The idea is to write so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart. -Maya Angelou
Inspiration. Tolkien found it hiding in the blank page of a stack of papers while grading. C.S. Lewis drew from a daydream he had at the age of sixteen. J.K. Rowling got her inspiration while waiting on a delayed train. Inspiration comes to us in the rarest moments we never anticipate, a shock of electricity to fill the void.
Where does my inspiration come from? I find inspiration in an array of places because for me inspiration is driven by emotion, and perhaps my biggest inspiration is music.
The first scene in my first novel came to me in a dream. One scene does not make a book. So, I turned to my favorite catharsis. Music. Ever since I was a small girl, music evokes in me such strong emotions that my own personal actual movie of the song is created in my mind. The story plays in my mind as the music conducts. Who the character(s) are and what experiences the character(s) go through in the song crafts a symphony of struggle and story.
Music is such a strong inspiration to me that, in my dream, the Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil” was playing. So, I started there. The road took me through so many songs. Five Finger Death Punch’s, “Wrong Side of Heaven,” led to this image of a character caught in the middle of a war who has to chose a side. Theory of a Deadman’s, “Angel,” really evoked the first moment the main character and her love interest actually kiss. Three Days Grace, “Fallen Angel,” evoked a pivotal moment where the main character sacrifices everything to save her love interest. I literally could see the main character running onto the battlefield, facing down the villain, risking death to save the man she loves. Jeff Buckley’s, “Hallelujah” sparked the concept of the love interest deciding he does have the capacity to love. Halestorm’s “Beautiful with you,” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” brought to bare the inner emotions of the main character and how she faces her own self esteem issues, recognizing the beauty within herself. To be clear, it’s not about the traditional meaning or the composer’s intended meaning of the song, it’s about what the emotion I experience from the song evokes in me.
Simply put, music is my muse.
The music goes through my mind, to my heart, and the ideas take form from melody. I want to create with my writing what I experience listening to music. Emotion. Laughter. Tears. Anger. Fear. Hope. Love.
A dream and a song inspired over eighty thousand words, my first major work. For me, I’ve found music is it’s own magic spell, just like a great novel, it unveils emotion and touches us in unexpected ways, leaving us changed, forever.