Does That Mean There Is Quietermilk?

Days become weeks
Weeks become months
Months become way back when

      -Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk, “Holding On”

During the weekend, I had an idea for this blog entry. Do not ask me what that idea was, because I do not know anymore. I am not even going to try and take a wild guess. Not even a stab in its general direction. That ship has sailed, so what you get instead is blabber, because “blog entry” is the next thing on my to-do list, and sleep was not that great this weekend, which means my mind is a muddle. Which means it is time to impose some order on chaos. Which means making lists and prioritizing.

Today’s quote is from the musical, Tales From the Bad Years. No, I’ve never seen it, but I have been listening to many of the songs from it repeatedly over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t played any Christmas music yet, which is unusual for me. I mean nothing. Seriously. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Nada. I’m not not-in the Christmas spirit, but it hasn’t kicked in yet. Maybe that’s because the decorations are still not up. Fingers crossed for tomorrow. Maybe then it will feel real. We’ve had sickies in our house for the last…three weeks? Four? Maybe that has something to do with it. I have Christmas books at hand, and have not cracked the covers on any of them, either.

No, wait, that’s not right. I am reading For Christmas, Forever, by Barbara Samuel, originally published under her Ruth Wind pseudonym, on my phone. I don’t read a lot of category romance, but I would read Barbara Samuel’s grocery list in a heartbeat. Pounce on that sucker like a starving hyena, I would, and that might be underselling my theoretical behavior. We need to make that clear at the outset. Still, I don’t read a lot of category, and the combination of intrigue and Christmas has me in uncharted territory, but the voice is still there, and that’s what I wanted (besides the whole Christmas angle) so that balances things out. Combine that with my devouring of Matthew Quick novels (be forewarned, I may get whiny when I finish the ones I have on hand, because then I will have read all currently published ones; why do I keep doing this to myself, again?) and rationing Dark Champion, the second of Jo Beverley’s medieval historical romances (I do sorely wish she had written more medieval, but there are loads of her Regencies and some of her Georgians I have not yet read. She is, sadly, another one who has left us, so when I am done, I will be done. At least with reading new to me titles for the first time.)

But back to the music. I wish I could say how it was I stumbled across the Kerrigan-Lowdermilk team, but I am going to say it was either Spotify or YouTube. I like to follow bunny trails, of things I might like, based on things I already like, and I’ve been using both of the above frequently as of late, so it’s probably one of the two. When an authorial voice catches my attention like that, I like to hunt down as much of it as I can. When that voice belongs to a songwriting team, and said songs are in the realm of musical theater, that makes my blood do a skippity skip, because that means that there are, somewhere out there, a plethora of different interpretations of the same songs, by different performers.

I love that kind of thing. I can find Actor A’s performance of Song X, take that in, find what I like about it and what I would direct them to do differently, then take in different takes on the material by Actor B, Actor C, Actor D, etc. Gender flipped, with or without changes in pronouns, solos divided into duets or multiple singers, and vice versa. Stage performances, cabaret, concert, professional, student, etc, etc. Bring all of that stuff right on over here, because it goes straight into ye olde creative well.

On the official page for Tales From The Bad Years, (find it here: the blurb about the show concludes with “There’s no doubt that the bad years make the best stories.” That resonated with me, and reminds me that it was the very title, Tales From The Bad Years, that told me this was something I had to investigate. I’m glad I did. Though I haven’t seen the show, or read the script, I’ve listened to the available songs, so, if I had to shelve it in a genre, I would put it in New Adult. Again, not a genre, in the contemporary fiction sense, with which I have any degree of familiarity, apart from the Going The Distance series by Lark O’Neal ( -who is also Barbara Samuel, go figure- but I very clearly got the “Yes. That.” reaction, so I’m listening. A lot. Rolling it around in my head, and letting it seep into my heart. We’ll see what sticks, what combines with all the other things that are in there already, and what else is going into the tank at the same time.

Writers are, by nature, omnivores. If it waves a tentacle at us, and if we grab onto that tentacle, it’s going into us. Becoming part of us. Coming out again in some other form that is our version of that. Calling us to come to a higher level. Making us want to be that good. Work that hard. Make something that has the same effect on somebody else, we would hope. We don’t always know what it’s going to do to us when we recognize it, but that moment when we know that yes, that new thing we like, it’s ours now, that’s something we need to hold onto and see where it takes us

The lines at the top of this entry are one of those things that stick. The inevitable passage of time, the reminder that my track record for getting through stuff has been 100% so far, so odds are that’s probably going to continue. Not smooth sailing all the way, because how boring would a story like that be, seriously? The knowledge that a current stressor will one day be a story to tell, of something that happened “way back when,” that’s encouraging. I can work with that.



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