There are some musicians that you get inspiration from no matter what song of theirs you are listening to. All of their lyrics and sounds seem to have the right amount of emotion and spirit in them that just opens up something inside of you and makes you want to create. I have a list of 10 favorite musicians that I constantly refer to when I’m in dire need of inspiration no matter what project I’m working on. On this list is Florence and The Machine. The first song I heard by them was “Heavy In Your Arms” and ever since that blessed day, I’ve collected and listened to their music with a rabid hunger for inspiration.
I’ve mentioned before in another blog that I love it when a musical artist and a writing project can mesh together as one so that most anything that musician has sung or created works perfectly with your story. This is the case for Florence and the Machine and The Monstrum Chronicles. Several of her songs have been inspirations for different scenes in the later books of the series. But what’s also refreshing is that her songs are so varied that I can use them as inspiration for other projects as well, namely projects not in the horror/paranormal genre. Florence has a refreshing, clear, and bright voice that just automatically kick starts my writing no matter the project. Today, I’ll be sharing 6 of her songs and talking about what I see when I listen to them.
Howl: There’s a full moon in the sky, bathing the forest beneath with light and seeming to make the snow glow. A woman runs among the trees. She has a grin from ear to ear as she zig-zags through the underbrush, moving as if she were one with the woods. The further she moves along, the more her movements become more fluent. Soon enough, she’s moving with unearthly speed, her long red hair flowing behind her like an airborne river. Once she reaches the edge of the woods, she stares down a bluff toward a small town, tiny spots of golden light illuminating it in the darkness. Her eyes glisten with excitement. She tilts her head back and a blood-chilling howl rises escapes her. This town is ripe for the taking.
The Dog Days Are Over: Sometimes the unexpected has a way of turning out all right. A man sits at a table in a coffee shop, sipping at a black coffee and staring at his copy of a Hemingway novel beneath him. He begins to think about how his life has fallen into a rut. He does the same thing every day out of habit, works at a job that doesn’t stimulate him anymore, and has no one to go home to at night. And just as he’s thinking that, someone’s hot coffee spills over his lap. Yelping, he jumps up and stands practically spread-eagle as he stares down at the new stain on his pants. He looks up and meets the eyes of a woman, her eyes apologetic as she grabs for a pile of napkins. In her other hand, she holds the same Hemingway book. And in those moments, everything is about to change. [This song actually inspires the opening scene that introduces my two protagonists in Night Time, Dotted Line.]
What The Water Gave Me: It’s the early 1900’s. A female character is taking a walk by the river on her estate. She’s unaccompanied as she has done this walk several times on her own. The sky is overcast and it looks as though it might rain any moment. The longer she walks, the more she begins to think about the strange doctor who she’s been spending more and more time with. The other night, they finally gained some trust in one another, began telling one another some of their hopes and dreams. It’s true that he isn’t the same as the man she was courting before, the one who had died so unexpectedly. But there’s also something about him that is so mysterious, something that seems sinister that he’s not willing to give up to her. The rain begins to pelt her as she stares at the water in the river. He could be the answer to her troubles. Or he could be more trouble waiting to happen. She can’t figure him out. [This song has actually inspired scenes in several projects of mine over the last year. Mostly, I use it while working on scenes from my thromance and I used it while working on my short story Acquolina.
Breath of Life: He stares down at his hands and thinks of what he’s done, the destruction he’s caused. His anger spirals out of control as he realizes he’s never had any free will. He’s always done something for someone else and he can’t seem to free himself from it. Every time he tried to escape from it, he ended up being reeled back in. And now, the unthinkable has happened and there’s no way to go back and fix it. All these hands know is to cause harm. It’s impossible for him to know what is right anymore. Everything is so twisted and his mind has twisted with it all. How can he break free of it? [This song is a major inspiration for an upcoming scene later in the Monstrum Chronicles. Yes, I’ll continue to be extremely vague about it. Wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, now would we?]
Postcards from Italy: A couple rides a motorbike down a long and winding dirt road. Along both sides of them are fields of sunflowers, towering high above them. Sunlight washes over their yellow petals and the green stalks brush against one another in the strong warm breeze from the east. The motorbike travels further until the sunflowers are left behind and rich recently-turned soil overtakes the landscape. Soon enough, rows of furry lavender plants overtake the landscape in columns, stretching far back into the shade of a blue mountain. The sun drops lower on the horizon and turns deep orange, coloring less and less of the field the lower it travels. Still, the couple rides, enjoying the fresh scent of the lavender carried on the breeze. [I realize that this is a Beirut cover but I enjoy Florence’s version much more than the original.]
Heavy In Your Arms: A boat travels along a river. On board are three people. A woman keeps her eye out on the river bank for any signs of settlement where they might be able to dock. Another man carries a gun and also keeps his eyes open, expecting an attack to happen at any moment. The last sits with his eyes closed as if seeking some kind of meditation despite the impending danger. They have come a long way searching for help. There is a very good chance they could die and never get the answer that they seek. But they have to try. The woman thinks about her man, lying in bed back at their home, dying. She needs something to cure him. And she’s willing to go to any lengths she can to save him.
Next time on Inspiration Through Music, we’ll be listening to selections from the classical crossover string quartet, Bond. Stay tuned!