Wednesday, November 4, 2015


Time for the monthly #IWSG check for insecure writers for November. I, for one, am truly glad Alex reminded us to keep “on topic” and to visit others. You see, I have a tendency to ramble, deviate, run down blind alleys, and about them participles? Let them dangle. What an unholy mess! But, that is kind of the story of my life. Believe it or not, I'm really happy with it, the way it is. I not only sight-read music pretty well, and write by the seat-of-my-pants (poor #NaNoWriMo; a 3rd novel that is a sequel to nothing, if you get my drift), so, why not live my life by the seat of my pants?

I've Scoobied my way out of so many messes, it's become my default state. Want me to edit something? Ya better give me a blank piece of paper, or a paper with a bunch of anagrams on it, and I'll cobble something up for you, just don't expect any coherence out of it. I'm also kind of in the “I don't give a damn” mood, because I'm doing something right now that takes all thought and energy and focus away from every other thing in my life: I'm playing my viola. I have insecurities a-plenty about that, and not just because I'm playing over a motor disorder and finding out new ways to skirt around that. The newest thing I've discovered is to not take ANY of the medications prescribed for either that or my bipolar or depression on the day of performing and I'm fine. Take 'em after and I don't have to worry about cramping and weirdness. I know, I know, I'm off topic. But, all musicians are insecure; boy, howdy are they. But I got a “man, you rock!” after Sunday's concert from some people I hold in high esteem. That made me feel good for about 15 minutes. Then, I looked at Wolf and went, “oh yeah, I still sucketh.” We all do it.

As to writing. I'm trying like hell to dredge up some semblance of a story that will fit with what I wrote 2 years ago, when I finished NaNo and the 2nd book I didn't finish, but presumably will. I'll work on it for a while, and then just run out of steam. Part of it is the fact that maybe I'm not hungry enough, and I also have enough material from when I first started this blog, to e-publish my own “life and times” à la James Thurber, with five sections and I think that might be the smarter option, instead of trying to write this huge, sprawling epic that has characters changing names, sexes, disappearing, reappearing and I think a few of re-incarnated and not in the "X-Files" way, along with the usual plot lines that run up the previously mentioned dead ends and blind alleys. Of course, I could pretend I'm writing scripts for MST3K, always huge fun!

I have enough followers on Twitter and elsewhere, that I may actually make a tiny profit, and I have some pretty funny stories. Anyway, I've written for lo, these many years and have never sold anything, but it might be a good time to think about doing that, plus I have another project in mind that will involve both playing and writing – I'm keeping it under wraps right now, 'cause jinx and all of that. So, what say you all?

Oh, and here is some blargle and pictures from Sunday's concert. We have just one more to play in this series and then it's on to Rachmaninoff's “Piano Concerto No. 2” and some Slavonic Dances written by our own Conductor, Mark Sforzini.


Sunday afternoon at the Straz Center in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Symphony, led by our great Conductor, Mark Sforzini, performed an awesome concert, featuring highlights from "Madama Butterfly" by Puccini with soprano Susan Hellman Spatafora and tenor Samuel Hall, with a cameo appearance by mezzo-soprano Nicole Evans. This was preceded by Beethoven's Turkish March from the "Ruins of Athens" and then after the concert break, we played Rimsky-Korsakov's powerful "Scheherazade". The violin solo was played by our Concertmaster, Virginia Respess, and played beautifully. This orchestra just keeps sounding better and better and it was a delight to play!

For some reason, the first picture looks like my head is in a fog bank, which is probably just tangible proof of the cloud-like state of confusion I exist in, and spread most of the time and is also requirement number one for a viola-player. The second is a close-up of the most glorious Wolf, who did his part. He was in full voice and I was NOT going to let him be unseen!


Diana Wilder said...

I was given to understand that musicians are all (a) nutty, and (b) fabulous (the person who told me this fit both molds. Add 'writer' to the mix and you have an unbeatable combination! I hope your editing goes well, and thanks for the smile. Lovely instrument!

Rebecca Douglass said...

Wow, musician AND writer! You must really love insecurities :D It's inspiring that you are doing both, and getting on with it.

Michelle Wallace said...

You and Wolf look splendid.
Can't beat the writer/musician combination... it's a special blend!
Good luck with the writing, editing and living-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.

Just to let you know that the IWSG has a Facebook page.
Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG members who are also Facebook members, post a link to their IWSG blog posts, in the comment section of the pinned post on the Facebook page.
Members then visit each other via the blog post links.
You are invited to join our Insecure Writer’s Support Group Facebook page at
Look forward to seeing you there! :)

Nick Wilford said...

I like that your viola has a name. Wolf sounds like a great character. Being able to play music must be a great outlet. Your writing sounds like it doesn't have any dull moments, so you don't have any shortage of material to work with - think of it that way!

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's a great name for your viola!
I hope that the cloud lifts and you can write, play, and live fully!

Stephanie Faris said...

Yes, get your work out there. It sounds like you're on the right track. There's nothing like the feeling of finishing a book and seeing it out there with a cover on it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're a musician! So am I. I guess that does make us double insecure.
And a MST3K fan. You rock.
You signed up a second time on the list, so I deleted the second one. Don't panic - you're still there around #189 or so.

Kristin Smith said...

So cool that you play the viola! And I love that you named your viola Wolf—what a great name for a beautiful instrument. Good luck with your writing—you can do it!

Viola Fury said...

@Diana, Thank you for the kind words! Musicians aren't so much nutty, I think, but like writers, we do see things through a different prism than what we would consider "run-of-the-mill" people. And, like writers, we are highly sensitive. I also am an only child and have spent considerable time alone and don't have a normal filter as to what may be appropriate when interacting with other humans, thus, I do "not play well with others". I do enjoy being around creative people, though, as we tend to feed off one another's ideas, and that I always look forward to! Thanks again for the visit! I'll be working on that editing; I want to get this out there this year, if possible!

Viola Fury said...

@Rebecca, Ha ha, thanks! That's somehow encouraging. I couldn't play for a while, as I have a motor disorder and that's what led me to writing. Once I found a neurologist who could tell a synapse from a neuron, and got some treatment, I gave it about a year and started playing again. But, why give up writing? Insecurities just boil down to "am I good enough?" I can do that in two disciplines; if I find a third, I'll let you know. All joking aside, the two I have keep me busy enough. I am not Sir Thomas More, by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I a dilettante. It's rather like Crystal Collier was saying on her blog, as she has started to write "Flash Fiction" monthly for real, and has an actual deadline. In spite of the turmoil and her new baby, it makes her a better writer. We only improve when we practice our art. Sometimes it leads us down paths we didn't expect, but I see it for the better. It's when we cease to strive and grow, that we stagnate. Thanks for the visit!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for the compliments and thanks for the information! I ran right over to the facebook page and hope I got to the right one. I know that I pulled my usual Stupid Human Trick and signed up twice on Alex's Blog Hop! One can never be too sure and that ole' OCD just kicks right in, but that's another subject! That's great about the facebook page and also, there's one I noticed about CPs or something, which I gathered has something to do with Beta readers or critiques, which would be most swell. I've never tried to sell anything I've written, but apparently it was good enough for someone to steal and try to peddle (an alert friend helped me with that a few years ago) so, I don't even know if what I have posted is just good bird-cage liner or timeless classic stuff, or somewhere in between, or utterly forgettable, like a Michael Bay movie. Anyway, I've blathered on enough. Thank you for the advice and I will certainly be haunting the IWSG facebook page and probably make double-posts, there as well; feel free to delete, as needed. Thanks again for the visit!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! I did not name Wolf; he was actually named by his/my luthier, whose job it is to care for him and make sure he is in top form. Wolf was "born" in Bologna Italy in 1837, just 10 years after the death of Beethoven, which is rather late for the "great" Italian instruments, and he is a "cousin" to the truly great "Cremona" school of fiddle-making, a la Stradivarius, Guarnieri, Storioni and Guadagnini, that were made in the prior two centuries. His maker, Guidante Florenus, had very peculiar tendencies in his approach to making his violins and violas and I won't bore you with them here. We'll just leave it at this: Wolf is famous, and in a large book of exemplars that all luthiers consult. He's known by his slightly askew scroll, when viewed head-on, his rather ragged looking f-holes in the front and his thick body from front-to-back. He is proportioned more like a violin, without the fat butt of a viola and he has peculiar markings on his back as his maker used two pieces of matching maple to give him stripes. He's also "blonde" as opposed to a deeper red than a lot of violins and violas.

As he measures a comfortable 15 7/8" from his tail to his shoulders, he's very easy for me to play and is set up like a dream. Because he is "fat" he has a huge tone and can outplay larger violas. I also have a very heavy bow; 72 grams, which is the heaviest of bows for violas. I had to have him insured, when he was authenticated, and there are bills of sale on record with his luthier and with the original orchestra that insured him. The bow is also insured. My mom bought me the viola when I started college at the age of 18, and I've had him longer than any of my marriages have lasted. Wolf has certainly been a better, and more faithful partner. I will be 60 in December and he just sounds better and better. Instruments do die, however, just like people. The earliest Strads and their precursors the Amatis are starting to fade. I do not know if there is anything to be done for them. It is truly a shame, but, I guess, like people, they too, shall pass from this mortal coil.

In the meantime, I shall continue to play him and enjoy playing him. We have some ideas in the works. Writing and playing. I thank you for visiting, Nick, and I hope you got a little more of a glimpse into the world of string instruments.

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! I didn't name Wolf, my luthier did. If you read my response to Nick, you'll see that the luthier who cares for the instrument chooses the name based on the characteristics of the instrument. There is a Strad violin, called the "Dolphin" for her high, piercing, sweet tones, and there are several others that are named for their various qualities. I think the cloud is permanent, and I don't mind it. The enrichment of confusion if part of the process I find. I think I'm a carrier to be honest. Although in my own head, I'm perfectly aware of what is going on, I can completely confuse a room of intelligent people in 30 seconds flat. I take pride in that. I think it's my default state and it should be encouraged more. People are too serious I think. A little levity and confusion I say. Then, I can leave, and they can all wonder just what in the hell happened? Thanks for stopping by!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for the vote of confidence! As I wrote that, I thought "this is gonna be the way to go!" As much fun as it is to write this behemoth of a novel and it's sequels(?) such as they are, this is going to be a much surer bet. The other just sounds like MST3K on paper, minus Mike Nelson and Tom and Crow. In other words, a really bad novel. For me to sit down and edit what I already have regarding my life, is much more do-able and quicker and then I can play with the other. The second problem is that I HAVE to practice viola. No two ways around that. Not playing for so long and dealing with a motor disorder, have left me at a disadvantage and I don't like being unprepared or trying to scrabble around making my muscles do something they have forgotten to do. It's still a learning process there. So, bit by bit, I'm taking control of my life again. Thank you so much for the visit and encouragement Stephanie. It means the world!

Viola Fury said...


I about died when the for RiffTrax came out and I saw your name emblazoned on the Headlines! I recently discovered that the folks who made "Manos, Hands of Fate" have released it in an HD version and that they are also fighting over it in court! So, I skipped on over to @RiffTrax on Twitter and told the guys. I'd already signed up for the newsletter and I watch MST3K almost non-stop. It's one of those cherished things that I used to do with my dad, before "Fractured Flickers" or anything like that: riff on horrible, horrible movies. So, of course, this is all genetic. When I got the paper and I saw YOU there, I was like "Oh, TOO KEWL FOR SKEWL!" Now, I find out you're a musician? Wow. That is awesome! I don't know how I missed that. Probably because I was busy OCD'ing and signing up multiple times on IWSG. I have to say, if it weren't for this group, I wouldn't be ready to move on to the next step in this process.

I have enough source material. I saw where Arlee Bird has decided to pass on NaNo this year, and I may do the same. I have an idea for a project I want to get going on after I finish what I'm doing here. Thank you, again, Alex. You are a terrific person and so giving. I'm so glad to be here!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! I loved your site! I actually didn't name Wolf. His care-taker, or luthier did. When a luthier has a very fine instrument that displays a notable quality, it is not unusual for the luthier to name the instrument. For instance, there is a Stradivarius violin named the "Dolphin" for her, high, sweet, piercing tones in her upper registers. "Wolf" is a small viola, but he has a very atypical, gruff tone, not lugubrious at all, as some larger violas tend to do. It makes it easier too, to make him "sing" when I play up in higher positions on his lower strings. He was "born" in 1837 in Bologna, Italy and is cousin to the Cremonese Violins; the Strads, Amatis, Storionis and so on. I've had Wolf since I was 18, and I will be 60 in December, so we've had a long and amiable relationship and some of our adventures will play a part in the book I am editing on my life! Thanks again for the visit, Kristin!

Crystal Collier said...

Aw! You quoted me in response to someone. *blushes* See, that right there is all the flattery I need. =)

We definitely have to resist the urge to compare ourselves to others. I love the say that sometimes we're comparing our rough drafts to other people's finished art. That's not fair. In the least.

Viola Fury said...


Yes! I did quote you, because it stuck with me. You're an awesome writer, but we're all running around with these niggling little insecurities and now, you've come up with another gem! "Comparing our rough drafts to other people's finished art." No, it's not fair, but when have we ever been known to cut ourselves a break? Hmmmmm? <3

D Biswas said...

You look amazing, Mary! I wish I could hear you with the Wolf.

I would definitely read any story you wrote-- please get started at the earliest!

Sorry to leave a link, Blogger won't allow my wordpress comment:
Daily (w)rite

M. J. Joachim said...

Your music career sounds positively delightful! My daughter plays (played) the viola for years, so it was with delighted interest that I enjoyed reading this particular part of your post. As for being scattered - it comes with the territory of being born, I believe, so more power to you! It sounds like you have a wonderful writing venue, one that makes you happy, and if we didn't write to be happy, I'm not sure the point, because it's only too true that most of us don't make any money at it. Best to you, Viola, with warmest wishes always :)

Arlee Bird said...

You wrote the story of my life here except that I'm not playing music anywhere like you are. That's an accomplishment to feel good about.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Viola Fury said...


Thank you so much for the kind words! I want to get my memoirs published first in an e-book format, and then go from there. I need to learn more about editing and polishing a "finished" product. Sometimes, I feel like I'm just pushing words around. Thank you so very much for your encouragement! I do believe too, that I should try "flash fiction" and some of these other formats as well.

Don't worry about leaving a link; Blogger hates everyone, including me, most of the time! Thanks again for reading!

Viola Fury said...


Thank you so much for the wonderful words! It's true that we write as an outlet to our own happiness and to create. I'm so tickled that your daughter played the viola! The instrument definitely draws in people with different personalities. Not as showy as the violin, but it's warm, luscious tones in the alto range are wonderful. Yes, being scattered is a part of being born, and life is messy and chaotic, but that's okay. It's how we react to it all that counts. I wouldn't write or play or try to create anything, and we're all like that. We may not necessarily always be thrilled with the output, but we keep trying! Thanks again for stopping by and reading!

Viola Fury said...


Thanks for stopping by! We all have our strengths. You're such a wonderful writer! I putter about with it and only recently returned to playing. I wasn't sure that I would be able to play again with a motor disorder, but I've been good so far, but for how long? No one knows. I still putter about with writing, because it's another outlet as well and I do enjoy it, too. I like being part of this "blogging community" I've found myself a part of, too. I thank you, Arlee for the A to Z Challenge and for stopping by and reading!