Musings of a Creative

Close encounters of a mermaid kind

I found definitive proof that I have been cursed by mermaids.

But wait! I can’t share the secret here, it’s much too easy to track. You have to go look at my guestpost elsewhere to hear about my mermaid encounters and the curse and what will soon take place. Go quickly, read, before you miss my enchanting take on life, the universe, and mythological creature conspiracy theories ๐Ÿ˜‰

After all, it’s near easy to prove something exists; it’s near impossible to prove it doesn’t.

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Musings of a Creative

The other side of TSwift’s video

I’m not even a huge fan of Taylor Swift, and yet I find myself blogging and defending herย for the second time. I should be spending this time gushing over Gaga or squealing over Sia, but no.

Lots of people – almost every Tweet or article I see – is upset with Taylor over her new song “Look What You Made Me Do.”

 

Yes, as plenty of people have brought up, there are issues with this video. We’ve probably all seen those problems spelled out multiple times, so I won’t rehash them here, but Google or Twitter it if you’re curious.

But here’s the other side of things:

1) Taylor knows what Taylor’s doin

It’s not like she released this video and was shocked by the backlash. Someone somewhere down the line saw this coming and gave the warning cry, but more than that I’d actually bet that it was intentionally planned by Taylor and her PR team to create a controversial song in the first place. Not like “Oops, we didn’t realize this was a problem, how do we fix it?”

Instead of boycotting her, people hear it’s a problematic song and what do they do? They watch it, they talk about it, Tweet about it, blog about it (case in point ๐Ÿ™‚ ). ย And even bad press is good press. There’s more hype about her new CD than if she had released a cutesy song like “You Belong with Me” or even “Blank Space”.

Taylor even alludes to this in her song. That you can do what you want, even talk crap about her, but she’ll only always come out on top. She knows this. She’s calculated this when she created the song. The backlash only delivers more proof that her song is true.

2) Don’t even think this is about Kanye

I mean, it is about Kanye, but he’s only a small small piece of this. She’s talking to all the people who have trashtalked her and will trashtalk her. She’s saying she’s come out on top no matter what reputation we’ve given her. Kanye wasn’t a problem with all of those previous renditions of Taylor. Kanye wasn’t the one who mocked those identities of hers. This song is more big than any one person, it’s an anthem of hers. Like Katy Perry’s “Roar”:

“I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath /ย Scared to rock the boat and make a mess /ย So I sat quietly, agreed politely….You held me down, but I got up /ย Already brushing off the dust.” Sound familiar?

3) I see the lyrics “Look what you made me do” differently

One of the biggest objections to the song is the refrain “Look what you made me do”, a common phrase for victim blaming. Not exactly appropriate for playing the victim or for taking responsibility for your own actions. Kind of manipulative.

I see that side of it. But the side I first saw was this:

I thought Taylor was taking back her voice in the “narrative”, taking back that line so often used against victims. In essence saying, “Look what you made me do” is usually said after doing damage. But I’m choosing to be better than that. “Look what you made me do,” as in I just keep reinventing myself and becoming better and not letting you get to me. That’s why you see in the video all the different Taylors, all the different insults thrown their way, and how she just keeps morphing into a different Taylor and has withstood the mockeries.

We’ve seen lots of songs with that anthem, of not letting what others have done to hurt us get to us. I immediately thought of “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera.

There’s also “Stronger”, and just look at the video similarities.

 

I saw Taylor’s video as a message of empowerment and agency. Saying “I can handle the backlash. I will grow, I will improve, I will come out stronger no matter what you throw at me.”

She wasn’t physically attacking Kanye or any person in the video – she simply was transforming herself to improve and overcome. For an abuser, “Look what you made me do” usually refers to damage of some sort. But for Taylor’s video, “Look what you made me do” seems to be simply this – become better, become stronger.

Did she deliver that message successfully? Maybe or maybe not, but I think that was what she was going for. I will admit that the vandalism detracts from that message a bit, so I could be wrong.

4) We make Taylor out to be too emotional for doing what others are applauded for

Taylor’s video director Tweeted this in response to the backlash:

and I think he’s a little bit right. But it’s more than that, too. Even more than the guy/girl dynamic.

  • We applaud Adele for her emotional vulnerability, while accuse Taylor of being a mean girl or jilted lover for her regular songs about exes.
  • We applaud messages of female empowerment and speaking up for yourself, but when Taylor releases a response that says “I’m coming out on top of this”, we say “Tone it down, don’t be so bitter, maybe have a little forgiveness and move on.”
  • I mean, Carrie Underwood sang about vandalizing the guy’s car and that’s a popular song still, but God forbid Taylor get a little upset.

It’s funny how Taylor is simultaneously the beloved all-American girl and also she can do no right.

So yes, maybe talk about the victim blaming lyric issue or the racial dynamic of the song, but let’s not ask Taylor to be the nice girl every second when emotional depth and nuance is what we love most about songs.

 

Okay, I’m kind of nervous about responses, because I’m sure I missed something ๐Ÿ™‚ but if you have a response I’d love to hear it in the comments. Just remember there’s a human on the other side of the computer screen.ย 

Musings of a Creative, Relationships

Something better than a chai latte

You might remember me telling you about my recent terrible horrible no-good very-bad day.

And it all started with a broken mug, which the chai latte warned me about but I didn’t take heed. (Yes, chai lattes talk to me. Don’t they speak to you?)

 

Question: What is better than something that warns of imminent doom?

Answer: Someone who restores the broken, replaces the ruins, brings hope anew. Okay, fine, answer is my boyfriend.ย 

Who scoured the Google-verse to find a mug in Scotland that would sell in $$ and ship to America.

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And that’s how I have my scunnered mug back and I’m not in the least bit scunnered about it ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m so glad to have known this man for 2 years now….

for the Creatives, Musings of a Creative

A little feedback can go a long way

Last week I shared the survey results for my quirky meta murder mystery book title. Maybe you want feedback but there’s no way you’ll hear from 50 people on a survey like I did (I asked thousands of people for that help.)

But I wanted to share that

I already thought I knew how the results would go before they ever happened.

Because before I created the survey, I asked a dozen people in a group and heard from about half of them. And the exact same results happened on a smaller scale – most liked “Memoir of a Murder” but for reasons that didn’t coincide with my story. Two people liked “I Know You Like a Murder” in a way that resonated with my story. And this response is like #lifegoals for a writer here:

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My friend Laura posted this – it wasn’t an analytical response as to all the reasons one title is superior to the other. It was an instinctive gut-level reaction, something that tugged at her that she couldn’t get out of her mind.

That’s what an author wants of a story, and I got that response just from the title. I had to pick that title! and as you saw from the survey results I posted last week, that reaction multiplied in the 50-ish people who responded there.

Mostly I just wanted to geek out and publicly squeal and gush over this comment, because let’s be real, it’s everything I hope my book will be โค

But let’s throw in a little encouragement inspiration for you too while we’re at it ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re not sure on a decision, just ask a small group of friends. But don’t just ask the multiple choice – ask why the choice they made and why not the other choices.

Then watch for the emotionally gripping response, not some logical reasoning. You’ve got your reader hooked when they respond from the heart instead of their head. You don’t want them to think “That’s smart,” you want them to think “I can’t let this go.”

Musings of a Creative

The book title that got the least votes, but wins

Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with politics. Let’s not go there ๐Ÿ™‚

If you don’t follow me on other social media, you missed out on a survey to vote on the title of my short story. (I’m sorry, I actually planned on posting it here, because you’re some of my greatest fans, but I suddenly had an unplanned deadline of 24 hours, so…)

And wouldn’t you know it, the title that got fewer votes wins.ย 

How’s that possible you ask? In short:

Reader responses….

If you ever plan on surveying your reader base, having an open comment section can make it take more of your time, but that time may be important.

If I only had the multiple choice options, here’s what I would have seen:

 

 

The image on the left is a “Select All” question of which titles the reader might purchase. The image on the right is the “Select One” question of which title I should name my book.

Either way, that light blue color is definitely not the “winner.” I would obviously name my story off the dark blue title. Right?ย 

But I’d made the decision to ask the voters to plead their cause. “Why that book? Why NOT the others?” and that’s where things got interesting.

First off, I found out the Yellow title – which off the bat was actually winning the “race” – a voter informed me that title was very similar to a title of a different story. Mine sounded like a spin-off. So I deleted that option right away. (Thanks voter!)

So what were the two competing titles, you ask?

Dark blue: Memoir of a Murderer

Light blue: I Know You Like a Murder

How did I Know You Like a Murder win without winning?

Reason #1: The response of those who chose I Know You Like a Murder

You probably knew this was one of the reasons. Check it out!

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To sum up, the readers who voted for I Know You Like a Murder got it! It made them think. They’re my type of reader. “Quirky, personality, weird, unusual”, they get the vibe of my story. If you voted for this title, this may be the story you’re looking for ๐Ÿ™‚

 

But there was another reason that pushed me to choosing I Know You Like a Murder.

Reason #2: The response of those who chose Memoir of a Murderer

Maybe you didn’t see that one coming. But first off, those who picked this title were looking for a deep internal look at a murderer. And my story isn’t thatย story – though that’d be a great story for someone ๐Ÿ™‚

More than that though, their responses about I Know You Like a Murder and why they didn’t vote for it, just made me want to pick it even more.ย 

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  1. My protagonist is definitely patronizing
  2. Doesn’t that “I’m not sure about buying it because I don’t want people to think I like murder comment” just make you want to name the title that?
  3. “Odd.” Uhmm, yeah. If everyone thought the title was odd and wouldn’t buy it, sure, I’d want to take that into consideration. But the fact it’s odd reaches a niche audience that we’ve already seen want odd, and that’s what I’m going for, so this just confirms that THIS reader isn’t MY reader. And that’s fine ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. My protagonist is definitely presumptuous, and this is hilarious.
  5. “I don’t like murder.” Uhmm, yes you do, in the first sentence of your response you said you found it intriguing ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehe once again, doesn’t this just make you want to name it I Know You Like a Murder?

The responses showed me that if I named the story Memoir of ย a Murderer, more readers might pick it up, but they’d be the wrong readers. They’d start reading and hate the story and I’d have missed my audience.

But if I named my book I Know You Like a Murder, it’ll be a smaller audience, but it’d be the right audience, that audience looking for a story like mine, that would like a story like mine. It’s my niche, my tribe, my people who get me ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Do You Like Murder [Mysteries or Writing]?

And so, that’s how it was determined that my story will be titled I Know You Like a Murder.

  • Sound interesting? Stay tuned to get your hands on it.
    Sound horrible? Mehh okay, it’s not for you. Sound off in the comments below – don’t worry, we’re still buds ๐Ÿ™‚

Think I made the right choice, or wrong choice?

And hey, are you interested in writing Memoir of a Murderer, because it sounds like a cool story that people want to read ๐Ÿ™‚ Have at it!

Musings of a Creative

We could be heroes just for one day

I’ve been promoted from superhero seamstressย to superhero!

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I just had to share how fun the Superman Festival in Metropolis, IL is. It’s a smalltown affair, but they have a large variety of yummilicious food carts, oodles of superhero collectibles, a myriad of costumed characters, and of course the Superman Museum where I took this picture of Delilah’s superhero friend. #DelilahTales

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My mannequin needs to get a cape now ๐Ÿ™‚

And what were my superhero duties you may ask?

This was my boyfriend’s surprise birthday getaway. We drove 5 hours there and 5 hours back all in one day. Because it’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere, he didn’t know where we were going until we took the exit. How perfect!

So if you’re looking for a unique and geeky event, check out the Superman Festival for smalltown charm and super activities ๐Ÿ™‚

Mental Health, Musings of a Creative

Trust the chai tea latte…

It takes very little to incapacitate me – about 3 minor inconveniences, sometimes 2. But I have my liquid calm, and it’s not alcohol and it’s not coffee:

If you see me holding a chai, you can bet I’m in a situation prone to panic attack. Crowds or stressful days or interacting with strangers. I call chai my liquid sanity. And of course there’s the occasional time I just have a chai tea latte because it’s a cup of dreamy sweet joy ๐Ÿ™‚

So one day I was on my way to work and had an urge for chai. But I hadn’t expected a bad day; I’d be fine, skip the chai, and save money and health. Then I remembered the last time this happened:

The Last Time

I craved chai, but resisted the urge because there was no reason for it. I had a no-stress day ahead of me, likely. I’d save money and health. So I drove right past the Bux, got to work to find out I’d sent – the horror – an email to 60,000-ish people that said “Dear FirstNames”… Like it said “FirstNames” instead of “Joe and Sue” or “Dear Mikayla”. I WANTED MY CHAI!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Back to This Time

I remembered that instant and thought, “Maybe I’d be wise to have a chai, just in case.” But I reasoned, don’t be silly. This isn’t some magical potion that you have a deeper connection with that warns of doom to come. It’s just happenstance. So I resisted, again.

What was I thinking? Life was kicking my patootie.

A friend had given me a mug from Scotland that says “Scunnered” on it. It’s a Scottish word that means “seriously pit-oot, awfy fed up, and greatly unamused” all in one. I dropped it in the parking lot and it broke. And guess how I felt? Definitely scunnered.

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I went home after work and thought โ€œYa know, Iโ€™d rather not have a panic attack soon. I should relax. I should take a bath with a nice bathbomb.โ€ But ohhh no. I relaxed for about 5 minutes before my skin and my tub looked like it came from the Cat in the Hat book:

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Actual image:

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And it wouldnโ€™t come off with just water, it took a lot of scrubbing and cleaner. I had to scrub my tub instead of relax! Can we all agree it’s one of the worst chores for even the best of days, and here I was doing it on a rough day.

And then, I was like โ€œIโ€™m gonna be healthy and eat those green beans I bought yesterday.โ€ Because I’m trying to be healthy and not let life get me down just because of inconveniences. Sure, I wanted the junk food from this insanely unfortunate day (Yes, it counts as insanely unfortunate from 2 inconveniences, I know, first world problems….), but I’d resist the junk food and eat healthy! But noooo, the green beans were all brown and gross WHEN I HAD ONLY BOUGHT THEM YESTERDAY.

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End of day: I threw a fit, ate french fries, and gave up on making the evening worth anything.

And I learned a lesson: maybe chai actually IS a magical potion that I have a deep connection with to know of doom to come, and MAYBE I just need to BUY THE CHAI. If I feel the urge, BUY THE CHAI. No dilly dally over money or health when SANITY is involved! Am I right? ๐Ÿ™‚

Buy the Chai!

After sharing this tragic story with my coworker, she laughed, said it was hilarious, and then said I should post a blog about it to make the day worth it. So I hope you laugh enough to make up for my pain ๐Ÿ™‚ please laugh!