A Melodic Memento Mori

Contrary to what any strangers wandering onto this blog post might assume, Ever On Word is not in fact a music magazine. But I’m gonna temporarily act like it is, in celebration of a grand occasion – namely, my outlaw minstrel is dropping an all-new song on his trilogy’s Facebook page today! If that doesn’t call for a special author-to-musician interview, what in the worlds does?

So everyone please join me in welcoming the face of the music industry, Allyn-a-Dale Gant!


Allyn: Simply had to reference that canonical music magazine in my third novel, did you?

DEShipley: Sorry, yep, didn’t have a choice. But let’s get right into it! This new song of yours. How did it come about?

Allyn: Quite differently than my usual, as it happens. Normally, my songs spring up as a natural part of the narrative in my books, or are at the least inspired by them or my relationships with the characters therein. The inspiration for this song was nothing like that. No story involved but this:

Tirzah was driving you to work. And where you go – à la Annabelle Iole Gray and her characters in the “Inspired” novels – any number of your fictional friends will follow. So I was there, as of course was Will Scarlet, and we all of us chanced to find ourselves behind a truck bearing a load of rolled-up carpets. Somebody mentioned the possibility of the carpets flying off the vehicle and impaling us. Will didn’t suppose anyone will have ever expired that way, to which Tirzah and I made an amusing, alternating reply. Something to the tune of, ‘Well, now, Will, surely someone has, once. After all…

Tirzah: There’s a whole lot of world.

Allyn: And a whole lot of carpet.

Tirzah: And a whole lot of people.

Allyn: Everybody dies.

And then and there, we recognized the potential for a song. Thank you, by the way, Danielle, for recording the words directly after, so we’d not have the opportunity to forget them.

DEShipley: Hey, I’m the scribe. It’s what I do. How long did it take you to build a full song around that improvised, spoken-word snippet?

Allyn: I don’t believe I put my mind to it until the following day, or the one after. But once I began actively searching out lyrics and melody, it only took you a few hours to catch up with me. Then a short while with you on your lute to work out the chords. Then most of the next morning to see it all recorded, and voila: ‘Everybody Dies’.

DEShipley: The making of this video was more involved than our typical recording process.

Allyn: Necessarily so. The full song is five verses; just under five minutes long. Your phone showed no interest in allowing a video of that length, so we broke it up into parts – one video per verse, plus the introduction. And you pieced them all together on your laptop. Not a bad bit of editing, considering your lack of skill and resources.

DEShipley: The same lack of skill and resources that stands between us and ever creating a full album of Allyn-a-Dale songs, just yet. I remain hopeful for some future day, though! This plane of reality would be the richer for it.

Allyn: It is already the richer for all you’ve done to share the songs we’ve found together. Every artwork of mine known to this world has you to thank, for only through your voice can I be heard so far from home.

DEShipley: Dang it, Allyn, you’re gonna make me squirm for joy. Speaking of joy, I can’t help but notice how uncharacteristically happy you look, during this song.

Allyn: I’m afraid that’s so. How can I but do? ‘Tis a jaunty song of death. Despite all it’s cost me, I’m quite fond of death.

DEShipley: ‘Everybody Dies’ has got a definite folksy feel to it. Very Johnny Cash, or some such. A stylistic departure from much of the music we’ve heard from you, to date – with the entertaining exception of ‘A Merry Traveling Song’ from your first book.

Allyn: True, my general aesthetic tends toward romantic melancholy. But every now and then, my father’s influence shows through, and out comes the sprightly, satirical wit.

DEShipley: The latter makes for a lot of rapid-fire lyrics to get through. You had my tongue in a twist during more than one take!

Allyn: And yet, you managed. Father selected you as his author for a reason. And that reason certainly wasn’t anything to do with the temperamental compatibility between you.

DEShipley: Lord, no. Well, that’s about all the time and space we’ve got today, if we wanna leave room to share the song’s lyrics. Thanks so much for dropping by, Allyn! And congratulations on yet another musical triumph.

Everybody Dies, still frame 02

“Everybody Dies” (Click here for the video!)

‘Twas a truck on the highway, so I’m told,

Carrying carpets in great, long rolls,

And the car behind thinks it’s going too slow,

So the driver speeds up, as he plans to go around.


Wasn’t quite tailgating, but near enough to,

So when the truck braked hard and the carpets flew,

The car’s windshield and driver took one through

Like a javelin’s thrust. Now the driver’s in the ground.


Sure, it might seem an unlikely end,

A short way out with surprising long odds,

But, blame it on we mortals or blame it on the gods,

I can say this much, my friend:


That there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta carpets. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a fellow I knew, and no buffon.

Had a long life left; didn’t think he’d go soon.

But then, like a gag from a kid’s cartoon…

Well, you’d hardly believe it if I said.


There he was, just walking down the block,

When a snap from above made him stand still, stock.

Up he looked, and plummeting down like a rock,

A piano that landed on his head.


Now, it might seem an alarming end,

And so often played for laughs, perhaps too silly to be true,

Yet a man could pass for sillier, and many of them do.

I will say this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta baby grands. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a day not unlike yesterden.

Just an ordinary woman in a plain kitchen,

Prepping food for next day’s lunchbreak, when…

Well, you’d never guess the tragic farce to come.


Warming up a can of soup, adding spices from the rack.

Dash of salt, dash of peppercorn – she’s no hack,

But a sip of the soup’s enough to lay her on her back,

For she choked trying to get it in her tum.


Yes, it might seem quite the hapless end,

One mere problematic swallow parting body from soul,

But the smallest of mistakes can take the harshest toll.

I have seen this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta peppercorns. Everybody dies.


‘Twas a hockey game at the community rink

For a charity for breast cancer – (have your say in pink) –

So it’s really quite ironic, if you stop and think…

But there’s no good deed unpunished, so they say.


A thwack of a player’s stick ‘gainst the puck,

And the shot goes wild! There’s no one struck,

But the scoreboard’s hit. All sparks, no luck.

One inferno later, folks are in their graves.


True, it might seem like the worst of ends,

Death by icy immolation while they’re playing for the cure,

But however wrong and random, it’s taxes-sure.

I can vow this much, my friend:


There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta hockey pucks. Everybody dies.


‘Tis a possum in the yard, or a meteorite.

A trip upon a crack of pavement, or a small bug’s bite.

It was laughing too hard with your friends one night,

Or the loneliness of having none at all.


In the air, in the water, on fire, on earth,

From the moment we grace the stage at birth,

It’s anyone’s guess, whatever guessing’s worth,

How the final curtain’s gonna make its fall.


‘Cause there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta drama, then everybody dies.


Let Allyn know your thoughts on “Everybody Dies” in the comments! And if another of his songs are a favorite of yours – or if this new ditty reminds you of some other artist’s work you enjoy – by all means, make mention of that, too. ^o^

“Overture” or “One if on Minstrels, Two if on Sea…”

Today’s assignment  (*cough* yesterday’s *cough* but I did give warning of the excellently-excused delay) aboard the Buccaneer Blogest: Share the first paragraph of my novel or WIP (“work-in-progress”, for any landlubbers unfamiliar with writerly slang). That means that you all get to see the opening of my golden child, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”! (Don’t get jealous, other novels o’ mine; you know I love you all dearly, and your sunshine time will come.)

‘Fessing up: This is more technically the first two paragraphs of “Ballad”s “introductory section or part, as of a poem; a prelude” (because in a book as musical as a minstrel’s, we can’t just call it a “prologue”). But as has been previously mentioned, I am a rebel pirate. And as you’ll see below, using only the first paragraph would have felt like shameless skimping. So please don’t keelhaul me.

~ <<>> ~

Ellie fought the growing urge to panic.

Surrounding her were creatures of every imaginable kind. Beings that stood some twenty feet tall, and held smaller people in their power, forcing them to dance like dolls on strings. Cloaked figures with dragons perched on their shoulders that would turn their eerie reptilian heads to follow the progress of passersby. Women in leather corsets. Women in silken gowns. Women decked out in tunics, capes, and (perhaps exclusive to Ellie) a hat which may have been meant for a cowboy, once, but which now boasted one side of the brim sewn up to the crown, along with a big flourish of a red feather.

~ <<>> ~

            Your thoughts, readers? ^^ Would the opening tempt you to read further, or to throw the book across the room? What does it make you think, and how does it make you feel? Does this mishmash of “Ballad” and piracy make you want to hear a rollicking tune about a minstrel sea captain? I know it does, me! And so I leave you with this: “The Shanty of Allyn-a-Dale”, written/performed/produced by D.E.Shipley (as seen on the “Ballad” Facebook page! …Meaning if the video’s link decides to act funny, there’s more than one way to skin the ship’s cat).

“Tag +!” or “Get Your Head Back in the Game(s)”

Righteo, readers! – who’s ready for the second round of Blog Tag? I’ve answered and asked my first five questions, and the halftime show is over (without a trace of scandal, unless Bruno’s voice or Saturday’s scientific/theological debate can thus be called), so now let’s finish up strong! (And then we’ll have ourselves a little unrelated bonus round of sorts. Hang on to your hats, kids, this place in jumpin’!)

6. When it comes to your creative endeavors (writing, drawing, singing, cooking, whatever!), what is your best source of inspiration?

Quite often, my past creations will inspire those to come – books and short stories and poems and pictures all circling around related themes; the off-the-clock babble of characters sparking a story that simply has to be scribed; and even my tales without minstrels in them have been known to inspire songs. (Take my The Princess and the Moon” music video, for example. …Well, I mean, don’t take it; that would be shameful piracy. But do feel free to watch and listen.)

7. Do you plan on doing NaNoWriMo this year? / 8. Why or why not?

Oh yeah, you better believe I am! My first NaNo gained me an awesome book (“The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”), an equally awesome best friend (Tirzah), and all sorts of other awesomeness inspired by those first two awesome things. My second NaNo didn’t quite count as a NaNo (although it counted for a lot as a PerGoSeeMo), so I’m more hyped than ever to have a proper NaNo this year. And by “proper”, I mean off the hook! I’m even planning to attend The Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco with Tirzah and two of our mutual writing buddies, so BOO-yah! Do I have any idea what my novel’s going to be about? Not a clue. But that’s what October’s for.

9. What’s one thing you like to do to relax?

Relax? Oh, mercy, I don’t bother to do that nearly enough. I have to justify everything I do as being somehow productive, or I feel like I’m frittering my life away. However, those infrequent times when I’m willing to say, “Forget productivity, I wanna do this!” I’ll usually double back to re-smell the roses. Read stuff I wrote. Listen to music I composed. Look back on old drawings. Or maybe hang out on DeviantArt to look at other people’s drawings, while listening to others’ songs on Pandora Radio or YouTube. Or reread someone else’s book (I specify rereading, since I may count reading something the first time as a sort of productivity). And, oh yeah, gab on the phone with Tirzah at all hours; when we’re not annoying the snot out of each other and don’t have to carry the emotions of character drama, that can be quite relaxing (and circumspectly productive. Our immaterial pillow fort’s an inspiring place).

10. Do you prefer books/movies/TV series with clearly defined endings, or those with ambiguous ones?

The former. Even if a story is slated to have a sequel, I need some closure at the end of Part One. I mean (**“Pirates of the Caribbean” spoilers!**), what would have happened it all the people involved in the films died before they had a chance to finish “At World’s End”? Where would that have left us? Wailing because Captain Jack Sparrow’s been swallowed by the Kraken, Captain Barbossa’s suddenly alive again, Beckett has Davy Jones’ heart, Will and Elizabeth can’t look each other in the eye, THE END. Just, The End.

So much for the worst case scenario. It could well be, of course, that the story in question isn’t leaving you hanging simply to build up suspense for the next installment in the franchise; it could well be that it’s a standalone, and that’s just the ending the creator had in mind. I don’t care for that, either (though it may not call for the screaming that the “Pirates” example did). I like my stories tied up with a nice, “And they all lived happily ever after.” Or, “And they all had to lie in the beds they made, for better or worse.” Or, “And they all died in fiery explosion just as Gore Verbinski called a wrap on the filming of ‘Dead Man’s Chest’.” Whatever, just so long as this plotline feels conclusively over. Otherwise, I’m inclined to feel cheated.

* * *

That’s that on my end, friends! Now here are the last five questions for all of you.

6. Who was the last person you told you love them, how did you say it, and what prompted you?

7. If your life were a movie, which part would you condense into a musical montage, and what kind of song would be playing?

8. If you had the power of unlimited multitasking, what else would you be doing while answering this question?

9. Name a word or phrase that you despise (and the reason behind it, if you happen to know).

10. A magic spell/science experiment has gone awry, and you’re a mermaid/man for the rest of the week. How stoked are you?

Thanks for playing, guys! I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say for yourselves.

* * *

But wait! There’s more! Another little game going around Blog Land, these days, is the Lucky 7 Meme, a tag-esque deal specifically for writers of novel-length projects, which works in this wise:

1. Go to page 77 (or, variably, page 7) of your current MS/WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 writers and let them know.

I’ve been explicitly tagged by my dear pallies, Ben and Louise, and have found myself a part of the open invitations of Emerald and Ms. Marshmallow, as well (and possibly more that I’ve forgotten. Like I said, it’s been going around). And as I’m not quite sure how many people I know are writing a novel and/or already got Lucky 7 Tagged, I shall also go the open invitation route. All even remotely eligible players welcome! Now, for my novel-in-progress’s 7 lines! (…Which, to avoid awkward chapter breakage, I just started at the top of page 77.)

~ Ruster sighed in bliss. “Isn’t it extraordinary?”

“That a letter she sent this morning came this afternoon?” said Logan. “Kinda. That thing must have shipped triple-express or something.”

“You miss the point,” Ruster sulked, and returned to his reading.

“I guess we could always eat each other,” Mitch said contemplatively.

Daniel’s green eyes rolled. “If you can manage it without fainting, help them get their stuff moved into their space, and I’ll go pick up some sandwiches or something.” ~

Just dying to read the finished book, now, aren’t ya? Someday, my friends; someday…