Here’s your song prompt:
“Scotland the Brave”
Here’s your song prompt:
“Scotland the Brave”
For two days I have wrestled with a story from the song prompt “Lightning Crashes”. I don’t want to wimp out in my writing when confronting that which is raw and primal. Nor do I want to go down the path of describing a scene of evil, which is the image my mind keeps presenting.
I have told my brain, “No. Find something else.”
So I sit here, figuratively with pen in hand, with nothing to write.
First, this blog writer never assumes that what is espoused here is the be all, end all for all people. On the contrary, I espouse what works for me–for the moment, when I am in the mood and not being lazy.
That said, I thought I’d share how my muse works to spin a tale from music. I use YouTube links for songs because:
I listen to a song three or four times in a row. The first couple of times through I read the lyrics as the song plays. Inspiration can come from either tune or lyrics.
If I know the song, I sing, too. The point is to turn off the conscious part of my brain and turn on the subconscious part. I integrate as many senses (hearing, feeling, speaking, dancing) while listening as I can. The more visceral the music experience becomes, the more likely I am to get images in my head.
(This ritual beats soaking my bare feet in a tub of fresh chicken blood under the desk; I read one famous author does that when writing.)
Then the writing starts. More than half the time I get halfway through the story and hit a wall about a conclusion. I repeat the listening ritual, and the end comes. I write it.
As I’ve said innumerable times, I have an active imagination. In my subconscious mind, stories are everywhere, under every leaf, around every door jamb, behind every melody. In any given day, a complete novel floats through my head. The problem is my memory doesn’t hold a candle to my imagination. So in the time it takes me to say, “that’s a cool story,” it’s gone for good.
Oh, well. I guess I can’t have everything.
Right now I am enjoying writing short shorts because I can capture them on paper before the music drifts away.
Today –the last day of June– I was driving my car, my radio set to a rock station that was playing selections from four decades. The songs conjured stories. I thought, why not do a month of musically influenced short stories? Each story will be inspired by one song. The inspiration can come from the lyrics, the emotion or simply the sound of the music.
So, for July, that is what I am going to do. Intermixed with my usual advice for writers and other similar stuff, I am going to write a short story, flash fiction or haiku tied to music.
My first song selection is “Black” by Pearl Jam. It is the melody that was playing when the idea hit me. I’ve included a YouTube link below, which includes the lyrics. This anthem expresses the bitterness associated with lost love. A listener doesn’t need to know what the lyrics are to know the vocalist is expressing emotional pain.
If you don’t know the song. listen to it the first time with your eyes closed. Just feel it. Then watch the video so you can read the lyrics.
The story is coming soon to a blog near you.
Outside, the weather is warm. The skies are clear. The ground is soft and pushing green shoots up. My favorite horse Jake is nickering to me, “Come. Let’s go riding.” Soft breezes push my hair off my face.
I can’t see her. Nor can I feel her directly. Nevertheless, the seductress Spring has gripped me around the waist and pulls me outside. She wafts her perfume of fresh air misted with green grass and hyacinths into my nostrils. She serenades me through her minions, the mockingbird and song sparrow. She woos me with the soft hair of an equine hide and the sparkling glint of sunshine awash in a flaxen mane.
An anonymous WordPress writer posted that she felt as though her creative side were leaving her. Reading her lament, I was pierced with pain. I have been in that horrible place where someone or something suppresses or supersedes the drive to create, to use the gift placed inside you; that suppression spot is a dark place, where the song within is damped, snuffed, squashed.
In response to any who find their flame squelched, their voice silenced, their muse derided, I say the following:
One day in the long ago, I awoke to find myself lost. My lips were sealed by hands unknown. I could no longer sing, or write, or dream. On that day, I knew I must leave the land of the lost. I must leave quickly or I would die from the inside out.
Creating is as vital to life as breathing. When either stops, life suspends. If you are ensnared by something or someone who is binding your lips, your mind, your muse, run from the darkness toward the light. Run as though your life depends upon it. Very likely, it does.