Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gay Degani's 'Rattle of Want' — Lessons on Writing Long vs. Short

I met Gay Degani back in 2013, when we were both part of the Pure Slush project 2014, A Year In Stories—and this is not the first time she graces this blog with her insight. She wrote two pieces for Quiet Laughter during the A2Z challenge in 2014, one on Setting, and one on using Pinterest to increase a book's audience, which has become a top-five in the blog's most viewed posts of all time.

Photo credit: Rachael Warecki
Her 'Old Road' series in the 2014 project (now collected as part of her newest release, Rattle of Want) had me hooked; the characters jumped off the page, the plot—half mystery, half personal drama—kept me riveted, and this cohesiveness to her writing made me certain Gay was a novelist. She had to be. Anyone who masters 'story' at that level must know the longer arcs well.

Imagine my wonder, then, when I found out that—although she does have a published novel— Gay is mostly a writer of incredibly prolific and award-winning flash.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The TMI 'Fest — and an Anniversary!

The blog is turning 5! 

Back on June 1st, 2011, when the first post went up on Quiet Laughter, I had no clue what blogging was, or how the blogging world would shape my life. And me. It's been a magical discovery... And to celebrate I'm joining Debbie D. Doglady's bloghop, The TMI 'Fest. Originally started on Facebook (yep, I answered there, too), the TMI—Too Much Information—Questionnaire has now been brought over into the blogosphere. Join the fun—if you dare! Sign up, before July 13th, in the linky at Debbie's blog (or at the end of this post).

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Drift Away — #BoTB Results

Sorry I'm late with the results, guys. (Not sure what happened to my Tuesday :D ) Because these two songs were so different not just from the original but from the Dobie Gray version we all (I think) know best, I expected the votes to be more evenly distributed. I even dreaded thought maybe we'd end up with a tie, which I'd be forced to break. Or make. Fortunately (for me, not for Ringo and his all-stars), after a rocky start—pardon the pun—the Stones managed to run away with the Battle.

Here's the breakdown:

Ringo & The Gang: 4

Rolling Stones: 9

Much gratitude to everyone who came by to listen and vote, and share your thoughts on the music. It's always a pleasure to feel a part of this BoTB community.

To close, I leave you with another Stones cover... Well, it's semi-Stones, really. Keith Richards and Norah Jones sing Love Hurts. But, in spite of Norah's presence (and Mick's absence), I think it qualifies as appropriately cringe-worthy :D

Happy Hump Day, all!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

#BoTB — Drift Away

Gimme the beat, boys,
and free my soul
I want to get lost in your rock n' roll
and drift away...

All I've got to do is hum that chorus and my feet start tappin' and my soul starts liftin'. But I always wondered about one thing. It's very clearly a country song—maybe that's just the context I heard it in, or the context of the versions I knew: Dobie Gray, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Garth Brooks—but the lyrics, also very clearly, say rock n' roll. For years it stayed one of those weird discrepancies people of my generation (i.e., who grew up without YouTube or Wikipedia or any such) learned to live with.

Until today.

Turns out Drift Away (written by Mentor Williams) may have been famous by Dobie Gray—his version stole the show in 1973—but the original was recorded in 1972 by John Henry Kurtz—and that version totally does sound rock n' roll-ish.

This song has been covered a lot (I mean, Michael Bolton? Really?), and most versions have the Dobie Gray country feel, but I managed to find two that (sort of) don't... And I'm not talking light-weights, either. The first is by none other than the Rolling Stones, an unreleased version that does not include Keith Richards in the line-up—which might explain the odd, not-quite-Rolling-Stone sound:

And to challenge that, we have another group of legends: Ringo Starr, Tom Petty, and Alanis Morissette, and Steve Tyler, with an arrangement that, to me at least, sounds straight-up Ringo (not a bad thing):

What do you think? Which version do you like better? Did the gritty uniformity of the Stones win you over, or did you prefer the color lent by the eclectic vocal choices of the Ringo version? Looking forward to your feedback! I'll be back next Wednesday to tally up the votes, cast my own, and tell you how it all went down.

In the meantime, hop on over to these blogs where more epic Battles are being fought. As always, much gratitude to host Stephen T. McCarthy for keeping the Battle hop not just going but roaring. (And yet, yes, we do miss you, FAE.)

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