Sunday, July 24, 2016

Craft of Writing: Music hoard. (Part One)

One of my biggest sources of inspiration is music. I have many playlists that I draw off of for different genres that I'm writing in (and as per what mood I am attempting to evoke in the scenes I'm working on). It is a luxury for us to have a world of music available at our fingertips. In the past, I only had the opportunity to listen to what ever was on the radio. Then came Walkmans and cassette tapes (which was a thing when I was a kid, trust me). Suddenly, I found myself at a place where I could listen to pretty much anything I wanted to at any point in time.

When CDs and MP3s came along, it just became even easier to pick and choose what music would be in my playlists for when I sat down to write. I confess, it had me feeling a bit like I was cheating to have all of this brain food available for functionally no effort at all. When the greats like Oscar Wilde or James Joyce sat down to write their works, they did not have music at any time they wanted it. They also didn't have computers, though. So, perhaps I am not cheating as much as it feels like I am some days.

My collection of CDs is fairly prolific and combined with my husband's we have close to 300 albums. We also have a good deal of audio content available to us strictly through the computer, before we go on-line that is. Throw in what you can find on the internet and I think you could say that there is a near infinite variety of music available. (Honestly, I confess that if I wasn't using Spotify, I would be using Pandora. And if I'm not using Pandora, I am going through what I can find on Youtube.)

I have a passionate love of music. Perhaps it comes out of my youth involvement with choir. Perhaps it comes out of the fact that I have an eclectic set of tastes that I can pretty much always find something interesting. (True fact: the only form of music that I dislike is rap. I may at some point in time find a variety of rap that I enjoy, but I haven't yet.) Perhaps my love of music simply comes from the fact that it has been a part of my life where ever I have gone.

I will confess, my love of music will color much of what I do. I have hobbies that were born out of a desire to manifest some of the images that came to mind as I was listening to something. I have artwork and written material that came from a desire to put into some concrete form the stories that I heard in the music around me. I don't think this is a bad thing. I think that our creative efforts should reflect that which we love as much as they should illuminate that which troubles us so that we may know ourselves more fully.

My library of music may not be as much of an inspiration for someone else. I'm fairly sure that there will be people who will be entirely indifferent to it. That is not a bad thing. That just means that there is something else which proves such a powerful source of inspiration. Once you figure out what your biggest source of inspiration is, gather as much of it to you and reference it often. Your references may not be obvious.

I'm pretty sure that most people reading through one of my stories is not going to pick out what was inspired by medieval music and what was inspired by 90s grunge rock. That's ok, because the references do not need to be made in our work or be recognizable by anyone but ourselves. When we reference what gives us a passionate kick in the seat of the pants to progress forward in our expression, it is mainly for our own sake and the sake of our work. When we feel stalled or as though our reserves are flagging, it is good for us to reach out to draw inspiration from the proverbial well and refresh ourselves by immersion in that inspiration.

I have a music hoard that I curate and adapt to my needs at a given time. Perhaps your hoard of inspiration is something different. Don't hesitate to unlock that hoard and reach into its depths when ever you feel a need for more authenticity in your work. I will tell you that your hoard of inspiration will never fail you. The ideas may take some time to germinate and flower, but the seeds will always be fecund and ready for you.

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