The life and words of Ashley, Erin, and Michelle

My current writing playlist February 16, 2010

Filed under: Writing — ashleybarrett @ 7:47 am
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Every time I hear or see people doing the Macarena, I’m transported back to a campground dance in the summer of 1996 and to my sixth grade classroom (where I lost a class-wide Macarena contest).

Why? Because music has a powerful effect on our subconscious mind and songs are linked to memories.

You can use the power of music to enhance your writing. For me, listening to the right music makes writing a first draft much more fun. If I take the time to select a few songs that capture the feel of what I’m shooting for with my writing, the words flow a lot easier.

Although I have been doing this on and off since college, I read an article in Writer’s Digest that makes it an official technique. The article included some useful tips for me to engage my subconscious mind even more, like only listening to that music when I’m writing.

I have to make sure selecting a playlist doesn’t become a mode of procrastination. I don’t need two-hundred songs that feel like a windy day. In fact, the fewer the better so my mind beings to recognize those songs and kicks into writing mode.

Earlier this week, I wanted to write something that felt like summer, since we had a huge snowstorm on Tuesday, my imagination needed all the help it could get. So I created my “Summer” playlist. Feel free to listen to it if you’re writing any summer scenes yourself, or if you need a mental escape from winter.

1. Kodachrome by Simon and Garfunkel

2. Good Vibrations by The Beachboys

3. Green Eyes by Coldplay

4. In My Life as performed by Johnny Cash

5. I’m a Believer as performed by Smash Mouth

6. Honey by Moby

Another good option would be to pick an artist, that has a similar feel to what you’re writing and only listen to that artist when you’re writing.

What songs transport you to different times and places?


Birthdays Just Aren’t the Same Anymore June 16, 2009

Filed under: Life in General — michellehuegel @ 10:23 am
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While growing older has its benefits (driving, independence, etc), after a certain point (maybe 21?) birthdays just aren’t the same anymore. As a child, I looked forward to my birthday almost as much as Christmas – sometimes more, because it was a day all about ME. For some reason, Mom and Dad kept reminding us kids that Christmas was actually about Jesus (then why did we get the presents?!).

Often I’d get a party, always presents, cake, my favorite dinner, and bad singing. For my 24th birthday, most of the accoutrements were there, including the bad singing, but in a grown-up version. Presents weren’t of the wrapped variety (not that I’m complaining per se, because they were what I asked for!), and the hoop-la almost non-existent.

BUT, all that said, I actually did have a lovely birthday (June 9). My husband took me out to eat the weekend before with our 4 1/2 month old son Cai, always an interesting experience, and then took me shopping for a couple new dresses. After about 5 stores, we found two dresses, 2 shirts, and several outfits for Cai. Baby clothes are so irresistible!!

My little brother and my sister’s boyfriend picked out a box of chocolates and a book for me, a sci-fi novel which looks right up my alley even if it is the 11th in the series… (no, they will never live that one down!) The chocolates were several gourmet dark varieties, which more than made up for me having to go buy the first 10 books in said series before I can read the one they gave me.

The one thing I really wanted for my birthday was a haircut and pictures with my son. Due to an extraordinarily bad string of luck on my birthday and the next day (locked out of house, hubby took stroller to work, picture outfits left in locked house, stylist not working, and so on), it was Sunday before that birthday wish came true. But, the pictures turned out lovely and I doubt that 10 or 20 years from now I’ll even remember that it wasn’t on the day of my birthday. Besides, who doesn’t love celebrating for a whole week??

Yesterday my parents finally gave me their gift (they’re not really known for punctuality) – a BlueAnt bluetooth headset I’ve been drooling over for months. It talks to me!! Yes, there is officially a new voice in my head. Josh said that now my other voices will have company… It’s almost idiot-proof, although we did have a disagreement yesterday about who I wanted to call. BlueAnt thought I should call my sister (Speed Dial 8), but I wanted to Redial my husband. Since we got that straightened out, our relationship has been pretty smooth.

So although the days of themed parties, brightly wrapped gifts, and a day all my own are over, I think the trade is worth it. A husband and son who love me all year round, family that still takes time to find out what I want and choose something I’ll love, and less emphasis on the fact that every year brings me closer to wrinkles and gray hair.

Happy (late) Birthday to me!


Introduction: Ashley April 28, 2009

Filed under: Introduction — ashleybarrett @ 8:53 am
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Today is my 24th birthday, which is a pretty good time to be answering the question, “who am I?” My name is Ashley (despite my many attempts throughout middle and high school to come up with something cooler, thankfully, none of them stuck). I am a newlywed, so this is my first birthday as Ashley Barrett and it feels a world apart from all my other birthdays.

This year, I’m looking back on my life and thanking God for all the different stages of my existence marked by birthdays. Like two years ago, staying up all night with Erin in the publications lab at Bethel College, eating baked oatmeal, sleeping on the couch at Sufficient Grounds for 45 minutes waking up, smoothing out our hair and giving a presentation final in Portfolio Completion. It’s very different than where I am now (I’ll probably be in bed by 9:30 tonight) but I’m so glad for it and all the other memories I’ve accumulated.

So tell me, what are your birthday rituals? How do you mark stepping out of one age and into a new one?