does not upset me at all.

struts

Sometimes, when I wash my face, I make the water too hot and steam rises up from the sink basin in the bathroom, and the water burns my hands, and opens my pores so wide that they sizzle.  Once I was worried because for a brief moment, I could not get the cold tap to turn.  Eventually I did, and it made me think of that scene from “My Cousin Vinny” when Marissa Tomei and Joe Pesci are ironically analyzing the dripping faucet that is off-screen as litigators would in court.  Then I wonder how a casting director could match Pesci with Tomei (or vice versa).  I worry that such wondering makes me shallow.  Am I shallow?  Am I a bad person?

What if I do not find romance after my teeth are straightened and after I’ve lost the weight?  Will I have to conclude the defect is not my physical appearance, but in my personality, my very being?

I am going to take up painting this summer.

I need to write.

My last baby tooth, which never fell out, was pulled on the last day of February.  So long, Little Mandi.  The very last tangible remnant of my childhood was violently yanked from me.  It was for the best – it was causing an infection and discoloration – but I was sad to see it go.  I am reluctant to grow up and relinquish my sometimes irrational passions, and I am unwilling compromise between responsibility and desire; I don’t wanna.  But then again, I am getting braces.  Maybe it all works out and I will never have to escape my adolescence.

babytooth

The way to blast blubber this week was to give up extreme thinking.  I set a realistic goal of losing two pounds, and I lost 1.8 pounds; just two ounces shy.  I have lost 18 pounds total since beginning dieting and exercising and I am getting closer to my goal.  Chipping away little by little is okay; I am seeing results without being perfect or extreme, and that is both a very important and difficult lesson to learn.

On being a Debbie Downer and constantly trying to avoid it.

Published February 10, 2013 by mandileighbean

So my pedometer arrived and I have been using it fairly regularly.  I do not believe it is beneficial to my weight loss because I did not lose any weight this week.  In fact, I gained two ounces.  I overate last weekend and blamed it on the Super Bowl but really, I am just glutton, both for food and for punishment.  I ate so much that weekend that I felt physically uncomfortable and incredibly guilty for the rest of the week.  I fear I get some perverse pleasure from letting myself down.   I also believe that I almost enjoy spreading myself too thin so that I am miserable, like I believe that playing the martyr actually suits me.

AnimatedLostFound

When I began this entry, I was incensed because I thought I had lost the aforementioned pedometer while I was shopping at the local grocery store, lost forever to be trampled upon in crowded aisles or crushed under the rubber tires that constantly plague the somewhat dangerous parking lot.  I found it, as my mom predicted I would, in the snow near my car in the driveway, slowly icing over.  I am relieved to have found it, as I paid for it, but I’m hopeless – I am forever losing items of varying importance.  On my better days, I attribute my scattered brain to my creative nature and on my worse days, I concede that I am a careless moron and nothing more.  This past week, I am saddened to report that I lived through mostly worse days and few, if any, better days.

Sometimes, I think it is a wonder I completed a novel because I am so lazy, I feel that I never truly finish anything and that I am never truly prepared.  Instead, I settle and rationalize and excuse.

debbie-downer-1

But I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer; time for some positivity.

Even though I did not lose any weight, I did not really gain any weight, either.  Two ounces is nothing and really, the damage should have been much worse but I have kept up and even increased my exercise regimen.  There is an excellent chance that I am building muscle which weighs more than fat.  Also, without being too graphic for any readers of the male persuasion, some strictly feminine biological factors did come into play.  Maybe that’s why I’ve totally been all about the self-loathing.

It snowed this weekend and the result was beautiful, absolutely beautiful.  Running (really I was jogging, but let’s not ruin the moment or the sentiment with details, shall we?) uphill through the snow against the wind is really empowering.  I almost enjoyed running.

snow

Though this week’s way to blast blubber was a reminder that housework is NOT exercise, I decided to do both.  I followed my routine and cleaned my room.  I put new sheets on the bed and hung portraits of my male, musician idols above my bed.  I should have cleaned the mirror and vacuumed but again, I’m lazy.

I am excited to announce that I have had something of a breakthrough concerning my second novel; the young lover that the musician’s wife becomes involved with is really going to be an up and coming serial killer.  I am fascinated by human beings who seem to completely lack an inherent, intrinsic and somewhat sacred respect for human life.  I believe the addition of that plotline will allow me to flex my characterization muscle and also add a needed complexity to the theme.  I want to focus on the fear of aging and the fear of death, and the parallel between those fears and youth, beauty and the false accompanying notion of invincibility.  Adding a serial killer – a tangible monster – as the antithesis of both is an intriguing dynamic.

serialkiller

At least, I think so.  🙂

On continuing to support local artists. And The MiCKS!

Published November 26, 2012 by mandileighbean

I hope everyone reading this post had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a relaxing and enjoyable weekend.

Now, down to business; I recently wrote about how important it is for local artists to support local artists.  I wrote about my good friend Melanie who is realizing her dream of making music for the masses to enjoy.  For this post, I am pleased and honored to introduce you to The MiCKS.

I met Sam, the drummer, during my junior year of college.  We were both taking a literature class dealing in the genre of Science Fiction/Fantasy.  One day, while I was gorging myself at a bake sale, we got to talking and he revealed that him and his brother were in this band and he said that I should check out their MySpace (did I just date myself?).  Well, I did check out the band and I have never looked back.

The MiCKS are incredible.  They are unlike anything out there right now and are so genuine and passionate about what they do and how they perform that it is almost frightening.  I am almost embarrassed to admit that I am abnormally obsessed with their song, “Dry Splash.”  The lyrics, written by Sam’s brother Matt, are outstanding.  Sometimes when I listen to the song, I become infuriated that I didn’t write it.  The talent and energy cannot be denied, and The MiCKS are definitely worth checking out.

Melanie and I recently traveled to Hoboken to watch the band perform and celebrate the release of their first album.  Not only was the show incredibly entertaining and totally rocking, but proceeds from the show went to The HOBOKEN VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE CORPS (http://www.hobokenems.com/page10.html; http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/11/in_hoboken_volunteers_scramble.html).  Local artists should support their locality as well as other local artists, and the MiCKS did just that.  It was a pleasure to be a part of such entertainment, but it was an honor to be a part of so worthy an endeavor.

Melanie gave them a signed copy of her CD, and I gave them a signed copy of my book.  So they signed our copies of the CD.  It was a cosmic kind of experience, to witness those that you know achieving their dreams and believing that you were there to support from some form of the beginning.  I felt so wonderful and awesome inside, and I want all of you to experience that emotion.

Please check out The MiCKS on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/themicks

And you can listen to their awesome songs here: http://www.reverbnation.com/themicks#!/themicks/songs

Remember: local artists need to support local artists.
Also, people need to support other people when people discover their passions.

Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart …. And yes, I did steal that from a country song.  Oh well.

 

On being local.

Published November 5, 2012 by mandileighbean

I attended mass at 11:00AM with my mother at St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Lakehurst.  Father Bernie, the pastor, spoke for a few minutes before mass began and described how the church had been employed as a makeshift shelter and had accepted donations of clothing, food, and other needed items.  The church is still accepting donations which workers from the Red Cross are delivering to those affected by Hurricane Sandy.  Father Bernie’s message was quite appropriate as the Gospel reading explained that essentially, there are two rules one must follow to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: 1) love God with one’s entire being and 2) to love one’s neighbor as one loves one’s self.  While not everyone shares similar religious beliefs, the latter half is pretty much universally accepted as a golden rule.  Everyone can agree it is important to care for neighbors because everyone is a member of the brotherhood of man and this life is a remarkably long trip to make alone.

The message weighed on my mind as I met my friend Kalie for a brainstorming session at a local restaurant.  Kalie went to school for marketing and is vivacious, intelligent, and loyal.  Naturally, I enlisted her in assisting me to get the word out about my debut novel Her Beautiful Monster and to drive sales.  We both agreed that word of mouth is the greatest tool currently at our disposal and that generating a local fan base is crucial.  We swapped names of local, friendly musicians and I spoke of Melanie Wagner.

I have known Melanie since the fifth grade, but we did not become close until high school and into college when we decided to live together.  One night during our freshman year, Melanie was secretly playing guitar and singing while I was in the shower.  She was not expecting me to emerge from the bathroom when I did and I caught her and her incredible talent.  We find ourselves three years later and Melanie is a part of a duo that plays out regularly at various, local venues.  She has released an album and a music video.  I am truly in awe of her because she is living out her dreams.  She inspires me on a daily basis and I am honored to be able to call her a dear friend.  I would be remiss if I did not encourage anyone reading this to give her music a listen and support her passion, as she has done for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT7xPVAMrAU

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Sonny/156590267709732

Local artists NEED to support local artists, just as local citizens need to support local citizens.  That being said, below is a link and brief explanation to an organization doing its best to restore the Jersey Shore through supporting local businesses.  Every little bit helps.  Please do what you can for New Jersey, the Garden State, my home.

http://www.facebook.com/mandi.bean?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/The-NJ-Restoration-Project/493381787361073

This is a page dedicated to bringing Jersey together. Buy locally while you recover from Sandy. Let’s turn tragedy into success!
Company Overview

Our goal is for everyone affected  by the hurricane to use local businesses for replacement purchases in order to put some money back into our town’s economy. We all need to come together during this time of need and support those around us.

On marrying a musician.

Published May 10, 2012 by mandileighbean

Today was a good day. Despite the rain and feeling particularly drained in the earlier part of the day, I am ending with a smile that stretches my mouth wide. I don’t know if it’s the late cups of coffee or a beautiful boy singing a song sweet enough to shatter a heart, but I am genuinely happy right now.

I believe I’m going to marry a musician; there’s no way around it.

If I were to marry a musician, he could idly strum his acoustic guitar in a relaxed, reclined position on the couch and as he lounged, I’d rest patiently at his feet. My back against the couch where I leaned for support, I’d have a marble notebook open with the cover flipped back, my knees serving as a writing desk. We’d be complete, we’d be creative and we’d be happy. We’d be beautiful.

My family is completely supportive of my writing career. They believe in me and my talent and I know they would do all that they could to help me realized my dreams. However, they are not as constantly passionate as I am and very few are creative to the point where they’d like to make it a career. There is nothing wrong with that, and I do not intend to villify anyone. It’s just that tonight’s writing prompt is about going on strike at home until demands are met, demands which dictate a supportive writing environment. I do have a supportive writing environment – if anything, I’m just not utilizing it.

🙂

On being inspired.

Published March 20, 2012 by mandileighbean

I am very proud of myself for writing my novel, but I am also very eager to start working on a second novel. However, I am feeling particularly uninspired. When I was working on Her Beautiful Monster, I wrote every single day. I thought about it constantly, dreamed about it and dreaded when the project would eventually end. I was truly passionate and as of yet, I have not been as passionate about any possible plots or characters that have come to mind. In short, I NEED to be inspired.

Typically, I listen to music to stimulate both the brain cells and my creativity. The artists that double as my personal muses are Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, My Chemical Romance, and Elvis Presley. Truth be told, however, Her Beautiful Monster was inspired by another artist entirely; the novel was inspired by the music of Amanda Palmer. I don’t enjoy her music as often as the musicians I listed earlier (but I should, and you should too – she’s phenomenal), but I do listen to the Boss quite a bit; probably the most out of any other artist out there. I listen to him for at least an hour every day.

I love Bruce for a multitude of reasons. For starters, he is from New Jersey. I am also from New Jersey, and there is an inherent motivational feeling associated with observing someone from similar surroundings and background make it big. Springsteen was able to make it out of the Great Garden State and return a conquering hero. I would love to be able to do the same.

I love Bruce because he’s handsome, which hardly hurts and usually helps.

Most importantly, I love Bruce because his lyrics are prophetic and impossibly beautiful. His authenticity and genuine sentiments make him accessible to every American – he is able to creatively and concisely divulge the anxieties, the triumphs, the dreams, and the desperations of the American experience. He is a true poet, and he has his finger on the pulse of contemporary American society like no one else. I would argue that Springsteen is not only a poet, but a prophet. His words set to melodies can be anthems and a call to arms, can entertain and tell a story with rich characters and timeless themes, and can inspire. I am living proof of the latter, as the first thing that I ever consciously wrote for an audience that I was proud of was a short story titled Cover Me, inspired by the Springsteen song of the same name. The short story was published on-line in the Cynic On-line Magazine, and is still available to read if you are interested (HINT HINT).

Bono, the lead singer of U2, once said that Springsteen was both private and accessible, which in my humble opinion, is true and an incredibly romantic contradiction. Through not only his words and music, but through his very being, Springsteen represents the common man, but is able to do so in a personal way that invites individual listeners to sympathize and empathize on a very personal level, as if every song is for everyone and simultaneously tailored to suit anyone; that is a truly remarkable feat that I strive to emulate.

Springsteen’s song “I’m On Fire” played a HUGE role in creating Her Beautiful Monster, and I still find myself returning to its imagery of loneliness and longing as physical and emotional ailments. The lyrics are beautifully simply and blunt. I highly recommend that everyone reading this also listen to that song, especially if you plan on reading my novel.

In my search for inspiration, I have lately been listening to Springsteen’s “Jack Of All Trades,” from his newest album, “Wrecking Ball.” The song has definitely enchanted me, and I believe there is inspiration within but to be honest, I am having a hell of a time finding it.

I need help.

What inspires you? Is it music? Is it a person? When you want to be creative, how do you get in the zone? Please share. I hope I’ve been able to return the favor.

Also – I’ve included a link to the short story mentioned in this blog … if you’re interested. 🙂

http://www.cynicmag.com/feature.aspx?articleid=3525

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