Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"I Don't Know You, But I Want You..."

A couple of nights ago, my husband and I went to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl that featured three boy/girl bands: The Bird and the Bee, She and Him (Zooey Deschanel’s band), and The Swell Season. The Bird and the Bee and She and Him were good, but as one review of the concert said, “The first few opening bars of The Swell Season's set made it clear that the children had been put to bed, and the adults had come out to party.”

The Swell Season were absolutely amazing. Both Glen and Marketa are crazy talented, but there is just something about Glen Hansard that is so engaging. He plays his music with such raw emotion, yet at the same time he is funny and warm. He is generous with the audience and with his band members. I could have watched him all night.

Yes, I am now officially in love with him.

And I guess it’s no wonder. We have so much in common. He opened the set with Tim Buckley’s “Buzzin’ Fly” interspersed with a verse of Jeff Buckley’s “Grace,” which shows that we share the same taste in music and that he adopts one of my favorite methods of introductions: using somebody else’s words.

Introduction paragraphs are perhaps one of the main causes of writer’s block. It can be so hard to get started with that first word. One way I teach my students to avoid this kind of writer’s block is to start with a quote. Not only does starting with a quote cheat writer’s block; it may also be fun for our readers because they may recognize the quote or the quoter. It’s also a show of generosity because it’s like paying a tribute.

However, when we start our introduction paragraph with a quote, we need to make sure it’s appropriate. Glen aptly started with Jeff Buckley- another raw, emotionally charged musician. It would have been jarring if he started with Ke$ha.

We also need to make sure that we don’t just lazily tack a quote on the beginning and then forget to follow through with its line of thinking. Here’s an example of a quote that’s kind of just tacked on:

“He who hears music,” said Robert Browning, “feels his solitude peopled at once.” I went to The Swell Season concert last night.

Here’s an example of drawing from the quote:

“He who hears music,” said Robert Browning, “feels his solitude peopled at once.” At last night’s The Swell Season concert, as soon as Glen Hansard walked on stage strumming his guitar, my lonely soul felt full.

It’s okay. My husband knows. After the concert, he’s kind of in love with him too.


Theresa Milstein said...

I love starting my posts with a quote. But I often write the post and look for a quote that ties at least one part of the story together.

I think Chris Martin is cute. Bono too. And Sting, especially when he was younger.

Wendy Ramer said...

And nowadays, there are so many good websites to find quotes based on topic/subject matter. Yes, definitely a good device when teaching students about essay writing. My favorite quote of the day: by author Tom Robbins - "There is no such thing as a weird human being. It's just that some people require more understanding than others."

Summer said...

I love The Swell Season. They came across my Pandora station one day, and I've been hooked ever since. Sounds like an incredible concert!

Beth Mann said...

I'm totally jealous! Falling Slowly might be one of my favorite songs ever. What a gem Glen is :)

My book starts with a quote...and I think you've given excellent advice.

Logical Libby said...

Love, love, love them. My husband is a bearded readhead, But I haven't yet convinced him to speak only in an Irish accent when being romantic. Soon, though, very soon.

Georgina Dollface said...

Great idea for a writing prompt! By the way, I was thinking about you this morning as I was pouring my coffee and contemplating today's post. I was going to do a post called Less Words Wednesday, aas a play on Wordless Wednesday, but then I remembered what my English teacher had taught me about the difference between using "less" and "fewer". Technically "less words" would have to be "fewer words", but that wouldn't fit with my clever little attempt at word play - so I abandoned that idea. Do you think anyone would have known that "less words" was grammatically incorrect, or am I wrong on that one? - G
Word-veri today = swoons (One of my favourite words! Really, how many words are there that rhyme with spoons anyway?)

Christiejolu said...

I saw and Met Glen the night before...I bet the Hollywood Bowl show was amazing...I know he was excited about it...He is so crazy talented and such an amazingly nice person....He deserves all the success he has....


I posted a pic of our meeting...Well actually when my girls met him...

Missed Periods said...

Georgina Dollface,

I'm pretty sure you're right. Technically, it should be fewer. I am sorry that proper grammar foiled your post plans, but I think you just gave me the topic for my next one. Thanks.


I am jealous.

notesfromnadir said...

Starting with a quote is a great idea to help combat writer's block.

joe0740 said...

How about starting with a rhetorical question?

Missed Periods said...


A rhetorical question works too. Just make it a good one. Not like, "Have you ever woken up in the morning?" More like, "Have you even woken up in the morning and your foot was on fire?" Actually, I hope you never use that question because I hope you never wake up in the morning with you foot on fire, but you get what I mean.