Sound of Madness: Demons, They Follow Me

A song popped up on my shuffle the other day. I haven’t listened to it in months, not since I got it. I follow a lot of music-lover accounts on Twitter and they often tweet about how certain songs can take you back to a place in time. When those tweets come up, though, they’re usually referencing something pleasant.

For me, a lot of songs bring back memories of concerts or long drives to new places. I have certain albums I listen to if I’m city driving or highway driving. This song that came up, though, I don’t like to think about this song. Until Itunes spit it out, I had actually forgotten I had it.

I bought it in January while I was at my dad’s for the weekend. My sister and her girlfriend had moved back in with him. There wasn’t anywhere I could go to be by myself for any length of time. Mom was at her house, my sister and her girl were at dad’s, and I was feeling crushed. I’m not a gregarious person. I like being alone, prefer it even; concerts are about the only time I’m okay being with people. My job was killing me slowly, I hated my co-workers, I hated the repetitive tasks, I was—and still am—tired of living at home.

You know that scene in 300 where the Spartans line up with their shields and spears and literally push the Persians off the cliff? That’s what it felt like. Everything was pushing in on me, pressing me back.

So I had a bad day at work and I went to my dad’s where my sister tweeted about my foul mood. Angry, depressed, and at a complete loss of what to do with my life, I lashed back. Her final tweet was something along the lines of “You don’t have to be here.” And it was like a dark revelation.

No. I don’t have to be here. I don’t have to deal with this shitty job or these student loans or not having a place of my own. I don’t have to be here. I can leave. I can leave forever.

I sat on my bed, not scared at all. It was more akin to relief; like I had finally been given permission to leave the field. It would only hurt for a few seconds, probably burn. Severing the jugular and the carotid I would be dead in less than three minutes. The skin on your neck is so thin, it would be easy. And fast. My sister was downstairs watching TV wanting nothing to do with me. I had my stereo on. My dad wouldn’t be home for another two or three hours. They couldn’t save me. They wouldn’t have a prayer of saving me.

I don’t remember getting on Facebook or why I even thought to log on but someone I had friended during Black Veil Brides’ Legion of the Black viewing posted the lyrics.

 

Well I know the feeling,

of finding yourself stuck out on the ledge.

And there ain’t no healing

from cutting yourself with a jagged edge.

I’m telling you that it’s never that bad.

Take it from someone who’s been where you’re at.

Laid out on the floor

And you’re not sure you can take it anymore.

 

 

So just give it one more try, to a lullaby.

And turn this up on the radio.

If you can hear me now,

I’m reaching out

to let you know you’re not alone.

And if you can’t tell, I’m scared as hell

‘cause I can’t get you on the telephone.

So just close your eyes.

Oh, honey, here comes a lullaby.

Your very own lullaby

 

 

Please let me take you

out of the darkness and into the light.

‘Cause I have faith in you,

that you’re gonna make it through another night.

Stop thinking about

the easy way out.

There’s no need to go and blow the candle out.

Because you’re not done,

you’re far too young

and the best is yet to come.

 

 

So just give it one more try, to a lullaby.

And turn this up on the radio.

If you can hear me now,

I’m reaching out

to let you know you’re not alone.

And if you can’t tell, I’m scared as hell

‘cause I can’t get you on the telephone.

So just close your eyes.

Oh, honey, here comes a lullaby.

Your very own lullaby.

 

 

Well everybody’s hit the bottom.

Everybody’s been forgotten.

When everybody’s tired of being alone,

yeah, everybody’s been abandoned.

And left a little empty handed.

So if you’re out there barely hanging on…

 

 

Just give it one more try to a lullaby

and turn this up on the radio.

If you can hear me now,

I’m reaching out

to let you know you’re not alone.

And if you can’t tell, I’m scared as hell

‘cause I can’t get you on the telephone.

So just close your eyes.

Oh, honey, here comes a lullaby.

Your very own lullaby.

Oh, honey, here comes a lullaby.

Your very own lullaby.

(Nickelback, Lullaby)

 

I have no idea why she posted those words. She’s not a prolific updater and when she does it’s only a sentence or two. And I was mad. Finally, I had found a way out and then she had to post this song and suddenly the door was closed again. Music was right there to drag me back when I was ready to go. I was angry and completely broken. So I bought the song and sat on my bed screaming and crying until my dad got home.

I haven’t listened to this song since that day. Four months later, and I can still remember those thoughts of how little it would hurt. How easy it would be. But, as I switch to youtube and devour the new Black Veil Brides’ song Revelation the melancholy is eroded by excitement. June 11th is hardly two weeks away. Warped Tour is a bare month away. There will be better memories.

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The Sound of Madness: We All Fall Down

“Everybody feels these moments of sadness and moments of loss. And sometimes I think everybody can relate to sitting alone and feeling like crap and a friend of yours comes up and starts, you know, “Come on, feel happy!” And you don’t want that. Sometimes it’s all right to let yourself live in a moment and let yourself be upset about something and so that you can show yourself that, regardless of how low you feel, you can always rise out of it; but not at that moment. And so the song ends with the lyric I believe we all fall down but I don’t say, “But we get back up.” It’s just, sometimes you fall down and sometimes you feel low, and that’s okay.” ~ Andy Biersack, (Video)

I was one of many who saw Black Veil Brides’ Legion of the Black back in January and I knew as soon as this song started it was going to be one of my favorites. It was back in January that the only thing I was looking forward to in my life was the release of Wretched and Divine: The Story of the Wild Ones album and the concert in Cleveland on the 22nd. My first manuscript, Tiger, Tiger was sitting untouched on my hard drive, I hadn’t read anything in weeks—which as a self-professed bibliophile is unheard of—and I was having a hard time even getting up in the morning.

Then, in March, I quit my job. And I was happy for a couple weeks. I finished Tiger, Tiger and started getting serious about querying and started writing again and started looking for a part time job I would be happier doing. The rainbows and sunshine didn’t last long. I hadn’t really intended to quit my job until the first weekend in May and didn’t have the money saved up that I needed/wanted.

Be absolutely honest, my mindset the last two weeks has been no better than it was when I was slogging my way through a dead end job I hated. I’m angry, I’m depressed, my moods are in flux. I wake up in the morning and I want to scratch my skin off and start somewhere new. I need a job and I know I can get hired on in a restaurant no problem. But I don’t want to go back to something that pushed me so close to the abyss of No Return I almost fell in. But if nothing else pans out here in the next two weeks I’ll have to go back to the thing that almost killed me.

            “Lost it All” gets me on a damn near spiritual level.

I ruled the world. With these hands I shook the heavens to the ground.

I laid the gods to rest. I held the key to the kingdom, lions guarding castle walls.

Hail the king, of death.

 

Then I lost it all.

I’m dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall. Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls just to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All.

And who can save me now?

 

I stood above

another war, another jewel upon the crown.

I was the fear of men.

But I was blind, I couldn’t see the world there right in front of me.

But now…I can.

 

‘Cause I Lost it All

Dead and broken.

My back’s against the wall.

Cut me open.

I’m just trying to breathe, just trying to figure it out.

Because I built these walls to watch them crumbling down.

I said then I Lost it All

and who can save me now?

 

I believe that we all fall down, sometimes.

Can’t you see that we all fall down?

I believe that we all fall down sometimes.

 

            Here’s a Link to the song.

This is the song that sits with me when I feel overwhelmed by everything and when it all seems out of reach. This song tells me to take a breath, stop scrambling, stop panicking. Just breathe. This song is my safe place.

It’s also the song my character in Rebel Love Song is modeled after. She falls a little more every day. Without the plucky “but we’ll try it again tomorrow” sentiment at the end of the song it leaves her open for a gauntlet of decisions. She’s low, slipping deeper inside herself, and there’s the question of whether or not she’s going to give this song a hopeful ending or if she’s going to lose herself. Who can save me now?

Adventures of Aria: Culture Shock

            I recently read an absolutely amazing YA supernatural book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes called Raised by Wolves. It’s on the younger end of the YA spectrum—the main character Bryn is fifteen—but she was complex, witty, and smart. I finished this four hundred page book in only a couple hours. I couldn’t put it down long enough to even get coffee. I was completely absorbed in Bryn’s struggle, both emotional and circumstantial. I cried and laughed and cheered at the end. In other words, read this book.

            A few hours later—after coffee, shower, food, etc—I picked up an anthology of YA short stories centered on the theme of “warriors”. I picked up this particular anthology from the library to see how my character Aria stacks up against other “warrior” types. I got three pages in and I haven’t picked it up since.

            So soon after reading Ms. Barnes’ book I couldn’t get into the flat character of the first story. I can’t even remember his name. He was so…simple. His thoughts are shallow “warrior” thoughts about fame and glory and marrying a beautiful girl in the noble class. As a prolific reader of fiction, this is so genre standard it was boring to the point of anger.

            The thing that really pricked me about this is that it is genre standard. Every book I’ve ever picked up that involves a tribal or non-Caucasian culture has this flat character. The sentences and vocabulary is simple, short and they lack variety. It’s almost like these characters are written for grade school children not teens or even adults. The catch is, once these simple characters come into contact with the dominant, primarily Caucasian, culture they suddenly gain depth and more complex emotions. Suddenly, the syntax is more elegant and the vocabulary elevated.

            My character, Aria, sprang from Inuit/Nordic cultures. She lives in a clan society, but she isn’t simple. Her emotions are complicated when it comes to who and what she is and how she interacts with her clan. If I were to change her setting to the modern world, certainly she would have trouble describing modern technologies, but that wouldn’t make her any less intelligent.

            This sub-conscious ethnocentric assumption needs to stop. So you’ve chosen to write a character with more melatonin than you? That doesn’t mean they are stupid and slow witted children who need a more dominant culture to hold their hand and “educate” them.