(image borrowed from Orthodox Arts Journal)
In my opinion, the most moving of music is always the music that contains no lyrics. Unless they are vague, lyrics tend to force a certain set of images into one’s mind when listening to a song. They set a theme, they set a story, and a character and really put walls up. They box in your ideas for what this song could be about and who it’s written for. Instrumental music is freer. There’s no male or female vocalist, there is no particular story being told other than the one the instruments tell, and you can feel anything from pain to pleasure as you listen. While I’ve had inspiration from a handful of songs with lyrics while working on books, I primarily listen to instrumental, soundtrack, or ambient music and can dive into a story so much deeper this way. As of late while working on my apocalyptic novel, The Wild Dark, I have fallen in love with a particular composer who I had not had the pleasure of listening to before: the wonderful Arvo Pärt.
Yes, yes! You’ve been looking forward to this all week, haven’t you? We return once again to the awful cat vampire love story drama that I tried to craft when I was in grade school. Being that I wrote this when I was about 14 in 2002, had no social life, and spent all of my time inside writing, it’s bound to be bad. This was also at a time when I had crazy curly hair that could not be tamed and gigantic glasses, which weren’t in style then (but are now for some reason…). There are still times I look back on this story and wonder how the hell I managed to write something so incredibly terrible. The realization is that I didn’t know it was terrible then. I thought it was better than the things I’d written when I was younger (and it was, somehow…). Moral of the story is that hindsight is a bitch, but it also can make you feel better about where you are now and remind you of all you’ve learned.
But I’m preaching. I’ll bring you up to speed on where we now stand in our “cat-pire” story.
Apologies. Nearly a week late with this week’s Inspiration Through Music. My excuse, while being almost exactly the same as the one given in my Cooking Adventures blog, also consists of me working on a new project which I’ve had a hard time tearing myself away from. But, it really is due to the fact that I had some very inspirational music to listen to and was just in the mood to write. When I’ve got a good playlist of music, it really keeps me going. And if you’re a writer, you’ll understand that when you do have that inspiration, it’s best to get as much down as you can, as quickly as you can. One of the songs that has been really pushing me along has been “Roads” by Portishead, the first in the list below of some groovy trip-hop delights. I’ve been listening to this song as I work on my new apocalyptic novel which is turning into a romance of sorts. Of course, I don’t like to do things mainstream, so the romance is especially sad and definitely not your average one.
Portishead is an English trip-hop/downtemp0/electronic band formed in 1991. They are one of the pioneers of the trip-hop music genre and are a relatively well known group. I was introduced to them when I found a youtube video using their song “Wandering Star” a few years back. It immediately conjured a bevy of dark images and inspirations for use on my antagonist of my book at the time (which I will be finishing within the coming year). After listening to their music for a while, I was introduced to the song “Machine Gun” last winter. This song was destined to become one of my favorites and spur on much of the inspiration for my upcoming book, “Aequitas.” Today, I’ll be sharing 5 of Portishead’s songs with you and how they inspire me.
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.
Writing romance has never been my forte. I’ll admit I’ve attempted it in the past and it never or very rarely comes out as sounding believable. One of my first novels had quite a bit of romance in it but of course it didn’t make any sense. Allot of it probably comes from the fact that I was sixteen and had absolutely no idea what I was writing about. Since then, I’ve become more interested in period romances, pieces that go back in time. I honestly can’t get into contemporary romance and, though I’ve tried my hand at paranormal romance, I find I’m not as skilled at that as I’d like to be. Instead, as of late, I’ve found my interest in writing a WWI era novella that I’ve dubbed the “thromance”. It’s a thriller/romance piece. I thought of the idea several months ago and haven’t had any time to work on it. I’m really hoping that I can get a chance to this winter after “Aequitas” has been published. However, I always get inspiration for it when I listen to any of the music by Dario Marianelli.
Dario Marianelli is a film score composer who has a knack for working on several romantic period pieces as well as a few war driven films as well. The first score of his that I purchased was the one for the latest Jane Eyre in 2011. I absolutely adore that film. Not only are the actors outstanding, the script is crisp, the cinematography is fresh, and the music? Well, the music had me enraptured the entire way through the movie. After purchasing that soundtrack, I became curious of Marianelli’s other works, and searched his history for the list of the other films he’d worked on. I was happy to find V for Vendetta, as well as Atonement, and Pride and Prejudice. Of course, there were many others. But for me these four films were the ones that really inspired my writing. And most of it inspires scenes for my thromance piece. Today, I’ll be sharing 8 songs with you.
The romantic in me comes out whenever I hear Norah Jones. Granted, I’m not much of a romance writer. But every now and again, even I like to write a little something sweet and beautiful such as two people coming together in love. In fact, I have a romance novella that I’m working on right now, which is inspired by a couple of different pieces of music I’ve listened to recently (Dear Esther soundtrack and Dvorak, for starters). But, back to Norah Jones.
I’ve been a fan of hers ever since her first album ‘Come Away With Me’ came out in 2002. I’ve been collecting her albums ever since. I just in fact downloaded her newest album “Little Broken Hearts” a couple days ago. I’m always surprised by how she can change her music style but still make the hairs on my arms stand with her emotion and wonderful voice. Today, I’ll be sharing 7 songs of hers that have inspired me in my writing with you.