Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ballads of Suburbia Cyber Launch Party Day 2: The Ballad of Cecil Castellucci

Welcome to Day 2 of the Ballads of Suburbia Cyber Launch Party! For all of the details on the party including guests, the daily contests and the grand prize drawing be sure to read the information at the beginning of Day 1's blog.

Today's guest blogger is author Cecil Castellucci!

Cecil Castellucci is the author of the YA novels Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool and Beige and the graphic novels The PLAIN Janes and Janes in Love. Her latest book is an anthology of stories she co-edited about nerds called Geektastic. Visit her at http://www.misscecil.com.

Here's Cecil's ballad:

“I remember it, in Dublin in a rainstorm. Sitting in the long grass in summer, keeping warm on a memory.” Sinead O'Conner / Troy

You know what I did? I cut off all my long pink hair. That’s what listening to Sinead O’Conner’s The Lion and The Cobra made me do. I was 18 years old, my first year of College, living in a dorm. (Hayden Hall at NYU.) It was late at night. Maybe 3 am. I couldn’t sleep and so I went downstairs to watch the television. I didn’t have a TV in my room. Downstairs, they had MTV. I sat there watching music videos and the video for TROY by Sinead O’Conner came on.

And I thought to myself, this song is me. It speaks to me. It is how I roar on the inside.

I bought the album. And then I spent many days in my dorm room, with my 12” record playing over and over again on my roommates stereo system, singing the entire album at the top of my lungs. I would come home from film class with a six-pack of Rolling Rock. Wearing a vintage cocktail dress and red lipstick. Sporting cat-eye sunglasses. Lit by candles in the middle of the room. Drinking and singing. Singing and drinking.

I would hand out beer, or chocolate like trick or treat candy to whomever stopped by my room, to either sit with me in my angst. Or, more likely, see what kind of cat was being strangled.

My roommate, Hope, complained that I played the album so often that even she knew the lyrics by heart. And she hated Sinead O’Conner. She was a Soft Cell girl.

Back then, in my angsty ways, I believed that I understood what Sinead was singing about. I thought I understood what she meant when she called her lover a liar. I sang it so loud. I sang it with meaning.

I wish I didn’t understand the songs and the pain better. I wish that with time, her heartache and pain were more foreign to me. Now of course, I know more about liars. I know more about deception and about being abused.

But that album, no matter that it is 20+ years later, still rings true. It’s honesty just gets better, like a fine wine aged to perfection.

Today's Contest:

Cecil has been kind enough to offer up a copy of Beige, which I'm sure you have heard me gush about many times. It's one of my all-time favorite books. To enter just leave a comment about Cecil's gorgeous ballad. You'll earn additional entries by blogging/tweeting/etc about this blog or the cyber launch party. Just note your additional entries in your comment. Winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, July 21.

Tomorrow's Guest:

Author and musician Tara Kelly (her YA novel Harmonic Feedback is forthcoming in 2010) will be blogging tomorrow. So be sure to come back and visit!

25 comments:

little miss gnomide said...

I love being the first to comment. Wow. I need to find something else to do. I actually want a project to work on. Sad, really.

Lilibeth Ramos said...

Greatest ballad ever and way true to the heart. I think we all have an inner roar in our selves but we don't have that simple way to let it out. Like you do. Lucky, both good and bad.

Lilibeth Ramos said...

posted about contest and Cyber Launch party on sidebar: http://lilibethramos.blogspot.com

Melanie said...

Sometimes, when I listen to songs on the radio, I don't understand what is being sung about, and, in a way, I'm glad. Glad to have a couple more years before I must realize the pain people and circumstances can cause.

I tweeted about this contest! :)

Kay said...

I really like that Cecil posted her ballad. And I think it's something people can identify with, relating to song lyrics that you hear at random. It's cool when that happens, even if they're negative lyrics. At least you know someone else survived your angst and pain.

shelburns said...

Great ballad! I have been an on again off again Sinead fan. Not sure I would have cut all my hair off, but it made for a good story.

I tweeted about the Beige giveaway.
http://twitter.com/writereader/status/2638120281

pepsivanilla said...

Negative lyrics can definitely get you through some tough times, just knowing that someone else out there has felt the same way and you're not alone.

pepsivanilla14(at)hotmail(dot)com

Diana Dang said...

Wow, I haven't heard a song that made me want to cut out my hair! Sounds like a great singer there.

I have linked about the cyber party on my blog!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Hey, Stephanie. Lauren at Shooting Stars Mag asked me to post about this at my Win a Book promo blog. I hope you'll send us other permalinks so we can help you find new readers.

I usually tell people not to enter me for their contests, but truth be told, I've been lusting after Beige for awhile now...

Hope to hear from ya.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I love this:

It is how I roar on the inside.

That is one of the best few lines to sum up how a song can easily speak to you. I really enjoyed reading her ballad which makes me want to read the book that much more!

Amber

runningforfiction said...

Troy by Sinead O'Connor is my favorite song in the whole entire world right now.
when i saw those lines from the song right there the song just started playing in my head. i know it from memory.
Cecil Castellucci is so awesome.

~robby
runningforamsterdam@hotmail.com

Alexa Young said...

Love this ballad. Yay, Miss Cecil! I also love (or at least LOVED) Sinead and especially The Lion and The Cobra--and guess what? I cut off most of my hair, the summer between freshman and sophomore years of college! I can't say it was because of Sinead, but I CAN say I felt less weird about having to do it, in all its peroxide-addled damage, when looking at how gorgeous she looked with no hair. xo

Pam said...

I always find it interesting to hear what songs others relate to. I have so many that define my life and would be part of the soundtrack of my life.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Alexandra said...

I've been coming across a lot of great lines in music lately. My current favourite is from Townes Van Zandt's Poncho and Lefty ("You wear your skin tough like iron and your breath's as hard as kerosene"), but I think I have to add this to my list of great lyrics as well.

Thao said...

Short but great ballad. It's really amazing to know how lyrics can reach you in such a way.

donnas said...

Truly is a great ballad. I love when you find a piece of music that just connects with you that way.

Lori T said...

Wow, I do not think that I have ever heard a song that would make me cut my hair. I do think that music is very powerful and it can have a profound effect on our lives. I find it amazing that a song from years ago can trigger the feelings and emotions that I had when I first heard it...no matter how long ago it was.

wheresmyrain said...

i think sinead is indeed one of the great ones from which to gleen a personal ballad, nothing like her. love the story behind your experience with it.

Llehn said...

I have to admit that Sinead O'Connor freaks me out a little with her intensity and I have actually butchered my hair in the name of peer pressure!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

I'm loving these ballads Stephanie. It's great having an insight into the minds of fab authors.

angels3@blueyonder.co.uk
Sophie

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sometimes I wish I didn't understand certain songs too. Some are fine, but others? Yeah, not so much. I guess it's nice to have something to turn too though...

I'd love to read this book. It sounds amazing.

--Lauren

towerofbooks said...

It's amazing how much of an impact one song can have and how people can relate to them.

towerofbooks(at)gmail(dot)com

marina said...

the thing about cutting off all the pink hair reminds me of myself.
one of the first times i dyed my hair alone, i listened to Time Again. both of their albums. screaming the lyrics to all the songs i could and probably singing the wrong words every now and then. but, i was alone. so, who cares? haha.

~bean.
marinah336@gmail.com

also, i dyed my hair pink that time. haha.

What a Girl Reads said...

That was a great, personal and emotional post! Thank you for sharing!

Kristen said...

What a great ballad! Cecil seems awesome and so does her book. :)