Monday, December 20, 2010

Final Project

Oskar & Eli by Sara Nesbitt
I wrote this song as a third person's perspective of Oskar and Eli's story.

Oskar & Eli

It was a thursday night

the first time he met her

the girl with the brown hair and black eyes

and pink sweater

he knew there was something about her

that was different

she told him they couldn't be friends

but he didn't let it

stop him

he kept pursuing this girl

who called herself eli

he wanted to save her

but didn't know how to set her free

he taught her a secret code

just for themselves to know

what they were saying

and he didn't know why

but she always asked could she come in

let me in

let me in

let me in

let me in

he hesitated the first time he heard the truth

about eli

but he didn't want to imagine

what life would be without her

the boy and the girl in the end

they lived happy

The End by Sara Nesbitt
I wrote this song from Hakan's perspective.

The End

it's something i cannot explain

the silence hides all of my pain

i'm all alone there's no one here

i can feel the end is near

i think that this could be the end for me

it feels like the end

and i think that this could be the end for me

it feels like the end

i lost it all i had no more

i couldn't face what lay before

she opened up and let me in

all i had to do commit a mortal sin

i think that this could be the end for me

it feels like the end

and i think that this could be the end for me

it feels like the end

i'm trying my best to breathe but i can't find the air

it seems hopeless, i have done too much that i cannot repair

i always thought with her was where i'd always stay

but now it's too late there's no future where everythings ok

no nothing is ok

it will never be ok

i think that this could be the end for me

it feels like the end

and i think that this could be the end for me

i just want this life to end

i just want this life to end

please just let it end

All I Need by Sara Nesbitt
I wrote this song as a conversation between Oskar and Eli. Oskar's parts are italicized, Eli's are bolded and when they're together its bolded and italicized.

All I Need

Am i alone in this world

is there anyone out there

does anyone know the way i feel

does anyone care?

i've been so long in this world

with no one to share

does anyone know the way i feel

does anyone care?


you might be the only one

who understands me

no one else can see the world

just the way i see

just let it be

you're all i need

they hate who i am

everybody hates me too

but i don't even know them

you know me and i know you

i promise that i'll never hurt you

i'm not afraid of you


For my final project in this class, I decided to write and record a series of songs that I think reflect the novel Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I wanted to write a few songs through the eyes of what I thought to be some of the important characters of the book. The characters I picked to focus on were Oskar, Eli, and Hakan. I chose these three characters because in the first theatrical adaptation of the novel, these were the characters that were focused on. I had said in my proposal that because I saw the film, I had a visual component to rely on when writing my songs. While I was writing them, I literally could see images from the movie play back in my mind as if I was watching a music video. Having seen the film really helped me in the writing process. In the end, I wrote a total of three songs; one from the point of view of Hakan, one from the point of view of both Eli and Oskar, and one from a third person's perspective of Eli and Oskar's story.

The first song, entitled 'Oskar & Eli' is basically an overview of Oskar and Eli's story. What really started me on this song was the line about the pink sweater. This sweater is an important part of the book, Eli is wearing this the first couple times her and Oskar see each other, and it's this piece of clothing that links everything together for Oskar and makes him realize who Eli really is. So I took pieces of the novel that stuck out to me as part of their story and strung them together to make 'Oskar & Eli'. It starts out with their first meeting, which was on a thursday. The book described in great detail what Eli looked like so I included parts of that description in the song. Oskar knows there is something different about this girl and she tells him they can never be friends but he continues to see her. I mentioned in the song when Oskar heard Eli and Hakan arguing, he said he would save her but he didn't know what he could do to help her, after all he was just a kid.

I wrote the second song 'The End' about Hakan. I wanted to try to put into words what his character may have been thinking towards the end of his human life. He couldn't speak to anyone and he didn't want to so I tried to put myself in his place and in his situation and think how hopeless he felt, he just wanted to die so his pain would end. He did what he did to himself for Eli, but he wanted it all to be over.

The last song, 'All I Need' I wrote as a conversation between Eli and Oskar. I'm the only one singing on the track but I wanted both of their voices to be heard. They were both these lonely kids until they met each other and they found a friend in on another. The first verse is Oskar talking about being alone in the world and wondering if there is someone like him out there. Then it's Eli saying she's been in the world a long time but alone as well. The chorus of the song represents both of them saying that the other is the only person in the world that understands them and see things the way they do. The second part of the song is another conversation between the two but this time Oskar is comforting Eli because she is unsure of herself and she's understandably self-conscious of who she is. Oskar reassures her that they have each other and that's enough.

I really enjoyed working on this project because I love writing music but I've never really been given the opportunity to do something like this. Personally I think I did a pretty good job of doing what I set out to do with these songs. It can be difficult, there's only so much you can put into a song without it becoming something that is overworked. I like the songs as they are, without knowing what they were written about. I think if I could change anything, I would try to put a little more of the story into them, like more specific pieces of information. I think I also would try to write a song for a character that didn't play as big a role as the three I chose. I think another character would have been more challenging to write for.

For this project, I did what I normally do when I write a song. I started out with the music, either for guitar or piano. Once I had a general idea of what I wanted the music to be, I started figuring out the melody of the song. After I figured that out, I decided which character, or subject would go with what piece of music. Then I sat listening to the music and humming the melody while thinking of the first line. Once I had one line, I had the whole song set up for me. I then wrote out key pieces of information that I wanted to include in each piece and developed a song from there. I generally revise as I go along, line by line. I'll sing a thought, or a possible line and if I like it I'll write it down. If I don't then I keep singing until I find something that I like. I wrote each song from beginning to end, revising as I went, but once I came to the last line, I was done. Nothing from then on out was changed in the song. I was then able to record the songs and add in harmony and other things to make it how I wanted it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Course Reflection

I have to say this course was nothing like I had originally expected it to be. I didn't realize that the focus of the course would be on the vampire novel and at first I was a little disappointed. But once I started reading the books assigned to us, I changed my mind completely. The only books I had read about vampires was the Twilight series so all I knew were lovey dovey vampires who sparkled in the sun. This course definitely broadened my view and reminded me of what the vampire started out as.
If I had to take this class again, I would most certainly take more time on my blog postings. The times that I sat down and carefully planned out what I wanted to say and picked out lots of quotes from the novels, I was really pleased with my work. It was easy for me to forget about the reading for the week or the comments I was supposed to write. I think if I would have stayed on a steady schedule it would have been easier for me.
I'm not finished with my final project yet but I'm excited every time I work on it. I love to read and sometimes I like to write about what I read but I truly love being creative. I'm really glad that we were given the opportunity to do a creative project. It gives us all a chance to create something with the medium that we're best at. I have never been able to create music like this for a class and I'm so excited that I get the chance to do it now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Literary Criticism

I believe John Calhoun to has one main point in his article, Childhood's End: Let the Right One In and Other Deaths of Innocence. He argues that corruption in children is in part cause by the adults or lack there of in their world. He argues that “parents and other adults are supposed to protect children, and their potential failure to do so can be a potent source of horror: for both children and adults” (Calhoun 27). Children have become the focus of many horror films over the years and Calhoun believes the subjects of these movies are not entirely at fault for their actions and that their parents or other adults in their lives must hold a lot of the blame. He believes this to be true of Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist and he says “the parental—and by extension, the state—mandate to shield children seems to have utterly broken down” in the novel (Calhoun 27). The novel takes place in Sweeden in the 1980s where “few residents seem to venture outside, or have contact with their neighbors, and they certainly aren't watching out for the local children” (Calhoun 27). He goes on to calls the adults in the novel “useless or worse” including Oskar's “divorced working mother” who “is often absent, and at best ineffectual” (Calhoun 27) and his “alcoholic father, who uses the occasion of the boy's visit to drink himself into oblivion” (Calhoun 27-28). Also in this category of useless adults in charge of children is Eli's 'father' Hakan who “is a poor provider and fails as definitely as the other film's other adults to offer a stable haven” (Calhoun 28). It is assumed by the author that “without effective religious or parental guidance, Oskar is left to his own devices, and savagery naturally rises to the fore” (Calhoun 31). Calhoun also believes that “so many fingers in both the novel and film seem to point to a lack of adult supervision as a culprit... if parents stayed together, if mothers didn't work outside the home and fathers provided a strong moral and physical presence, then the family's failure would not become the state's failure and kids wouldn't have to turn to a gang, a sexual predator, or a vampire for refuge” (Calhoun 31).

One passage I found interesting while reading the article was third paragraph on page 28 starting with “James published”. Children to me are innocent and frail but they were not always seen this way. Calhoun quotes David R. Shaffer's Social and Personality Development, “at about age 6, children were dressed in downsized versions of adult clothing and were depicted in artwork as working alongside adults” (Calhoun 28). It was after reading this that I was reminded of how children used to and in some places still have to go to work on a regular basis and don't get to have a regular childhood. These are the children that have really, truly lost their innocence, something they probably were never privileged enough to have.

Another passage I found interesting started with the second paragraph on page 30. It was interesting to me that people were outraged and thought the horror film's with children as subjects were sick. What was happening onscreen was not real and was not actually happening to the actor. Would they have felt the same way if it had been an adult woman who was “masturbating with a crucifix?” (Calhoun 30). It's strange to me that the only thing brought up in the article is the fact that people were outraged that a 13 year old actress was part of it. What about the fact that she was masturbating with a crucifix? Was that not thought of as wrong, that this girl was playing with a symbol of God? I guess it could be justified with the fact that this girl was possessed by the devil but then again she wasn't really, she was an actress who was simply acting.

After reading the article, I have to agree and disagree with author Calhoun. I used to believe children to be “innocent creatures” and while some of them still are, there are those like Oskar that have someway or another lost their innocence (Calhoun 1). When we first meet Oskar in Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist, he is correctly identifying heroin in front of his class and he attributes this knowledge to the fact that he's “read a lot and stuff” (Lindqvist 8). I read quite a lot myself in my younger years but at thirteen years old I had no idea what heroin was let a lone what it looked like. And while I can agree that some of Oskar's problems may stem from a broken home, I don't believe it's his broken home that has done him the most harm. As a young boy, Oskar keeps a scrapbook, a collection of articles about murders and the people behind them. One of his dreams is “to see someone executed in the electric chair” (Lindqvist 18). He plays a game with himself in which “he [is] a dreaded mass murderer” who has “already slain fourteen people with his sharp knife” (Lindqvist 21). This game is about the only think that makes “Oskar [feel] almost happy” (Lindqvist 22). But Oskar hadn't become this person until his fifth grade year when “he had become a full-fledged target” by bullies and his classmates “called more and more seldom to ask him to play” (Lindqvist 15). In the novel, Jonny is one of Oskar's more hated enemies. This I believe is the fault of Jonny's broken home. He “already had two younger siblings” and an older brother, Jimmy, when his “mom had met some guy” and then “their youngest little sister was born” (Lindqvist 236). The house was crowded and because “there was sort of no room,” “Jimmy was not home as often” (Lindqvist 236). Since their dad “left when Jonny was four,” the only male figure Jonny had in his life was his brother. Jimmy hung around some “sketchy” people and stole money from his mother (Lindqvist 235). Jimmy can be a violent person and this is where Jonny gets it from. It makes perfect sense for him to pick on someone like Oskar so he can be like his big brother. I do agree that a broken home can negatively affect a child's life as evident with Jonny, but I don't think Oskar's parents are to blame for his troubles.

Calhoun, John. "Childhood's End: Let the Right One In and Other Deaths of Innocence." 2009: 27-31. Web. 8 Dec 2010.

Lindqvist, John. Let The Right One In. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004. Print.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let The Right One In

This by far is my favorite novel we have read this semester. I found it so easy to get sucked into the story and into the characters in it. I think part of this may be because I had seen the swedish version of the film in class a couple weeks before starting to read the book. But part of me is surprised because I thought the film went on forever and I found myself wanting it to be over but I'm sure that's mostly because it was the last class of the week and I just wanted to be done. The novel is somehow different for me. However, so far in the book, not much is really different from the Swedish version of the film. Some of the story lines with some of the characters were removed from the film, like Tommy and his group of friends, along with his mom and her relationship with the police officer Staffon. Because I had seen the film ahead of time, when I'm reading, I have a clear vision of what the characters look like. It may not be exactly what Lindqvist saw the characters to be but I see them now as they are in the film. I think the relationships Eli has with Oskar and Harkan are very different from each other. To Hakan, Eli was an adult, his equal, his beloved. “He had looked into Eli's eyes and seen an ancient person's knowledge and indifference... Samuel Beckett's eyes in Audrey Hepburn's face” (Lindqvist 108). She was not a child to him, at least her soul wasn't. He lusted over her child like figure “but did not have to feel guilt for his desire; his beloved was older than he” (Lindqvist 108). Eli was all Hakan had to live for. Oskar on the other hand saw her differently. She was his friend, the only true friend he had. He could count on seeing her almost every night outside their building where they would talk. He felt protective of her and wanted to keep her safe. Eli was the kind of friend Oskar hadn't had lately, not since elementary school. Eli also felt protective of Oskar. She told him to fight back those that hurt him so they wouldn't do it any more. If he couldn't do it alone, she promised to help him.