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About Joan

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    A Muse's Muse
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    Lovettsville, VA, USA

Previous Fields

  • Lyricist, Composer or Both?
  • Musical Influences?
    dave carter, stan rogers, patty griffin, guy clark, leonard cohen, joni mitchell, david massengill
  1. I'm trying to figure out how I can get 1000 clicks. Have to create my own factual site. That crossed my mind, too.
  2. "What the Mainstream Media Isn't Telling You" and "What the Mainstream Media Doesn't Want You to Know" are highly favored headline teasers used by fake news sites, their own content creators describing themselves as "the new yellow journalists." It's proven click bait for generating ad revenue at approximately 14 dollars per 1,000 clicks. Any time you're instructed to "share if you agree" with something on Facebook, it's never really about spreading a viewpoint. It's always about generating more clicks and more dollars for the site that holds the content.
  3. I might be in the minority on this one, and now I wish I'd picked a different example. If it were you, me and Jennifer Nettles voting, I'd be outnumbered for sure. And you'd be the one with the Grammy winner in your corner. People will disagree on whether any specific figure of speech is a colorful idiom or an annoying cliche. There are some websites out there (like this one) that list sayings that are commonly considered to be cliche. Reading down the list, I spotted quite a few phrases that didn't seem at all stale to me. There were also some I’d never even seen or heard before. “Box of fluffy ducks”? Maybe it was used in some movie that I never saw. Or maybe it's a Britishism. It’s a challenge to stay current on which sayings are commonly considered passe, and harder yet if English isn't your native language, so an objective source like a web list might be helpful. One valid use of a cliche is to twist it around or turn it upside down by changing one little thing about it. "Better Love Next Time" and "She Can't Say I Didn't Cry" were commercial country hits obtained by changing a worn-out phrase into something else. Looking over a list on a cliche website like the one I linked to might spark some wordplay ideas that could yield a nice hook line.
  4. Cheesecake doesn't remind me of a cliche so much as it brings to mind a hugely popular song that you just need to stop hearing for awhile. It doesn't need to be retired, but just eased off the radio til you've had a chance to forget some of the lyrics. Once you haven't been Hallelujaed in some years, then somebody can come out with another rendition, maybe featuring some of the more obscure verses or in some other way making it seem fresh again. Sure, jalapeños, that actually sounds amazing. Every night is way too often for even the best cheesecake, but it'll always have a place in the rotation. But I don't think a cliche has any place in first-rate writing. I think once a phrase goes stale, there's no bringing it back except in an ironic twisty way. An otherwise-great song can succeed despite a clunker phrase or two, but the song would have been better without. I'm a big fan of that Jennifer Nettles song " ," but I think its phrase "with my heart on my sleeve" should never have made it past the first draft. Funny how the worst cliches nearly always seem to be rhyme lines.
  5. What makes you say the couple that founded Snopes has been busted as frauds? The worst they've ever been accused of is political bias, and both sides of the political spectrum have accused them of that. Whatever their bias is supposed to be, nobody has busted their track record of debunking fake news and dubious quotations. Any time a conservative friend posts a BS quote on Facebook and someone posts a a link to Snopes debunking it, the poster takes down the whole thread immediately. That happened just this morning with a story in my feed. The Mikkelsons might lean left personally (she's a Canadian citizen and he's a registered Independent who used to be Republican), but their track record is solid. FOX News researchers use Snopes before committing resources to a story, just as CNN researchers do. Even people who disagree with a Snopes finding here or there, like maybe about Iran or Benghazi, continue to use the site when they're researching e-mail scams or fishy-sounding stories.
  6. Fact checking is not so open to interpretation. Quite a few of the facts in dispute about a candidate’s previous positions are a matter of public record. Fact checking is often as easy as finding a candidate’s voting record, or finding footage capturing a speech or interview or essay written by that candidate. So the claim “I never said that” can be countered with footage of the candidate saying that, and it’s then up to the candidate to explain any gap between “what I said” and “what I meant,” which if the gap is too wide, needs the candidate to either drop back to "I changed my mind since then because..." or persuade us that “I was lying then but I’m telling the truth now."
  7. I draw the line by whether it seems cliche to me. If one of my lines bothers me, there's a reason why it bothers me, and it's best to hold out for something better. If I were to put it in anyway, I would be writing down to the listener ("I don't care for it myself, but it's good enough for them"). Simple is good. Using as many one-syllable words as possible is great. A phrase isn't trite for being made up of short simple words. But if I recognize it as a stale image or figure of speech that won't support my theme, elicit a feeling, or engage any of the listener's senses, I think it doesn't belong in my lyric. If there was someone like me in the audience, resonating on my wavelength, I'd want that listener to like all the words, not zone out because of trite, overused images and sayings. A lot of cliches are similes: Pretty as a picture is trite. Pretty as a prayer book is Paul Simon. One of my best songwriter friends, whom I deeply admired, had the line "Home sweet home, how could I ever roam" in the chorus of one of her songs. As a performer she was able to put the song over in concert sets because of the conviction behind it and her skill in fitting melody to words, and how great she was at getting the audience on her side. But when she got her Nashville shot, her producer wouldn't let the song onto her album. My friend had grown up in Appalachia, didn't get far in college, didn't read much, and though she did some inventive and original things with her lyrics, I think she often had trouble telling her good lines from her bad ones. Years after we fell out of touch and I heard several of her songs with fresh ears, it occurred to me that she'd been a very bright spark writing from an extremely impoverished vocabulary. I remember how she would talk about resenting it when one of her mentors tried to get her to up her game lyrically. It's hard to do by sheer will if you were never exposed to good poetry and you're not a reader, and if you yourself don't hear the problem in a problem line. If a line that you wrote is fresh to you, it's hard for anyone else to convince you it's stale. And she was always wary of letting anyone else influence her words, since she believed her songs came to her as gifts from beyond herself. Suggestions felt to her like assaults on her artistic integrity, so nothing her producer or anyone else said had much effect; I would not have critiqued her lyrics, and she wouldn't have critiqued mine. Any time I heard her sing, the sum total seemed to conquer any stray clunker lines. But once she aged out of her waif persona, she pretty much wilted as a performer. Other friends with stronger lyrics are still performing well into old age.
  8. Sorry, neither. I'm just doing my best to put myself in the position of some of the people I disagree with, to try and understand what they are thinking and where they're coming from.
  9. I think the most significant “want” among the white urban poor is that industry jobs would come back. Manufacturing, oil refining, construction, logging, mining — jobs that had kept their towns going until the company pulled up stakes, jobs the previous generations of their families had worked, up an income level from working in retail or food service, lost to foreign manufacture or to robotics. They want access to decent-paying employment without having to relocate, and without having to compete with immigrants or anyone else who might be willing to work for less. They believe if the government lowers taxes on corporations, outsourcing will reverse itself. And that if the government is more energetic about keeping undocumented immigrants out, more of the jobs that are left will be available to American workers. There's more to it than money, but lack of means to earn a good living seems to be driving a lot of the rural poor to drugs, depression, petty crime and suicide. And not wanting government help doesn't necessarily equate to refusing government help. If someone is eligible for disability, unemployment compensation, food stamps or welfare, chances are they'll be on it. But there's a burning shame from being in extreme need, and a resentment in needing to apply for the help.
  10. David Wong has said he uses a pseudonym to provide a buffer between his online professional life and his personal life. He's also a novelist, and I think he's the creator of and main writer for I think the novels were written under his real name, and that the central character's name (of at least one) is David Wong. Most Republicans besides the white rural poor had other candidates they would have preferred, but the other candidates' numbers were fragmented, partly because there were so many other candidates. Seventeen in all? Most Republicans are voting their party's nominee now out of party loyalty, and out of fear and loathing of what Hillary Clinton represents to them. Republicans agree with Trump more than with Clinton on taxes, immigration, guns, smaller government, the Supreme Court. But most Republicans started out against Trump himself. As Republican candidates dropped out one by one, support could have coalesced around one of the remaining non-Trump candidates, but that didn't happen. The remaining support gradually coalesced around Trump: the candidate consistently in the lead, who consistently polled better against Clinton than any of the other candidates did. The white rural poor are considered his base because that's the one group that was for him from the beginning of his campaign. Of course there are other people besides the white rural poor who were also for Trump from the beginning, but not other demographic groups. There were some white supremacist groups for Trump from the beginning too, but they don't represent huge numbers, and there's some overlap between them and the white rural poor.
  11. If it weren't for this group, the white rural poor, I don't think the GOP would currently be running a nominee named Donald Trump. They make up the single largest part of his base, a segment the GOP has been courting assiduously ever since Nixon. The recent change is that this demographic wasn't just going to support the nominee, but also pretty much got to choose the nominee. I think that's why this demographic gets so much attention this time around. And I completely agree with you that Trumpism, or whatever it will come to be called, isn't going away. The rural poor have legitimate grievances and desperate problems that need to addressed respectfully and honestly and effectively. Mocking poor rural whites truly is an amusement seen among many of our country's elites, and it's not helping. It seems to many that it's okay to make fun of "hillbillies," and dismiss them as "stupid," and it's not. David Wong would not disagree.
  12. I read the piece by David Wong and honestly didn't think much of it. In my opinion, his thoughts were scattered and his attempt to explain who Trump supporters are left me shaking my head. He came off condescending, boxing people into old stereotypes. There may be an element of Trump supporters that fit the criteria he used to describe but there are plenty of people out there, who support Trump, that do not fit that mold. His own prejudices came through loud and clear with that article. I think the problem many have who are perplexed by who Trump supporters are is by the fact that they (those who don't support or like Trumpism) just can't believe that other people (no matter what their experience is or isn't) don't see things the way they do. We've grown so arrogant and tribal, that anyone who doesn't see it "their way" (in this case the election) must be either stupid, a backward hick, uneducated and so forth. It's not a red state, blue state thing. It's not black or white and it's not a country vs city thing either. It's much deeper than that. Regardless of the election results, the movement, phenomena, whatever you want to call it, will continue on and grow. It's not going away anytime soon. Thank you for reading it. If I took the writer's accurate meaning, he wasn't writing about all Trump supporters. He wasn't writing about most of my neighbors who support Trump, though some of them fit the mold pretty well. He was writing about rural, low-income, poorly educated evangelical Christians who are Trump supporters. He was writing about people he doesn't consider stupid, and writing from a place of familiarity and empathy. He was writing about a group that includes his own closest family members, as well as pretty much all the friends he grew up with. Plus, he wrote that if he hadn't left his home town town, moved to the city and gotten "this ridiculous job," he would be voting for Trump himself. By the way, David Wong is not his real name; he's not of Asian descent.
  13. I live in a rural part of a Blue county in Virginia, which was until recently considered a battleground state. Until Clinton pulled so far ahead of Trump that the Trump campaign has mostly pulled up stakes and moved to North Carolina where they still have a chance. There are virtually no Clinton signs in my neck of the woods, and plenty of Trump signs. Nobody steals them because some of them are electrified and we don't know which ones they are. That plus it would be very, very wrong. That plus when you steal a campaign sign the person usually just buys another one, which is also making another contribution to the opposition's campaign. Here's a piece I liked by David Wong on why the election shows more of a rural/urban divide than a Red State/Blue State divide, and about what he believes most urban progressives get wrong about most rural Trump supporters. Echoes many of the points Joe Bageant used to make.
  14. Jasonsioco, have you tried playing around with some of the chord progressions found in the music you like to listen to? One thing that can happen is that you'll keep coming up with a melody line that's too close to the song you took the chords from. To cure that, you can put it into a different time signature, plus take it into a key where the melody of the original song is out of your vocal range, so you're forced to sing a different tune to those chord changes. You might end up using only a fragment of what you play around with, and then take it in a different direction. Or go ahead and use a whole lot of the original progression if you like what you come up with. Some of those progressions are so elastic their own mothers wouldn't recognize them in a new song.
  15. Good source to cite, LyriCAl. If you can't figure out who won a debate, you can always pay attention to which side is claiming the other side cheated. Any complaints out there that Trump’s side cheated? If there are, they haven't made news yet. On Trump's side one claim, on the alt.right site True Pundit, is that there were hand signals between Clinton and Lester Holt that let them communicate secretly. Another, on the alt.right site Baltimore Gazette, is that she was actually provided with the (extremely general and predictable) questions ahead of time, explaining why her responses sounded so well prepared. There are more, citing that cellphone-sized bulge in her back pocket. Apparently it’s either a wiring device that lets someone feed lines to her, or it was an apparatus designed to suppress her cough reflex.