Yeats and sirens and #WatchMeWrite.

the exquisite William Butler Yeats penned one of my favorite poems into existence somewhere around a hundred years ago:

A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.

cover that I made because that's my favorite

I am – and have for a long time been – so in love with this tiny poem as to consider tattooing a line from it on my body.  I have since narrowed down my tattoo plans, but that was just so you know how much I adore it.  it’s sad and beautiful, which all of my favorite poems are (don’t get me started on Annabel Lee – I melt every time).

all that to say, like many girls I have an interest in and love for the idea of mermaids, for whatever reason.  unlike many, however, I like the bleak, tragic side of those tales- the deaths, the retribution, the eeriness.  I love the siren myths, the old Norse legends of Rán- stories with hideous creatures singing themselves into the favor of unsuspecting sailors before drowning them.  while I enjoyed my fair share of Emily Windsnap books as a tween, the darker stories have always been that toward which I gravitate.  (we shouldn’t really get into what I think of the modern treatment of “vampirism” in recent “literature”.  I get a bit heated.)

I’ve had this story about a human-turned-siren in my head for a while, and in my secret boards on

pinterest for a while.  I tried writing it once or twice, and it fizzled out each time.  I think I want to turn every idea I have into a full-length novel and am only just now (um…maybe last week? yeah, it might be that recent) discovered that I can write short stories and novellas as well.

so yesterday I jotted down a few notes, and today I sat down at my laptop and recorded my first efforts.  it’s not that exciting, I’ll warn you up front.  it’s really just me typing and back-spacing strings of words and occasionally clicking over to pinterest for a refresher on something I’d wanted to include, or a dash of inspiration.  (I didn’t even spice things up with a trip to dictionary.com.)  so this is quite nerve-wracking, in a way, because you get to see that my writing process is really not that magical.  just in case you had been thinking that before.  which I’m sure you were.  so sure that I’m going to stop talking about it.

siren song pinterest screenshot

 

this post is also an opportunity to couple my new project with something that my lovely, amazingly-talented writer friends have been urging me to join in on: the newly invented “#WatchMeWrite” tag.  it took me a while to produce a sample because a) I don’t have a mac and needed my tech-savvy brother to help me find an alternate program and b) everything I tried to write “on camera” was coming out boring, awkward, boring, and did I mention boring?  hopefully this satisfies!

so here it is, my new project, temporarily titled “Siren Song”- because that was what I called the pinterest board, okay?  (p.s. bear with me on the tense in this piece – I cannot in words express my love for second-person-tense in fiction, when it’s done well, and preferably with longing and dismay.  however, this story is proving difficult in terms of remembering the perspective I’m supposed to be in.  I’ll work on consistency.)

thanks Sam Chaffin and E. R. Warren for making me do this!!  go check out their blogs/vimeos and watch their videos of the tag!  and to those of you who were tagged and haven’t participated, or haven’t been tagged but would love to make a video, get right on it!  it’s so much fun/pressure and I loved it.  make sure to tag it #WatchMeWrite and tweet about it, and feel free to share a link to it in the comments below!

(song: If I Had A Heart by Fever Ray (my love for this song is unparalleled.  that may be extreme.  but I love it lots, thanks to the epic show Vikings on the History Channel).)

(video assistance credits: introduction to and help with the program ChronoLapse from my big brother, video game developer extraordinaire, Jake Albano, and video/audio/slide work/help from my stellar film-editing-genius little brother Ben Albano.  they’re the best.)

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  • Dear Universe, this is the best thing ever created and you should all watch it. The end.

    Wait, not the end. I have to tell you, I love watching your creative process unfold!! It makes me feel like I get to be part of your brilliant brain for a while, and I never wanted it to end. Also… you write uncommonly fast. You were really chugging along there. And that story… phew. I just freaking love everything about this. We’d better get to see more of this in the future!!

    Okay, now the end.

  • Ummm I think you’re the best thing in the world, Sam Chaffin. I love you to bits. Thanks for being epic. And for watching my video. And yes!! You’ll be seeing more of the story this week, hopefully! Or Figment will, I should say. 😉

  • GAH. That was such a lovely experience, Lydia. Like Samantha so wonderfully put it, I really enjoyed getting to peek inside your brain (although wow, I somehow made it sound creepy). The Pinterest moments were so relatable – and the writing! The writing! This goes without saying, but I want to just say a) you write at a marvelous speed and b) this story. I need it.

    (PS: YEATS. I am a total Yeats fangirl.)

  • I’ve been stalking aggressively observing the #WatchMeWrite tag, and when I watched this I was just like. Eek. This. THIS. Everything. Yeats (although I prefer Edgar Allan Poe, but poetry is awesome). The glimpses of the Pinterest board. The music. The words themselves, of course. It was phenomenal.

    So to sum up, I expect I’ll be aggressively observing your Figment profile for the entire story. In the meantime, I’ll just rewatch this, no?

    (Psst, I made a #WatchMeWrite video too on my blog, and I’d love it if you could find the time to check it out! :D)

  • Bri

    http://clclewis801.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/watch-me-write/

    The link to my #watchmewrite…

    It’s been a dry spell with not updates…so happy to see you did the tag. It was a challenge but after the challenge it feels great. I so look forward to reading the rest of this. I was going to get my tech savvy friend to help me but I decided not to bug him, since I was not in the mood to follow through with a video anyway…so I did an alternative version of the tag.
    I’m so glad you figured out you could write short stories and novella’s…I just figured out I could write novels! I finished last year’s NaNo novel shortly after doing this challenge.
    There’s something enchanting about the un-magical writing process…

  • Hey Bri!! Sweet, I’ll check it out as soon as I can! I had a bit of a technical hang-up myself, and had to get the brothers to help. 😉
    Thanks for watching! It has been a dry spell, you’re right; my updates and just time to write have been so diminished lately; I remember adding chapters on Figment daily and now it’s a struggle to have time to jot down ideas! Gosh! Well, here’s to fresh inspiration and hopefully more updates!

  • Haha Alyssa, you’re great. I don’t believe we’ve met, but it’s a pleasure! I’m bookmarking your blog this moment, to check out your video in my next spare moment. Thanks for watching/reading/whatever this is called!! The tag was so fun; makes me want to do loads of the videos but I’m afraid that could become a bit self-absorbed of me. And oh, good Lord, Poe makes me so sad, which makes me happy (“I like being sad- it’s happy for deep people” – whovian references because I’m a dork). I love him to death. I will most certainly check out your video and your figment page- if you’ve seen anything from me at all, you’ll know that I’ve had to become a grown-up (Mr. Barrie is turning in his grave) and have little to know writing time of late. But I will visit you!

  • Hmm. Apparently I don’t know how to make my comments go in the right places. But Christina!! haha I love you. You can peek inside my brain any day. (Look- I made it creepier.) Thank you, m’dear! Your encouragement means so much! And yes. Yeats is mahhvelous.

  • Wow, chilling and heartbreaking and enthralling…this scared me a little bit. I hate the idea of drowning. Even if, like this girl, you sort of survive…still. It’s drowning. Ugh.
    Writing on camera would be so hard! Brave…
    I can’t believe how good you are at conceiving enchanting characters and sucking me into your stories! I mean, I’m afraid to finish them because I’m afraid you’re going to hurt characters that I care very deeply about. It’s seriously emotionally frightening. 😛