"I dreamed I saw the knights in armor coming, saying something about a queen"

Three quick pieces of news: (1) I have a Chinese language publisher for Graceling and Fire in Taiwan, Gaea Books. yAt! (2) Graceling is #2 on the Winter 2009 Indie Next Kid's List. Please support independent bookstores! (3) Graceling is one of Booklist's 2008 Top Ten First Novels for Youth, along with my friend Sarah Prineas's The Magic Thief. Double and triple yAt!

My title is the opening line of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," which, if you're curious, you can listen to here.

The other day I woke up raring to go, full of writing ambition. Then I made the mistake of turning on Neil Young's Decade while I was eating my breakfast.

An hour and a half later, I was still lying on my bed, holding my dirty spoon, listening to Decade. I'd forgotten that Neil Young requires -- demands -- patient attention. And I'd forgotten how squeaky and strange he is and how much I love him.

It's okay, though, because I expect that once I did pull myself away and get to work, I was in a better writing place from listening to all that Neil. Of course, a couple hours in, I decided to take a break and listen to one more song while I was toasting my bagel for my second breakfast (I eat like a hobbit). And I did listen to one more song. "Sugar Mountain," "Ohio," "Old Man," "I Believe in You," "A Man Needs a Maid," "The Needle and the Damage Done": Each one of those is one more song. Right? ^_^ (Click on the songs to go to youtube and hear them...)

Is there music in your life that commands you to listen?

I'll leave you with a little Neil wisdom, from the song "Love Is a Rose," which you can listen to here:

Love is a rose, but you better not pick it
It only grows when it's on the vine
A handful of thorns and you'll know you've missed it
You lose your love when you say the word "mine"



Anonymous said…
After the Gold Rush is my favourite album of his - Don't let it bring you down being a particular highlight.

And the one album that I can't turn away from is Astral Weeks. Van the Man is just super duper.
Anonymous said…
I sometimes have to stop everything else I'm doing for Sufjan Stevens. His songs have really interesting titles, too. For example: "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From The Dead!! Ahhhh!"
You're also in our Holiday Catalog at BookPeople (Texas's largest indie bookstore, after all!) - someone may have already notified you, but if not, HOORAH! We love Graceling to pieces and it'll be on display thru the holidays. Plus whenever I can find room for it on our Staff Selection eye level :D

Seriously, it's such a great book. <3 me some Katsa. Come visit us sometime!

Jim White is my Neil Young. I sometimes put him on while I'm trying to write and wind up just sittig back in my chair eating chocolate and thinking. He's great - gothic alt country, seriously, how can you not be tempted?
Hmm there are two bands that come to my mind that take me to another place: The Mamas & The Papas, and Black Stone Cherry. I can't say that either of them are my all time favorite but still very good.
Anonymous said…
"Is there music in your life that commands you to listen?"

Rufus Wainwright. He's amazing.
Anonymous said…
I love Neil Young! Some of my favorites: "The Great Divide," "It's a Dream," "Like a Hurricane," "Red Sun," "Silver and Gold," and "Harvest."

Oh gosh, yay for hobbits! And yay for people who eat like hobbits! (I'm one, too.)

Sarah Prineas said…
Yay for IndieNext! The indies are the best.

And for Booklist, eh?

Um...I thought it was a typo before, but now I think not.

What is yAt?
I just got done checking out Neil Young. I liked it and am glad that you mentioned him. I always enjoy finding new bands to listen to but i guess you couldnt really call Neil Young 'new' lol.
cindy said…
wow! wow! wow!

congratulations on china!!!!! i'm so excited for you! i wonder what kind of cover you'll get?

have you spoken a bit about your rough drafting process? i only seem to be able to rough draft 1 hour or 1.5 hour at most. i could revise forever.
all music commands me to listen. but sometimes its not how you listen (mine while doing homework) but the lyrics that pull you in and give you the meaning.
wow, sometimes i even surprise myself.
Kristin Cashore said…
Alex, I love "Don't Let It Bring You Down," too. I also love the Annie Lennox cover, which is very different but also grand, seeing as she's a goddess and all...

Courtney -- BEST TITLE EVER. heeee

Emily, I have a BookPeople tote bag! And my sister, secret code name: Cordelia, has a pirate eyepatch that I bought at BookPeople. I lived in Austin very briefly a few years ago. I love your store! Thanks so much for giving Graceling so much attention! :o) Also, I don't know Jim White -- I'll have to look him up.

SP, yAt! is my favorite Internet-speak for Yay! :o)

Cindy, I don't think I have, but I can put it on my list of something to talk about sometime. I've been drafting all day, actually... maybe that's why my head hurts and I feel this dark deep sense of doom... sigh...

And everyone else -- thanks for telling me your music thoughts -- you've given me a few new people to look into! :o)
redpop said…
you are very funny.. do you rewrite after this phase or dictate it? just curious
Anonymous said…
One of my favorite songwriters and one of my favorite books of 2008 - together in one blog post! unreal!
Sweet Child Of Mine absolutely DEMANDS me to listen. The moment I get home from anywhere I have to listen or I'll scream. Literally.

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