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September 2014
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There’s too much stuff I want to do…

I recently finished a few weeks of freelance programming, creating some custom software that allows the client to quickly format / generate bid documents for a demolition company.  It’s nice to finish something that’s actually productive, something I haven’t done much of this year…

Anyway, I’m now back to having a bunch of free time and a continuing burning desire to not have to get a real job that will steal it all away again (even though I’m really broke). I have a lot of projects I’d like work on, including:

  • Finish writing that book on melodies that I’ve been planning for years
  • Write a fantasy series and indie-publish it on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, etc.
  • Write more music and put together another album
  • Write and draw a web comic based on that cartoon series I created back in 2012
  • Write fairy tales — I’ve been wanting to write short weekly fairy tales, just for fun
  • Do something with computer game programming — I have a short mystery game I planned out a year ago that I still haven’t done anything with.  I’d like to learn how to use Unity or something, create some pixel art, and actually try to make it

Of course, the problem is that making any sustainable revenue from any of these areas of interest takes time… too much time. So much time that a sane person would get a real job in the mean time.

But I really don’t want to have to be sane.

The other problem is that it’s hard to have focus when there’s so much you want to do, but lack of focus is the bane of progress.

But I do want to be more disciplined, which includes setting and following deadlines, something I’ve never been very good at, especially with more creative-oriented projects like writing.  But… I have to.

I’m not sure how this is going to work out, but here’s my current plan: My book on my theory of melody will be my top priority.  I’m setting the deadline of having an eBook version of it available on Amazon Kindle by November 25th (my birthday).  Meanwhile, I’ll set smaller piecemeal deadlines and goals for the other projects each week.  I’ll see if that will help me accomplish anything, or if I’ll need even more focus than that to make progress.

I’ll probably also try to blog more, because I think blathering about updates on my progress helps me actually make some progress because it gives me something to blog about.  Weird circular psychology, but it works, like making a to-do list and crossing things off…

Oh, and I’ve still got some co-authoring projects going on, which are exciting, so they will be stealing away time as well.

Anyway, for the remainder of this week, my goals will be to:

  • Plan the “book on melody”, breaking down the project into smaller chunks that can be given deadlines of their own
  • Finish plotting that fantasy book I’m working on called “Stormground”
  • Co-authoring stuff

I’d also like to try to use some of the money I made from that freelance programming gig to buy a new set of headphones.  I haven’t had a good pair of headphones to compose music with for over a year now (maybe even two years… or three… it’s been a while).  I usually use wireless headphones, but they’re not very good for composing because they make automatic volume adjustments, keeping things from being too soft or too loud.  Which is great when you’re watching a movie or just listening to music, but it’s terrible when you’re actually trying to compose it.  Plus, wireless headphones always have that faint white noise in the background, which is very annoying when you’re trying to hyper-focus on sound.  And my other headphones have pretty much worn out, or were cheap and terrible to begin with.  So: must buy new headphones.  Especially since composing some new music will be necessary to help advertise the melody book, and I want to start building interest for it as soon as possible.

Presidential cousin… or not

So I was exploring the tree of my 13 x great grandfather, Sir Thomas Adams, Lord Mayor of London, trying to see if there was a connection between his tree and the tree of that other famous Adams man, John Adams, the second president of the United States. Just browsing through several trees online like this one, a connection emerges easily enough: Sir Thomas Adams’s grandfather, Randall Adams, was brother to a Henry Adams, the 4 x great grandfather of John Adams the president. That would make distant cousins of us.

But wait.

Something doesn’t look right in this tree.

Randall Adams was born and died in Wem, Shropshire, while his father and brothers were born and died in Barton St David, Somerset?

Hmmm. I’m not so sure Randall Adams actually belongs in this family. Although the dates are believable, I couldn’t find any evidence that Randall’s father made a brief visit to Wem and left a son there. And these trees have no resources to back up the connection other than private emails.

I haven’t been able to find any trace of Randall’s true parentage, so they may be lost to the mysteries of time.

But we’ll never be royals

I’ve been exploring my family tree a bit more and found some interesting things.  Full disclaimer: I went pretty far back, like to the 1500’s and beyond, so I don’t have census data or birth certificates for a lot of this stuff.  But I’m not making any new claims.  I mostly just explored large family trees that I am far from the first to study. I still need to do some more digging, but when lineages trail off into English nobility, it makes sense there would be records of this stuff despite its age; keeping track of family relations was very important to the way these ancestors lived and did business with each other.  Still, I’m far from a genealogy expert, so don’t go sourcing this in your scholarly works.

In the interest of not being too boring, I’m not going to give the names of all spouses here.  As I said, I’m not making any new claims, so all that info is out there somewhere with a bit of Googling or Ancestry.com searching.

So here we go: my great great grandmother Katherine Burns (1878-1963) of Tennessee was daughter of Edmond Burns (1854-1904), son of Levin Burns (1828-1863), son of Wilson Burns (1782-1843).  His paternal grandfather, Adam Burns (1736-1799), came to colonial America in the 1750’s from Scotland and fought in the American Revolution.  Wilson’s mother was Mary Wilson (1762-?), daughter of Wadsworth Wilson (1725-?), son of Thomas Wilson (1691-1744).  Interestingly, Thomas’s maternal grandfather married Eleanor Sprigg, who was related to philosopher Francis Bacon.  This would make Bacon a distant cousin, if not for the fact that Sprigg was in fact Thomas’s grandfather’s second wife, while we are descended from his first.  So, no Bacon for us.  At least not through Sprigg.

Thomas Wilson married Priscella Kent (1701-1744).  On her father’s side, Priscella was descended from Benois Brasseur (1620-1663?), a Huguenot from France.  She was the daughter of Mary Wadsworth (1680-1718), daughter of Elizabeth Claggett (1662-1711), daughter of Captain Thomas Claggett (1644-1703).  Thomas Claggett journeyed to colonial Maryland in 1670 from England, so from here on, we’re exploring English ancestry.  Thomas Claggett’s maternal grandfather was Sir Thomas Adams (1586-1667), who was elected the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 1645:

thomasadams

Sir Thomas Adams
13 x great grandfather

Thomas Claggett’s descendants also include historical figure Thomas John Claggett, the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church.  Thomas Claggett’s father was Edward Claggett (1606?-1673), son of George Claggett (1563-1638), son of Margaret Godden (1529-1574), daughter of Joyce Lovelace (1500-?).  The Lovelace family seems to have been quite a prominent one, so there’s more to explore there.  It is very likely Joyce was somehow related to the poet Richard Lovelace, though I have not yet sought the connection.  Joyce was the daughter John Lovelace (1478-1546).  Some resources say that John was a member of the Grand Jury that indicted Anne Boleyn.  John’s mother was Laura (or Lora?) Peckham (1436?-1482).  The Peckham family also seems to have been a prominent one.  Laura’s father was James Reynolds Peckham (1410?-1454), son of Reginald Peckham (1386-1407), son of James Peckham (1340-1400), son of John de Peckham (dates start to get fuzzy around here, 1320?-1363?), son of Margery Aldham or Audham (?-?), daughter of Sir Thomas de Audham and Isabel Montacute.  (Disclaimer: While there’s a definite connection between Margery Audham and Sir Thomas de Audham, it’s hard to be exact about the relation, because resources never seem to mention the family as a whole; only a piece of the family here and another piece there.  So I think it’s possible that Margery could have in fact been a granddaughter of Thomas de Audham and Isabel Montacute, but until I do some more digging, I’m just listing her as a daughter, as resources suggest.)

What makes Isabel Montacute interesting is that she was part of a Montacute / Montague / Monte Acuto family, a huge family that includes some highly prominent descendants.  According to this book, Isabel’s father was a William de Montacute, son of Drue de Montacute, son of Drue de Monte Acuto, son of Richard de Monte Acuto, only son of William de Monte Acuto, only son of Drogo de Monte Acuto (1040-1125), my 29 x great grandfather.  Resources say that Drogo de Monte Acuto’s name means “Dragon from the Mountain Peak” and that he came to England from France with William the Conqueror and fought with him in the Battle of Hastings.

The Montague family has many interesting branches to explore, but of particular interest is a Philippa (or Philippe) Montagu, a 6 x great granddaughter of the aforementioned Drue de Monte Acuto, my 26 x great grandfather.  Philippa married Sir Roger de Mortimer, whose descendants include a lot of British royalty.

Which means cousins!  So there you go.

kinghenry

King Henry VIII
14th cousin, 13 times removed

bloodymary

elizabeth1

Bloody Mary and Queen Elizabeth I
15th cousins, 12 times removed

queenofscots

Mary, Queen of Scots
16th cousin, 11 times removed

victoria

Queen Victoria
25th cousin, twice removed

diana

Princess Diana
27th cousin, twice removed

elizabeth2

Queen Elizabeth II
27th cousin, twice removed

Projects for June 2014

I haven’t blogged in a while, so here’s a little update of what I’m working on.

Writing fiction

I’m still working on co-authoring two short stories. We’re almost done with one. It’s taken us a lot longer than expected, but I always find interesting the seemingly random issues we find we have different perspectives on and end up discussing for hours. Maybe that’s not very productive writing-wise, but I actually really enjoy it; even if I don’t necessarily change my mind all the time, it forces me to think about things differently.

I’m still querying agents for my novel, Son of a Dark Wizard. I have yet to start another solo writing project, though I have a few stories in various phases of plotting. What I’m hoping to do with my next novel, whenever I start writing it, is to put it online for free, a bit like I did with The Game of Gynwig years ago, and then self-publish it. I even spent a week creating a custom WordPress theme and website to host the project at Morrowgrand, which will hopefully host other future projects as well so they’ll all cross-advertise each other. (Speaking of WordPress themes, the theme for this blog really needs to be updated at some point, doesn’t it?) In addition to posting the blog online, I actually think it would be interesting to record (with screen-capture software) my entire writing process of the novel. I know I’m not the first to try that, but it seems like a fun idea. (Although I guess if I do that, I won’t be able to write long-hand, as I do roughly half the time.)

On top of writing and releasing the novel, I also hope to write a musical soundtrack for it.

That said, any solo-writing projects may take a back seat to my other projects:

Melody project stuff

I’m finally returning to my book on composing melodies that I’ve been trying to write on and off for years. I think I’ve finally found an interesting angle to take with the book. I was struggling because my attempts were coming off as really academic and bland. Finally I thought: why not treat it like Johann Fux’s Study of Counterpoint? His book features two characters, a teacher and a student, talking about the subject. So, rather than a straight-forward non-fiction here’s-a-bunch-of-information sort of book, I can wrap the instructional material in a sort of two-character story arc. At the very least, it would be much more interesting for me to write. So that’s one project.

The other project is the real Parnassus: the symphony generator. A piece of software that uses the algorithms of my melody generators to help automate the entire composition process. The idea is that the symphony generator would be able to compose entire symphonies on its own, automatically, with the composer providing as much or as little creative input as he wishes. My two main goals for it, that I’ve been daydreaming about for over a decade: 1) I want it to be able to compose a Mozartean symphony at the touch of a button (or maybe a few buttons, if I must compromise), and 2) I want to be able to give it only a melody, and have it flesh it out into a full piece with little or no input from me. Obviously I want it to be able to do more than that, but those are my main two objectives.

I’d like to get them both out by December, in time for the holiday season (and before I go completely bankrupt), but almost everything I do takes me longer than I expect (except for going bankrupt).

Updates

I never did write that screenplay last month. I just found I was more interested in whatever else I was working on at the time. Maybe next year.

And that Nickelodeon cartoon pitch a few months back never went anywhere, unfortunately. That is, Nickelodeon wasn’t interested. I still want to do something with my pitch material at some point (though probably no time soon), but I’m not sure what.

A movie I’d like to make someday

3dviewer

If you Google around, you can see their are quite a few "personal 3D viewers" available.  They look a bit like a virtual reality set, except they’re for watching movies or playing video games; that is, moving your head around doesn’t do anything.  Personally, I’d love to try watching a 3D film with one of these.  (Not sure I’d use one in public though; I’d rather be aware of my surroundings in public.)  They’re expensive, close to a $1,000, which is a bit out of my price range.

Anyway, wouldn’t it be cool to produce a 3D first-person perspective film to be viewed in one of these 3D viewers?

I know I’m probably not the first to have the idea, but I don’t know of any films produced that are 3D, completely first-person, and designed to be watched with a personal 3D viewer.

I’d also use binaural recording for the sound to really immerse the viewer.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  Imagine a horror movie produced that way.  Or a newscast.

So… something I’d like to do someday.

Projects for April 2014

Last month, I did successfully submit some material to Nickelodeon’s animated shorts program. I didn’t have the time (or the skill, for that matter) to draw complete storyboards, but I did submit a written script along with some additional pitch material (e.g., character drawings, etc.). I don’t know how long they’ll take to respond, but since they probably received hundreds if not a thousand submissions, I guess I can’t really hold my breath. I’ll do something with the characters at some point, regardless, whether it’s making a short animated film on my own, or a comic book. But no time soon.

So here’s what I’m working on this month:

Querying agents

I finished my second draft of my middle grade fantasy novel, and have started the process of querying agents. Although I know the process can take a notoriously long time (several months to perhaps even an entire year, if not longer), I really believe strongly in my novel, so I don’t plan on giving up as easily as I did when I was querying agents for my previous novel. Actually, I don’t plan on giving up at all. If I come to exhaust my list of all possible agents, I will seriously consider self-publishing it. I don’t really want to do that; a middle grade fantasy will probably be insanely difficult to market on an e-reader. Middle grade readers usually don’t buy their own books, after all. But I refuse to trunk this novel; I’ll get it out there somehow. “And the world will know that this ain’t no game,” as someone once said.

Anyway, before I consider self-publishing, I’ll try as hard as I can to get an agent, which I’m sure will force me to find a new meaning of patience. I may be querying for a good while.

Short fiction

Since querying really doesn’t take much effort on my part, besides waiting and waiting for responses without going insane, I’ll be focusing my efforts on short fiction. I still have those two co-authored pieces I’m working on, which we’ll probably finish this month, and I also have a number of other stories I’ll write on my own. I probably won’t start another novel-length project for a while, though I’ll probably plot out some possibilities. But I’m excited to turn most of my writing attention to short works.

Maybe a screenplay?

I was thinking of writing a screenplay as well. (Not nearly as much work as a novel, in my limited experience.) Ideally, I’d like to write myself a little library of small-budget projects so that whenever I get into film-making (one of those some-day things), I’ll have some possible small-budget projects ready to go.

I saw that the Virginia Film Office has a screenwriting competition, with a deadline of May 23rd, so I may enter that. They don’t charge a entrance fee, which is awesome; I refuse to submit to screenwriting competitions that charge entrance fees, as most do. (I think many competitions take advantage of new screenwriters’ starry-eyed ambitions; if you lose, there’s no pay off, and you’re out $20 to $50. The opportunity just isn’t worth it.)

OK, I think that’s it for this month. The only thing that may impede my progress is my recent addiction to the 2048 game, for which my current high score is 71216* (which includes achieving the 4096 block).

———-
* Make that 76708. Ha ha.

Introverts and extroverts

There’s an interesting post on the Matt Walsh blog. I’m not directly responding to it here, so you don’t have to read it to understand my post below (although Matt Walsh’s blog is always a good read).

The article got me thinking about the idea of introverts vs. extroverts. On the surface, I’m sure I’d be labeled an introvert. I do tend to be more quiet than others. But it of course depends on the situation, the topic of conversation, etc. Really I don’t think of myself as an introvert, nor do I accept the notion that there is such a thing in the first place. I think it’s too simplistic, and I’m not sure it helps anyone to think of themselves as one way or another.

When it comes to being social, I think there are two main areas where people differ (not counting factors like social anxiety or pressure of speech):

1. What they like to talk about.

Some people enjoy talking about more trivial things, like the weather, or traffic. Barrier to entry is very low, so it’s easy to bring up with strangers, or if you just don’t have time to say much in general. After all, sometimes it’s not the topic that’s important, it’s just the human connection that comes through it. Talking isn’t always about an exchange of huge profound ideas, it’s simply a psychological way for people to find some comfort in sharing this world with others. We like being social, and we like being liked.

A lot of people like talking about themselves, and sometimes their conversations are little more than a sharing of personal experiences as it relates to some topic. For example, “I had to stand in line forever at the grocery store.” “Really? I go to grocery store X and there’s never a line.” “Oh, I go to grocery store Y. It’s usually not that bad.” “I could never go there.” I do this too sometimes. When somebody tells me something that I really have no response for, I can either probe for more information (if I’m genuinely interested in the topic, this will happen naturally, otherwise it’s done just to be polite), or I might as well relate it to myself somehow. It’s better than, “I had to stand in line forever at the grocery store.” “So what? Who cares?”

I don’t think the desire to talk about oneself necessarily comes from a selfish all-about-me place. People just crave human connection and that’s the first sort of thing that pops into their heads. (And some people go over the past a lot more in their heads than others.)

I think the “you’re so quiet” and “we have to break you out of your shell!” sort of comments (which I too have received my share of) come from a natural desire for others to mentally place you somewhere, to know what you’re “about”, to figure out how to relate to you. Their intentions are not necessarily impure; they’re not trying to mock you, they’re not intimidated by you, and they don’t want you to say boring things just because you think they do. They’re just not sure how to relate to you.

If someone tells you you’re quiet, try actually sharing with them what you’re actually thinking about (assuming it’s not rude, and if it is rude, stop thinking rude things!).

Then you can have a conversation like this:

“You’re so quiet!”

“Am I? Well, I was just thinking about how one could create a video game that takes place in a tesseract palace.”

“Oh. Well, goodbye.”

Or:

“You’re so quiet!”

“Yeah, I’ve been busy thinking about how to edit the exposition of an ancient prophecy in my fantasy novel in a way that will seem mysterious, yet won’t come across as overly evasive. Any ideas?”

“Say what?!”

Or:

“You’re so quiet!”

“DRAGONS AND WIZARDS!”

“Ugh.”

Invite them into your weirdness. Eventually you’ll find someone else who also likes thinking about those things and you will have epic conversations.

If someone else’s derision about something you love bothers you, then you don’t love it enough.

2. Whether or not they enjoy a civil arguments.

(I preface arguing with the word “civil” because here I am talking about civil discussions, not shouting matches or fist-fights or arguments with climaxes that would wind up on the evening news.)

Some people put up their social defenses the moment a disagreement comes up. They may be simply disinterested in a viewpoint they can’t relate to, or it costs them emotional energy to argue their point, so it’s not always worth it for them.

Others enjoy arguing, not for the sake of itself, but they enjoy trying to figure out why people see the world differently, and they try to hone in on where exactly the disagreement springs from. A disagreement can be like a puzzle to be solved. Why did someone else come to this different conclusion? Sometimes it just comes down to personal taste, like differing opinions about a movie or piece of music. Sometimes it comes down to a decision of faith (will it snow tomorrow or not?). Sometimes it comes down to a logical error someone is making. Sometimes it comes down to differing experiences. Etc.

Arguing can be a wonderful way to learn; even if you’re ultimate conclusion doesn’t waver, you can come to better understand its foundation. Other times, you will actually change your mind about something. But you’ll find that the more you’re willing to change your mind about something, the less you’ll have to. You don’t tend to flip-flop back and forth; you grow roots. And you’re more careful not to draw conclusions about things you know you have no foundation for.

Imagine if you could see into the head of a child who’s just learning about how the world works. Would you think him stupid just because he had a lot of miscomprehensions? I don’t think so, because you’d see where all those miscomprehensions were coming from; you’d see why he thought what he thought.

In other words, you’re ideas and beliefs are never wrong in and of themselves. It’s only that they can be incomplete. What’s wrong is the decision to refuse to accept some new idea because you’re afraid of feeling inferior for having had to learn it and correct your miscomprehension.

A disagreement can also be construed as an insult, as if someone else is just disagreeing with you to cause you strife. Sometimes I’m talking with someone and I’ll say, “I disagree with that, because…” and the other person gets deeply offended as if I’m just pulling the disagreement out of thin air as an insult. If you think someone else’s motivations are impure, you’ll find evidence for it in whatever they say.

On hoping for changes in church teachings

Perhaps I will begin a blog dedicated entirely to religion and religion-related material. I obviously have an interest in it.

From this blog post (from a sci-fi writer whose work I admire):

[In regards to the LDS Church:]

I can remember being very happy when, in 1978, President Kimball received revelation from God that that time had come to extend the priesthood to all worthy males regardless of race.

This is the main thing I reject; the notion that God would change His mind about something. “This is what’s appropriate. OK, now this is appropriate instead. OK, now this is allowed.” If God is Truth, and if Truth by it’s very nature is eternal (objective beyond even time and space), then the appropriateness of certain behavior, the morality of behavior (or at least the intentions behind those behaviors), cannot change. Our human understanding of it can grow or diminish (we can be wrong about it), but Truth itself doesn’t change. And we do our best to understand Truth as it truly is; we strive to know Truth; we strive to know God.

In the modern world, where laws of a nation can be changed with votes, people sometimes confuse the teachings of a church (like, say, the Catholic Church) for arbitrary decisions made by leaders based on their personal likes and dislikes. In this way, church teachings are sometimes misunderstood to be like voted-upon laws that can be changed over time.

But if that were the case, the teachings wouldn’t be objective, and couldn’t be understood to be manifestations of Truth. Instead, they’d be arbitrary opinions. Not a problem if we all agree on them, but when we don’t, oh no, what do we do?

If leaders of the Catholic Church decided to strip away certain teachings from the Catechism claiming they now “understood things differently” or had some divine revelations, Catholics everywhere would not say, “Oh, OK, if you say so!” Perhaps some would, but only those who understood such teachings to be arbitrary in the first place. Others would be scratching their head, fearing demonic forces at work, and would abandon the clearly compromised leaders.

It is like if a math professor one day came into class and announced that he had realized that 2 plus 2 actually equals 5. If you actually understood his prior teaching that 2 plus 2 equals 4, wouldn’t you naturally fear that your professor had gone mad? You would not accept the new teaching as a revelation that Math itself had somehow changed in the night. You know it’s wrong because you understand why 2 plus 2 equals 4.

(You could get into the paradox of omnipotence. “If God can do anything, why can’t He change His mind?” You might as well ask: “If God can do anything, can He not be Himself?” or “If God can do anything, can He be illogical?” The answer is: No. The question assumes a misunderstanding of omnipotence in the context of describing God.)

The implication of this sort of mind-changing truth-revelation is that you get church members who actively hope for a change in teaching. And why shouldn’t they? It’s like having a parent who changes his mind about whether or not you can eat ice-cream for dinner. How could it not be valid to hope for something you understand to be at least possible?

But is that at all spiritually healthy for a family of believers?

And if you submit yourself to an authority figure, why the heck would you hope for him to change his mind about something? Isn’t that basically the same thing as, you know, not actually submitting to that authority?

I don’t at all understand how these “revelations” work in the Mormon Church, but any authority that can be understood to change its mind is not objective, and therefore not Truth, and therefore not God.

Projects for March 2014

This month, I’m pretty much continuing all my projects from last month.

Middle grade fantasy novel

I completed my first draft of the novel in February; I’m now working on a second draft and hope to begin querying potential agents sometime this month.

Short stories

I’m still co-authoring a couple short stories, and still hope to write some more on my own after I finish a second draft of the novel.

Nickelodeon’s animated shorts program

I’m still working on my entry for this, but I only have two more weeks; entries are due on March 14th. I already have a script I can submit, but I was hoping to submit storyboards as well. However, my drawing skills are pretty awful, especially after more than a year with no practice, so I’m not really pleased with my sketches so far. I may end up just submitting the written treatment rather than storyboards, but I’ll keep trying for the storyboards until time runs out. Actually, perhaps when the weekend is over, I’ll consider temporarily dropping the other projects and focusing only on this until March 14th, because I would hate to waste this opportunity; who knows how long they’ll keep doing a program like this?

“Let It Go” is a song of evil

elsa

By which I mean, the popular song from Disney’s Frozen is not an anthem for an attitude that would be at all healthy to have in the real world.  Embracing indifference is not exactly something to celebrate.

After all, let’s not forget what the song is about: a sad, scared, angry queen embracing indifference toward the world.  The philosophy she is deciding on is evil.

Let’s look at some lyrics that reflect the evil Elsa’s embracing:

  • Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know – Hints out how she was dealing with her problem wrongly from the beginning.
  • Let it go, let it go, Turn away and slam the door – She’d rather evade her problems than face them.
  • Let the storm rage on – She has no consideration for who that storm may be hurting.
  • The fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all – She’s replacing them with all new fears, particularly the fear of facing others with her uncontrollable powers, or letting others, like her sister, try to help her at all.
  • No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free – Oh dear!  The most obviously evil lyrics here.  No right or wrong?!  Yikes.
  • You’ll never see me cry – She’s embracing indifference.  Not good.
  • I’m never going back, the past is in the past – It’s one thing to forgive yourself and move on, it’s another thing to stop caring completely, which is clearly what she’s doing.
  • The cold never bothered me anyway – Again, she’s embracing indifference.  And she’s lying.  Her powers have always bothered her and they’re still bothering her.

So, it’s a song about embracing indifference toward the world and her self-image.  Though cathartic, it’s clearly not the right solution to her problem.

And the storytellers know this, of course.  The song isn’t her climactic solution to her problems after which she lives happily ever after.  The song portrays her creation of even bigger problems, both in her own heart and the outside world that she’s cutting herself off from and plunging into eternal winter.  Her living alone in an ice castle out in the mountain boonies is never portrayed as a good thing.  In “letting go” of her concern for control of her powers and her self-image (an effort which initially came from a genuinely good place, even if she was dealing with it wrong from the very beginning, after being traumatized by injuring her little sister), she still holds on to the fear that keeps her away from her kingdom.  If she was truly “letting go” of what she needed to let go of (her self-image fear, her over-self-consciousness), she wouldn’t feel any need to stay away from her kingdom and those she loves, particularly her sister.

Story-wise, the song serves the same purpose as Sweeney Todd’s “Epiphany” (though Todd’s pledge is much more sinister – to murder innocent victims until he can get revenge) and as Elphaba’s “Defying Gravity.”  In Sweeney Todd and Wicked, such goal-changing decisions eventually lead to tragedy in one form or another.  Fortunately in Frozen, Elsa realizes her mistake and changes by the story’s end, thanks to her sister.  Still, her song is about a character who’s been struggling with something and is deciding to embrace a clearly wrong answer.

But of course that’s also what gives the song it’s power, in the dramatic sense; we can relate to Elsa’s emotions completely, even if we know she’s choosing the wrong thing.

But that’s also why it’s a bit funny to see videos of young children belting out the song proudly.  They’re singing about becoming evil.  Yes, I know it may be over some of their heads, but I still find it funny.  The music is great, but its beauty and power are misleading, as is Elsa being all smiley and happy about it; the philosophy she’s embracing is ugly and tragic.  After all, I don’t think we want children to actually let go of things like worrying about right and wrong.

The right answer to Elsa’s problem: love (as Elsa learns by the film’s end).  The wrong answer: cold indifference (as Elsa embraces with “Let It Go”).

So when you sing “Let It Go” while taking your evil shower (Sims joke), let’s hope you’re not singing the lyrics with actual conviction.  Because that would be, you know, evil.