Author: Donna Costa

Pantser On File

Pantser On File

Enroute to Peggy’s Cove from Halifax last week, my companion and I spotted flames in the roadside grasses. As tourists, we had not been following the local news. And even though we had driven through several patches of smoke-laden air, we were largely unaware that forest fires were burning in the province. But after seeing those flames and receiving cell phone alerts of emergency evacuations, we began paying attention.

Heading back to our hotel at the end of our day’s sojourn, we noticed a dark cloud in the sky over Halifax. Is it a storm cloud, we pondered. Perhaps an explosion in the industrial area? (Still in denial!)  But, as the saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. This one in the Tantallon and Hammonds Plains areas.

After consulting Google maps, we realized the affected areas were a 30-minute drive from our hotel in downtown Halifax. We were on the major highway at the time and not in serious danger, unlike residents of the subdivisions. Visible on the side roads and off-ramps were cruisers, lights flashing, blocking the roads and preventing traffic into evacuation areas.

I tell this tale not as an OMG-look-what-almost-happened-to-me — although I kind of just did that — but as a segue into this theme of fire currently burning in my life.

On returning to London, Ontario, I participated in a shamanic journey experience called Word Doctoring and working with the goddess Brigid who was a fire goddess. This was scheduled months in advance, but it’s interesting how it converged with my other fire experience.

Goddess Brigid, it is said, was born at sunrise, flames bursting from her forehead reaching to Heaven. She is the goddess of many things, including midwifery, healing and crafts such as writing, poetry and beer, and especially crafts involving fire — metallurgy, forging, glassblowing.

During one shamanic journey — a journey is simply an altered state of consciousness, induced by the rhythm of a hoop drum, somewhat similar to a dream state — I built a fire beside a billabong and invited Brigid to initiate me into Word Doctoring. I was put into and through the fire I had built. (The symbolism in journeying can be exquisite!) My skin did not burn. Instead, a fire was ignited in my heart as my physical heart, hands, and body became warm with the fire of Brigid.

Reflecting this morning about these experiences of fire, a childhood phrase popped in my mind:

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Now, in writing circles, we sometimes refer to two different styles of writing — plotsers and pantsers.

Pantsers are writers who write by the seat of their pants — no outline, no planning, just write what comes. That is how I wrote my first two books, Breathing With Trees and If I Could Remember I Would: Bears & Brains & Caring For My Mother. (Note: After writing by the seat of your pants, you typically will need to edit with thought and planning.)

For my next historical fiction novel, I am abandoning my Pantser style — Pantser on fire — and going full Plotter. My weeks from June to September are carefully plotted out for week-by-week research into the period of 1918 — Spanish Flu, homeopathy, suffrage, military operations, children’s toys and clothing, women’s issues. It’s a time for gathering the kindling-facts for the fire of storytelling.

Next, October to spring is planned for character development — profile sheets, background, aims and motivation, internal conflict — setting outline, plot structure, overriding theme, timeline of events, chapter summary drafts. In short, it is thinking about all the literary devices before writing the story and is the opposite of the method for my other books where I only thought about these things after writing the first Pantser draft.

With Plotser style, the planning and details become sparks to ignite the writing. Plotser is like a controlled burn…intentionally set to manage the ecosystem where fire would naturally occur. It is meant to be a low-intensity natural fire, preventing complete burn-out. Controlled burns of forests help remove sick or diseased trees and prevent the fire spreading to other areas. Similarly, controlled burns help a writer stick to the issues and theme of the story and prevent plot-wandering in a direction away from the central burn. Plotser mimicks a natural fire with the writer controlling where and when an area will burn.

Plotser or Pantser — slow burn vs an out-of-control forest fire? I’m looking forward to the exploration of this new-to-me approach.

Footnote:

As of this writing, the Halifax area fires are 85% contained and not expected to spread. Five active fires continue to burn in other regions of Nova Scotia. The one at Barrington Lake is out of control.

May all be safe.

Photo credit: Landon Parenteau on Unsplash

What’s In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Early in May, award-winning author Terry Fallis spoke here in London, Ontario, at an event organized by the London Writers’ Society, my local writing group. In his book, No Relation, Terry writes about people who share a name similar to someone famous. Earnest Hemingway (versus Ernest Hemingway), James Moriarty, Mario Andretti, Marie Antoinette. What would it be like to share a famous moniker? (I suggest you read Fallis’ book for a humorous tale.)

But it got me thinking about my own name which is the opposite of famous…both my first and last names as common as cheddar cheese. My married surname – Costa – means from the coast in Mediterranean cultures. It’s the equivalent of Smith or Brown in North America.

There are actually three Donna Costas in my family and we all married into the family. (There are also two Linas, two Rosas, three Franks, three Tonys. What can I say…that’s Italian?) 

When I married into my husband’s Italian family almost 46 years ago, I became the second Donna Costa in the family, the other being the wife of my husband’s first cousin. (Hi, Donna!) Then my brother-in-law married – you guessed it – a Donna, different middle name. (Hi, Donna!)

From time to time, I would joke about reverting to my maiden name, but that was usurped after my cousin Wayne married. Forever more, the name meant someone else at family reunions, not me. In The Malahat Review, issue 222, “My Name: A Timeline,” Paul Dhillon writes, “I […] start to think about how a name can both connect us to a community and sever us from our ancestors.” Yeah, I get it.

I recall a time after high school when I worked as a legal secretary, having been hired in part because of a reference given from my friend, Donna – different last name – who worked at the law firm. She insisted she was Donna the first, while I was Donna the second. My suggestion of Donna Old and Donna New was met with stony silence, except for some snickers from Marg Bell aka Dinger. (We were a playful bunch!)

There’ve been times when bank tellers have pulled up records for a Donna Costa at an address unknown to me. Ditto medical records, although that seldom happens anymore with health cards. Imagine discovering someone with the same name, no relation, living on your street. (That happened to my spouse.)

There are enough of us named Donna Costa to start a club. If you know one, ask her to drop me a line. I’d love to hear where she’s from. And whether she’s family or no relation.

Photo by Waldemar on Unsplash

Spring Sprang Sprung

Spring Sprang Sprung

Springtime.

Yellow daffodils, pink hyacinths. Kids riding bikes.

Mother’s Day.

It’s gotten me thinking a lot about cycles – tricycles and bicycles, sleep cycles, seasonal cycles. And the cycle of life and death.

This will be the first Mother’s Day without my mom. I like to say that Mom watches over me from above – literally – because her picture sits on top of my fridge. I catch her eye when I grab a glass of milk. Sometimes she winks back.

This weekend I will put flowers on the ancestors’ graves. For some, visiting the cemetery is morbid. Or creepy. But it was Mom’s and my spring ritual for years. Together, we would take the 90-minute drive to the graves of her parents, brother, grandparents. I’d weed and plant flowers, while she told me their stories.

Sometimes Mom didn’t remember much, especially about her brother, Donny. She was twelve when he died. He liked Al Jolson and he raised pigeons, she’d say, and grandfather was a circus performer. Donny is buried alongside his grandfather and others near the large pine tree, while my grandparents are together up the path under the maples.

Afterwards, Mom and I would go out to eat. Mom’s preference – a Harvey’s burger.

This year, I’ll visit the cemetery by myself, unless I can convince my daughter to pick up the tradition. (Doubtful.) Or maybe hubby will be my pity-companion. Even if I’m by myself, I won’t be alone – I’ll have their stories and my mother’s voice to keep me company.

And afterwards, a fat juicy burger with hot peppers.

Photo credit: Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

***

I’ve been busy prepping Mom’s autobiography files to upload into IngramSpark. Enjoy this sneak peek of the cover. I’ll post on my Facebook page when the book is available online, likely towards the end of May or early June.

Childhood Writing Memories

Childhood Writing Memories

For years, I kept a grade one scribbler filled with my earliest attempts at printing. Solid blue lines marked the upper and lower limits for capital letters, while a dotted red line indicated the correct height for lowercase. Even back then, I loved putting marks onto the page, feeling letters form, letting words and thoughts come into being as the pencil slid across the paper. Sometimes a piece of grit in the lead would challenge my chubby 6-year-old fingers to keep the marks steady and true. That writing booklet was dragged through several adult moves, only to be lost somewhere in the stuff of my present abode.

Another item of my memorabilia is a book of poetry – a collection of poems (not my own) for a school project, probably grade 5 or so. There’s a poem about our country, a poem without rhyming words, a religious poem and a humorous one. “The Lost Lagoon”  by E. Pauline Johnson represented a poem by a Canadian poet. Enamoured of Robert Service, several of his lengthy poems fill my project.

Each poem was painstakingly typed on my toy typewriter in red ink. This toy was not a true typewriter for its keys were merely images on plastic. A center dial contained all the numbers, letters and symbols. Every letter of every word required a turn of the dial before pressing the imprint onto the page. Progress was slow and arduous. Many a time I threw out a poem riddled with typing errors – I knew nothing back then about erasing typos.

Still I persisted. While it would have been prudent to select the shortest poems for the assignment, I insisted on using the poems I loved, regardless of word count.

Accompanying each poem were pictures, some clipped from magazines – my mother read Woman’s Day regularly – or some from greeting cards. Often I made my own drawings. I’d obviously been taught something about drawing perspective, evident in renderings of my school and farm house, or in the angles of my mother’s oak rocking chair. I loved birds then too, as I do now, and it was obvious that farm life informed who I was – my values, my love for nature and a simple life.

Many authors say that they kept a writing journal all their lives. This was not so for me, although I do remember once having a diary with a tiny key. I’d written about a crush on a boy, then decided to throw it in the trash bin and burn it. Burning trash was a common occurrence on the farm. Regrettably, two older brothers fished the partially burned diary from the flames and read my secrets. Humiliated and angry, I wouldn’t write in a journal again for another thirty years.

Even now, my journaling is sporadic. I tell myself I should write, then wander off to dig in the garden or muck out the fish pond. Some days, it seems, not even the guilt of not‑writing can erase my hesitancy to put innermost thoughts on the page.

Why do I feel a need to write about this? Why do I remember it? Why now?

On April 17, the winner of gritLit’s Writing Contest will be announced. My story “Mercy Mercy Me” was longlisted two weeks ago, then shortlisted last week. I am incredibly proud of this accomplishment. Yet as I await the announcement, I feel trepidation. My words, my secret thoughts being judged. My stomach flip flips. Excitement. Apprehension.

Through the writing process, I have identified lingering emotions from childhood and am able to soften, to relax more into the not knowing. To let go of being judged and, instead, remember the act of printing words on the page to reconnect to the purity of creation and the joy of writing.

Transitions

Transitions

Transition. A time between letting go and grabbing on.

As I stand at the creek’s edge, the water – half frozen, half flowing – reflects my state of between-being. No longer fully this, not yet truly that.

Perched in a tree top to my right, a male cardinal sings his tune. “Yoo hoo, yoo hoo,” the notes seem to say. He, too, is in transition. His goal? To release singledom and couple with a progeny-producing female. I wonder, Does he think about the after? After those thrusts of pleasure, after his seed is embedded, after his offspring breaks its shell and cheeps constantly with hunger, what then? Or does the cardinal exist only in the moment of his present longing?

My gaze returns to the water flowing between ledges of ice that line the shores. In the middle, a narrow coursing current with accumulations of snow and ice, frozen into shapes – two arrowheads and a bald eagle with wings outstretched. A pool of motionless water moistens an icy vulvar opening, while the rushing stream bifurcates at the erect tip, gushing around the frozen marquis to plunge into the black snout of Inari – the trickster fox of Japan – before tumbling onto its vulpine cheek ruffs and carrying on down the river.

To my left, lifting off from the shore is a grey heron – long legs, S‑shaped neck, impressive wingspan. Across the water, he lands on a branch directly in my line of sight. From take‑off, to airborne transition, to landing. Is nature reflecting the repetitive human pattern? How is it that I, an observer, can marvel at its transition, yet not my own?

I study the heron, amused at the incongruity of a shore bird in a tree. This cannot, of course, be his final destiny, his final arriving. Is there ever one final arriving?

At that instant, he stands, takes trial steps on his balance beam branch. With my eye remaining on the feathered wader, I reach for my cell phone. But as I zoom in with the camera, my eyes leave him for a split second. When I look again, he is gone. I’ve missed the beauty of his earthly release and his next exquisite transition. It is his alone to experience.

So I wander on, around the river’s bend. Here, the icy ledges stretch towards each other, almost touching at the center, while cloud-like clumps of snow and ice float lazily down a much narrower stream. Here, the water is more frozen, less flowing. Yet I know tomorrow will bring a thaw and the water will flow fully once again.

For now, the river and I exist in this gray between-being. The transition is but temporary. So I embrace the unknowing and sink into this liminal time of gestation.

At The Zoo

At The Zoo

Is it just me or did January go by in a flash?

Well, time flies when you’re having fun, eh? (Keeping it Canadian here!) So what was happening last month? Well…

The audio of Breathing With Trees passed quality control and is now available at favourite audio book sources, including Spotify, Amazon, Overdrive, Hoopla, Rakuten Kobo, Audible (coming soon) and more. If you listen to my book, let me know what you think. Write a review if you feel inclined. (It helps!)

My second novel, previously named Fragments, then Frag Mentz, is now tentatively titled If I Could Remember, I Would: Memory, My Mother & Me. (It’s normal for a book title to change once the story is complete and there may be more tweaking before it’s done!) I’m not quite at the finish line — the book is with my editor for review — so perhaps I should say approaching the finish line? Better still, with work yet to be done on interior and cover design, maybe approaching the approach to the finish line is more accurate. Hoping for a release late in 2023.

And, since my novel uses excerpts from my mother’s autobiography, I will be simultaneously releasing her book as well. It just makes sense.

My short story “All in the Family” was finally published — writers hate waiting, at least this one does — in Prairie Fire, Winter 2022-23, Volume 43, No. 4, available for purchase. Hop on over to Facebook to see Prairie Fire’s post on Jan. 23, read an excerpt of my story, and see pics of my grandma. (And one of me, around age 4, with a very bad haircut. Yeah, I knew that would get you there.)

Since I’m sticking to literary happenings in this month’s blog, I should mention that my local writing club, London Writers’ Society, has invited an award-winning author to speak in our city. I am involved on the club’s Board and behind the scenes in organizing the upcoming event. Author to be announced soon!

So, there you have it, last month’s happenings. (Cue Simon and Garfunkel, “At The Zoo”.)

How was your month?

(Oh, yes, some snow shovelling filled a few of those January days. Not a literary happening, but maybe I was pondering this blog while shovelling. Does that count?)

Thanks to Matthew Cabret on Unsplash for the flamingo photo.

Resolution or Ritual?

Resolution or Ritual?

Every January 1st, my mother would make her New Year’s resolutions. Her list always contained the same two items — lose five pounds and exercise more. Whether it was the same five pounds she’d vowed to lose the previous year or an additional five was unclear. Her list would contain other goals, too, things like learning a new word every day or becoming an expert bear maker. (She did!)

Unlike my mother, I never made New Year’s resolutions. What was the point, I thought, if you are writing the same thing from year to year. It seemed more a record of failings than resolutions. Even the best intentions seemed to fall by the wayside before the first month ended.

For me, I preferred to mark the turning of the year with a ritual. For years, it was simply reading The Red Tent by Anita Daimant, cover to cover in one day, as I nibbled gorged on Christmas cookies and holiday leftovers. When that novel disappeared from my bookshelf, having been loaned to a friend but never returned, I switched to Keeper ‘n Me by Richard Wagamese. If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be? For me, Wagamese. Having once lived in northern Ontario myself, his story strikes a chord. But this year, his book wasn’t calling me.

So, sans a fiction novel to read, I made a resolution — Yes, me! — namely, to read The Making of a Story this year. By Alice LaPlante, the tome is almost 700 words. Perhaps it needs to be a 2‑year effort.

Still yearning for a ritual of some kind, I heard Kryon speak of “expecting benevolence.” Then, perhaps because my son was home for Christmas this year, I was reminded of playing the story-making game when he was a child. I would begin with an inciting incident, such as, “A man was eating an apple while driving his car. He threw the apple core out the window. What happened next?” My son would pick up the storyline, add some drama, and finish with, “And what next?” So I decided to mix the story-making approach with expecting benevolence.

And so I began…

“My short story “All in the Family” is published in Prairie Fire,” I said. (I admit it was a bit of a cheat because I knew the story was forthcoming, although I didn’t know precisely when.)

“And what next?” I asked myself. Instead of focusing on life moving from drama to drama, I focused on a life moving from good news to better news.

The release of my audio book (okay, another cheat), a road trip to New York, some physical healing, a falconry experience, an award, some relationship reconciliation….

Unleashed, my desires poured forth. Things I had been unable to admit wanting, even to myself. Within minutes, I had a very long list.

What else, what else, what else? I kept adding to the list.

Were these wild imaginings or powerful intentions? I didn’t know (and still don’t.) But I felt happier. Perhaps I wasn’t five pounds lighter as my mother always resolved for herself, but I was emotionally lighter.

This expectation of benevolence is my new ritual, one I intend to practice at the beginning of every New Year. Give it a try. See how it makes you feel. Can you give yourself permission to wish for anything and discover the secret yearnings in your own heart?

May you be safe.

May you be happy.

May you be healthy.

May you be peaceful.

Photo: The bears, Wilbur and Wilma, hand sewn by my mother, feature in my next novel, a memoir about caregiving, about “memory, my mother, and me.”

Gift Giving & Receiving

Gift Giving & Receiving

Imagine a bubble…

It was late in the evening as the gentle voice of Monika Muryani guided me in an online meditation. As instructed, I filled my bubble with a request. Send me a gift in the coming week, a gift easily known, seen and recognized. One that will make me say, A-ha! I asked for a gift and this is it.

I watched my bubble drift into the sky and into The Field, into the energy of All That Is.

As soon as I awoke in the morning, the bubble-request sprung to mind. Oooh, I wonder what my gift will be, I thought, then went about my usual morning activities. The meditation leader said the gift could be as simple as a cup of coffee or a smile from a stranger.

Setting out on my morning walk, I noticed the wind was picking up. Is this it? A gift of nature? I inhaled the ozone-rich air of an approaching storm, cool against my cheeks, and smiled. If I have to ask, then this probably isn’t it, I thought.

I noticed many gifts of nature that week. The gurgle of the water at the creek, the cardinal’s song that sounded like his spring mating call even though it is autumn-winter. The warmth of the afternoon sun.

There were other gifts, too. A pleasurable day spent shopping. (I hate shopping, so ‘the gift’ wasn’t what I bought, but the fact that the day was enjoyable.) Finding out my line dancing class was being renewed in the new year. The sound of my own laughter in my period of mourning. Who wouldn’t laugh at cedar shrubs decked out as Santa-gnomes?

Still, I kept wondering, Is this it? Is this THE gift?

This morning, the last day of the meditation timeline, I saw a teen walking toward me, his back hunched from the weight of his backpack. I’d seen him on other mornings. Each time, for one brief moment, as we passed each other, there was just him and me—a young man and an old woman—alone in the world at 7 a.m.

Now, I typically greet the people I see regularly on my morning walks with a cheery, Good morning. But teens, like this one, would routinely ignore me, keep their eyes forward, and walk quickly by. I kept persisting, hoping they might actually greet me in return some day. Lately though, I’d given up. I stopped greeting the people that never replied. Instead, I’d try not to look at them, just like they pretended not to notice me.

But this morning was different.

As I silently passed this male teen, already a foot taller than me, he turned and smiled! Reflexively, I smiled back. For that split second, we connected.

This is it, I thought.

Truly, that moment was a special gift. And even as I write this, it brings tears to my eyes again. Yet the bubble meditation brought me another gift—the gift of observing. Throughout the week, I was in a state of mindfulness, of noticing ordinary things. Hans Christian Andersen once wrote, “The whole world is a series of miracles, but we are so used to them we call them ordinary things.” Each day, my world was filled with ordinary miracles and I was filled with gratitude.

And, not only was I noticing ordinary miracles, I was expecting them. This was a paradigm shift. Believing and knowing that good things are coming my way, that each day holds promise and potential. Not just know it, but to feel it in my being.

That is the gift!

So, go ahead, imagine a bubble…



With gratitude to:

Monika Muranyi for the meditation, Nov 23, 2022, Kryon Circle of Twelve.

Braedon McLeod for his bubble photo.

           

The Art of Pretense

The Art of Pretense

Today I stopped pretending.

I stopped pretending I was the kind of person that would iron crumpled tissue paper in order to re-use it someday.

Briefly I thought about how it might be re-purposed. I remembered the stained glass vase I made in grade four with torn bits of coloured tissue paper and Modge Podge. Yeah, I didn’t bother to pretend I would make one of those.

I could have pretended that tissue paper was recyclable and tossed it in the blue bin. That way, if ever informed otherwise, I could exclaim, “Well, I didn’t know!”

But today I stopped pretending.

I checked online and found tissue paper (and wrapping paper) are NOT recyclable. Sure, you can throw it in the bin and the garbage collectors might dump it in the truck. But, at the end of the day, at the other end of the line, it will not be recycled.

While tissue paper is biodegradable, we can’t pretend it happens efficiently when mixed with trash that isn’t.

Tissue paper is compostable, but I can’t pretend I want the coloured dyes on my vegetable garden.

And those gift boxes? The ones with layers of Christmas tags, one year’s tag covering last year’s and the five years before that, boxes with the corners slightly squashed from storage and small tears in the sides…I stopped pretending I was ever going to re-use those either.

I stopped pretending the mess in my wrapping storage didn’t bother me. So I sorted the bins—one for Christmas, one for other occasions. I stopped pretending flattened bows would ever adorn a present, that the gawd-awful gift bag—Who gave that to me?—would be re-gifted in this lifetime.

I sorted the bins, stacked gift bags neatly by size and occasion, gathered all the fluffy bows in one bag and discarded the flat ones, and arranged rolls of tape, side by side, with the pens and gift tags. All that remained was a pile of wrapping cloths. My furoshiki phase.

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of gift wrapping using fabric squares or oblongs in plain, bright colours or perhaps imprinted with pink cherry blossoms, an image of Mt. Fuji, or sakura waves. Bunnies, cats, sumo wrestlers. And tied with fancy knots around the gift. The wrapping techniques are used for square objects as well as those that are long, flat, slender. There’s a wrap for a wine bottle, another for two bottles together, or various sling wraps for carrying heavier items. Furoshiki is eco-friendly. Perhaps this year I would create some Christmas wrapping squares?

I carefully folded the cloths and placed them in my bin as a reminder.

Sometimes I still pretend.

Red Cars & Green Hearts

Red Cars & Green Hearts

If you look for red cars, you’ll find them everywhere.

Look, there’s one! Oh, another. And over there.

It was an exercise assigned by one of my profs at college and it was true—red cars were everywhere! Were there really more red cars than any other colour? Or was it simply that we were tuned to see red cars, so that is what we noticed.

In these last how-many-is-it-now years, it seems all that is wrong with the world is being highlighted. Whether it’s our political, educational or medical systems, that which is broken, that which isn’t working any more, is being highlighted so it can be changed. Or deleted.

We’ve become attuned to seeing red cars everywhere.

Let me switch gears here and say that music is a barometer of the people. (Stay with me while I connect the dots.) Song lyrics are often social commentary put to music. Think Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi. Bob Dylan, Blowin’ in the Wind. John and Yoko, Imagine.

Personally, I’m a fan of new country music. Now, some might dismiss country as merely songs about drinking, trucks, and breakups. (If that’s all you hear, maybe that’s your red car, er, truck?) And I’ll admit there is a lot of that in country music. It’s part of the human condition, so why not. And those breakup songs are often full of anger and revenge. Maybe it’s even why we love them, why we sing along.

But then comes a breakup song that’s different. It’s full of tenderness and love. Compassion. It made me sit up and notice. It wasn’t a red car. It was a green heart!

Stay with me while I switch gears again. I promise it will connect up.

Love is green. This occurred to me when looking at the colour chart for the chakra system. The heart chakra is green. The heart chakra is Love, thus Love is green. Then I began to notice green grass and green trees. Even green cars. The earth emits the frequency of love. It’s beamed out from Gaia to remind us Love is everywhere. The speckled green of zebra grass. Blue green of hostas and spruce trees. Red green of Japanese maples.

Not only is green/love everywhere, the song tells me there is a shift happening. From anger to forgiveness, from blaming to taking responsibility for self. From pain to healing. From red to green.

Now maybe I’m reading too much into one song. Maybe it is just another breakup song. But I’ll take green hearts over red cars any day. I prefer to think, as Bob Dylan wrote, the times they are a changin’.

Many thanks to Old Dominion for another great song, No Hard Feelings. Apologies in advance…you will have to watch an ad before you can hear the song. (I have no control over that or the ad! Just saying.) But if you liked their song, too, send them a green heart.

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