Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Accordion Days and Blogfests

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but my daughter plays the accordion. Yes, really. Out here where I live, they have an actual accordion festival every year. Yes. Really. We spent Sunday at the festival. It was kind of nerve-wracking. See, we got there kind of early, but there was already no parking. To complicate matter, we had to go in two cars, because my oldest wanted to bring his girlfriend, which caused an overflow situation. So, not only do we have to find parking, we have to find parking for two cars that is relatively close together. And here's where it gets complicated. I didn't bring my keys to the car I wasn't driving. However, I'm usually the one with the keys and the one that makes sure the car is locked.

About the time we get to gate to get into the festival, I say to my wife, "You locked the car, right?" This is important, because my daughter's accordion is in the car. She has to play it a bit later, but we didn't want to have to carry it around with us for hours ahead of time. My wife turns to me and says, "I thought you locked it." I'm like, "I don't have my keys with me..." So there is the mad dash back to the car to make sure it's locked. It wasn't. In a panic, I pull the door open, and, sure enough, there's another accordion in the back seat with my daughter's.

My daughter really does play the accordion, and there really is an accordion festival. We even really had to take two cars and had a hard time finding parking because of it.

Let me explain about my daughter. She chose the accordion. She was 7. She started playing in January of this year and is her teacher's star pupil. Her teacher has been teaching accordion for decades and says she has never seen a more driven student than my daughter. We're very proud of her. My daughter, that is, not her teacher. She played in front of a local grocery store last Friday after school for an hour as a promotion for the accordion festival and made over $30 in tips doing it. Needless to say, she was very excited by that.

Anyway... the main thing I like about the fact that she chose the accordion is that she chose the accordion. How many kids do that? Choose to play the accordion? I mean, most kids don't choose to play any musical instrument, but, when they do, it's almost always something typical. Mainstream. The violin. Piano. The guitar (it's always the guitar (my oldest plays the guitar)). Oh, or the drums. The bane of the parent. In fact, I've known kids that chose to play the drums specifically to torment their parents. But my daughter chose something unique, and I like that. It's a show of her personality and her individuality.

In a copycat society, and we are a copycat society, I tend to be for things that stand out. People that have the courage to choose their own path and walk it. What comes to mind is that bit in Holy Grail where Arthur says, "We're all individuals," and the guy from the crowd yells back "Not me! I'm not!" We all want to believe that we are, oh, so unique, and, I believe, we could be, but we spend so much of our time just following the crowd. Doing what we're supposed to do. It's disturbing. It's disturbing that people voluntarily give up the things that make them unique in favor of fitting in. Especially when they continue to go on about how unique they are. At this point, the guy saying "not me" is the one that's most individual!

So, yes... I like, no, love, that my daughter chose to play the accordion. And I also love that she is good at it. I mean, she's really good at it. Amazingly so, actually.

To apply all of this to writing, I think more of us should choose to write accordions. There are so many guitar books out there already. And piano books. They're all the same. You don't even have to be good at it because the belief is that people will by piano books and guitar books, so they just keep getting published. The problem with that is that you have to be, like, the Eric Clapton of guitar books to stand out. And, you know, if that's what you want to be, then you should go for it, but it would be nice to have some options. What I'm saying is don't do it just because everyone else is doing it. Find that thing that you like, that thing that you choose, and go for that. Don't just do the thing that everyone else is doing because everyone else is doing and because you think someone will publish you because of it.

In other news, there's this blogfest going on... maybe, you've heard of it? It's Rachael Harrie's third writers' platform building campaign. The link. If you're writer, go check it out. Unless you came from there, in which case you know all about it. In any case, there's a lot of opportunity to meet new people there, so you should drop by and read what it's about and how to get involved. If you're a writer. Because, you know, if you're not, you have no reason to care. Unless you're looking for something good to read, in which case, you might find something interesting by one of the participants.

Speaking of reading, check out my The House on the Corner tab (or click the link). I have the cover posted, now. Thanks to Rusty Webb for that excellent bit of art work! Hopefully, the new edition of House will be ready to go by the end of the week, or, at least, by Monday. We'll see...
Oh, and speaking of Rusty, make sure you check out his short story "A Dead God's Wrath." I'm about halfway through it, and it's quite good. It's only $0.99, so you can't really go wrong! I'll post a review once I've finished it and had time to write something up. So far, though, it was well worth the buck.


  1. I think that the reason we are a copycat society is because of capitalism. In other words, capitalism breeds a mindset in people where they want to make a lot of money. When they see a success, they copy it to try and duplicate the monetary success. It's why books are the same, movies are the same, looks are the same, etc.

    Happy to see that you are joining Rachael Harrie's platform-building campaign. I think it is an excellent way to meet and network with people who enjoy reading and writing. Oh and I'm off to look at that cover Rusty made for you :)

  2. Wow the artwork for House on the Corner is astounding. Rusty is an amazing artist.

    Did you have a beta-reader for the story. I just wanted to point out that the second-person "you" voice in the first paragraph may not be working. I think I'd much rather be inside the head of the narrator with the "I" voice instead of "you". I would have to see more of the book though to make a better determination.

  3. Fellow Campaigner stopping in!

    I think a lot of the reason there are so many "piano" and "guitar" books is the fact publishers target them--and, of course, a lot of (most, I would think) writers want to have the greatest chance of being picked up by a publisher. I definitely agree with going with what you choose, though, regardless of what others are doing.

    I love the cover for The House on the Corner!

  4. Accordions - that is awesome. I think excelling at something, anything, tends to encourage kids to continue to do better at it. Especially when they're young.

    And, are you saying someone put an additional accordion in your car? Cause that would be really cool if they did. I may have just misread that.

    Cool that you got the picture up of the cover. I hope the formatting goes well.

  5. Thats cool!@!!!

    I am from Platform Building Campaigner!!

    with warm regards
    Another Author

  6. That cover is absolutely beautiful.

    I love that your daughter plays the accordian. It's sometimes hard to walk the path by yourself, especially when you're younger. Well done to her.

  7. God bless you with your daughter and family.

    You are right sir, we need to follow what our heart truly dictates because that is who we are. I love that and thanks for a good reminder.


  8. My extended family has several accordionists, but they're all from the previous generation. I think it's fantastic that your daughter decided to go for something different!

  9. Hi Andrew - I'm your newest follower and fellow campaigner - just wanted to say hello.

    Accordion? That's really cool. My daughter chose the saxophone.

  10. I've said it privately, but should say it publicly where Rusty Webb can possibly see it, but your cover is awesome! Great setting of mood, well-done.

    So cool that she chose the accordion. I love when they set themselves apart.

  11. Wow. Your daughter's the coolest kid ever!
    Marie at the Cheetah

  12. Hi, I'm a fellow campaigner and thought I'd check out the blogs.

  13. Hey - fellow Campaigner here - congrats on your book. See you out there....

  14. Hi Andrew! I found you through Jennifer @Serenpidity Library and I am your latest follower. I am amazed that you let your daughter play the accordion. When i was younger, I wanted to play the cello, but my mum thought it was too big and I had to choose the violin instead. Well done to both of you! If you have time, please come and visit my blog (www.mumuGB.blogspot.com)

  15. Accordion - wow, that's different! Good for her! I've always fancied having a go on one, but it's not the sort of instrument you see around. I wouldn't know where to find one!

  16. Michael: I agree that capitalism is definitely part of the problem. However, people tend to just be sheep most of the time, and I think that plays a bigger part in it. Capitalism sort of just capitalizes on that aspect of people.

    As for the voice in the book, it really is just the "I" voice. Those first few paragraphs are intended as a fade, so to speak. He starts out talking to the audience and fades into the story. At any rate, it should be available tomorrow.

    And, yes, as I said over on you page, the art is awesome.

    Golden Eagle: I'm glad you like the cover :)

    And I agree with what you're saying. The thing I find amusing, though, is that the "next big thing" is never discovered from someone following the herd.

    Rusty: heh heh You're the only one to comment on the accordion in the car thing. Actually, that was a joke, but, yes, that was the intent of the joke. Evidently, it is -the- classic accordion joke.

    AllMyPosts: Good to see you!

    Sarah: It is hard to walk a different path. Actually, it's really much harder for her than her brothers, so I'm really glad when she finds something that individuates her.

    JJRod'z: Yes, it is important to know whom we are and be that person.

    Alicia: It is fantastic! We're so glad. We only have one previous generation accordion player.

    Lady Gwen: Sax is nice, too. My younger son is toying with the idea of picking up the sax.

    To all the new people, I will be stopping by your blogs! Promise!

    More responses later...

  17. Shannon: Yeah, me, too... My middle one is good at that. He tends to not really care what other people think.

    Marie: Well, she is certainly one of them. :) I have 3, so I'd probably get in a lot of trouble if I said she's THE coolest.

    Cat: Thanks for stopping by!

    K. M.: Thanks! And thanks for dropping by!

    MuMuGB: I had a couple of friends in elementary that played the cello. They were big. I always thought they were really cool, though. And, honestly, telling my daughter she can't do something is usually not a good option. heh

    Amanda: Yeah, they don't stock those in your typical music store, and they probably wouldn't order for you to just try out. Now, if you'd been at the Accordion Festival...

  18. Andrew, this is an amazing post! And way to go to your daughter! When I was little, I learned how to play the bagpipes- not exactly mainstream either, haha. I should pick that back up :)

    Tweeting this post.

  19. Juliana: Oh! The bagpipes! I have an uncle who used to play them. And my grandfather always wanted me to learn when I was a kid, but no one ever told me that. My told me when I was in my 20s sometime after I died. I love bagpipes!

    Glad you liked the post :)