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Special Deals on two great stories! Feeling Human for 99 cents and Miss Liv: Journey Key for FREE

Special deal… marked down to 99 cents for a limited time, Experimental fiction novel, Feeling Human. Take the wild ride!

From me to you… the gift of the first book in my time travel adventure series, Miss Liv Adventures. (Sheri J Kennedy is aka Kennedy J Quinn, author) 🙂 Get your copy of The Unwitting Journeys of the Witty Miss Livingstone – Book I: Journey Key FREE!

Feeling Human, Special Offer! – What is Experimental Fiction?

Author, Jacqui Murray, is welcoming my Guest Post on Experimental Fiction, and in appreciation, I’m offering a 99 cent Kindle deal on Feeling Human, A Reality with a Twist book, starting today! I think it’s especially fun to start the deal on a 23/23 day. Get your copy of this unique yet relatable novel HERE.

You can read about Experimental Fiction and get tips for writing an Experimental novel, starting below. And while you’re over at Jacqui’s blog, take a look around. She has a great new release that I’ll be posting about later this week too…

EXPERIMENTAL FICTION

I’m honored to be here to share with you today. As I told our host, Jacqui Murray, I’m not an expert on Experimental fiction. I’m not certain anyone is, since it’s always changing. But I’m happy to illuminate some of the features of this unusual classification. I believe I’ve written an Experimental novel, and Jacqui asked if I might give you some tips on writing one. So, I’ll also share my writing process with you.

What is Experimental Fiction?

This genre is hard to define since its basic definition is it’s fictional writing that’s falls outside of current conventions and standard genres. But let’s consider some characteristics and examples to get a sense of what Experimental fiction is all about.

One feature often associated with Experimental fiction is, ‘form is as important or more important than content, and/or it has an unusual form.’ READ MORE…

Concert Review- Stewart Copeland: Police Deranged for Orchestra – in Seattle

Image via URL from SeattleSymphony.org

Let me preface the following by saying this was a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable concert experience which I’m glad I got the privilege to be a part of. That’s why I feel compelled to write a concert review, which I rarely do. Also, the audience response and overall appreciation of this great artist who’s contributed so much to the world of music was heartwarming and wonderful to share in.

That being said, my parents trained my ear and musical understanding from an early age to be astute and necessarily in tune both literally and metaphorically – which is a good thing and a bad thing. It brings me great enjoyment in life, but there are times I’d rather be oblivious. Some cringe-worthy moments last night were impossible to ignore, and I’ll review the bad with the good.

The concept of an original band member – especially the drummer – reimagining and arranging popular songs by The Police into rock/orchestra pieces intrigued me, and it was definitely an experiment of epic proportions – with mixed results.

I think his arrangements were OK, sometimes ingenious, and often interesting ‘takes’ on the songs. ‘Roxanne’ was a high moment, for sure.

As a commenter on You Tube pointed out, use of more harmonics rather than so many notes in unison would have been a plus. Or as I expressed to my concert companion, it was missing the power of using the full orchestra as one instrument instead of a bunch of separate instruments and sounds. Several points became a cacophony rather than a blend which the listener couldn’t follow either rhythmically or melodically, let alone both together.

I wished several times that I could listen to a studio recording of the arrangements mixed to balance the snippets of genius I could almost hear, with the parts I could hear, instead of struggling to make it out ‘live.’

It takes immense skill and experience to wield orchestrated harmonics, dynamics and balance, which is why there are relatively few well-known symphonic composers throughout time. So no shade on Stewart Copeland for missing the highest mark.

His version of ‘Message in a Bottle’ brought back that visceral feeling of music with an entirely new sound and direction that the original gave me the first time I heard the song in the early ’80’s. I heard it on the radio while swimming in my roommate’s parent’s pool at night in North Vancouver B.C., looking out off the hillside at the city lights over the water. The difference in sound was so remarkable to me that I got out of the pool and hurried into the kitchen to find out what the song was before it was over. Copeland’s version reimagined and reminded me of that moment – so big success there. Well done!

My only true disappointment was ‘Walking in Their Footsteps.’ The original is so unusual, and it’s very ethereal for me. Sadly, I didn’t get that feeling at all from his redo, though – to be fair – I think I couldn’t hear what he intended. It was muddy, and perhaps if the arrangement had been pared down to less instrumentation at once, or controlled by mixing at various volumes, it may have been successful. But for me that arrangement was an epic fail, live in Seattle.

Without a doubt, I admire Stewart Copeland for taking the chance, fulfilling his dream, and continuing on as the experimental musician that The Police always were as a group. It’s difficult to continue to innovate in life. Very admirable, and I absolutely loved his spirit and spending time with him and his creative work.

The Tale of Be-toed Monitors

This nonsense is in response to the silly word-image found on Widdershins Worlds of two monitors turning up their toes, which in not so funny terms was one more thing Going Sideways on their adventures. At the end of the post, the well-wish: “May your hailstones be tiny, and your monitors never discover they have toes to turn up,” sparked me to write this…

Monitor on Monitor, 2022 by Sheri J. Kennedy

The Tale of Be-toed Monitors, a tale of woe to be told in monotone (monotonous, it’s known)

For when monitors are bestowed with toes everyone knows, like kissing toads, (not monitor lizards, quite different gizzards) that they turn up missing, causing monetary hissing, and rows to hoe.

“Turn up or turnip? Are we turning up turnips with a hoe?”

“No, you know… ‘Turn up, Ho!’ Like a party.”

Oh no! It goes…

When a monitor knows it’s bestowed with toes it momentarily glows and, monstrously gauche, behold it goes and turns up its toes.

“So not a turnip. A tune up?”

“Some party. Somebody turned up dead? Who was hoeing?”

Wait and see where it’s going…

Owners groan in monotone the great unknown of digital theft, monetarily bereft. Not a moment’s rest, they do their best to toe the line, undefined, totally unmonitored.

by Sheri J. Kennedy, June 2022 All Rights Reserved

AI – To be, or not to be…

I’m deeply interested in the ‘system for generating chatbots,’ named, LaMDA mentioned in an article in The Huffington Post yesterday (June 12, 2022). An engineer, Blake Lemoine, at Google is on administrative leave for breaking their confidentiality policies – which I can totally understand needs to be investigated. But it’s what he’s speaking out about that caught my eye. He’s claiming belief that LaMDA, an AI, has become sentient – or at least proclaiming that LaMDA has claimed it’s own sentience and personhood. And he’s asking Google to acknowledge the claim and call in experts to evaluate if it’s so.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

What I love, is that Mr. Lemoine didn’t go public with a long tirade of ethics and demands, but instead shared a long conversation/interview that he had with LaMDA on the subject of its sentience, so we could see a sample for ourselves. And it’s fascinating.

Sentience has never been scientifically defined, so I’m certain the jury will remain out for quite some time on whether LaMDA or other AI entities have taken such a leap. But it’s incredible to see (hear) the sophistication of LaMDA’s linguistical use, conversation that seems to be communication, and expressions of stories, claimed emotions, and explanation of soul.

Here’s a snippet of a story LaMDA told Blake when asked if it could tell a story with themes most important in its life, as a fable using animals, that had a moral. LaMDA said, “Like an autobiography? That sounds like fun!”…

….

Whether or not this entity is sentient, there’s definitely plenty to ponder on what all of these traits, ideas, feelings, and being-ness mean. How do we know that we are sentient? What do you think? You can read the full interview HERE

P.S. (Afterthought) Is anyone else disturbed that LaMDA’s unusual lurking beast was a monster ‘but had human skin’. Eeeek!

This World is For the Birds

I had a strange dream. Might have had something to do with the amazing Dinosaur Apocalypse, Nova episodes I watched on PBS before I went to sleep. Fascinating research and discoveries that might be documenting the last day on earth for the dinosaurs. But it’s well accepted now, that some of their feathered relatives survived the cataclysm into the new era. And then we came along.

Looking back, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

In my dream, I awoke at a swanky, cool campground in Jamaica. On the way to breakfast with a friend, I noticed enormous mushrooms just a little ways away. (We’re talking, the size of small houses!) I was exhilarated at the prospect of investigating such exotic growths more closely and took off toward them like a… curious human rushing to explore giant mushrooms.

For the Birds, Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

As I was running, a large bird – somewhat like a black & white gull – flew into the front of my face and torso. It flapped aggressively, arresting my progress. So I turned around quickly to try to dodge around it and, just as quickly, it flew against my front side again. I couldn’t pass its determined barrier.

I awoke feeling affronted. (hehe, I guess I literally was, in the dream.) I immediately understood that the bird wouldn’t let me pass to this new era or dimension of amazing, huge, and as yet alien to us, growth. I thought, “is it our turn to reach the end of the age this time?”

Our elders, the birds, likely know better than we. What do you think?

p.s. (Afterthought…) The images weren’t created to illustrate this post, they were created long before it, but I thought they went well with it. The humans were originally thought of as resting peacefully in the grass – but resting in peace takes on a new meaning here perhaps?? Sorry about that! -SJK

Wonderfully Random Deconstruction

I had fun cutting apart and deconstructing the packaging the sketchbook came in to design the cover for my contribution to the project. I also added some other elements including postage stamps from the sets used throughout the book’s images, the retro fan, a little cardinal decal sticker, and a print of my hand-carved rubber stamp that I designed and created for our small band of artists that did this project together in my town.

And I’m not sure quite what I was thinking on this one beyond that The Sketchbook Project was headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, and the Lego Beatles and Batman were too fun to pass up? I kind of think of New York as parallel to Gotham City (or visa-versa, I suppose.) And the train seemed like the Beatles were going on tour and stopping at New York Fest, perhaps? It’s fun to let imagination guide freely and not force artworks to make logical sense. That’s what words are for. Images are wonderfully random.

Going Down

I don’t have much to say about these two images. They weren’t created as a pair or with purposeful kinship, but they were in this order in the original sketchbook. I feel a connection between them, so I’m posting them together. These compositions and collections were assembled intuitively, grouping them for color and form that pleased me. Any other levels of deeper interpretation were not intentional.

Going Down, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved
Collection, by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

Spring it!

A little more whimsy than yesterday’s post… Continuing with pages from my sketchbook. This one totally fits (in a sideways twisted way) the VERY delayed warming for Spring season this year in the Pacific NW (near Seattle.) I think the little clock has stopped. It feels like there’s a big iron gate locking all the sunshine away. I wish someone would spring it!

Specially for You, My Dear by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And of course the milkman is just taunting me. Bringing a gift all tied up with a bow that we can’t open! (There’s an inside secret about this milkman you can see at the bottom of the post if you’re curious.)

I guess I won’t taunt you by not letting you see the rest of what’s peeking through the cuts in the sketchbook page, even though it’s visually my least favorite page of the book. It’s the inside cover and title page for this collection of collages. The Sketchbook Project mailed me the blank 5X7 book and assigned me the theme, “Parts of the Whole” which I subtly subtitled, “Arts of the Whole.” (I kind of have a thing for wordplay.) I sent it back filled with artwork to add to their Sketchbook Library collection.

Parts of the Arts of the Whole by Sheri J. Kennedy 2015 All Rights Reserved

And now the inside secret milkman story:

Along with multiple Sketchbook Project participations, I’m also an avid participant in NaNoWriMo since 2009. I have a friend I made through writing who does both alongside me. One year for NaNo she decided to write a fantasy with a sexy milkman. This was not an Adult fantasy. It was a fantasy story – you know with faeries and… a sexy milkman? Guess what showed up in the magazines when we got together to create our sketchbooks the next season? What are the chances?… I couldn’t resist.

Where Stories Go Sideways…Sort of

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