How Busting Made Me Feel Good

I just got back from seeing Ghostbusters.

This is my face.

 

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That was my face for much of the movie, to be honest.

I want to talk about why.

First, though, I want to say: it’s OK if you didn’t like the new Ghostbusters. That’s fine. Don’t even want to see it? That’s fine! People interact with entertainment differently and in no way do I advocate people spending time and money on something they are pretty sure they wouldn’t enjoy. It’s cool. We’re still cool. J

I interacted with this movie *very positively*, though. On the drive home I tried to articulate to Lucas why it impacted me so much and I started crying.

You know what? I’m more comfortable framing this in the form of fiction, so let’s just roll with that. Once upon a time, then…

 

…once upon a time there was a little girl who was fat and who had a low voice and a string of bad haircuts and loved fiction.

(…yeah, that’s me…)

Once upon a time there was a little girl who couldn’t understand what there was to enjoy about being a girl. Boys got all the fun jobs, boys had all the cool roles. Boys were the heroes, boys fought dragons, boys saved the world. Boys busted ghosts.

Girls got kidnapped. Girls needed saved.

I fed my brain with every scrap of text I could find — fantasy books, when I had my preference, and when I didn’t I read PA Game News and The Old Farmer’s Almanac and orchard magazines and my mom’s Dean Koontz novels. Whatever I could get my hands on, I read. I read like it was going out of style. I read like I needed it to survive.

I did need it, too.

And maybe it’s because I didn’t have a lot of direction when I was reading, maybe it’s because I didn’t have anyone to give me the right books, but my perception of what it meant to be a girl was this:

Girls need saved. Girls are thin and beautiful. Girls wear beautiful dresses. Girls are princesses.

Y’all, I’m not a princess. I’m just not. I’m not thin and I’m not beautiful and until *very very recently* I haven’t enjoyed wearing dresses and I am certainly not a princess. Princesses need saved because evil men want to force them into marriage, or a dragon demands a perfect sacrifice, or a queen is jealous of their beauty. I need saved because I’m clumsy and incompetent and just basically don’t know what I’m doing most of the time.

I don’t even know where I am in space most of the time. I have no spatial awareness. Ask my husband, he’ll confirm it.

So anyway, once upon a time there was a little girl who hated being a girl, who hated wearing dresses, who hated makeup and clothes and hair and not being able to sing soprano because no one ever thinks to teach you the alto line in VBS, who hated that she wasn’t like other girls and hated herself for hating that and yeah. Childhood was a fun ride.

It got better, a little bit, in middle and high school. Ali helped. We could be not normal girls together, and that was pretty awesome.

I ruined it, of course, because see above about my incompetence. But it gave me some hope that there were others out there like me.

And then I went to college, and LO and Lynn and Jill were the absolute perfect roommates for me. They did not seem to care how girly or not girly I was. They did my hair for dances and helped me get ready for dates with Lucas and we giggled about boys and they waited right along with me for the day that Lucas finally (finally!) proposed.

(They were all in my wedding.)

But we also all played Urban Ops together, and shooting terrorists was even more fun with Jill up on the top bunk holding her teddy bear and giggling. We played RPGs together. We saw geeky movies and complained about normal girls and had a super ton of fun being just us.

And I became OK with being a girl.

And I got married, and being a girl was AWESOME.

And I had kids, and being a girl was EVEN MORE AWESOME because I MADE PEOPLE, y’all, and fed them, and there is no sweeter name to me right now than “Mama” even when it’s said one million times in five minutes. I cherish it.

But OK, back to Ghostbusters.

I liked the first movies. I liked the cartoon show. I had a massive crush on Egon just like every other nerdy girl out there. The original Ghostbusters is great and so fun and wonderful.

But this Ghostbusters is for me.

If I had seen this movie when I was twelve…what a world of difference it would have made.

That goofy grin on my face up there? That started the first time we saw the shot of all four ladies powering up in a row, one after another, and it didn’t go away until we were driving home and I started crying.

Because here’s the thing. Somewhere there are girls that need this movie. Somewhere there are girls that have never seen themselves on screen, being the hero, not needing rescued by men, not being princesses. Somewhere there is a little me, who is fat and not very girly and certain only that she’s not a princess, and she can see a fat woman being a scientist and fighting off ghosts and being funny and competently leading a team and having important close friendships *and being a woman*.

Look at this Ghostbusters team. There’s a fat girl and a tall girl and some middling height skinny girls. There’s a black girl and a nerdy girl and a really offbeat girl. And they are scientists and normal people and they are fighters and they are brave and they are smart and they are determined and they are friends — real friends, not catty high school clique friends, but real grownup friends — and they are amazing.

Look, I’ve made it out. Thank goodness I’m not a kid anymore. I’m in my 30s, I have two kids, a wonderful husband. I’m a stay at home mom. I’ve been reaching for a skirt or dress more days than not this summer. I actually like being a girl now, because I’ve seen the world, I’ve seen outside small town PA and I know that I can be a girl while still having super short hair that is currently a quarter blue. I know now that I can still be a girl while wearing jeans, or leggings, or men’s tshirts, or dresses. I can still be a girl even though I pretty much never wear makeup. I can still be a girl even though I have never been, and never will be, a princess.

There are *lots* of ways to be a woman, and I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize that.

And that’s why I started crying on the way home: because this movie is what is going to tell some girl that they, too, will make it out. That no matter how they’re a girl, they’re doing just fine.

Was it a perfect movie? Nope! Do I have quibbles with parts of it? Yep!

But when those ladies pulled out their proton packs and powered them up, I was twelve again, and I felt all the empty places, the places where I felt inadequate with my femininity, the places where the only friendships modeled were fake friendships, the places that made me wonder what there was to enjoy about being a girl, all those places got filled up with four ladies, on the big screen, busting the heck out of some ghosts. Saving each other. Saving the world.

And it was good.

 

 

(But that fight scene with Holtzmann, right? DANG.)

Cleveland Concoction 2016

I generally try to keep a low profile. I don’t like making an entrance — I’m pretty uncomfortable with the spotlight — if I can get through the day without being noticed, I’m happy.

But sometimes I’ve got to up my game and dear readers, everyday (this weekend) I’m hustlin’.

Cleveland Concoction 2016 starts Friday, March 11 (tomorrow!) and I will be there in spades. If you want to hear me talk (and don’t want to listen to my podcast ((or my other podcast)) for some reason) you can see me at the following panels:

 

Friday, March 11

2 pm — Overcoming Writer’s Block

6pm — Author Showcase

7pm — Autographing Session

11pm — My Favorite Heroines

 

Saturday, March 12

 

12pm — Why Villains Matter

6pm — Common Problems of New Writers

8pm — Shaping the Short Story

 

All panels are in the Lyra room, except the Autographing Session which is in Authors Alley.

 

Please stop by and say hi, show me a smiling face in the audience, we’ll take a selfie, and hey, buy my books while you’re at it!

If you can’t make it this weekend then 1) laaaaaaame, 2) I still love you and 3) don’t worry, you can still buy Wolves and Witches and Peculiar Situations online. (Peculiar Situations is also, for a limited time, at convention discount on both Amazon and Smashwords.)

Of course, if you come see me in meatspoace, you can get your copy of Wolves and Witches signed for free. I’ll also have coupons to get Peculiar Situations for free.

FOR FREE, y’all.

But even if you don’t want a book for free for whatever insane reason, ConCoction is a good time and you guys should totes come.

The Better to Type With…

My very first NaNoWriMo was Sorority Vampires, a novel about…vampires. In a sorority.

(It was a little more than that, but not terribly much more.)

A few NaNos later, I decided to write the sequel, Fraternity Werewolves.

Some day I may go back and rewrite them, shine them up, make them better, because in their present forms they are not great. But even if your NaNo novel is kinda crappy, that doesn’t mean you can’t mine it for short story material!

Fast forward to the present day, where Chaosium, Inc., released The Mark of the Beast, which contains my short story “The Better to Type With, My Dear.” It’s a story about college kids, and werewolves, and it was totally taken out of Fraternity Werewolves, fixed up, and sent off. And accepted. And now, published.

Nothing you write is useless, my friends. Sometimes the only value is in the practice you get writing it, and sometimes a decade later it gets you in another anthology.

It’s a weird world.

Pappy’s Canteen

(This was cross posted from The Ration Project blog. The Ration Project, of which I am a co-host, is a year-long experiment in living history. We are living on World War 2 rations for a year and exploring the history of the war both overseas and on the home fronts. The Ration Project is available as a podcast wherever you consume your podcasts, on Facebook at The Ration Project, and as a blog at www.rationproject.com.)


I (Mrs. Hart) don’t remember much about my grandfather. He died when I was ten — my memory is bad enough that I barely remember things from a week prior, let alone two decades ago. I have one vivid personal memory — I asked him for some peanuts, and he said he would give me five, and somehow I ended up with ten in my hand. I told him he counted wrong and he recounted, again somehow ending up with ten peanuts that he claimed were five. It was hilarious at the time — remember, I had to be less than ten — and it’s still the one thing I most clearly remember about him.

There are other things I “remember” — memories that are not truly mine, memories constructed from hearing stories and seeing pictures. I “remember” stories that my dad told me, that my sister told me. I “remember” how he looks from pictures of him in a plain blue work shirt — the kind my dad still wears — and plain tan slacks — the kind my dad still wears — and a plain ball cap — the kind my dad still wears. Actually, a lot of my “memory” of my grandfather, my Pappy, is tied up in my dad.

Since starting the Ration Project, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to my dad about Pappy and Grammy, about what they told him of their experiences during the war. I also have the letters that Pap wrote to Gram when he was overseas, back when they were younger than I am now. It’s fascinating. It’s touching. It’s weird. It’s beautifully strange, opening up a whole chapter of my family’s history that I only barely knew about.

We have some of Pappy’s war memorabilia still, most of it in almost perfect shape. His tie, his jacket, some medals and pictures…and this.

His canteen.

We like writing things down, my family. We make notes and keep journals and make sure that the stories of our family are able to be passed down.

On this canteen, through this list of names, my Pappy drew us a map of every place he was during the war. They couldn’t censor his own water cup, and secrecy didn’t matter any more when he came home.

I love this. I love that he did this, as a way of remembering and making sure we were able to know where he was, what he went through, even though he never talked about it. Oh, he told my dad some stories, but they were mostly funny ones. We don’t like dwelling on sad things, my family. We like to keep it light when we can.

But looking at Pap’s canteen, I can see that he was at Anzio. That he was in Italy in 1943. That he was in Algers, and Cassino, and Roma. And Naples. And Bari. And I can imagine the stories he didn’t tell, the ones that were anything but light.

We’ve been talking the last few weeks about the Italian campaign, about the Allies sweeping through the penninsula. I can hold that history in my hands now, and it makes me wish I had known enough, thought enough, to ask Pap about it before he was gone.

It makes me wish he was still here to ask now.

My pap (in the middle) and two others making music on a hay cart in Italy.

Free Fiction: Mary

Halloween is coming up (which means I need to get started on making costumes for the kids — and me!). I love Halloween — not as much as some people *coughcough* the people in my neighborhood who have had decorations up since early September *coughcough* — but I still enjoy the time of year. I take any excuse to dress up in costume and Halloween is perfect for that.

One thing I don’t love — but that my sister Amanda REALLY loves — is the spooky stuff. I’m so soft. My brain doesn’t forget things that it labels as scary, and it tends to bring them up at the worst possible times and then it refuses to let me stop thinking about them. I didn’t learn this lesson until unfortunately late, which is why I still have nightmares about Pennywise, but now that I’m wiser I tend to stay away from spooky stuff. I don’t write a lot of horror for that reason. It’s just not my wheelhouse.

Pretty early on when I started writing more seriously, though, I did a few zombie pieces. This one, so far back I was still using my middle initial, was picked up by Everyday Weirdness (and can still be found there.)

I don’t love this so much, but it is nice from time to time to look back at old pieces and see how my style has changed, and hopefully to see some improvement.


Mary

Sixth grade:
Mary was wearing
her brand new dress,
and when the children gathered ‘round,
sing-songing her new name,
she didn’t cry
until the nurse took her hand,
led her away,
cleaned her up with unfamiliar kindness,
and sent her home
still bleeding.

Five years in pictures:
kids squirting ketchup on her chair,
saying her name
in a chanty chaining rhyme—
“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary”—
and then screaming like a horror movie bimbo
and laughing like hyenas,
making jokes about Carrie and prom night
because kids don’t know.

Five years in whispers and their fists behind the door.

The day before the first day of school
Mary cut her wrists in the bathtub,
sinking into the warm oblivion
where there were no taunts,
no hyenas.

The next day
Bloody Mary went to school.
took a big bite from the new year,
and when the kids screamed
“Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary”
and ran away,
they weren’t laughing,
and they didn’t get far.

The school nurse peeked out and saw her shambling
down the hall, gnawing on her lab partner’s lung,
and when Bloody Mary stopped
and turned,
she screamed.
But Mary grinned—
a horrible, bloody grin—
and kept on leaving breadcrumb trails
with Chet Parker’s teeth.

The nurse darted through the bodies,
ignoring their clutching hands and scratching nails,
locked the door to the teacher’s lounge,
crawled out a window
and ran all the way home,
still bleeding.

Meet Zinnia and Harris: Corvidae Released

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Attention all bird lovers! Corvidae is now available!

I’m excited about this anthology for a lot of reasons: I love Rhonda and am happy to be in one of her anthologies, I love Jane Yolen and am thrilled to have my name in the same TOC as hers, and I love birds in stories just in general. But one of the biggest reasons I’m excited about this anthology is because this is the first Zinnia and Harris story to appear in print.

Sometimes you have ideas that seem great at the time and then, upon further reflection, you realize they’re terrible and you put them safely away. Sometimes you have ideas that grab you right from the start and then, upon further reflection, grab you even more. That was Zinnia and Harris.

I knew I wanted to write about some buddies. I knew I wanted to write about women. I knew I wanted to write about monster hunters. So I did those things. “Seven for a Secret,” the story that appears in Corvidae, is the first to be published but never fear, there are a half dozen more stories in various stages of completeness, so I hope to have more to share soon.

For now, though, you can check out Zinnia and Harris in “Seven for a Secret” (and many, many other amazing stories by other amazing authors) in Corvidae, available directly from the publisher here, or on Amazon here. It’s also on Goodreads so if you read it please stop by and give us a review!

CORVIDAE Cover Reveal!

LOOK AT THIS THING:

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That gorgeous thing is the cover for the upcoming anthology Corvidae, the second volume in Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries series.


Check out how cool this book is going to be:

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.


(There are a lot of awesome names up there. Plus I will never get tired of seeing my name in the same list as Jane Yolen’s.)

((OK, I’m going to scroll up and look at that cover again.))

(((OK, I’m back.)))

Corvidae will be released on July 7, so you’re going to want to start saving your shinies now. This is one book you will definitely want to have in your nest.

(You can pre-order within the US now from World Weaver Press or go ahead and add it to your shelves at Goodreads!)

Eurovision 2015 Automatic Finalists: A Tiger Sorceress and Italian Nerds

It’s here! It’s tomorrow! It’s the Eurovision Grand Final!!

There are seven entrants this year who don’t have to fight through the semi-finals process: the “Big Five” (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK), the host country (Austria for 2015) and as a special guest this year, Australia, because apparently they’re all big Eurovision fanboys?

Sometimes the automatic finalists kind of seem like they’re not even trying, like since they get a pass to the finals no matter what they just kind of send something that is not the top of the game. (Engelbert Humperdinck, I’m looking at you.) This year, though, they mostly seem like pretty good entrants — good songs, and where there aren’t good songs, there are good (or at least interesting) videos.


Australia — Tonight Again — Guy Sebastian — If Australia wins this year, they get to be in next year’s contest, too. With this song, they actually have a chance. This is such a fun dance song, with broader appeal than some of the other ones and a really good feel to it. I also love a good brass line, too.

Austria — I Am Yours — The Makemakes — OK, I lied. This is neither a good song nor a good video. It seems kind of retro but in a not great way? I guess they do set the piano on fire there at the end, but it’s not totally engulfed so it’s sort of like, why bother?

France — N’oubliez pas — Lisa Angell — This is the Frenchest of French entries. She’s in the sky? People are on a beach? It’s super arty and makes no sense because I’m not French enough and they’re not going to deign to explain it because I should just really learn French already.

Germany — Ann Sophie — Black Smoke — I think I’m thrown off by her bad outfit, but I can never get into this song too much. It’s singable, though, and that’s something.

Italy — Grande Amore — Il Volo — I love this. I love everything about this. I love the song, I love the conceit of the video, I love these guys, I have a great love for this entry.

Spain — Amanecer — Edurne — This song is highly forgettable but the video is AMAZING. She’s some crazy singing sorceress who turns into a tiger in a fantasy world! I would watch the heck out of the TV show for which this would be the theme song.

UK — Still in Love With You — Electro Velvet — Another one of my very favorites this year. They’re both so super adorable in a super British way. I really dig the weird blacklight rave in the middle, I love the awkward scat session, I love that “Oh yes?” he does. This is just great. I know a lot of people don’t like this one but it really is in my top 5 of songs that just make me happy when they come up.

Eurovision 2015 Semi-Final 2: A Werewolf, A Hipster, and An Invisible Violin

Well, friends, the second round of semi-finals for Eurovision is on Thursday and I could not be more excited. Watching the first round on Tuesday was super fun. We’ve never watched the semis before, and while the grand final is obviously the main event, there are some really neat things that happen throughout the week and it was great to get to watch everyone perform, not just the ones who made it to the finals. Most of our favorites made it through on Tuesday, so we’re really anxious to see who makes it tomorrow! Here’s my rundown for those contestants.


Lithuania — This Time — Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila — We really like this song. It’s so fun and cute, and has such great energy! The original preview video was really adorable, too. I like this video less, but I’m hoping that the stage show will be more like the first video. They had so much chemistry that we were pretty convinced they were a real couple, although we can’t find anywhere that says they are. Totes. Adorbs.

Ireland — Playing With Numbers — Molly Sterling — It’s not a bad song, it’s got kind of a nice rhythm and parts of it are pretty singable, but I don’t feel like it was a standout in any way. Just kind of a nice performance, no more or less.

San Marino — Chain of Lights — Anita Simoncini & Michele Perniola — This entry continues San Marino’s love affair with technology. (See their 2012 Eurovision entry, The Social Network Song, by Valentina Monetta.) These kids (and they are kids, they are YOUNG, y’all) are too cute, and this song is way too cheesy, but I can’t help but smile when I watch it. The only part I object to is that mercifully short rap interlude. No, San Marino. Don’t. Just don’t. (Also the credits are really long, like “list everyone in San Marino” long.)

Montenegro — Adio — Knez — Another song that I completely forgot existed. It always feels like it’s building toward a climax and just never gets there. I don’t understand the women in the video. I really dig the singer’s snakeskin jacket and torn jeans look. That’s ridiculous enough to almost work.

Malta — Warrior — Amber — Warrior song #2! The first one made it through to the finals so I think it’ll be interesting to see if this one does, too. This is my favorite of the warrior woman songs — I actually really like the song — but the video is less great than the others. Amber makes some weird faces when she and the camera are on that tracking dolly. It’s…odd.

Norway — A Monster Like Me — Mørland & Debrah Scarlett — What a confusing and ultimately disappointing video! The song is weird, and the video is even more so. They’re hosting a dinner party? And they maybe poison everyone but with a crazy drug or something? And the chick looks like Ginny Weasley? Usually Norway is one of our favorites but we just aren’t sure what to do with them this year. It’s so strange that…I kind of love it now. But boy is it strange.

Portugal — Há um Mar que nos Separa — Leonor Andrade — This chick thinks the song is way more hardcore rock than it is. It’s a pretty standard easy listening song but she is rocking the HOUSE in her mind. I love her whole look, her whole thing is awesome, but she deserves a much better song for as much passion as she is giving it.

Czech Republic — Hope Never Dies — Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta — My favorite part of this video is when they put the key words on the screen in a burning font. That just cracks me right up. The song itself is pretty good, though, and I do love a duet in Eurovision.

Israel — Golden Boy — Nadav Guedj — I know my husband disagrees with me, but I really enjoy this song. I like the sound, I like the beat, and I really like jamming to it while I’m cooking dinner. It is fun to dance to! As long as the stage show is solid I feel pretty positive about this dude getting into the finals, and I’ll be pretty happy about that.

Latvia — Love Injected — Aminata — This one wins my vote for the absolute craziest song of this year’s show. The style changes so abruptly it kind of gives me whiplash. The original preview video was just her standing there singing, and while I loved her look a whole ton, it made the song seem even more disjointed. The new preview video actually helps with that a little, but still. I am not sure what to do with this crazy thing.

Azerbaijan — Hour of the Wolf — Elnur Huseynov — In my mind I have decided that, because of the title, this song is about the guy waiting to find out if he’s been turned into a werewolf. The video has nothing to do with that — it’s just the guy in an apartment where he is alternately having and not having a party — but I like my head cannon better. I do really enjoy this song, werewolf or no. It has good drama and I find myself singing the chorus pretty frequently.

Iceland — Unbroken — Maria Olafs — My husband likes to say that this is pretty much the same song as “Hour of the Wolf” and it really comes down to whether you prefer a girl or a guy singing it. He’s not wrong. While this is a perfectly fine song I don’t have a fun werewolf-related head cannon for it so I prefer Azerbaijan.

Sweden — Heroes — Måns Zelmerlöw — This one is getting really good press and seems to be a front runner for ultimate winner. I don’t really get it myself. It’s a good song, but I wouldn’t put it ahead of some of the others (SERBIA) and while it’s probably in the top half, it’s pretty solidly in the middle of my top.

Switzerland — Time to Shine — Mélanie René — I have no feelings about this song one way or another. If you played this (no video, just the song) next to Iceland’s entry I’m not sure I could tell the difference?

Cyprus — One Thing I Should Have Done — John Karayiannis — This guy! This guy is so hipster! And this song is so hipster! And it makes me laugh because it’s all so hipster! Look, he’s in black and white while the background is in color! Ahahahaha! ❤

Slovenia — Here For You — Maraaya — I don’t understand why she’s naked in the beginning, or what’s up with the ice bath thing, but I do really love this song. SO catchy, very singable, good energy. Also I love the techno invisible violin thing, that’s pretty sweet.

Poland — In the Name of Love — Monika Kuszyńska — I’m not a huge fan of the song but I found the story of the video really interesting. Look up Monika Kuszyńska, her story is pretty fascinating, and I think it’s really cool they way they presented that in the video. I feel like the song is pretty boring right now but that I’ll warm up to it after playing the album in the car a few times.

Eurovision 2015 Semi-Final 1: Techno Elves, Punk, and A Body Positive Ballad

YOU GUYS Eurovision is happening again on SATURDAY and I am SO EXCITED!!

As with many cool/weird things in my life, I have my sister Amanda to thank for introducing me to the wonder, the beauty, the magnificent madness that is the Eurovision Song Contest. We love every bit of it, every bearded woman and gout of fire and tricycle-riding fairy and whatever. All of it is gold.

This year we seem to have a particularly good batch of contestants. More than most years, my husband and I have been pulling up the videos on YouTube and listening (and listening and listening and listening) for weeks now. The songs have been getting stuck in our heads. We even made brackets! (For the record, Serbia was the bracket winner for both of us.)

The first round of semi-finals is broadcasting tomorrow, and it’s indicative of how much we love this thing that we’ve arranged our day so that we can drop everything at 3:30 and watch. (The longest break I plan to take is heating up leftovers for dinner.)

Here’s my take on the folks who will be competing tomorrow, based on their preview videos (and the fact that I’ve listened to their songs SO MANY TIMES in the last few weeks.)

(Links to the videos are in their titles because if you haven’t watched the videos yet, you really really should.)


Moldova — I Want Your Love — Eduard Romanyuta — The music is sort of catchy in a typical on the radio way. I’ll jam to it, I probably won’t skip it when it comes on in the future, I won’t search it out intentionally. I don’t dig the video very much, and the singer looks like he’s 12. I’m not sure how this is going to translate into a stage show.

Armenia — Face the Shadow — Genealogy — What a great song. It has this wonderful drama to it, even discounting the history that it is clearly invoking. I fully expect this to do very well. I really like how many people get involved (I tend to like groups over soloists) even though — or perhaps because? — in the video it seemed like singers just kept coming out of the woodwork.

Belgium — Rhythm Inside — Loïc Nottet — I did not love this song at first but let me tell you, it has gotten stuck in my head maybe the most of all of the songs. I will find myself “rap-ap-ap”ing at random moments just because I can’t make it go away, in a good way. I don’t understand the video — Why is he wet? Why is everyone covered with red paint? What is going on? — but I have come around to enjoying the song.

The Netherlands — Walk Along — Trijntje Oosterhuis — Singable, but not outstanding. I won’t skip it when it comes on, but I may get distracted while it’s playing. A good, solid entry but I don’t expect a win here.

Finland — Aina Mun Pitää — Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät — Haha, I love these guys. Punk isn’t my favorite style but they do a solid job with the song and are clearly having fun. I love that they’re straight up bringing the punk to Eurovision, and I feel certain they are going to have the time of their lives.

Greece — One Last Breath — Maria-Elena Kyriakou — I have already forgotten that this song is part of the lineup. It has some sort of spell on it, I think, where I remember that it is a thing for the three minutes while it’s playing and then as soon as it’s over I’ve forgotten it again.

Estonia — Goodbye to Yesterday — Elina Born & Stig Rästa — I dig this song a lot. It’s got a catchy beat to it, sort of a retro feel that makes me happy. If we listen to it long enough to learn the lyrics I suspect Hubband and I will pause talking in the car to sing along with it. I think these guys have a good chance of taking it, and I would be fine with that. I hope they have an interesting stage show, though.

F.Y.R. Macedonia — Autumn Leaves — Daniel Kajmakoski — Good song! I like the illustration preview video, although I’m not sure how that would work for a stage show or if they’d even try it. Still, it’s a really solid song, very singable. This is another one where I’d be fine with it taking it all.

Serbia — Beauty Never Lies — Bojana Stamenov — This was the winner of our brackets. I adore this video, with all the fans singing along: so fun! It’s a great power ballad, super easy to sing along to, and Bojana is just lovely. I don’t think it’s going to win, which makes me a little sad, but she makes a great showing and I will sing this song forever, haha.

Hungary — Wars for Nothing — Boggie — I like the song way better than I like the video. The super long intro and the hipster flash mob setup turned me off at first. The song minus the video, though, is fantastic. It’s a protest song, basically, and is a beautiful one.

Belarus — Time — Uzari & Maimuna — This is the opposite: I like the video way better than the song. The song is kind of meh, not terrible but not great. But the video! There’s a girl with a fiddle stuck in an hourglass! The singer is some sort of techno elf! There’s a snake! What’s not to love here?? THIS is what Eurovision is all about — a kind of mediocre song with a freaking insane show.

Russia — A Million Voices — Polina Gagarina — I really like this song. Last year Russia got booed: I wonder if that will happen again this year. I feel bad for the singer if so: it’s not her fault that the leaders of her country are crazy! Anyway, it’s a good song and a cute video.

Denmark — The Way You Are — Anti Social Media — Throwback band, haha. Super catchy, very “That Thing You Do”. What a fun, upbeat song. Our favorite part of the video was the guy playing guitar dressed like a greaser. Everyone else is standing in place like a good old-fashioned band and that guy just wanders all over the stage. It’s great.

Albania — I’m Alive — Elhaida Dani — I feel like this song and video will have more impact for other people. It just doesn’t resonate with me. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t love it.

Romania — De la capăt / All Over Again — Voltaj — The sads!!! 😦 But it is a good song, really. I love the mixed languages, and the music is just lovely.

Georgia — Warrior — Nina Sublatti — This is the first (of several) songs about warrior women. This one isn’t my favorite song of that group, but it is my favorite music video. These chicks are awesome. I would watch a buddy movie with every single one of these amazing warrior women in it.