Revising Leah

January 3, 2009

(Dream Interlude)

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 12:48 pm
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This morning, while I was still asleep, I had a vivid dream of a group of teenage girls and one teenage guy standing on a city street corner and talking. The conversation was what shook me awake. It was like a poem, or a song, as the girls were repeating and playing with one particular phrase, interjecting it into each of their statements again and again but improvising variations on the phrase — kind of like how jazz musicians improvise on a basic melody. The result was a scene that was both funny and linguistically cool.

I awoke and immediately got out of bed to fire up my computer. As I waited for it to boot, I could sense the girls’ conversation fading from my imagination, as dreams always do. By the time I had my word processor open and started scrambling to transcribe it (writing so fast I completely ignored things like punctuation, and since I don’t know who all of the characters were, I didn’t bother with dialogue attribution) I had lost much of it, but I still managed to get a portion of the conversation down — just enough so that when I return to it later, I’ll be able to [re]construct the poem/conversation.

I think it will be a scene in my next novel; in fact, I even know which chapter it would fit into.

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September 17, 2008

And Now For Some Music

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 11:20 am
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Believe me, I definitely don’t want this writing blog to turn into a music blog, but the other day, I heard the new single by Hello Saferide (a Swedish act — I’ve got this thing for Swedish indie pop, don’t ask). The song immediately connected with me because it reminded me of Leah’s parents and their attitude towards their daughter. When Leah was born, Mr. and Mrs. Nells must have had dreams and expectations for her, but, so far, Leah has been a disappointment to her parents, and she’ll probably continue to be a disappointment in the foreseeable future. The song is about unfulfilled potential with respect to a child and a family which I think fits quite well the story I’m trying to tell. The song does have a melancholy twist at the end that has nothing to do with my novel, but the first 2:40 minutes could have been penned by Mrs. Nells herself, so I feel compelled to share it in this blog.

Anna – Hello Saferide

One interesting dynamic between Leah and her parents is that Leah is an only child. I probably could have given her a sibling if I wanted to, but I like the idea that Leah is under pressure to live up to all of her parents’ expectations because she is their only child. It’s not like they can just give up on her and devote themselves to a brother or sister. Leah doesn’t necessarily imagine her life as a disappointment, since it’s her life and we never see our own lives as failures — even when it’s perfectly clear to the rest of the world — but she does realize that she isn’t living up to her parents’ expectations, and that weighs heavily on her.

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