Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Inspiration - Music

I've written many posts about my affliction to associate a song with almost any situation. It's a family trait. Sometimes, inspiration comes through with both visuals and audible. I see something, the song pops in, and now there's a whole new meaning for what I'm seeing.
One of the first songs that inspired me was Angry Eyes by Loggins and Messina — "What a shot you could be/if you could shoot at me/with those angry eyes." I spent a lot of time listening to that song writing my first novel-length story (it was horrible, will never see the light of day).

Lyrics can be very provocative. If it’s a good song, it was written that way. They are designed to make you think. Novels should be the same, written in such a way that they make you think. I'm always impressed when I hear a simile or metaphor I've not heard before, or the turn of a phrase that makes me stop and think. Some lyrics that come immediately to mind:
  1. I love you like a fat kid loves cake
  2. Lived her life like a candle in the wind
  3. Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long
  4. You change your mind like a girl changes clothes (one of my favorites)
My current work in progress started with a "moment of grace." I was driving down the road and saw one of those scenes in nature that capture your attention. Think of the perfect sunset, or the first silent snowfall over a forest of evergreens. Sun shafts reaching through the trees to the earth, or mist on the meadow. As I was writing, the song popped in. "Even in the Quietest Moments" by Supertramp. The lyrics don't necessarily fit, but the title sure did. That remained my working title all the way through the first draft.

Ten years ago, I struggled to come up with a "catchy" title for The Treasure of St. Paul. When I revisited it to re-release it, I couldn't get Carly Simon's song out of my mind, and so decided to retitle it—Touched by the Sun.

There is a song to fit every occasion, and sometimes musical artists lend inspiration to ideas already percolating, or sometimes they inspire new ideas.

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