Eeee! Now with video!

So that piece of music for which I wrote the lyrics that was premiered earlier this month at SACRA/PROFANA‘s Summer Choral Intensive?

SACRA/PROFANA posted a video of the performance!

 

Don’t the combined choirs sound amazing?? And isn’t Colin’s music gorgeous?? I am filled with joy and squee and excitement! I think Colin and I were very much on the same page creatively: my decision to use five-line stanzas and connect the stanzas with rhyme was influenced by Robert Frost, and I sometimes heard shades of Randall Thompson’s Frostiana in the setting, for all that the music has discrete moods that range from contemplative chant to a musical flood that captures some of the violence and defiance of the text spectacularly. *bounces* I LOVE IT!

In other news, I have nearly finished integrating my third round of edits on the book o’ sonnets, so it’s looking like I may actually have an actual book to announce by the end of the summer! I will be sure to keep y’all posted on that. You won’t be able to avoid the news, honestly. Heh heh heh.

But seriously, I love this book so much, but I’m getting tired of looking at it. According to the YA authors’ panel I attended at Comic-Con, being sick of looking at it is how you know it’s ready to send out in to the world. Brace yourself, world. SONNETS ARE COMING.

Love to All,

Libby

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Wordy Pursuits

I’m back, fresh(ish) from my annual writer’s retreat in Michigan! I’ve had to miss the past two due to performance conflicts, so this one was especially needful. The house wasn’t the most comfortable we’ve had, but it was bright and airy, only a few steps from this glorious stretch of beach.

MIchiganBeach

Despite walking to the beach for many lovely sunsets and moonrises amidst the fireflies, I escaped with only about ten mosquito bites, and I’m pleased to report that I’m still immune to poison ivy. W00t!

Happily, I managed to finish two writing projects during the week, though my poor old netbook wasn’t up to working on the huge file that is The Book Manuscript, so integrating formatter comments shall be my project for the rest of the month, when I’m not singing and/or attending Comic Con.

In exciting writing news, I had the pleasure of collaborating with singer/composer/arranger Colin Barkley on a commissioned work for professional chamber choir SACRA/PROFANA‘s 2017 Summer Choral Intensive, and our piece “Three Bridges and a Fence,” for which I wrote the lyrics, was premiered on Saturday at the SCI final concert. It was such a joy to hear words I’d written  delivered in song by such a dedicated and talented group of young singers!

Colin and I were asked to create a piece of music to fit the ninth season’s theme, which is “Building Bridges,” and the idea that we both liked the best was an autobiographical work based on bridges built over the creek in the woods behind the log cabin in which I grew up.  So without further ado, here it is:

Three Bridges and a Fence
By Libby Weber

Along a twisted barbwire fence
The old road ran in father’s father’s day,
But now the only evidence
Remaining is a wreck of brick and steel
Where children’s play made rusted culverts ring with mirth.

The road was swallowed up by trees,
As disuse preordained.
Though purpose fades in memories;
The barbwire fence remained.

Upriver from that broken bridge,
A footbridge father built was washed away.
That span connecting ridge to ridge
Was dashed to bits; diluvian ordeal
That spread its splinters where the saplings grow in girth.

That bridge was swallowed by a flood
And barbwire snapped in twain,
Though rotting plank feeds swelling bud,
The barbs will still remain.

And now my brother’s handiwork
Of golden lumber trusses, crossed today
On wanderings through shady murk
Now spurs its crossers’ fancies to reveal
What bridge will stand when barbwire fence dissolves in earth.

©2017

I really enjoyed that collaboration. Colin is a joy to work with, and I adore his music. Once The Book is out, I’m planning to be a bit more proactive about ensuring that composers of my acquaintance know that lyrics are a thing I am thrilled to write to order. As writing a sonnet every day for a year has taught me, I can write metered rhyme about pretty much anything.

And now, back to the humbling task of formatting.

Smooches to all,

Libby

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:

 

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.