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Weekly Wrap: Our Hidden Selves

By Posted on 11 3 m read 1.3K views

You are now seeing a side of me that only Mr. Henderson and my children know. I click on iTunes, hit SHUFFLE, and get the following top 20 songs. . .

Gnarls Barkley – Go-Go Gadget
Big Mato, Daddy Yankee, Gem Star, N.O.R.E. & Nina Skyy – Oye Mi Canto
Miles to Dayton – Hero for Another Day

System of a Down – B.Y.O.B. (Oh my God, I love this song!!)
DMX – Party Up (Up in Here)
The Monkees – Daydream Believer
John Hiatt – You Must Go
Shakira – Ojos Así

Mary J. Blige – No More Drama
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood
Kanye West & Lupe Fiasco – Touch the Sky

Syd Barrett – Love You
System of a Down – Chop Suey
MC Solaar – La vie est belle
Gillian Welch – Wrecking Ball
Muse – Time Is Running Out

Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – El Matador
Steve Earle – The Devil’s Right Hand
Shawn Mullins – Yellow Dog Song
50 Cent – Hate It or Love It

Only on iTunes shuffle can you go from DMX to The Monkees!

So there you have it, my bizarre mix of speed metal, country, rap, and bouncy songs. I picked more than 7 because I couldn’t see the trend. And then I thought about how I use my iTunes. I play music to get energized. I play music when I need to type up 20 pages of notes and not lose momentum. I play music and bellydance when I do the dishes. I dance at the stove while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. I love music that’s bold, raw, grand, risky, tongue-in-cheek, bouncy, or over-the-top in any way. If I feel sluggish or flat, music injects me with a new mood.


The main thing I wanted to do with this game is to show the fun and the vulnerability of being caught off guard. I think this is what we hope to discover in our characters. They want you to believe they’re listening to Ben Harper and Lucinda Williams, but they are really listening to ABBA and Edith Piaf, and that’s what we love about them – not just their hidden sides but the reasons they hide.

See if you can find that tension in one of your characters – the person they want others to believe they are vs. who they are in private. Write (or draw!) for an hour and see what you come up with.


Thanks to those of you who shared a little of your hidden side this week: Lori, Myfanwy, Lance, Robin, Megan, Jordan, Jolene, Richard, Carolyn, Anneliese, Robert, Lauren, Mikel K, Kasper, Teresa, Sarah, Claire, Jim, Amy, Terry the amazing webmaster, Noria, Shelley, Gail, Juliet, Aurelio, Joe, Kathy, Maria, Pia, Ric, Keith, Jessica, and Annde. And thank you to Danny Gregory for inspiring us to express ourselves without feeling we must be perfect!


Tomorrow: Peeling away the layers of the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Award winner, Greg Downs. Don’t miss it!

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  • Lance Reynald
    October 27, 2006

    wonder-twins rock out to MC Solaar!!

    and I must confess a bit of belly-dancing to Shakira in the garage when I find myself sluggish and suffering the blank screen. (cos we all know Hips don’t lie.)

    I love your 20 shuffle, in fact I think I only see a few songs on there I don’t actually have in my library (sorry Sis, I’m just not down with the Monkees, nice tune…but I don’t write like that.)

    This was great fun, I, like you, consider music essential to my writing process….I think once again we function in the same way here. And the thoughts on music and character, I can’t stop considering OV’s thoughts on the character choosing the tune. Perhaps why our shuffles are so vast.

    Great Week!! Great Wrap!!

    (now I’m gonna give those breakdancing mats you laid out a shot with my old school pop & lock….shuffle me up some Beastie Boys, I know you have it.)

  • Robin Slick
    October 27, 2006

    Wait. I’m still digesting that you belly dance while doing the dishes.

    I find myself unable to comment any further at the moment…

    (And seeing as how you have — shudder — Fifty Cent on your iPod, perhaps that’s a most fortuitous occurrence)

    But getting back to the bellydancing, no wonder every time I’m in Mr. Henderson’s presence he’s smiling…


  • Susan Henderson
    October 27, 2006

    Lance – Ha! Are you outing me? Okay, I type in Beastie Boys, hit SHUFFLE, and …

    Ch-Check It Out
    Brass Monkey

    Robin – The scary thing is there’s no kind of music I can’t bellydance to.

  • Richard
    October 27, 2006

    I’m getting one of the *new* tinier shuffles for my birthday–it has a built-in clip so I can just attach it to my jacket when I go skiing this winter without worrying about losing the other one in the snow.

    Have you ever noticed when you ask someone what they’re listening to on their iPod in a casual place they’ll often say, “Right now, it’s just a song by [guilty pleasure] but I usually listen to [cool band]” (to somehow prove they’re not total geeks?)

    As for belly dancing, I wonder if that would work on my beer belly? Oh wait, that’s a girly thing, I’d better stick to ab crunches!

  • Sarah Roundell
    October 27, 2006

    Yet another great wrap to a very cool question of the week. If we all started our days with the 7 song shuffle we’d be bouncing and singing to ourselves all day. I’m up for that. Excellent guest this past week and I’m still feeling the bite of the scribbling bug. Looking forward to next week’s question.

  • Lori Oliva
    October 27, 2006

    Thanks, Susan! Another fantastic roundtable discussion. Funny what our musical tastes reveal about ourselves…love it!

  • Aurelio
    October 27, 2006

    I guess I gotta break down and get me one of these iPod thingamadoogies.

  • Carolyn Burns Bass
    October 27, 2006

    Well, I never got around to shuffling up seven songs on my son’s iPod. It’s football season, and he keeps it with him for workouts. I guess it’s time for me to get my own.

    My father played jazz clarinet and my mother played piano and sang pop standards with a voice like Streisand (I am not exaggerating). I grew up with music in my home (althought Mom’s voice skipped a generation) and I’ve made sure music was passed to my children. While I seldom draw anymore, I do amuse myself on piano.

    I echo what Sarah Roundell said: If we all started our days with the 7 song shuffle we’d be bouncing and singing to ourselves all day.

  • Jessica
    October 27, 2006

    i have no website of any import.

    i should note that my shuffled musical selection results from: getting lots of jazz for my dad, and sharing a computer at work with several other people. i am a scientist and i have no shame in admitting that i like listening to 50cent while setting up PCR reactions.

    last year, for the winterholiday, i demanded mix CDs from all of my friends. i strongly recommend this as a gift request. my mom sent me a CD that included connie francis doing “stupid cupid.”

    now stop encouraging robin’s gaiman obsession or i’m going to have to go photoshop her head on the cleavage picture.


  • Robin Slick
    October 27, 2006

    Jessica! You know how to photoshop my head onto those breasts? Oh please oh please oh please…

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Susan Henderson