By Mark A. Ciccone

Two presumed-dead genetically augmented soldiers search for the truth of their origins... and discover far more than they ever imagined.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

This Week's Tune (7/16)

Hello, once again!

Despite some rushed and exhausting moments the past week, the writing work’s kept on rolling. As so often before, music got me through the worst of the slowdowns from weariness or blocks—including and especially the tune for this week: the Irish folksong Crooked Jack, as performed by the stellar musician (and a good friend) Ian Gould, for his third and latest album From Here to There...and Back Again (Usual copyrights apply; I own nothing!)

I first met Ian in the early 2000s, not long after he arrived in the States at the start of the solo career that’s taken him all across the Midwest, and even back across the water to Dublin (including a performance for Irish President Michael D. Higgins, at Áras an Uachtaráin) and the old haunts in his hometown of Lisburn, in the Belfast area. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him perform many times in Wisconsin over the years since, at venues ranging from relaxing nighttime gigs at the local bar to jam-packed events like Milwaukee Irish Fest and St. Patrick’s Day. Whether you’re looking for great traditional Irish tunes, equally outstanding classic rock and folk covers, or fantastic original songs by the man himself, Ian’s the one to see!

Crooked Jack is a standout of Ian's repertoire, and among the songs on my Celtic Mix playlist. Originally composed by the Irish songwriter and novelist Dominic Behan, it tells of the toil and pain of a young man on the work crews building the Cruachan Power Station hydroelectric dam. Though I've never come close to going through the hardships described in this song, there have been many times when work--be it school, day-job, or, yes, writing--has made me feel old beyond my years, and seem "drawn and gray" when I look in the mirror (although that last might be mainly genetics, from what I've learned :( :) ). When I play a song like this, however, the burden of whatever block or other problem I'm facing at that moment seems a little less daunting, and the pleasure from writing comes back in full force.

There's plenty to be pleased about writing-wise of this post. Last night saw the end of the "re-acquainting" edits for the fourth and last Cross & Flag book, Reckonings, leaving only new work for the whole series (particularly the final book). Before this, though, I'll be getting back into the ring with Bloody Relations, putting in the much-needed alpha-read edits (and some extensions to a couple of middle sections) before AT LAST tackling the concluding chapters that stymied me last time, to the point of near-burnout. I'm taking Monday and Tuesday off this week, so I won't be quite as exhausted as I've been in the past when moving from one project to the next. Still aiming for a publish-worthy finish on the BR draft by the end of this month or a little after; C&F work will continue intermittently until then, at which time I'll be able to devote almost all energy to that series (with, hopefully, a little left over for new work on Dixie Curtain whenever I need a "break"). I'll keep you all updated, as ever; meanwhile, enjoy the attached tune (and check out the rest of Ian's work on iTunes!) and keep up the shares, comments and reviews!

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