Singing one’s heart out

Greetings, Folks!

It has been a while since my last update, and while I don’t have much new fiction news (I’m working on a couple of short stories with an eye towards a to-be-announced anthology and hope to have the book o’ sonnets out this summer), I do have some nifty things to share from all of the singing I’ve been doing lately, and there has been a quite a bit of that.

I’ve had the pleasure of singing with the chamber choir SACRA/PROFANA since December, which has involved some of the most difficult and rewarding music I’ve sung in my life, particularly our February Black History Month concerts on which we sang Anthony Davis’s “Voyage Through Death to Life Upon These Shores,” a shatteringly brilliant setting of Robert Hayden’s poem “Middle Passage.”

Check out this video of first movement, though please note that the text includes disturbing and graphic language and descriptions of human slavery from the perspective of the slavers themselves:

 

And on the other end of the choral music spectrum, we recorded a couple of brand new indie electro-pop tracks, “Play” and “Who Can Say” with composer Stephen Feigenbaum, which have been released under the collective name Doctrine. TIME magazine recommended “Play” in a feature called “5 songs you need to listen to this week,” so that was awesome, as was performing them live at venues in San Diego and Los Angeles.

So that’s a little bit of what I’ve been up to!

I suppose this is my way of sort-of-apologizing for not having as much writing to share lately, but I’m sad to say that being busy with singing isn’t the only thing that’s kept me from making more writing progress, particularly with the book o’ sonnets. I’ve also been dealing with the sudden loss of our scruffy pup Giovanni to cancer a couple of weeks before what would have been his 7th birthday. Regular readers of this space know that many of the sonnets I wrote for the daily project were about Gio, so revisiting those works has been painful, if also lovely remembrances. Thankfully, Gio was survived by his sister Hildegard the Überdachshund, who keeps us walking and laughing, but we miss our lil’ scruff butt every day. Here he is at Ocean Beach Dog Beach last June demonstrating his Thousand Mile Stare.

ThousandMileStareGio.jpg

Love always, little buddy.

Thankfully, I will be attending a writer’s retreat in July (my first in three years!), and I’m hoping that the week will do a bit of soul-nourishing as well as give me some badly-needed time devoted solely to creative writing pursuits. I look forward to having more writing to share in the very near future.

And until then, I will have singing.

Love to All,

Libby

Two new stories in IMMANENCE, plus bonus sonnet

It’s been a fabulously busy start to 2016, but I am delighted to share that two of my short stories have been published in IMMANENCE, an anthology about gods, godesses, and demons!

Immanence Cover

Now available on Amazon (Kindle, paperback),  Kobo, Nook, and iTunes!

I’m pleased as punch to have two stories included in this wonderful collection of works to amuse, delight, and terrify. My offerings are “Riders of the White Horse,” a historical tale of suspense about demons who prey on the weak and ill and the sisters who try to defeat them, and a delightful romp through bureaucracy and buzzwords, courtesy a conspiracy of trickster gods called “Who Tricks the Tricksters?”

And because I am me, I have composed a sonnet for the occasion. I hope you enjoy both verse and fiction!

IMMANENCE

From simple senses, human minds evolved
To tease out patterns from chaotic static,
Discern the lessons from each problem solved,
Create behaviors idiosyncratic.

Thus, when misfortune strikes a heavy blow
And there is nothing to recriminate,
A god or demon must have caused our woe,
For such cruel chance we cannot contemplate—

For why should children starve while gluttons feast
Or illness strike the strong down at their peak?
Though blessèd may be those who have the least,
They pray for intercession, life less bleak.

But when you send a wish into the air,
You cannot know just who is listening there.

Adventures in Quantum Fiction

It’s been a busy final quarter of 2015, during which I have finished writing no less than three stories and had the great pleasure of singing in the chorus of Bizet’s Carmen by the Pacific Lyric Opera. I’ll also be singing Berlioz’s Te Deum with the San Diego Symphony and caroling like a champ, because Christmas music is so much more than endless covers of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Santa Baby.”

This being the season of giving, I would like to point you in the direction of Quantum Shorts, where there are dozens of delightful flash fiction stories inspired by quantum physics/mechanics/theory/technology/etc.  available to read for FREE!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have a horse, or in this case, a quantum chicken, in the race.  I hope you enjoy my story, The Spherical Chicken. And if you do, please consider voting for it!

I’m slowly gathering feedback on my attempt to turn last year’s Sonnet Project into a book, but that is in the works, as is a story for a new anthology, and of course, that novel I keep threatening to finish. Given that it’s science fiction, the Quantum Shorts contest was just the right thing to get me thinking about it again.

Happiest of Holidays and a Splendid New Year to All!

Libby

 

 

Lost Time

It’s both strange and wonderful, after a year of writing daily sonnets, not be be writing daily sonnets. One would think that my post-sonnet-project schedule would feel less daunting, and yet anybody who knows me well knows that I’m happiest when I’m busy doing things that I love. So I’ve been no less busy this year, I’m just busy doing different things! Such as…

  • I’ve had two short stories accepted for publication this year! More details to come on that front when I have them.

The one downside to taking wonderful vacations is that day-job vacation time is finite. Thus, this year I will be missing out on the writer’s retreat that I have been part of for the past three summers. I will miss spending time with my friends and luxuriating in the time and space to write as much or as little as I wish. I will be with them in spirit and will write as much on my own as I can!

Of course, being me, I have ambitious plans for the rest of the year, including but not limited to four exciting summer singing gigs, serving as deputy editor for an anthology of short stories (again, details forthcoming), curating and publishing my sonnets from last year, and finally finishing the draft of The Novelsomething I’ve been threatening to do for some time now. So I may be quieter here in 2015 than I was in 2014, but I hope to have many excellent things to show for it by year’s end.

And possibly an additional sonnet or two.

Love to All!

Libby

A Bribe For My Kind Editor, or Pony Up

Your shaggy, winsome countenance belies
A strength borne out of harsh austerity
Unparalleled, comparative to size,
A product of your insularity.

Your humble, compact form inspires delight,
Small children are entrusted to your back–
Beloved pets, devoted guides, despite
Strong will, which manifests in training’s lack.

And yet I cannot look into your faces
Without recalling how your forebears bore
The the pit and lash in suffocating places,
And how your brethren perished by the score.

Past sorrows make our present selves inclined
To err, I hope, upon the side of kind.

For JL Aldis, who requested a sonnet about Shetland ponies.

January 6 (2015!): This Gull is on Fire

A common gull that flew toward the dawn
Was suddenly with pinkish orange aflame,
As lead by alchemy had undergone
Its transformation, baseness overcame.

I knew it was a trick of light, and yet
Its unexpected beauty gave me pause,
I fixed it in my mind, not to forget
The transient perfection that it was-

For who among us would not wish to be
But for an instant, thus illuminated,
That all who were so lucky as to see
Should with the memory be ever sated?

As sunlight may banal surfaces gild,
Am I when I with gratitude am filled.

With heartfelt thanks to those who helped me through 2014 with their support and kind words.

December 31: Last, Not Least

This is the last time I will write my life
Into a daily sonnet, those things great,
Exciting, middling, sad, and sometimes strife,
Through stubbornness one cannot understate.

Tonight, I’ll sing to thousands and the sky
To fete a civic gem’s centenary
Then dinner, where we’ll bid the year goodbye
And sonnet cycle done successfully.

Tomorrow, will it feel strange not to write,
Thus letting loose the stories in my head?
Or will those nagging feelings in the night
Inspire me to read a book instead?

To paraphrase the words of one less boring
Who knows? I’ll get the sled. Let’s go exploring!