Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reggie's Round Up: In Which I Review a Book and We Hear From A Young Vinyl Enthusiast!

Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue

What It Is: The first book in a series of urban fantasy fiction which follows the misadventures of October Daye, a changeling. October "Toby" Daye is a half fae/half human private investigator who, in the course of her additional duties of being knight to one of the fairy courts, ended up transfomed into a fish and lost 14 years to life as a coy. She suddenly finds herself back in the world to find that she has lost her human lover and her daughter to the missing time. Just as she begins putting the pieces of her life back together, a powerful fairy friend called the Winterrose is brutally murdered. The Winterrose's last words are on October's answering machine, a curse binding Toby to find the murderer and exact revenge, or die trying.

You can find out more about the works of Seanan McGuire as well as more about this series here.

Why It Is Awesome:  Holy crap, was it fun to write that summary. After reading and watching a series of things that were Quite Serious In Nature and Loaded With Much To Think about, this rapid-paced urban fantasy novel was the perfect thing.

I'm not kidding.


A strong female protag, magic, a blend of magical and consensus reality worlds, PUNCH BOOM SLASH action, with incredibly tight plotting and twists and narrow escapes and... Well, let's just say it is a superfun read.

I love that the fairy world's swear words are, "Root and branch!"

So that's the fun stuff. That's not to say there aren't serious themes that emerge. Some of which are quite hopeful, one of the larger messages being that no matter how alone you think you are in the world, or how badly you think you have failed, there is always someone in your community who cares. Another big one is that it is better to face your problems directly than ignore them. These might seem like obvious life lessons that everyone eventually learns or knows, but sometimes it is good to be reminded.

I would like to add that at the beginning of the story Toby Daye works at a grocery store, which immediately endeared her to me, as my days are also spent in the trenches of food purveyance and I lead this wacky, internal, double life with the writing thing. I suspect most of us have a sort of analogous experience; there is a split between what we do to pay the bills and what we do that is more satisfying to the heart and mind... but I digress...

Now, after heaving read a bunch of Seanan McGuire's blog posts, I FINALLY got to read some of her work, I can see exactly why she landed on so many awards lists this year.


But first, a few words about our Young Vinyl Enthusiast, Eric Casey.

Eric works with me at the afore-mentioned grocery store and is like this young encyclopedia of musical knowledge.  He seems to have a sort of preternatural gift for assessing what another person's musical preferences are and figuring out what that person might like. (Okay, me. Every suggestion he makes, he completely gets right. It's like, magic.)

Because of that I have invited our Young Vinyl Enthusiast to share his thoughts on the musical offerings of

Jake Bugg

What It Is: Jake Bugg is considered a rising "Indie Folk" artist. He's been around the music scene in Britain since 2011 and finally got noticed by Mercury Records late 2011. His debut album "Jake Bugg" was released October 2012 and spawned two top 40 hits "Two Fingers" and "Lightning Bolt". His album debuted at #1 making him the youngest solo male to debut with a #1 album at age 18.

Why It Is Awesome: In the past year there has been somewhat of a new British wave of artists similar to the one in the 1980's, but not like the 60's. There is also a small folk revolution going on which included popular acts such as The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Phillip Phillips, and Of Monsters and Men to name a few. Jake Bugg may appeal to all sorts of age groups.

The older crowd will dig him because of his retro sound in his lyrics and vocals. The younger crowd can relate to him because of his songs that may represent a want of freedom like in his song "Two Fingers", or heartbreak like in his song "Broken". Although young, he sounds much more mature and seasoned in what he does even though he started playing guitar and singing just a few years ago.

Quite often the mainstream magazines compare him to Bob Dylan but that is completely erroneous. There is nothing to compare between those two fantastic artists other then they both dropped out of school before graduation and started writing songs at a young age. Jake Bugg publicly says he didn't listen to much of Dylan's music, and instead preferred The Everly Brothers, Nick Drake, Johnny Cash, and Donovan.

Jake Bugg's album has finally been released here in America on April 9th and debuted at #75 on the
Billboard 200 Album chart. You may have heard his song "Lightning Bolt" in a recent Gatorade commercial. As of right now his video for that song has near 5 million views, and "Two Fingers" with over 4 million, and "Trouble Town" with over 1 million. Hopefully the US can "catch the Bugg" (that's Bugg with two g's!).

The whole album is fantastic and does not have a polished sound to it like most mainstream artists that use laptops to record their music on without many real instruments. He is not a fan of most of today's music. Who can blame him? He just famously had a twitter war with "One Direction" star Louis Tomlinson after saying this: "Who the f**k is saying they're the closest thing to rock stars we have these days? Oh, I'm pretty sure they have a good laugh. But it's easy to, isn't it? When you don't have to write any songs. People call them the new Beatles because they broke America, but that don't mean a thing. I mean, One Direction must know that they're terrible. They must know. Calling them the new rock stars is a ridiculous statement. And people should stop making it."

Bugg is a pretty laid back guy and if you watch any of his interviews he may appear rude, but that's just him being honestly humble. Although, he isn't shy about smoking and drinking, so maybe he also might be hungover?

Anyway, I predict he will only get better and possibly maintain a large following here in the states like over in England. I give his debut album 9 out of 10 stars.

For more you can follow him on Twitter at @JakeBugg or subscribe to his youtube page at youtube/TheJakeBugg


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reggie's Round Up: Book, Album, and an Internet Show

Matthew Revert's How To Avoid Sex

What It Is : A collection including a novella and several short stories from Australian absurdist/bizarro writer Matthew Revert. He also happens to be an incredibly gifted artist who does these brilliant covers for books. As if that weren't enough he is also the co-owner of Legume Man Books. You can find more here: http://www.matthewrevert.com/, follow him on Twitter @MatthewRevert, or poke him on facebook. The novella for which the collection is titled follows the misadventures of a man in search of the perfect bathroom experience, and the surprising turn of events which follow.

Why It Is Awesome : Before I get into this, I would like to offer a few words about my understanding of what the relatively new genre, bizarro fiction, is. Bizarro fiction is a form that refuses to discard wacky ideas that all other genres would deem too silly, strange, shocking, mundane, weird or inconsequential to explore. The ideas that make us most uncomfortable, that make us worry for the sanity of the persons from whence these ideas came. Bizarro is an act by which the writer takes that usually discarded idea, commits to it and sees it through to the end no matter where it goes. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is verboten.

It is all an experiment. In bizarro, as with all other art forms, there's the good, the bad, the stunning and the grotesque. There are experiments that fail and reading bizarro, even the work I am in the process of praising, is not for the squeamish. Bizarro, as a genre, asks a lot of its readers in that as one reads the shocking or strange elements of the story, you have to be a reader that can absorb those particular elements to get the larger picture presented.

This makes it perfect for fans of science fiction and/or horror who have been saturated with known tropes that are still shocking to mainstream audiences but not necessarily to fans of genre. Bizarro and Absurdist lit finds and makes use of formerly unknown tropes. This, in my view, is a win. I am a big fan of weirdness in fiction.

Matthew Revert's How to Avoid Sex offers the best of what explorations of the absurd can yield. It succeeds spectacularly. As a bonus, I laughed so hard in some places that I scared my dog.

I also found myself disturbed, but I don't necessarily see that as a negative.  The scenarios within the book are extreme. But then so are the scenarios presented in many other works of fiction that are by now considered classic and also provide much food for thought.

It also takes a garganutan amount of creative bravery to create a work of fiction that goes to such extremes.

The main character, Montgomery has a thing about evacuating his bladder or bowels anywhere there is a possibility that another might enter a stall beside him or be within earshot. This leads him to seek out a perfect restroom within reasonable vicinity to his place of employment. He finds the bathroom in a bamboo forest with the aid of a mute bird man and therein is faced with a most unseemly proposition by over-polite bathroom graffiti.

The protagonist also has an obsession with hats and etiquette to a degree that would make Miss Manners erupt in spasms of self-flagellation for her lack of conscientiousness in this regard. (And that's as far as I'll go with spoilers.) For the most part, the story is delightfully weird and hilarious even as it activates your gag reflex. But here's the thing. Whether intentional or not, a larger theme emerges. The thing that gives this odd tale that extra layer of worthiness is this, the protagonist is so married to his habits, to his notion of who he is and how he should behave that he goes to insane lengths in order to preserve his habits, rather than re-think things and adapt. It is this quality of being stuck, his refusal to grow, which, paradoxically moves the story forward. In spite of the silliness, this quagmire is on every page and offers the audience an opportunity to think about where we ourselves might be stuck, the spaces in our lives where an unwillingness to change or try something new hurts us, holds us back, or actually forces us into behaviors that are cringe-worthy.

So, it's not all poop-jokes and gibbon-killing quests, but those things sure make for an entertaining read. One other thing that I will say about this work is that it offers insights about the human condition. As an example, I give you this quote. "The problem with the human animal is that it is capable of so much more than sex, yet little else tends to motivate them."

Monty's obsession with avoiding sexual contact, his self-imposed repression leads him, later, to the opposite extreme with dire consequences.

Matthew Revert, I must tip my hat to you. In the words of your main character, "You earned it."

Hefner's The Fidelity Wars

What It Is : Indie Brit Urban Folk band Hefner's second album, released in 1999. I used to play songs from this on a radio show called Now Hear This. I recently unearthed it and re-listened and fell in love all over again. (I'll tell you why in the next section.)

You can find out more about the genius of Darren Hayman and company at www.hefnet.com.

Why It Is Awesome : The Fidelity Wars tells the painful, embarrassing, raw story of a break-up. It's coherence as an album following a single theme is remarkable. In 1999 that kind of musical story-telling in rock was already rare, and it has greater rarity now. (I could be wrong. This might be my old-timey ways talking, here.) The lyrics are honest, earnest, full of angst and elegantly wrought with a sort of unapologetic and stark simplicity. Somehow there is evidence of the influence of Motown and old school punk that makes this masterful.

The band, Hefner is no longer making new music, but Darren Hayman (who can also be found on Twitter @DarrenHayman) still is. His newer material can also be found at hefnet.

I could keep throwing words at you, but really if you haven't heard this and you have a thing for music from before the fin de siecle, just listen to it. This ear candy can be found at the website listed above, or here is an example...


Christopher Kubasik's The Booth At The End

What It Is: It is a television show available on the web (hulu.com). Written by Christopher Kubasik, it features actor Xander Berkely as The Man. The Man sits in a corner Booth at the End of the seating area in a diner. (See what I did there?) The Man has with him, at all times, a book. If you were to approach The Man with one of your deepest desires, he would open the book and appoint a task to you. Fulfill the task, tell The Man the details of your progress in fulfilling the task and you get what you want. Except, of course, it is not ever as simple as it sounds.

Why It Is Awesome:  First, I have to say that this is a show which is a shining example of what is possible in terms of episodic programming in the digital age. EVERYONE WHO HAS NOT SEEN THE BOOTH AT THE END SHOULD SEE THE BOOTH AT THE END!!! Which leads me to why I am doing this write up, now. A lot has been said about this show. It's been around since 2010 on a Canadian network, and was then picked up by Hulu.

You wouldn't think that a show with one setting featuring a nameless character with no clear motivation as to why he does what he does would be that interesting. But it is. The show is extraordinarily engaging, smart, intense and ambiguous. It lays out excruciating moral dilemmas and rather than proselytizing any particular viewpoint or hitting the audience over the head with some sort of obvious loaded statement it lets us puzzle out what we think for ourselves. The Booth at the End is one of those rare experiences that invites an audience to engage, to think, and ask questions of themselves. Juicy, heady stuff, if you ask me.

There are hints of the supernatural, none of which is spelled out. It turns out that the mystery of the Man, his origins, his motivations and his ability to make deals are really fun to speculate about.

Where the intensity and the emotional investment for the audience arrives is through those who apply to the Man for aid. As they tell their stories to him in the diner, they draw us in and the stories, the wishes and tasks become layered with complexity and unexpected consequences. The show explores the marriage of desire and discomfort in a way that I don't think I have seen before and it is truly inspired writing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Random Thoughts: Boston Marathon Bombing

Okay, so this is a thing that sucks. Bombs at the Boston Marathon. People dead for no reason, people wounded for no reason. People displaced, hurting, scared, in shock etc.

People were outside doing a super-healthy thing and then met with something that is definitively the opposite of being in the interests of human health.

I freaked out a little. I even cried.

Everyone who lives in the U.S has some sort of memory or idea about Boston to talk about, even if it has only to do with what we've seen in history books or we have distant relatives that live there. I love that city.

I have a not-so-distant relative that lives near there and my first thought was of him, my brother. He was far away from the marathon, safely ensconced at work. I felt huge relief that he wasn't in the city that day, that he was fine and no one we know personally was hurt.

After having the comfort of that knowledge, my mind was then free to wander to the abstract. I went through the usual thoughts in the wake of a national tragedy for which I was not present. Oh, what a shame those poor people holy crap I'm glad I live in the middle of nowhere I wonder if it was terrorists or some random disgruntled guy I hope the Boston Public library doesn't close after this because well, books, and WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO!!!! and I SOUND LIKE OTHER PEOPLE'S GRANDPARENTS QUITE SUDDENLY!!!!

Then the deep breath.

Life goes on.

Life going on is a good thing.

Particularly when you realize that people in that first post-blast video ran toward the source of the explosion to offer help.

My twitter feed is filled with other thoughts and links offering help and words of outrage and hope from the folks I follow. Links like this. Statements like the one that, by now I am sure you have already seen from Patton Oswalt, but I think is worth repeating here, because yes. What he said.

Sayeth Patton:

"...We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We'd have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, "The good outnumber you, and we always will." "

And now, a song about Boston from the Rosebuds.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Random Thoughts: On the Origins of Red Sonja

So, in some very small circles I'm considered a genre writer. (One friend has called me the Queen of Ick Lit, another person has dubbed me an inventor of White Trash fantasy because of the novella Fork You which appeared in Panverse One.  )

That said, I am woefully under-read in that which might be considered the genre classics. This is because I have a reading list that is ridiculously long and while I tend to write fiction with paranormal, fantastical, and science fiction elements what I read is everything from reference materials to literary fiction, science to mythology, palmistry to biography, history to essays.... I could keep going, but you get the point.

I'm divided about whether or not this is a serious problem. I think it would be a larger issue for a writer to not also be a reader, no matter what form those word-built creatures called stories take.

It is pretty awesome to have friends who are more knowledgeable about genre than I am. I get to learn stuff, and they get to point stuff out to me that I haven't considered.

Enter my friend Richard, who is a bit of an expert on all things related to comics, genre fiction, genre film, and the career of Patton Oswalt. Over the holidays this year he gave me several genre books that I had not read before. It turns out that some of these books are/were kind of a big deal in terms of genre. This is the stack that I turn to when I am between new book purchases or I am not in the mood to re-read old favorites. I won't list all the authors, but there is one in particular that has my brain kind of buzzing.

Sword Woman by Robert E. Howard, precedes his version of Red Sonja and later versions said to have been based on multiple other red-haired, swashbuckling adventuresses. Dark Agnes de Castillon is an interesting figure to have emerged in the 1930s. The edition of the book that I have includes an introduction by Leigh Brackett.

Red Sonja in later fantasy/comic stories is one of those scantily clad heroines where sexualized imagery has a ridiculously large part to do with the reader appeal. Agnes de Castillon is a very different character than that. (Whether or not various versions of the cover art reflect it is a different topic best left to Jim C. Hines and John Scalzi if you recall this bit of gender-bending genius.)

"But I did not wear doublet, trunk-hose and Spanish boots merely to show off my figure, and the morion perched on my red locks and the sword that hung at my hip were not ornaments."

The statement, made by the heroine remains true throughout the narrative. While there is an awful lot of attention paid to her attire, which granted, is unusual for a woman in 16th century France, I can't help admiring that for the most part, Red Sonja's predecessor Dark Agnes remains dressed for battle rather than a debauched spring break as later versions would have it. To be fair it is also true that the attire of male characters in the story is also paid heed. It seems to follow a convention in the sword and sorcery genre that clothes tell you, the reader, the status/role of the characters.

Gender plays a huge role in Dark Agnes' story of origin in that it is her desire to escape a pre-scripted destiny due to her social status as a woman. She kills the bridegroom that her child-beating father is trying to force her to marry and flees. In the course of that adventure she finds that she rather likes sword-fighting and from there the narrative is a series of swish-slice-blood and narrow escapes from physical danger. You know, all the stuff of an adventure story.

Leigh Brackett explains Dark Agnes' appeal as a heroine and how she is a character who appeared well before her time in the aforementioned introduction. While the female protagonist with sword skill was beginning to rise in popularity in the fantasy genre, the sword-wielding woman was not popular in adventure stories of the 1930s. She describes Dark Agnes as an honest, pragmatic and active character not prone to self-pity. The character makes decisions, takes actions and sticks by those choices, unyielding. (What we might think of those choices in a modern context is a different discussion.) What I find remarkable here is the introduction of a strong female action hero during a time in fiction that I was unaware such a thing existed. I am not a Howard scholar, so I have no idea if when he wrote this it was his intention to break down boundaries in the world of fiction when it comes to women characters, or if it was just a new and different way to tell a story.

In the interests of full disclosure, this is a book that I would probably not have chosen for myself, but it has proven to be educational to me, and interesting in terms of the things it made me think about.

(*Cheesy blog-ending question alert*)

So, dear readers, what books have you been given that you would not have chosen that were eye-opening or thought-provoking for you?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meet Composer and Sound Designer Adam Ditroia!


Mumblesomething years ago, in the beforetimes, I went to this thing called high school wherein I met many persons, one of whom is Adam Ditroia.

I'm not going to tell you embarrassing stories about our misadventures participating in High School Rock Band during which I sang lead for a cover of the Bangles "Eternal Flame" and Adam graciously handled the keys, because ... well... what happened in the beforetimes stays in the beforetimes, or something like that. What I remember most about him is that he was very focused and at a time when most of us were still sort of figuring things out, he seemed like a guy who knew exactly what he wanted to do.

He has long since moved on to bigger and better projects. He's written music that has been featured on the Travel Channel, the History Channel, and MTV just to name a few. His aural stamp has also graced several video games, phone apps and websites. I'm happy to be able to say, "I knew him when..."

Find him on Twitter: @ditroiamusic

Find out about Adam Ditroia's music here.

Check out his new endeavor Trailer Music, A.D on facebook

*note: the beforetimes refer to those halcyon days wherein there was no internet...


Q) White socks or argyle?

A) White most of the time.

Q) When did you first know you wanted to be a musician/composer?

A)  I think I knew on a subconscious level as a child. But it became real when I was about 15.

Q) Favorite internet meme?

A) Good question...probably that miserable cat on Facebook lol.

Q) First thought when confronted with waking up?

A) Usually, "Dear God ,I'm tired!"

Q) What inspired you to begin 570 Music and Sound and Trailer Music, A.D? Can you tell us a little bit about your companies?

A) 570 Music and Sound is the local part of what I do. It focuses on providing “Hollywood” quality audio at much more affordable rates. I offer services like custom music, sound effects, location sound, jingles, songwriting, music licensing, audio editing, etc. Trailer Music A.D exists solely to create and license music for film and game trailers as well as DVD/Blu-Ray “behind the scenes”, and television spots.

Q) What were you doing right before I started asking you a bunch of inane questions?

A) Working on the music and sounds for an upcoming iphone/ipad game.

Q) What’s on your music stand right now?

A) DUST! Lol. Really need to dig it out.

Q) If you could work on a musical project with anyone living, dead, real or imaginary who would that be?

A)  I'd probably want to join Spongebob's band. The one that played at the Bikini Bottom Bowl Other than that...I'd really like to do a studio album with Steve Vai.

Q) Favorite food thing of the moment?

A) Granola bars.

Q) What are your favorite instruments/tools to work with?

A) My main recording software is Cakewalk's Sonar X1 at the moment. I also use Propellerhead's Reason sometimes. For sound design/editing, etc I mostly use Sony Soundforge and Vegas. I have a ton of virtual instruments with a few I usually gravitate towards.

Q) Tell us about your current creative project/s?

A) Currently, I'm working on about 6 different iOS games/apps. I'm also trying to finish up my first Trailer Music A.D release and a few other projects.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Random Thoughts: Eyeball Sex and Other Awkward Observations

So... anyone watching my social media activity for the past few days probably saw this one coming. Honestly, I only have one thing to say about this, People looking at other people and thinking those other people are attractive IS NOT NEWS!!! North Korea, the State of the U.S Economy, car accidents, local road construction, crimes, acts of heroism, new businesses opening, old businesses closing, charity, films, concerts and book releases... all news.

Pokey thinks Goo is hot is gossip. (And also, probably inappropriate, but I can't be sure because I don't know the rules of dating for claymation characters, particularly in the world of Gumby.) Why is this kind of stuff showing up as NEWS?

(*scratches head, shrugs, moves to the next point...)

That said, eyeball sex is kind of an awesome phrase, because it is hilarious. Gross, if you think about it too literally, but hilarious. So, I guess there is that.

On to the next... the day after Eyeball Sex broke (yep, still giggling) there was a recall of Moose Lasagna due to traces of pork. This Moose Lasagna is sold at IKEA.

I'm all for adventures in new foods. The idea of Moose Lasagna sounds a little scary, but I'd try it once out of curiosity. I am also for being informed about what is contained in the aforementioned new food. The fact that the Moose Lasagna was recalled because pork, not mentioned on the label, was found in the Moose Lasagna makes sense to me.

I know I'm not alone, and yeah, I'm probably late to the party in terms of expressing this, but the part that makes no sense to me is that the Moose Lasagna is SOLD AT IKEA. Anything at a furniture store called Moose Lasagna should be a cleverly designed floor tile meant for bathrooms at frat houses and not something that is trying to be food.

Whew. I'm glad I got that out of my system. But I'm not done.

Maybe it's the water, or perhaps in my mumblesomething years my brain is simply changing in new and terrifying ways but there's this thing that keeps happening lately wherein a I hear a song over the supermarket speaker system where I work and it just suddenly seems...


I submit to you this seemingly innocent disco tale of high school longing...

 Ah, the Sylvers and the idealism of hormonal teenagers who can't wait for that one special night when they can ...


I won't make fun of the song itself, but here's what happens in my head.

I hear this song and I picture a disco cover band who just keep getting older, but share this crazed enthusiasm for dancing at high school dances and so every spring, when they have their reunion, they crash the high school dance in their polyester leisure suits and combovers and...


The thing about high school dances is that I don't recall anyone ever actually doing anything that could be called dancing at high school dances.

I hear this song every day at work.




And because of that whole scene I just told you, it now makes me giggle every time I hear it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Random Thoughts: Do You Talk To Yourself?

Today's exercise in random thoughts has to do with talking to yourself. I do it constantly. Talk to myself, I mean. Not *your* self. You know what I mean.

 The place I do it most frequently is at my paying-the-bills job. I got caught telling an ice machine to stop being a pain in the ass. So, not only do I talk to myself, I apparently anthropomorphize inanimate objects. I don't know if this is quirky and funny or merely guano insane.

While a part of me is aware that turning to the internet for answers to questions like this probably is not the best thing in the world, my web-addicted self said (out-loud in a room containing no audience) "What can it hurt?"

A few seconds later Google answered my query with about a billion contradicting articles. Weirdly (or synchronistically?) all of these articles seem to have been posted in April of 2012. Do we talk to ourselves more often in the month of April? Is there some larger pattern here of which I am unaware?

*shakes it off in an attempt to get back to the original topic.

Rather than give you an overly detailed and pedantic account of what each article contained, I'll summarize. There appears to be two ways of thinking about the fact that you talk to yourself.

1) Congratulations! You ARE, in fact, showing signs of livin' la vida certifiable!


2) Congratulations! You are PERFECTLY NORMAL in EVERY WAY and may be naturally relieving stress while increasing your findy mojo!

(Sidenote: findy mojo is your ability to locate an object that you need, or think you need, for whatever reason. Apparently stating the name of the afore-mentioned object helps you find it more quickly according to this.)

So, um, I guess that's something.

Here's something weird, though. I don't talk to myself out loud when I am writing fiction, which seems like a natural fit. I mean, what better time or place is there to talk to yourself than when making up worlds, characters and situations? I talk to myself later, when I'm editing, but not when I'm writing. Just an observation.

So, I'm curious about you, my anonymous blog-readers.

*Warning: cheesy blog-ending question ahead...

Do you talk to yourself? When and where? If you also write, do you do it when you're writing?