Monday, August 1, 2016

Somebody's Baby (#BoTB)

I'm so sorry, gang... I've been missing too many battles lately. Yes, it's fast times here in Curaçao, but that's really no excuse—I'm sure you all have oodles of stuff to do, too, and yet you manage to post promptly, on time and regularly. So I apologize, and I hope you still love me.

Speaking of fast times, do you remember the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

#BoTB — Results (Ojalá Que Llueva Café)

This one was quick and dirty; Café Tacuba took the lead out of the gate, but Señor Guerra didn't let that stand for long.

Café Tacuba: 3

Juan Luis Guerra: 5

I love the original, both for its musical integrity and for the lyrics, for Guerra's mastery of both craft and art, and for the subtlety of its lyrics, and it gets me dancing every time. But Café Tacuba's version gives me chills. Yes, of course it's related to my Mexican identity, to how the Son Jarocho speaks to my soul... Perhaps I can't be objective. Perhaps it's a myth to think we can judge any form of art objectively. So, with apologies to Señor Guerra, whom I admire deeply, my vote goes to the Mexican band. (Not that it makes any difference to the result... At least in that regard I can avoid the guilt.)

Loved hearing your take on this one, guys. Until next time! (And I promise I'll be on time... not just for posting my Battle but also for visiting yours. Missed too many this time.)

To close, I leave you with Bachata en Fukuoka, from Mr. Guerra's 2010 album 'A Son de Guerra' ("To The Beat of War", literally, though it's a wordplay on his name).

I'm not sure how popular bachata is in your corner of the woods, so in case you have no idea what it is, let me tell you it's a musical form originally from Dominican Republic (and still mostly popular there), a 4/4 beat that sounds deceptively simple but is incredibly complicated to dance to. Watch these guys:

Now you have something to keep you busy over the weekend :) Have fun!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

#BoTB — Raining Coffee

I'm late to the party, I know... I apologize. I was on a deadline to deliver a short story, and I finally managed to send it in just a little while ago—two days late... ooops. So, with the "job" taken care of, let's hear some music!

This is one of those alternative Battles that sometimes find their way in. The song is Ojalá Que Llueva Café, by Juan Luis Guerra (1989), and we're pitting that original against a cover by an off-the-beaten-path band from Mexico called Café Tacuba (officially spelled Tacvba, the old Castilian way).

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.

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