IWSG Day, and RIP Tom Petty

Today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day!


Today is also show your insecurity day!

Love seeing mini-Alex wearing that scarf!

I forgot to bring my IWSG shirt with me, and the weather is not cooperating, so instead of the Alps, here I am working on a blog post with a sequoia outside my window:



I'm also interviewed at Carole Anne Carr's blog today!


OPTIONAL IWSG Day Question:  Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?

Short answer: don't we all?

Long answer: I've always loved Tolkien's line from the foreword to The Lord of the Rings: "An author cannot of course remain wholly unaffected by his experience, but the ways in which a story-germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous."

One thing that readers may not realise is that different bits of real life -- from a specific friend's particular mannerism, to a relative's favourite saying, to an event that took place over five minutes back in high school umpteen years ago, to a brief line from a newspaper article from halfway around the world -- may be folded into the makeup of one character.

Sometimes even the author forgets what came from where! Especially as the characters grow into their own.


Thank you to this month's co-hosts:



And now, if this blog post were a record, here's side two.

Tom Petty passed away on Monday. I never got to see him live -- my sister saw him a few years ago at the Bluesfest in Ottawa, and was very moved by the energy of his performance, and of the crowd coming together.

There are some musicians and bands that strike at your soul, and you'll follow them no matter what they do. Others are always, simply, there. Tom Petty's music wasn't necessarily the one I'd turn to in times of crisis (except maybe the album Wildflowers), but it was always, always there. Albums on regular rotation. Songs you never skipped past if they came on the radio. Albums and songs that made the leap from cassette, to CD, to .mp3. And now, suddenly, he's no longer there, to keep creating.

None of this is unexpected (though he was relatively young); as you get older, many of your favourites will pass away. I suppose it's typical to think of your own mortality (and that of your parents) at a moment like this, and that can be a good thing, if reflection leads to better understanding and, maybe, growth.

One of my favourite lines of his has always been: "and the days went by / like paper in the wind / everything changed / then changed again".

I've also always loved the little spoken word bit in the middle of Full Moon Fever:


"Hello, CD listeners. We have come to the point in this album where those listening on cassette -- or records -- will have to stand up -- or sit down -- and turn over the record -- or tape. In fairness to those listeners, we will now take a few seconds before we begin side two. [silence] Thank you. Here's side two."

Here's the playlist I made for Wildflowers a few years ago, along with a Full Moon Fever playlist and some other videos:


I don't really have a question for the end of today's post, just a quote:
"If we don't get to a higher place / and find somebody /
can help somebody / might be nobody no more"
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