Monday, June 18, 2012

Luck of the Draw, Teeth and Claws

            This may make me a hypocrite, but there are times when piracy is acceptable. Now, before you start throwing fruit at me, let me explain that statement. I still do not condone the illegal downloading of books in any way, shape, or form. If you are in the United States and downloading from foreign websites, you’re still just as guilty. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Take for instance, Aimee Allen. If you were lucky enough to catch Birds of Prey on the WB several years ago, you might remember the intro theme, Revolution. If you have no idea what I am talking about, go look it up on YouTube. Aimee Allen did this fantastic song that I absolutely adored in sixth grade and I still rock out to it now. The catch there is that when I finally went to look, the song was no where to be found on Amazon or iTunes. That’s because her album got pulled before it was ever released. I knew if anyone could find it, Bear’s cousin could, so I went to him. He told me later that he took it as a challenge and he had to dig to find it, and but he did and now I can listen to it in my media player. That being said, let me issue a disclaimer. Probably a whooping 95% of what is in my media player was bought either in store or on iTunes or Amazon. I have given the music industry a lot of my money over the years, and I am still young so they will probably get a lot more from me. I think it’s worth it, but that’s just me. Now, to the point for this week. Yeah, I always try to have one of those. Don’t always succeed, but I do try.
            Aimee Allen is a fantastic voice, in my humble music opinion. She carries the same quality that make me love Lzzy Hale and Megan McCauley. Again, if you’ve never heard of them, go check them out on YouTube. Lzzy Hale is lead for Halestorm, to make your search easier. Particularly for Lzzy Hale, I am in love with her voice. Unlike Amy Lee, the chick from Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, or any of the other female led rock bands out there, her voice is not…prissy, for lack of a better word. Don’t get me wrong. Evanescence, Within Temptation, Nightwish, they all have powerful vocals, the kind with the ability to make your heart simply stop in your chest for a split second. But gals like me know that they sing on a level that I will never be able to match. It’s almost like it’s above me, whereas Lzzy Hale is down to earth. She is gritty and in your face, in a beautiful way. I feel like her music, her quality of voice, applies more to my life than Amy Lee could ever do. And really, I think that’s what a lot of us look for in music. We want something that makes us feel, but we also want stuff that we can relate to on some level. Anyway, that is the short explanation for why Lzzy Hale and all rocker chicks like her have my vote. I won’t go so far as to say that Aimee Allen could beat Lzzy Hale, but she still has the talent. And so did Megan McCauley, who was also able to reach across the lines from rock into pop and do it so well you would forget who you were listening to for a minute. But, even though her stuff is available on Amazon and iTunes, it seems like her career kind of fell into the category of obscure. With that, I finally close in on my point for this week.
            It often scares the ever living hell out of me to think of how many writers there are out there that are better than me, who are also competing for that publisher’s attention. We see this in music all the time. Someone with a lot of talent may have a couple of good songs, but then they fall to the side and people forget they ever existed, if they even make it to the radio in the first place. It’s a rat race and it is a vicious one full of teeth and claws and luck of the draw. J.R. Ward, one of my favorite authors ever in life, made a comment one time in one of her books saying that she knew a lot of writers who were better than her and had not had near the luck she had. It is all luck, which also boils down to the landscape of the market at the time you’re trying to get published or get your music out there. Some people defy that rule, like Sherrilyn Kenyon, who was trying to sell a vampire series at a time when vampires were dead in the water. Oh yeah, remember those days? But anyway.
            The best advice that I’ve ever read from published authors to young writers is to just write. And keep writing, doing the best you can. A lot of writers will also tell you not to send them your work in hopes of getting some feedback. There’s legal issues, the problem of not having enough time, and the fact that they tell you to own your own work. Get a critique partner, join a writing group, do something. This dream won’t just come to you. Oh, and any published writer will be the first one to tell you that rejection is just a part of the game. I have read of stacks of rejection letters, kept as trophies or battle scars, take your pick. The point is that you keep going. The only one who can defeat you is you, as they say. Even when the rejections are stinging, wear them proudly like battle scars. That’s what I plan to do, if I ever make it to that point.
            No matter what it is, writing, music, athletics, movies, there will always be someone saying you cannot do it. Your stuff just ain’t good enough. That only becomes true when you start believing it and give up. Like I said last week, we don’t know where we’re gonna end up. So it never hurts to keep fighting with teeth and claws.

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