Writers Never Surrender When it Comes to Love

White Flag cover - Dido - google images

“I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,

But what’s the sense in that?”

Do you ever listen to Dido’s song White Flag and feel like sitting down in a chair and sobbing an over indulgence of emotion for the time you carried a torch and felt like the pain of lost love would never end?

As we get older and jaded about the cost of going down with the ship of unrequited love, we forget the emotion. Writers don’t have that option. We create characters that love and lose and hang on. We have to dig deep and remember. A song like White Flag aids in the process.

I’ll let you be the judge. Listen to this song and see if it doesn’t plunge you into nostalgia for the days of believing that hanging on forever could make a difference. You can just shrink the video and come back to read the lyrics here while you listen.

White Flag

I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,

Or tell you that.

But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it

Where’s the sense in that?

I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder

Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship

And I won’t put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I’m in love and always will be.

I know I left too much mess and

Destruction to come back again

And I caused nothing but trouble

I understand if you can’t talk to me again

And if you live by the rules of “it’s over”

Then I’m sure that that makes sense.

I will go down with the ship

And I won’t put my hands up and surrender

There will be no white flag above my door

I’m in love and always will be.

And when we meet, which I’m sure we will

All that was there, will be there still

I’ll let it pass and hold my tongue

And you will think that I’ve moved on . . .

Popular culture – and we writers are part of that or at least we want to be – promotes a love that is unrealistic but it’s an ideal that takes hold of our lives, for better or worse. There is something about never putting up that white flag of surrender, that appeals to us.

We want to believe that there is a man or woman out there who would go the distance. Never mind that we probably know ourselves to be incapable of such a thing.

Snape and Lily Potter - google images

A man like Professor Snape, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. He loved Lily Potter right up to the bitter end. He died to protect her son. A son she had with his most hated rival. Is his behaviour not the popular personification of true love?

Or maybe the French heroine of Sergeanne Golan’s books, Angelique. She rushed through a dozen historical novels, sleeping with and marrying other men, though she never stopped pining for her lost love, Joffrey de’Pyrec. True to the romantic ideal, he never stopped looking for her. This is the stuff of great literary romance.

Though James Bond is portrayed as the master of love affairs in a host of Hollywood movies, in Ian Fleming’s novels, Bond never got over the woman he lost.

Our every day lives are not peopled with the likes of Professor Snape, or Angelique, or James Bond. The men and women we know are fickle and who could blame them. No one wants to be alone and as you get older the concept of true love becomes quite nuanced. What is true might end up being what is comfortable and familiar, or convenient, or self-serving, or a host of other things. Luckily for us writers, part of us clings to that ideal – why else flop in a chair and feel teary when listening to a song like White Flag?

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A Quintessential Feel Good Song – And I Do!

Skunk Cabbage - Bruce Witzel photo

Yesterday was just one of those days that turned out great but I can’t explain why. Poised on that uncomfortable fence between obsessively planning to write the fourth book in the Crater Lake Series and actually starting to write said book, suddenly, inexplicably, I broke through. With the upbeat lyrics of American Authors in the background, as the smell of freshly mowed grass drifting in the window, I managed a few thousand words that are definitely going somewhere.

Once again, I was back at Crater Lake and the characters so filled my thoughts that I had to drop everything and stroll the paths around our place in an attempt to untangle the various knotted threads that represent their lives. It was then I knew, I had vaulted that uncomfortable fence. I was on my way.

Just in case you have any lingering Monday morning blues, I’ll share the lyrics from American Authors – Best Day of My Life. Follow along to the You Tube link and I’m sure that in no time you’ll be up and dancing around the room. Enjoy!

Best Day Of My Life

I had a dream so big and loud

I jumped so high I touched the clouds

Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

I stretched my hands out to the sky

We danced with monsters through the night

Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

I’m never gonna look back

Whoa, I’m never gonna give it up

No, please don’t wake me now

Oo-o-o-o-oo

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

Oo-o-o-o-oo

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

I howled at the moon with friends

And then the sun came crashing in

Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

But all the possibilities

No limits just epiphanies

Wo-o-o-o-o-oh

I’m never gonna look back

Whoa, I’m never gonna give it up

No, just don’t wake me now

Oo-o-o-o-oo

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

Oo-o-o-o-oo

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

I hear it calling outside my window

I feel it in my soul

The stars were burning so bright

The sun was out ’til midnight

I say we lose control

Oo-o-o-o-o

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

Oo-o-o-o-o

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

This is gonna be, this is gonna be, this is gotta be

The best day of my life

Everything is looking up, everybody up now

This is gonna be the best day of my life

My life

American Authors Album Cover

Tennessee Whiskey

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I’ve fallen in love with Chris Stapleton’s song, Tennessee Whiskey. Oh my gosh, talk about smooth. I could listen to this guy sing all night.

“Tennessee Whiskey”

I used to spend my nights out in a barroom

Liquor was the only love I’ve known

But you rescued me from reachin’ for the bottom

And brought me back from being too far gone

[Chorus:]

You’re as smooth as Tennessee whiskey

You’re as sweet as strawberry wine

You’re as warm as a glass of brandy

And honey, I stay stoned on your love all the time

I’ve looked for love in all the same old places

Found the bottom of a bottle always dry

But when you poured out your heart I didn’t waste it

‘Cause there’s nothing like your love to get me high

[Chorus x3]

Well, I stayed stoned on your love all the time.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song that made me think so strongly of a character from one of my own novels. Myhetta, from my recent release, Maelstrom, is this song. He’s a whiskey drinking, hard around the edges, soft-on-the-inside, tortured sort of guy just looking for the love of a good woman to pull him out of the bottom of a bottle.

That particular myth has fuelled many a great country and western song but believe me, it can also make for a mighty endearing novel character, too. If you’ve read Maelstrom, follow the link to the You-Tube video, listen to this song and let me know if you agree. Follow the link at any rate and maybe this song will get you interested in reading my book.

Cowboy Trail off Highway 22 Alberta - Francis Guenette photo

The Tri-Port Music Festival

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Over the past weekend, Disappearing in Plain Sight attended the Tri-Port Music Festival. This festival has become an annual event on Northern Vancouver Island. It’s been held three years in a row at the Cluxewe Resort, just a few minutes drive out of the town of Port McNeill.

 

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The young lad holding my book is Nick. He did a great job directing traffic and was kind enough to take a moment out to pose.

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We decided to take the deal the festival offered for a vendor table plus two passes to the event.

 

 

 

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We combined a fantastic day in a beautiful setting, friendly faces newly met and well-known, wonderful music, food and drink, with the opportunity to sell a few books.

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Cluxewe Resort is situated on this amazing ocean cove.

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Crabs, caught right off the shore are prepared for an evening feast, while eagles soar overhead.

Valdy was the afternoon headliner. The guy is getting up there, but he still has the performance chops.

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As luck would have it, my son was visiting from Ontario. We dragged him along for the fun. Who doesn’t want a chance to see Chilliwack play an intimate outdoor venue?

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Not my best ever photographic moment, but a day in the elements takes its toll.

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Check out this great You Tube video to see Chilliwack back in the day. I’m here to tell you, Bill Henderson can still rock a crowd!

As you can see from the photos, the day was everything I have described. Congratulations must go out to all the organizers, the performers, and the excellent staff at the Cluxewe Resort. And a big thank you to each and every person who stopped by and showed interest in Disappearing in Plain Sight.

You guys made the day such a treat for a local author Open-mouthed smile

Baby Brit’s Bad Rep

Birt and Emma 2 - late June

One day, while I was visiting with my two beautiful granddaughters, the following incident occurred. Emma (the four-year-old one) and I walked into the room I was staying in to see Brit (the twenty-month-old one) throwing my folded laundry off the hide-a-bed. Emma shook her head and said, “It’s always the quiet ones, Grandma.”

I burst out laughing whenever I think of Emma’s serious little face as she reflected on her baby sister’s antics. To say nothing of Brit’s determination to throw every item on the floor before we could stop her.

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Brit has a bit of a bad-ass rep. I know this is hard to imagine, what with those gorgeous baby blue eyes. I ask you – could two little girls look further apart in the eye department? Anyway, I think it is we adults who saddle kids with personality.

 

 

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Point in fact: Emma’s signature song is Bruno Mars – You’re Beautiful . . . just the way you are. This is how she got associated, at least in my mind, with this song. When she was under two, the song came on the radio, and we heard her singing in her cute little voice – just the way you are. We literally had tears in our eyes. The dye was cast.

 

 

 

P1060405Brit’s experience was different. She was trying to see if she could head plant off the hide-a-bed when the Olly Mur song, Troublemaker came on. Well – there you go. That is her signature song. “You’re giving me a heart attack, troublemaker.” Whenever the song comes on, we chase Brit around, laugh wildly, sing that line, and give her a good tickle.

 

 

The other day the song came on while the two girls were in the van with their mom. I was here at home, writing away. They started singing the song and pointing at Brit, who was all smiles. Emma’s mom looked at her, after the song was over, and saw tears running down her face. She asked her what on earth was wrong. Emma replied, “I miss Grandma.” Ohhhhh (you can all take a short break while I go and blow my nose.)

Moral of the story – timing is everything. You might end up being thought of as beautiful, just the way you are, or you might end up a troublemaker. It’s all a game of chance. But maybe having a bad-ass rep is good for a baby sister. As far as I can see, Brit is enjoying the attention.

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Writers Never Surrender When it comes to Love

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Do you ever listen to a song like Dido’s White Flag and feel as though you want to sit down in a chair and sob out an over indulgence of emotion for the time you carried a torch for someone and felt like the pain of lost love would never, ever end?

When we get older and more jaded about the idea of going down with the ship of unrequited love, we forget what this experience was like. As a writer who had the nerve to create a character that loves and loses and hangs on, I had to dig down deep and remember that emotion. A song like White Flag can really aid in the process.

I’ll let you be the judge. Listen to the song and see if it doesn’t plunge you into at least a bit of nostalgia for the days of believing that hanging on forever could make a difference. I’ve given you a link to a You Tube video with lyrics. Give it a listen – I’ll be here when you get back.

Did you feel a bit weepy?

Popular culture often projects an image of love that is rarely what any of us have lived, but this image takes hold of our imagination for a reason. There is something about the idea of holding on to love no matter how hopeless the cause, of never putting up that white flag of surrender that appeals to us.

It’s really quite simple – we want to believe there is a man or woman out there who would go the distance for us. Never mind that we probably know ourselves to be incapable of returning the favour – it doesn’t change the want.

For example, a man like Professor Snape, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books – he loved Lily Potter right up to the bitter end. He died to protect her son – the son she had with his most hated rival. I ask you – is his behaviour not the personification of true love?

Or maybe a woman like Angelique, the French heroine of Sergeanne Golan’s books. She rushed through at least a dozen thick historical romance novels, sleeping with and marrying other men, though she never stopped pining for and being in love with Joffrey de Pyrec – her first and only love. And true to the romantic ideal, he never stopped looking for her. This is the stuff great literary romances are made of.

Though James Bond is portrayed as the master of love affairs in a host of Hollywood movies, in Ian Fleming’s novels, Bond never got over the woman he lost.

Of course we probably don’t know anyone like Professor Snape, or Angelique, or even James Bond, for that matter. The men and women we know are fickle and who could blame them. No one wants to be alone and as you get older the concept of true love becomes somewhat bargained down. What is true might end up being what is comfortable and familiar, or convenient, or self-serving, or a host of other things. Don’t get me wrong – that certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t love, because in the end, love is a bargain of sorts. Yet part of us will always cling to the ideal – why else do we flop in a chair and feel our stomachs roll over when we listen to a song like White Flag?

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Love is a Country–The Wallflowers

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Love is a country that’s better crossed when you’re young . . .

JJakob-Dylan-c02[1]akob Dylan, lead singer for the Wallflowers, has a voice that is richly textured and sexy. He does have the legacy thing going, right? After all, his dad is Bob Dylan and those have to be pretty good rock and roll genes to get started with. But the voice of Dylan the elder, though always interesting and breathtaking, one in a million for sure, it is not something I would be too quick to describe as sexy and smooth. Well – except for when he sings those lines – kick your shoes off, do not fear, bring that bottle over here, I’ll be your baby tonight. But I digress.

Jakob Dylan knocked me back in my chair with the song Love is a Country from the Wallflowers come-back album Glad All Over. And I was a bit stunned to find, when I watched a couple of You-Tube videos, that there is definitely a Dylan family resemblance. (I may have been the only person in the world who had never seen a picture of Jakob Dylan and it shouldn’t have been surprising that he resembled a younger version of his father. It guess it was hard to imagine that anyone could resemble Bob Dylan.)

I’ve got two links for you and a suggestion. Pull up this first link to an acoustic version of the song and then shrink it so you can follow along with the lyrics – which I will provide for you further down the page. After you’ve done that, pull up the more rock and roll version from the Wallflowers’ appearance on the Letterman Show and just enjoy the difference.

Love is a Country

No, there won’t be an ambush anytime soon
If the birds are returning, it’s safe enough to say that much is true
In the desert that borders between me and you
Where more than a few good men have failed to come back or get through
And the only things living around here don’t wanna talk
And the wine isn’t working and the vacancy signs are off
The hardships of marching they’ve only just begun
Love is a country better crossed when you’re young

I’m staring in the window of a moving train
That looks almost human as she barrels down the tracks and comes my way
This no good dog of mine’s got the heart of a stray
And is down in the ditch lights before I’ve even a chance to call his name
I’m watching the clouds overwhelming the evening sun
It’s just after lightning and before the thunder comes
When nothing really happens and suddenly then it does
Love is a country better served with someone

I remember the evening you last came home
It was warm as the devil sat back up with his boots put back on
He said you never get boring, you keep me young
There’s more work than ever and still only one of me to get it done
Now her ring’s on the seat riding shotgun next to my hat
With her name on the window where fog settles down on the glass
Nowhere in the middle of somewhere that has no past
Love is a country you leave and not welcome back
You leave and not welcome back

Love is a country that won’t be overcome
That won’t be overcome

OK – are you still with me. Was it everything I said it would be? Nice, right?

Let’s delve into those lyrics. Right out of the gate, in the first verse, we’ve got a lot of war words – ambush, borders, a few good men have failed to come back, and the hardships of marching, but don’t be drawn down the wrong path. No way is this song about serving your country in battle – just a metaphor for relationship, folks. This is a love song, or more accurately, a lost love song, a song about the ways love is a battlefield, a country you are going to have to suffer to march through.

There’s a desert between him and her and more than a few good men haven’t made it through that type of situation. And the hardships of getting through have only just begun. Love is a country better crossed when you’re young.

He’s got the heart of a stray and I guess we all know what that could mean. Maybe it’s too hard to be alone and love is a country better served with someone – anyone.

He remembers the last time she came home. He was the devil sitting up with his boots still on, telling her she never gets boring, she keeps him young. But there’s work to do and only him to get it done.

It seems reasonable that whatever that work was, it drove them apart. The next line is the most heartbreaking of all – now her ring is riding shotgun on the seat next to my hat, with her name on the window where fog settles down on the glass. Oh man – that is beautiful. Lyrics like that pluck your heart right out of your chest and give it a good squeeze. Nowhere in the middle of somewhere that has no past, love is a country you leave and not welcome back.

I’ll just go now before my tears threaten to do something bizarre to my laptop.

Bleeding heart