Diamonds in the soul of their blues.

It's standard procedure for most concerts that at some point, the audience will be invited to join together for a portion of the song. When the performers are Ladysmith Black Mambazo, though, it's a bit more intimidating... even without taking the tongue-clicks into consideration.

It was fun, though, and a fantastic concert. All the songs were beautifully choreographed -- not a lot of dancing, but always the right motion at the right time. Every now and then, they'd all spin to the side in unison, away from their upright microphone stands. Their singing would still carry through, but it was a much more distant and personal sound. Then, right on cue, they'd be back into the mikes, and the speakers would retake the sound, becoming a sort of musical instrument themselves. Very nice. Very professional.

All the singing got me thinking about karaoke. I've only taken the stage thrice in the last three years, and I've been getting a case of alumnus itch something fierce. I suspect that my characters will go through the same thing: seeing other people do their old jobs, and they'll want to jump in, but they know it's no longer their turn. They sat back and saw technology overtake them; now they're slightly miffed when current performers are going back to older methods (i.e., using the lack of amplification as a singing technique).

And that got me thinking... this is going to be my bitterest novel yet. All my characters have forsworn, forgone, and forsaken the things which they once loved, yet they still maintain a sense of humour -- more a curse than a blessing for them, at this point.

In fact, maybe that's why so many people don't like clowns. Do we get suspicious at seeing someone that's just so gosh-darned sincere about making us laugh? Do we prefer our comedians when they're angry? Is comedy supposed to be an act of rebellion?

It's said that once you discover the advice you want to give your characters, then you've discovered the message behind your novel. I feel like I'm getting very, very close.

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About The Author

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.