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SSG10-Week17 Pre-Song Notes (Works in Progress)

The Sunday Songwriters club is a stretching exercise for your mind. Arpeggios for the brain cells, so to speak. After all, writing is like playing - to get better, you have to practice.

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Postby jamestoffee » February 20th, 2012, 5:53 am

This will just have to be pieced together throughout the week as time allows.

Life Without Toast (a nod to Paul Hackett for this one) [David Hodge]
http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biotaylor.html
A story about Hudson Taylor. The first western missionary to China…. He had left England to serve God in China. He didn't ask help from others, but only prayed to God for the help he needed; even giving away every last bit of money at times…..maybe he's been in China a while writing a letter home…..stating his life is a life without toast (referring to only eating rice)….and then quoting Jesus that, “Man does not live by bread alone”. Matthew 4:4

What happened immediately before?
He gave the last of his money to a staving family and received a gold coin the next morning.

What's about to happen?
He's getting ready to learn more about being a doctor's assistant and getting the idea of starting the China Inland Mission.

Who is there?
He is by himself, so he is writing a letter to his family in England to express how God is providing for him in miraculous ways.

Why is this happening?
God is developing Hudson's dependence on Him....….man does not live by bread alone

As of now, it's lacking sensory details.....those are what I find the hardest to fill in. s--tr--e--tc---h those mind muscles :? :D
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Postby John Sargent » February 20th, 2012, 6:50 am

Interesting topic and story line. The big question is how, where and what is the emotional angle. A song without an emotional angle is like toast without jam or butter or cinnamon.
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Postby Celt » February 20th, 2012, 4:59 pm

I like it.

I can see one interesting angle in that here is a Man of God doing the Lord's
Work and yet all the time "Coveting" a piece of toast.

It may be a simple pleasure but it is what he craves.

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Postby Nick » February 20th, 2012, 7:59 pm

When you come back to this, try to delve deeper into the detail. I think you have a fine baseline. Where was he when he gave away the money, how many were in the family, what did they look like? describe their house or shack. Describe what they were wearing. What was he wearing? Time of year? Was it winter? etc. etc.

Details, details...
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Postby br85 » February 20th, 2012, 9:22 pm

Hi James,

seems like you have a fantastic setting here, tons of details just waiting to be cornered and caught within your selected subject. youve always been a good man for the interesting musical accompaniments. got me thinking about what chinese influences you may or may not include in this. it might be nice to start off with english souding music and then blend in some eastern sounding music when the lyrics bring him to china. i didnt know the name of any chinese instruments but this led me to look some up.

this one is called the "Erhu". i think it sounds lovely. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhic2cE57iM

best of luck with the song i think it could be really good

Ben
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Postby John Sargent » February 21st, 2012, 5:58 am

Perhaps he might travel to Fengdu. Fengdu is known as the Ghost City. More information here http://www.travelchinaguide.com/river/y ... stcity.htm
"In the Chinese vision of the afterlife, the dead (or ghosts) must undergo three major tests to enter the netherworld. These tests are taken at three locations - Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge; Ghost Torturing Pass and the Tianzi (son of heaven) Palace. These three locations are among many attractions in the Ghost City."

Though I enjoyed Beijing, the Great Wall, the Panda exhibits and the terra cotta warriors, Fengdu was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to China.
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Postby jamestoffee » March 3rd, 2012, 1:54 am

Thanks for all the comments. Sorry for the delayed response.

I was FAWMing....the good news is I completed the challenge!
http://fawm.org/fawmers/jamestoffee/
as well as Andy!!!
http://fawm.org/fawmers/andygetch/
and Peter (BlindKiwi) had a good run at it too working with 4 different collaborators!!! That's a good stretch/challenge...collaboration
http://fawm.org/fawmers/blindkiwi/

any other SSGers FAWMers as well?

Well for the notes on this assignment, I realized a few things. 1 I don't want to do all the research (right now) to be historically accurate on the initial thought of Hudson Taylor. 2 Sensory details are very difficult for me.....I am way too 'N' and not enough 'S'.....if anyone knows Myer'sBriggs......That being said, the challenge of sensory details WILL NOT be my excuse! Rather, it will be the pursuit! I had already bought the following books in the last few months to help me

A Natural History of the Senses
The Listening Book
Word Painting
The Five Senses
The Sense Connection

Using details comes up so much in reading about song writing......so kudos to Nick for getting the forum hopping on very relevant songwriting tools! :mrgreen:

......It was a great problem to have to get back in the SSG and have too many posts to have time to read in one sitting....much better than almost receiving a "Solo Participant Award" for the week a few weeks ago :roll: .......Thanks, Andy from keeping it off my mantle :wink: :lol:

MrEWorm wrote:The big question is how, where and what is the emotional angle. A song without an emotional angle is like toast without jam or butter or cinnamon.

Good point. It's proving to be a mixed bag of emotions.....when you say you believe something with your head....but then believe it from your heart because of the life experience you are going through.....joy? hope? awe? excitement? fear?

MrEWorm wrote:Perhaps he might travel to Fengdu.

Yes, thanks for the links as well. I appreciate the thoughtfulness :D

MrEWorm wrote:Fengdu was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to China.

That sounds great! It's ironic how I've been living in Thailand for 16 years now and how little I've traveled around S.E. Asia. I've never been to China. Mainly just Thailand and the Philippines.

br85 wrote:this one is called the "Erhu". i think it sounds lovely.

Hi Ben,
Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, that is quiet a unique "Asian" sound. I did play around with another Asian sounding instrument on a love gone wrong/obsessive "My ex is a friend of Ju-on" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ju-on
.....you can check it out hear if you like.....very experimental
http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11431956

Nick wrote:Details, details...

Yes.....I hear the whip crack [audio sensory detail] above my warm eared, stuffy headphone wearing head as I type :lol: :lol: :lol: .....oh it don't come easy :? .....but it's great to see all the activity and "awakening to senses"......yes, Nick, a plan coming together is a beautiful thing. :wink:

Celt wrote:Work and yet all the time "Coveting" a piece of toast.
It may be a simple pleasure but it is what he craves.

Great ideas, John :D
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Postby jamestoffee » March 3rd, 2012, 7:35 am

Second Attempt for background story details:

Little Daisy's A Little Crazy

It's a beautiful spring Tuesday, April 17, 1888 around 3 PM. 2 women, both 23, are on a 30 minute ferry ride going to an island that mainly houses an asylum for the wealthy. Both have long dresses with high collars and carry parasols. One is in a light blue color dress; the other in yellow.

The boat has 2 levels. The wood deck is painted black while the sides of the boat are white with hunter green trimming. The upper level is for passengers visiting the island. The lower level is a locked door entrance with no windows for patients and medical equipment. The ferry is noisy because it runs on steam.

What happened immediately before?
Vivian, the woman in the yellow dress, mentioned to Selma that it was time for their bi-monthly visit to their previous university classmate, Daisy. Their friend, Daisy, studied to be a journalist in school but when she completed university; her parents wouldn't let her do any real work. Daisy convinced her classmates to help her get into an insane asylum to write about the care and treatment of patients. She would meet one or both of her friends 2 times a month to deliver the next installment of encrypted stories; always in the form of nursery rhymes.

The plan was for Daisy to stay one year, but the stories she was writing about behind the wooden wall of the compound were leading her friends to think she really was going insane.

So a little crazy went from meaning daring to meaning insane…..and as the stories were published anonymously….no one knew the real writer, but the 2 friends got jealous of how popular the response was to the writings, so after a year when Daisy wanted to be released, the friends said she would have to stay one more year, but they threatened if she didn't keep writing, they would make sure she stayed locked up for good. Daisy believed this was possible, because once she was inside the institution, she had dropped the “insane” act that got her there, but over the months, the saner she acted, the crazier the doctors thought she was.

So now a little crazy was a “pact phrase” between the 2 woman that they would keep the secret and keep exploiting Daisy's writing skills.

What's about to happen?
They are about to disembark and feign their concern for Daisy and ask the doctor of her progress. The doctor, Dr. Carlyle, is a tall thin man in his 40s; with waxed black hair and a thin moustache; well groomed who is used to “hand-holding” the wealthy clients with a well stocked supply of medication to keep the patients compliant and euphoric.

Upon this visit, Daisy seems to be escaping more into the fantasy world she has created to cope up with the loss of freedom and steady supply of medication in which see sometimes thinks she is going crazy.

Who is there?
Daisy, Vivian, Selma, Dr. Carlyle…..then again maybe it's just Daisy writing on the wall with her finger tip; singing to herself while sitting on the floor rocking back and forth while the audience looks in through a tiny square window on a metal door; cold to the touch and painted an olive green.

Why is this happening?
Curiousity gone too far and unable to reverse the consequences of actions
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