Saturday, January 2, 2010

Our New Year Awaits (And a Bit of Music Sees the Light)

I hope everyone had a happy Christmas, and a safe and festive New Year's. 2009 will certainly be written into the history books as a year of worldwide tumult and instability. I suspect that many of you had years like mine - full of as many downs as ups. I'm not the type to trot all my confessions out for public viewing, so I won't go into too many details. Suffice it to say, I would venture a guess that we're pretty much all in the same boat.

It's with a mixture of hope and anxiety that I look forward to 2010. Just a few days in, and nothing seems different; but I still look into the future with the same upward gaze that we use to watch the sun rise.

I started this blog just about a year ago, and at the time I was focused on getting my manuscript published. I submitted it, and it was rejected, and I was okay with that. It needed work. It hasn't gotten enough of it. The past several months have been a desert of creativity, as far as the novel went. I fell victim to a crippling bout of selective writer's block, one that seemed only to affect the Heroes... manuscript. After several chapters, which were read and reviewed here - and by my friends in the North County Writers of Speculative Fiction - I came to a screeching halt.

I call that a serious down.

However, during that time I've written several things - some pieces, some openings, a few chapters, and two short stories. I posted both "A Chilling Wind" and "Melbourn's Storm" here, and submitted both to my writer's group. The response for both was quite positive, though both are vastly different (and Melbourn is one of the protagonists from Heroes...). Following advice from some of my writerly friends, I decided to submit both of them to L. Ron Hubbard's "Writers of the Future" contest.

"A Chilling Wind" went in just before the end-of-December deadline for the quarter. I plan to submit "Melbourn's Storm" during the next quarter. Receiving positive feedback for both from the readers and writers who visit here...I call that a serious up.

With that, I have to digress a moment and describe one of the absolute high points of my year. In October, I received a message from one of my Twitter friends. He said he had read "A Chilling Wind" and was motivated to do some work of his own - because of that story. Early in November, I received an email from the same gentleman which contained a piece of music.

The writer - my online friend - is Brian Travers, the monster horn player and one of the founders of reggae giants UB40. Brian and his writing partner, Martin Meredith, composed a major-minor nocturne for my short story - which still hasn't seen publication.

Brian and I have discussed art, writing, and music a few times, and we are both rock-solid believers in "Art for Art's Sake." When he described feeling inspired to write a piece of music for it, I was filled with a surge of ego and a sense of humility at the same time. I've thanked Brian, but I've never known exactly how to demonstrate it.

This is it. According to his email, this is a version that would probably be tweaked and edited sometime down the line. It is a nocturne, and reflects the sounds of the sky and the city after the last line is read.

In a year of both ups and downs, this was one of my strongest ups - and now I feel comfortable sharing it with you. Feel free to listen. Music unheard is as big a loss as words unread.

If you're on Twitter and you like it, you should let Brian know; he is @btub40. I suspect he enjoys feedback almost as much as I do.

Thank you, all. Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Martin. I'll let you know how it all turns out. Oh, one last thing: I'm back to rewriting Heroes... again. Just wanted you to know.

If you haven't, read "A Chilling Wind."


To hear "Major Minor Nocturne (A Chilling Wind) by Brian Travers & Martin Meredith, please use the player at the top left of this page. I have tried, tried, and tried some more, but simply can't get any audio player to embed and play in this post. Sorry for the technical difficulties.


  1. Good for you Nicholas!you are really coming a long way and just enjoy it don't push it..let it flow from you. And the music is wonderful!
    oh yes, I am following your can follow me if you want :-) I look forward to the sharing

  2. The very same Brian Travers that sent me a copy of The Outliers and an autographed best of UB40 cd for my newborn Zoey. He is a prince amongst men.

  3. Hi, Caroline! It took me a couple of days to realize you were a friend from Twitter (new pics always throw me off). Thanks for your comments, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :-)

    Joseph...what can I say but... yeah. Exactly right.

  4. After multiple listens I decided to play it over while reading "Wind". It really adds to the whole feel, and I think both work well together. Unabashedly cool bro.