Music and Lyrics



Maybe we should’ve talked about this when we discussed influences back in November, but here we are at the beginning of a New Year, and I thought how much music insidiously seeps into my own works. Not overtly mind you. You did note the¬†assiduous use of the word insidious, didn’t you? Music is more like the Agency covertly sneaking in and saturating the subconscious with sublime, sonorous melodies meant to evoke emotion and expand the consciousness. Music is like oxygen. We all need it whether we know it or not. It improves our mood and, before you thinking I’m going all New Age on you (despite the fact I am an Aquarian), it honestly enhances your creativity. (Right now, I’ve an English professor who’s ears are burning from my use of the word “enhance”, forgive me, Colonel Rembert, will ya? (Relax, chief, it’s just an example.)

Moving on, music can serve our purposes as well as any movie or novel for ideas and inspiration. If you look through my works, you’ll see I sneak in some musical allusions into them quite regularly. I won’t point them out for you, but they’re their. Usually, if one wants to take the allusion to its logical conclusion, the referenced song is something I either used to formulate the passage in question or captures the mood and atmosphere of the subject matter. I realize I may be on the outer bounds of esoterica for some of you, so we’ll reel it back in.

If you want a quick infusion of inspiration and don’t have the time to spare to read a book (for shame!) or watch a movie (really? are you that busy) then you can always pop over to Youtube and search for songs you know or don’t know or check out Pandora. Youtube let’s you drill directly to the song you’re looking for, whereas I envision Pandora as drifting through the section of a music store broken down by the stuff you like–it’s more Zen-like and you can discover new favorites that way. However, you’re not out to discover favorites, you’re mining for inspiration. Despite what some may believe, you do not have to wait in an aerie with a spun net of gossamer to capture the muse. You can hunt it down with wild abandon. You can saddle it up. You can ride it. Sometimes, you just need to coax it out of hiding.

The music you seek should have lyrics. You want something for your mind to bounce off of. (This is why I DON’T listen to music with lyrics when I write, by the way, too distracting.) Ballads are especially useful because they tell you a neat little story in under a dozen minutes (and usually half that time). For example, I know Shane’s run an adventure inspired by Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald while I’ve always wanted to write an adventure based off of China Grove and I imagine I’ll some day get around to it. Just hunt down some music, and use it as a springboard. ¬†When you get to the writing, you then shift to the atmospheric instrumental stuff to underscore the essence of what you’re wanting to capture.

Now go throw on your headphones, pop in an 8-track, and grab your spiral-bound notebook and start taking notes. Me? I’ll be over hear, jamming to some Pandora, and writing. Until next time, dear readers, I bid you adieu!

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