she’s a girl with glasses


what to say in my defence, i was imperfect tense
September 13, 2009, 10:57 pm
Filed under: art, blog, writing | Tags: , , ,

I’m always fascinated by what others find to be inspiring or in what they find their inspiration. To be clear: I hate when people call their inspiration their muse, when they personify their creativity. I know I have no right to dictate how others feel about their imagination– I’ll be the first to admit that I have “voices” in my head and that my characters very much dictate what happens to them, which all sounds almost crazier than this muse deal– but I thought I should put that out there. Shut up about the muse, alright?

Outside that, however, I do love to find out the way others think, particularly artists. On a forum I frequent, there was a thread about where we get our inspiration while writing. While a picture or situation might spur me, most of my inspiration comes from music. I am a music junkie, I own hundreds of hours of music and am constantly looking for new artists and new versions of everything to add to it. I’m the girl who will stop and ask you what that is you’re listening to and will check out more of it even if I wasn’t sure I liked it in the first place. There are few genres in which I can’t find something worthwhile.

I’ve always been a expansive person when it comes to writing. I always have a cinematic vision in my head when I write, and I cast and compose my stories like I’m watching a movie in my mind. I’m not sure how common this is, but I’ve always had this trait; it’s possible it came from my youthful exposure to movies based on books (The Princess Bride being the one I remember clearest, as I saw the movie when I was seven due to my parents being long-time William Goldman fans) and how I become convinced of how a character should look and act. Though I might never admit what person I see in any character role I create, I have it in the back of my mind, know their mannerisms, everything about them– it’s playing God with legos.

Because of this, I tend to create a soundtrack for not just the story, but for the process of writing as well. As such, I currently have a 35 hour playlist compiled for the NOD ™. It started with a single song, Vagabond by Wolfmother, then spiraled out with the addition of Another Travelin’ Song by Bright Eyes. From there, Death Cab for Cutie and Elliot Smith joined, plus old Modest Mouse songs, Aqualung, Rilo Kiley, a smattering of Radiohead and my own personal obsession, John Mayer.

Recently, I came across Frank Turner, a British artist. A friend linked me to him one morning and by afternoon I was hooked. I admit a certain weakness for a boy with a guitar and when you add some incredible talent to the mix, I’m a goner. I added all his albums to my ever-expanding NOD ™ soundtrack, and have found his music to very much fit with the themes of the story that is developing. I’ve cast a scene with a song of his as the score and am finding the moments within sharper and more enduring than I expected.

I very much believe in the interconnectedness of various mediums, in all the arts, and hope to be the kind of writer who eventually inspires others, in both the fiction world and even fine arts or music, the way others have influenced me. For now? I’ll continue this pursuit of the NOD ™ with my playlist that makes me smile every time I open it.

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It’s so funny that you do that, too! I set up ‘soundtracks’ for a lot of the tapestries I weave, and some of them have song lyrics for titles – mostly from Paul Simon, who is a real poet (though I think I weave prose) and is perhaps the John Mayer of my era. I also have a soundtrack for the novel I wrote and have been editing forever. It’s all 40’s music, as that’s the setting for the story. Some of the songs have made it into the book.

Comment by Kathy Spoering




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