Tuesday, September 18, 2018
I've been reading Lafcadio Hearn's GLEANINGS IN BUDDHA FIELDS, and I was going to post a review on Amazon, but the version available there is apparently some kind of print-on-demand edition that has left at least one reviewer nasty-peeved enough to leave a bad review. The sad thing is that it gives readers the wrong idea about the quality of the book (rather than the edition -- why do these yahoos do that?). So I thought I'd better just post it here (and probably on Facebook too), so I can let people know about this wonderful title.
I recommend that you find a copy of it at a used book store. My edition was published by Tuttle Books in 1971. It's a collection of stories and musings, a treasure trove of ideas and reflections about a place and a people that Hearn loved deeply. If I were to review it on Amazon, I'd give it five stars. (So there, cranky Amazon assassin.)
Monday, September 10, 2018
This is an announcement from Michael Levy concerning his music of the ancient harp. Check it out!
My Ancient-Themed Lyre Music to Feature in Rufus Wainwright's Second Opera, "Hadrian"!
I am pleased to announce, that the Canadian Grammy Award winning composer, Rufus Wainwright, will be arranging one of my ancient-themed lyre compositions, "Hymn to Zeus", in two scenes of his ancient Roman-themed second opera, "Hadrian" - produced by the Canadian Opera Company and due to premiere in Toronto on 13th October!
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
If you've read Medusa Uploaded, you've noticed that Oichi is a bit obsessed with music. I created a playlist for the annotated version of the book, but I thought some people might appreciate one with links. I've also included links to sites where good recordings can be purchased.
The list is probably not comprehensive. It may not even be entirely accurate. For the past several months I've been up to my eyeballs in the sequel, Medusa in the Graveyard, so most of my brain power has been hijacked. But I hope this list will provide a good jumping-off point for curious readers (who are also listeners).
Ralph Vaughan Williams – “Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis,” London Symphony(no.2) (the EMI recording of John Barbirolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra blows everyone else out of the water), and Pastoral Symphony(no.3) (Sir Adrian Boult's EMI recordings are gorgeous)
Claude Debussy – Nocturnes, for orchestra (the best recording I've heard is on the Cala label, conducted by Geoffrey Simon with the Philharmonia Orchestra)
Gamelan music (try the album, Music from the Morning of the World)
If you've never heard Japanese Nō music, find some on Youtube. If you've watched Japanese period movies (stories about samurais filmed by Kurosawa, etc.), you've probably heard the instruments used in the film scores.
Pachelbel's “Canon in D” (Lady Sheba's Theme Music)
Beethoven's 7thSymphony, 2ndmovement (Allegretto – though it has a lot more emotional impact when played slowly, like a dirge)
Gustav Holst – “Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (my Default Majesty Music),” “Jupiter, bringer of Joviality,” and “Neptune the Mystic”
Alan Hovhannes – “Mysterious Mountain”
After you've checked out the Japanese Nō music on Youtube, look for The White-Haired Girl Ballet.
You may have heard Leopold Stokowsky's excellent arrangement of The Rite of Spring in the film score of Fantasia (the segment with the dinosaurs), but the original arrangement is pretty mind-blowing.
Tōru Takemitsu – Kwaidan score
Yasushi Akutagawa – Gate of Hell score
Billy Ray Cyrus – “Achy Breaky Heart”
Anatol Liadov – “The Enchanted Lake,” “Baba Yaga,” and Eight Russian Folk Songs for Orchestra (I think of “Sacred Verse” (no.1) as Gennady's Theme Song)
Duke Ellington – “Take the A Train” and “The Mooch”
I think I may have mentioned the main theme from the film score for Around the World in Eighty Days, composed by Victor Young. If I didn't mention it in this book, I definitely mentioned it in the sequel.
Irving Berlin – “There's No Business Like Show Business” (another piece that plays a big part in the sequel).
Benjamin Britten's Simple Symphony, “Playful Pizzicato”
Rimsky-Korsakov – “Hindu Song”
Franz Waxman – Rear Window(opening credits)
Rogers & Hammerstein – South Pacific (Kitten's favorite musical)
Johann Sebastian Bach – “Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring”
Cab Calloway – “Mini the Moocher”
George Butterworth, “The Banks of Green Willow” (George died in the trenches in WWI, the same war that had such a profound effect on J.R.R. Tolkien)
Antônio Carlos Jobim – “The Girl from Ipanema” (pick your favorite elevator-music version)
I hope this list doesn't seem too long, and that you haven't gone cross-eyed trying to follow it. My ambition is to let people discover some new music or revisit old favorites. Once Medusa in the Graveyard is released (summer 2019), I'll do another one . . .
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Writers have a lot of delusions when we start out. Time and experience should clear them up, but some of them persist. For me, the biggest of these is the idea that more success is going to equate to less work.
Stop laughing. I'm not the only fool who has thought more money and exposure would land her on Easy Street (or, if I'm going to be honest, Easier Street, since the more expensive version shall remain forever out of reach). But you would think I would at least remember that any endeavor that involves the creative process is just going to generate more work. For one thing, I should have noticed how long it's been since I posted anything on this blog that wasn't an announcement of Michael Levy's latest creative doings.
A few years ago, I had nothing but time. I hadn't begun to write stories again, and I had no sci-fi extravaganza in the works. I was studying geology (there's something that'll hijack your brain), snapping photos on hikes, and cheerfully blogging about a variety of topics. In fact, that's pretty much how I picture my retirement (okay, seriously, stop laughing – it could sort of happen that way). Somehow I can't help projecting myself into this life where mornings are spent on a comfy porch, sipping coffee and watching wildlife. That also seems like a good spot for the afternoon and evening.
So yes, the idea of being a happy, lazy bum REALLY appeals to me. And yet I keep generating more work for myself.
In my defense, back when my earlier books were published, there wasn't a whole lot I could do to help promote them. The internet was in its infancy, blogs were not a thing, podcasts were also not a thing, and Amazon was a brand, new thing. Now that Medusa Uploaded has been released, I'm doing interviews, writing guest posts, even traveling to a few signings and conventions. This, on top of my full-time job and my household upkeep. I'm feeling just a tad incompetent, these days.
I'm really happy about the book, though. I've still got a big stack of writing to do, and probably that will generate more work. Maybe I'll wise up and go back to writing about geology and saguaros.