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Music and the Writer

February 3, 2012

I’ve been artist of some sort ever since I was a toddler. It began with art. Drawing, painting, doodling, anything I could do with fingers, brushes, paints, pencils… I’d do it. I loved that creative drive. I was also a voracious reader. My mother ensured I loved books from an early age. It was my crack. Every week, I wanted a new book. I read well ahead of my schoolmates, and I devoured much of the fiction in our tiny school library. It wasn’t long before my mother realized she’d created a monster. By the time I was twelve, I was reading my mother’s Harlequin romances, her Stephen King, her John Saul, anything I could get my hands on.

In junior high school, though, was when I began creative writing. It began as poems and quickly became fiction. I also started expanding my imagination, thinking outside the worlds presented to me in the books I read. I learned what fanfiction was, and my best friend at the time and I began writing our own fanfiction (and just so you can all laugh with me, it was Sandman/Sailor Moon crossover fanfiction we wrote back and forth in summer school). It devoured my mind, and by the time I was married and settled into my life, I knew I was meant to be a writer.

The other constant in my life, alongside the creativity and writing and reading, was singing. I loved to sing. Music inspired me like very little else. It still does. (Right now, I’m listening to Slipknot’s Snuff, and I still have this persistent plot bunny nibbling at my feet because of it.) Music brings forth a visceral, almost painful reaction in me. It has since I was an adolescent listening to my mother’s 45s and 78s in the living room and crying over the woman singing about losing Jimmy, the leader of the pack. The husband-thing and co-author both tease me quite a lot because I don’t have what they see as happy music, and I must begrudgingly agree, but there is a method to my madness.

I love the tragic story that has a happy ending. The music inspires that tragic, dark mood, that place I have to go into to write dubious consent or a death scene or cruelty of some kind. I need that to evoke the depth of emotion I feel writing should contain, and I assure you, I have a soundtrack to my fiction. The first time I heard Snuff, I knew there was a heartbreaking, dark, twisted story wrapped up in my mind borne of that music and intense lyrics. And thus my creative drive is never sapped. Give me a song and I’ll give you a story.

(In case you’re wondering, Snuff inspired the feel and character of an Elf from the City Guilds in the World of Egaea series who is of the Guild of Assassins. >.> I can’t wait to play in that world again!)

My iTunes library has 2,255 songs… and that after three catastrophic hard drive failures over the years (I’d have a lot more otherwise). I collect music like a collect books and stories. 🙂 Music is as much a part of my writing as the paper and pen is. Take away the music, and I think there’s be something missing from the stories I tell. The music is inspiration and a driving force, and I’ll never give that up.

(What did I listen to while writing this? Snuff by Slipknot, Child of Burning Time by Slipknot, The Golden State by John Doe featuring Kathleen Edwards, and I Miss the Mountains from Next to Normal)

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