Research Notes · 01/13/2017

Sing The Song

Our Research Notes series invites authors to describe their process for a recent book, with “research” defined as broadly as they like. This week, Meredith Alling writes about Sing The Song from Future Tense Books.


A big part of writing for me is note-taking. Most of the time a “note” is just a few words that I read, heard, or thought of and want to remember later, or will help me remember to think about something later. I’m not very organized; some of the notes are in a Google Doc titled “Notes” (sure), some are in my phone’s Notes app, and the rest are spread between two notebooks: a small red one that says “ideal” on the front and a plain black imitation Moleskin. Here I’ve copied some of the notes I took while working on stories for Sing the Song.

So rude about my wrist, I felt like crying

Budget Flavin

Decisions that highlight or obscure

What’s the deal

One leg up on the dresser

Hey lady

I was a fuzzy calf once

Depression chat room

Is a baby the mom?

Lexus SUV’s mileage

The Shrimpsons

Carpet + mustard

She was grateful to them for laughing at him (Woolf)

Orangutan, osprey

Who is in charge


Lint vest

Gum knee

Kristen bone hands

Soft or damp

Through love I am teaching myself how to think (Kraus)

Michael Douglas is my safe actor

Egg — ??

Parenthetical living

Up all night

Air vibration

Shank with the twisted handle

By many deeds of shame

Fear of consciousness

Big ringing bell


Treat patient like Dr. in the ER

If a boulder was hot

Fried fish tapas

Slick ponytail

Asshole cop

Problem of illusion

Lucidity too was a long patience (Camus)


Meredith Alling is a writer based in Los Angeles. Her debut collection of short stories, Sing The Song, is out now from Future Tense Books. Her website is