Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Music and writing

As I have written before, all three of my books have been written on the train, commuting to and from Sydney.
As you can imagine, peace and quiet and CityRail trains rarely appear in the same sentence together - unless the phrase ``can't find any'' pops in somewhere.
Thanks to the marvels of the iPod, I can shut out most of these distractions. But music serves as more than a way to block out the gibbering of some idiot at the end of the carriage.
I find music helps my writing and, in fact, I get inspiration from lyrics, as well as help myself get into the mood to write certain scenes thanks to songs.
At Conflux last year, I was on a panel that tried to answer the question ``Where do you get your ideas?''
Obviously not an easy one to answer but one of the things I said was lyrics of songs. I find that certain lyrics jump out of songs at me - and can take my mind spinning off in different directions, thinking about characters and even plot lines.
Julianne, one of the people who came along to the Risen Queen book launch at Infinitas (who posted her lovely review of the book on the Infinitas website) asked me there about the music I listened to - and probably got more than she bargained for when I started talking about it!
I should add that, while I remembered the lyrics, I certainly didn't sing. To use a phrase from the classic comedy series `Allo `Allo, I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.
But I do remember lyrics - and I think that while listening to music while writing is not for everyone, they have helped take me in different directions, as well as truly get me in the mood to write different scenes.
Some examples:
Coldplay's Fix You has fascinating lyrics that could be a promise from Martil to Karia - but also, equally could be a promise from Karia to Martil - `I will fix you'.
Hoobastank's The Reason has a great line for Martil: `I've found a reason for me/to change who I used to be/a reason to start over new/and the reason is you'.
Live is not to everyone's taste but they have some interesting lyrics that jump out at me. Take their song Mystery: `Mine eyes have seen the glory of a love that does transcend/Mine eyes have seen the worst inside of man/And fear is like a fallen bridge, A broken promise/And the proof is in the bloodshot eyes of the one who failed to see'
Undoubtedly they are talking about God but I also take a different interpretation from that ... particularly the line `mine eyes have seen the worst inside of man'.
Or how about this from The Rasmus' song In The Shadows: `I've been watching I've been waiting/In the shadows all my time/I've been searching I've been living/For tomorrows all my life'.
These sorts of lyrics get me thinking about dark, lost characters, searching for a way back. But then I even get something from the likes of Chumbawumba's drinking song - `I get knocked down/I get up again/You ain't never gonna keep me down'. I take from that someone who refuses to give up, no matter what life throws at them ...
Music is as intensely personal as writing - I just find the two of them can be complementary and perhaps take the mind off in different directions!

No comments:

Post a Comment