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I discovered a document in my files called "musical Lorca" from 2014.  I also remember that I gave a talk on musical adaptations o...

Thursday, January 18, 2018


I discovered a document in my files called "musical Lorca" from 2014.  I also remember that I gave a talk on musical adaptations of Lorca's work a few years ago, at the comp lit conference in Seattle. So my fourth project on Lorca is not starting right now.  I guess I wasn't aware of the magnitude of the raw materials until now.

Plenty of people work on music with less musical expertise than I have, so I'm not worried about that.  The fact that I feel the need to even mention this is proof I am more conscientious than many are.  There is the possibility of making a mistake, but I could have some musicologists help me out if I get into "technical difficulties."

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


On a lark I put together a list of songs on Spotify based on Lorca. In a coupla days it had fourteen hours of material, and it's not all Flamenco. My piano teacher suggested I play some Mompou, so naturally I figured I would see if he had done any Lorca pieces (he had), and then of course I had to look for other stuff that I know about or that came up in simple searches. When I was writing my most recent research narrative I had to justify spending so much time composing music, so I said that I could write a book about Lorca's musical legacy, and that I need to study enough music theory / composition to be competent.  Then the next day I discovered that I actually could write this book. The problem will be to find some ideas that will sort out the vast amount of material into manageable form. I don't want to just have a list of compositions / songs based on Lorca's texts or a description of a few of them.

What I am looking for more is a Lorquian voice in music. What does that even mean?

If you follow me on Spotify, which you can do if you are my Facebook friend and also have Spotify, then you can see my list.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


I was going to go twice as fast and learn a new key every half month, since I already have a good grasp of the key for January, B. But I am resisting that temptation. Instead, I will use the rest of the month just to reinforce what I've learned and dwell a while comfortably in this new territory. February will be E major. Ultimately, what I want is a very good grasp of 12 keys, so I will force myself to play a lot even in ones I already know well. At least I can already say that B is not one of my weakest one.  Now those would be F#/Gb and E. A, D, and G are not hard, but I haven't written songs in those keys yet. I am more comfortable in C, F, Bb, Eb, Ab, and Db.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Some French serials

I am watching some French Netflix serials to practice French comprehension, and to give myself some things non-work related to do before classes start tomorrow.  I put the subtitles on in French. and I understand everything that way. A couple things I noticed:

They don't do the questions the way I was taught:  Où est-il.  They say: Il est où?  They never use the thing I was taught:  "Est-ce que..." to introduce a question.

You can get mileage out of "ça va" as question, answer to its own question, or "ça va mal," and "Je suis desolx".  

They don't use ne... all the time. I only notice when it's not there so maybe that's not consistent. They way "Je sais pas" not "Je ne sais pas."

They write out oui as ouai when they want to emphasize that pronunciation.  

A flic is a cop. All these shows have lots of flics.

I don't care for the plots much. The shows bear the outward trappings of quality tv, with pretty but also edgy camera angles, like the shot with background moving in and out of focus, generic backgroundy tv music, but well executed [the subtitles will tell you what the music conveys, like "anxious music" because they are designed for people who can't hear], and plots that make you uncomfortable: gruesome serial killers, ruthless kidnappers, grave robbers. But behind this veneer of quality are some hoary tropes: flic with questionable past in search of redemption... I get a bit squeamish when I think the gruesome plot premise is there because it is the easiest thing to do, not because someone had a good idea.  

Some Ideas about rejection

Rejection leaves things as they were. Suppose you ask for something and the answer is no. Then you have exactly what you had before you asked.

The fear of rejection is much worse than rejection itself. Someone who hasn't been rejected a lot hasn't tried very much, has played it safe most of the time.  

Rejection is not a stain on you. If you read poems in a literary journal you will read what is there, not what isn't, so nobody is thinking about your rejected poems.

You can think of rejection as a percentage. If you had to sell 10 tickets to an event you might have to ask 500 people. Then you've met your goal.  I'm going to submit poems every day of the year that I can.   I just have to have a few acceptances out of all of those. If I want 10 poems in print I might have to send out 500.  

Rejection isn't personal (except when it is!). There is such a thing as personal rejection: someone is rejecting you, as a person, does not want to be your friend or romantic partner, or even to do something with you. That is a topic for another post. But a lot of rejection has nothing to do with one's self.  Say you send in an article and it is read as a blind submission. Even when there is some personal element, it is helpful to realize that it might be less of a factor than you assume.

There are people who have been rejected in traumatic ways, or for whom rejection is the dominant experience in their life. Those people won't be able to view rejection in the way that I am recommending.  

Friday, January 12, 2018


The rejection project and the bad poetry project are natural twins (for obvious reasons!). I am sending my bad poems to very good journals. If I send out poems every day I am certain to be rejected a lot. And possibly even accepted a few times. What is brilliant about this is that you aren't even expecting acceptance, so any of those are just added rewards that don't even effect the overall success of the project.  It is greatly empowering, even for someone like me who is not particularly bothered by being rejected.

On the radio once I heard a book being read aloud. I don't know what the book was, but the theory was that if you asked out 100 women...  (You get the idea. I'm probably not remembering it correctly either; this was more than 20 years ago.) I'm in a relationship so this is not applicable, and I didn't have to ask out 100 women to get a girlfriend either, or even close to that.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

100 rejections

I'm doing this thing where I am trying to get rejected 100 times. I don't agree with the original premise of the 100 rejections idea, where you ask random people for trivial and annoying favors. I don't believe in annoying people or being creepy. I am doing it by submitting poems and the like. I've applied to grade AP exams in the summer, etc...

The idea is to get over the fear of rejection by seeking it out deliberately.  Of course, the added benefit is that you could get published more, or have other opportunities.