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Tiaras and Trucks

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hear Greta Run - Revisited

Back in April, I wrote out this playlist, with explanations, for Greta.  It was originally done as a character study, but I had always wished I would have written it as a narrative piece.  Her story has its own tab at the top, but hopefully this stands alone if you haven't read any of her pieces yet.

With this week's Red Writing Hood prompt asking us to rewrite an old piece, I decided to pull this up and see what I could manage with the 400 word limit.  I cut out a couple of songs, but I think the spirit of the list remains intact.  The referenced songs are underlined and listed at the end of the post, since I don't identify all of them by their artists and/or actual song names.

She started with a jog barely faster than a walk.  Counting weeks on her fingers, Greta grimaced.  What did REM know about losing faith? 
Clicking the small square clipped to her shorts, she landed on Bleeding Love.  Her feet automatically fell into the lyrical rhythm, and she felt her mind probe at the idea of her divorce.  Letting the music seep through her defenses hurt, but she forced herself to Breathe as her muscles warmed, beads of sweat glistening at her temples.
Finished with her warm up jog, Greta sped up her legs to keep tempo with Destiny’s Child.  Listening to Survivor, she enjoyed the wind against her face, drying any tears that may have threatened to fall.  Concentrating on the newfound strength in her legs, she didn’t notice the well-muscled runner pass, slowing his pace to glance back at her, appreciating the determination in her stride.
White Wedding might have been skipped a month ago, but now she smiled, picturing Billy Idol’s eyeliner instead of James’ impeccably pressed tuxedo or the expensive dress languishing somewhere in the depths of her mother’s attic, never welcome in the sunlight again. 
Still learning her limits, Greta let her legs get swept away into the 80s electric keyboards.  Her feet pounded the sidewalk: left, left, left right left.
Sweat slid down her forehead now, trailing burning sunscreen into her eyes.  Irritated, her rhythm faltered as she pulled at the bottom of her tank top to swipe at the offending mix of sweat, sunscreen, and yesterday’s mascara.  Slicking back her bangs with both hands, she shrugged a little. 
This look?  Not so sexy, but living alone meant no one would see it.  Maybe tonight, before meeting the girls, she’d have a half glass of wine and talk herself into wearing the new jeans.  Maybe tonight she’d even wear them without a trendy tunic top swallowing her increasingly fit frame.
Her eyes closed for a moment, already hearing the bass calling them to the dance floor, the five of them dancing with abandon, the way they had before rings and promotions and diapers had crowded their calendars into a jumbled mess of happy obligations that meant a girls’ night was an occasion and not another Saturday night.
The music propelled her forward, gasping for breath; her legs heavy but sure as she ran too quickly back to her apartment.  Greta was not afraid of pushing herself.  Not anymore.

Greta's Playlist 

Losing My Religion (REM)

Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis)

Breathe (2 AM) (Anna Nalick)

Survivor (Destiny's Child)

White Wedding (Billy Idol)

SexyBack (Justin Timberlake)

Just Dance (Lady Gaga)

Not Afraid (Eminem)

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29 Comments:

  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:32 AM , Anonymous TLanceB said...

    awesome

    You know how music kind of rules my thought process. It's weird to see Eminem next to some of those other choices, but seeing you write it out, and getting to be in your head was really cool.

    I think this is my favorite thing you've written. You know, because of the music end of it all.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    I really like what you did with it this time around. It flows more smoothly from one paragraph to another telling her story with the songs intertwined into it.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:57 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Lance!  It's funny you said that about the Eminem song, because it is actually a lot like MY playlist.  It's a crazy mess of rap and r&b and pop and classics and rock and even a country song or two.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 9:14 AM , Anonymous BalancingMama (julie) said...

    My favorite line: "...the way they had before rings and promotions and diapers had crowded their calendars into a jumbled mess of happy obligations that meant a girls’ night was an occasion and not another Saturday night." Because I totally understand and feel this! Life has changed a lot for us all, hasn't it? 

    Very creative use of a playlist to help us understand the real Greta.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

    I think my favorite part is the same as BalancingMama's. That scene is perfectly crafted with those few words, setting us up to Greta's new take on life

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 10:17 AM , Anonymous Jennifer said...

    I thought this was a great way to get to know here, I loved the narration and I felt that this paragraph really, really let me into her head to get to know her:

    This look?  Not so sexy, but living alone meant no one would see it.  Maybe tonight, before meeting the girls, she’d have a half glass of wine and talk herself into wearing the new jeans.  Maybe tonight she’d even wear them without a trendy tunic top swallowing her increasingly fit frame.
    The half glass of wine, the tunic top, the not so sexy look, all great details. It's the first time that I really felt her.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    I LOVE how you did this! Very creative...great songs too :)

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 1:00 PM , Anonymous Kir said...

    this was the BEST THING You have ever written. Well I loved the Baptism too and all the rest of Greta, but wow my friend, this was so easy to read and so good..it flowed just like her run. I know her but it was good to see her here, to feel her doing the one thing that brings her joy.. SOOOOOOOO good Ang. xo

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 1:49 PM , Anonymous Elaine said...

    I just love the way you intermixed the songs and how they go with her feelings and emotions. This is really creative and very good.  I like the way if flowed and how much we learned about Greta in just this one, short piece. 

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous CDG said...

    That was a fun prompt, and I like knowing how your characters train of thought is guided by the music on her iPod. I don't run, but I remember my thoughts wandering on the elliptical as the music shuffled...

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM , Anonymous Galit Breen said...

    I really ove how this reads as a narrative!

    Also? I really love Greta's song list and the way her mind and thoughts wraps around each song.

    This was such an excellent piece to choose to go back to!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous Mads Mom said...

    I need this playlist. SERIOUSLY! 
    My mind works the same way when I run so this piece was quite believable. And now I want to know her.
    Yeah to new(to me) fiction!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:01 PM , Anonymous AwayWeGoNancy said...

    First? I am going to put together that exactly playlist. Secondly? That is running to me. Sorting things out, letting the emotions get dirty, and flushed away.

    Awakening. Growing. Shedding that which no longer serves us.

    Love it!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:09 PM , Anonymous Tina said...

    I liked the interplay of the music with her thoughts. That seemed to move the action along. The only thing I would cut would have been the guy checking her out, because he seems superfluous. Great post!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:12 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Most of it is on my own playlist.  Well, not the Anna Nalick song, but maybe it should be :)

    Yes, I'm not Greta at all (or she's not me?  whatever) but the running/thought process?  That's me :)  I'm glad you related and liked it!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks my friend!  I wanted to rework it right away when I did it, but then I kind of let it go too long and forgot :)  This was a great opportunity to get a little into her head.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:15 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I don't think you have to be a runner to have this happen?  Like you said, the same thing happened on the elliptical, and even when I'm driving (ok, not with the kids in the car, but other times) my mind wanders with the music.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:17 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Elaine! The shorter limits are nice, in a way, because it forces me to get rid of the unnecessary, to question and be extremely careful about what's included and edited out.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:18 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Oh thanks!  So much!

    Also, I couldn't get into it, but the guy who noticed her running?  That's the date guy from YOUR prompt :)

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:19 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you! I get crazy excited to find new running music.  I know lots of people don't like running with music, but I love it.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:21 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Jennifer!  I'm glad that she really came through in this piece.  I was a LITTLE worried I was pushing too many songs in there and making it too much like a checklist.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:23 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  That part is close to my heart, because I have a little group of girlfriends I used to have dinner with every Wednesday, and now it's maybe once a month.  It can be a little bittersweet when you have to change things you really love to make room for other things you love.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 8:24 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Carrie!  Greta's story isn't my story, but I think so many of us can relate to those sorts of changes.

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 10:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    The original playlist also had Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson) and F(orget) You (Cee-Lo) :)  I only say that because if you do interval running at all, Since U Been Gone is amazing for that!

    Thank you for the kind words.  You absolutely "got" what I was trying to portray!

     
  • At July 29, 2011 at 10:51 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    He becomes not so superfluous in the greater scheme of the story, but I definitely see what you mean considering this as a stand-alone piece.  Thank you :)

     
  • At July 30, 2011 at 9:40 AM , Anonymous Valerie said...

    I love this piece and it makes me wish I was a runner!  I especially like the symbolism of this line-

    "White Wedding
    might have been skipped a month ago, but now she smiled, picturing
    Billy Idol’s eyeliner instead of James’ impeccably pressed tuxedo or the
    expensive dress languishing somewhere in the depths of her mother’s
    attic, never welcome in the sunlight again."

    I get the sense Greta is on the edge of a new life here-and picturing Billy Idol's eyeliner is a great start ;) 

     
  • At July 30, 2011 at 10:55 AM , Anonymous Mama Track said...

    I love the rewrite--the first  one was great too, but the narrative works so well. And tells me so much about her story. I love that she's a survivor. I think every woman here's that song and identifies with it, for her own reasons.

    And I love how she has no idea that she's attractive to others. Can't wait to see where it all goes!

     
  • At August 2, 2011 at 9:35 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Isn't it true that a song like Survivor can be a little anthem in so many different ways?

    I'm glad you liked it; I was happy with the way the rewrite turned out.

     
  • At August 2, 2011 at 9:35 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Billy Idol is pretty cool, right?

     

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