Monday, August 10, 2015

“Muse”ical Inspirations

Okay, so it’s no secret to some that I get a lot of inspiration from songs.  I never know what type of song will spark an interest or inspiration, or put me in the mood to write.  Sometimes it’s a line from the song that gets me thinking and sends me on the path to write my next scene, or the singer’s voice, or the melody that gives me a certain feeling that I know my characters are feeling and that I know how to get down on paper.  It’s easy, and it’s fun when that happens, though if I’m driving, it becomes a little difficult to immediately get those thoughts down.  That notwithstanding, I’m always happy when the spark ignites, and I know where the next part of the story goes even if I can’t get it down right away.  And if I’m lucky, a lot will come together to send me on the path to finish my book or story of the moment.

About a year ago, I was watching an episode of Revenge and a song, “Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS, began in the background.  It wasn’t the first time I’d heard it.  I actually had the CD of it, but hearing it again, losing the scene between the characters on the screen, it was like I was hearing it for the first time.  I listened to the words, the way the Michael Hutchence delivered them, the music—and those are the things that entranced me in that moment, not the show I’d been following religiously for so long.  I re-watched the scene so I could follow, but the song stayed with me for days after until I saw two people in my mind, brought together almost instantaneously but torn apart almost as quickly.  It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was a connection that didn’t go away.  And so, that is the song that initiated the story I’ve been working on for a while, now.  My inspiration didn’t stop with that one, though—

“Beautiful Girl” and “Disappear,” also by INXS.  When I first heard “Never Tear Us Apart,” again, of course I had to revisit my entire INXS collection.  The former stayed with me because it made me think of the male protagonist thinking of the female, and “Disappear,” well, just gave me an exhilarating feeling.  I’ve replayed that one a lot.

“Carefree Highway” by Gordon Lightfoot.  I heard this song on the radio and immediately had to down load it.  Lightfoot’s calm, soothing, poignant voice perfectly tells the story of a man remembering a woman from long ago, one who was not his but who he cannot forget nonetheless.  It has that lasting effect I want to capture.

“You’ll Accomp’ny Me” by Bob Seger.  I heard this song after dropping Lydia at the babysitter’s on my way to work one morning and immediately turned it up.  I listened to what Seger was saying to this woman who had to take off and leave and I loved his knowledge (not hope) that even though he accepts and lets her go, he knows they will be together again because they were meant to be, even if it’s not now.

“Ordinary World” by Duran Duran.  This song created a feeling of longing, one that I felt my characters did for one another, particularly during the time they are kept apart by unforeseen forces.  I credit the lovely music but also the lead singer’s powerful yet retrained emotional way of delivering his words.
“After All” by Peter Cetera and Cher. Okay, can I just say the power of Peter Cetera’s voice harmonized so well with Cher’s?  I love how the title phrase is repeated several times in different ways, but is also a theme, one I feel my story is traveling towards, if I can find the way. 

“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”  by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.  This is a duet I have long loved, one that I feel is actually one of the best out there.  There’s a lot of history between the speakers, some anger, but passion as well, and when I heard it again recently, it was like my characters singing to one another.  Strange, I know, but my characters are performers as well and when I heard this again, I heard them in my mind.

It's songs like these that make me turn up my radio when I start my car, wondering and anticipating what treasure or piece of the path of my story I will discover next.  And if I don't happen to make a discovery one day, it's okay. The magic doesn't happen every day, but that's what keeps it magic.  And if I really want to write but can't find the inspiration, well, all I have to do is turn to my playlist above, re-read what I've written, and off I go.  And if I'm lucky enough to happen upon one of these songs after I've finished this story, I'll smile, remembering what it gave to me.

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