Influenced While Writing

I was finishing up a meeting today when a friend called to break the news about Linkin Park front man, Chester Bennington.  I hadn’t received any notification via CNN or ABC News on my phone and when I went to their webpages all I saw was news concerning the upcoming release of OJ Simpson.  I had to run to another meeting so I hung up the phone and continued my search for news about Chester.  All it took was a quick visit to Twitter and there it was, a tweet from Mike Shinoda letting everyone it was real news.

I’m not a die hard fan of Linkin Park but I did see them during their Carnivores tour and I’ve bought almost every album.  Honestly, I knew them as the band where the lead guy screamed the lyrics and I couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to be screamed at for a long period of time.  After my own small identity crisis (that can be more for a later time) I started listening to Fort Minor which led me to Linkin Park (thanks Mike Shinoda), right in time for Minutes to Midnight.  It’s not everyone’s favorite but it definitely sealed my love for LP.

I was excited with LP’s latest release, even if it has a strange, sad undertone.  Heavy was released first and I wondered what would cause such dark struggle.  My depressed characters gravitated towards it and also wanted to push it away, there was something which hit deep for them and their own internal mind games.  And then, when their tour was announced I was thrilled to buy tickets and see them at Citi Field.  And now, everything changes.

This song was my ringtone for a long time, it wasn’t that I was depressed or thinking about loss, I just thought it was beautiful.  Now, it’s fitting.

“And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you”

Thanks, Chester and Linkin Park, for the lyrics and for being an influence on my writing.  Rest in Peace.

Shadow of the Day – Linkin Park

Music Monday

Kodaline - Brother

Thanks, Kodaline, for giving me all the feels this morning as I commuted to work. I’ve been thinking about some of the characters I’ve had hanging around for forever, you know the ones you can never quit, and this song popped on. It was perfect. It matched the sad and regretful emotion I’ve had hanging on to them and neglecting their story but solidified my love for them. They’ll always be my first character loves and they’ll always have each other, no matter the circumstances. I listened to this song, on repeat, and felt it drum through my heart. Lots of creativity and less yelling at cars, lol. I imagined whole scenes and I can’t wait to pop open my laptop and capture them

Brother – Kodaline

What’s Up, Jack?

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. - Jack London
As I pondered over what I could delve into for this Writer Wednesday post, I aimlessly searched through quotes on Pinterest.  Yes, I’m a shameless pinner of, well, way too many pins.  (Pinterest could certainly be a whole other topic of interest.)  I skimmed through writing quotes and this one made me sit up with a bit of a laugh.  For some reason, it just made me visualize Jack London out in the middle of a wintry forest, club in hand, chasing after a figment of inspiration.

Can something really be designated as inspiration if a person has to club it?  I feel as though, yes, one does have to go out into the world and investigate their surroundings in hopes the muses are kind and sprinkle in some inspiration but I don’t know if I could just grab inspiration out of thin air and create.  I envy that kind of magical creation, if it does indeed exist.

Some days, I find inspiration in every place I look.  My brain becomes a dumping ground of ideas, a gumball machine being filled with ideas for me to chew on or allow to grow stale with age.  Most days, however, I run low on inspiration.  It gets used up in my adult job or by others trying to find inspiration in their own life.  Perhaps I should gift them a club or, at the very least, suggest they find their own club to beat up inspiration.

I need to focus this week on writing a few more chapters for my current WIP.  Inspiration has been a bit low.  Perhaps it’s time to break out the club.  Should I work on my evil eye?  Maybe I can intimidate inspiration first, before resulting to further measures.  Fingers are crossed!

The New West

I’ve been watching Jared Leto’s new Great Wide Open series he directed.  The first four episodes are out and I highly recommend them.  There are some crazy people profiled and I’ll admit The Rockstar, episode 3, featuring Alex Honnold, made me cringe and hold my breath as they showed him soloing.  But it was episode 4, The Wolfman, featuring Doug Smith, that made me stop and pause at something he said.  He says “the wolf is the new west, not that romantic, macho, old west.  The new west, where you don’t blow away every predator you see.  And that takes more work and energy and thought.  So yes, wolves are a pain to live with, yes, all these carnivores are hard to live with ‘cause they kill things we want.  Maybe even us.”  Something about this idea of the new west resonates within in.  My creative spark wants to wrap itself around it and see where it could go.  I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m not a western genre girl, so this is a surprise.  But there is something exciting about toying with this “new west” idea.  Another idea for the notebook.

Differentiation

Write from the soul, not from some notion about what you think the marketplace wants. The market is fickle; the soul is eternal. - Jeffrey Carver

I absolutely love this quote.  Not because it’s from some famous author or millions of other people have photoshopped it and shared it for inspirational boards on Pinterest.  I love it for the simple fact it echoes everything I feel when I write.  I have never been one to conform to anything and when pushed, I almost always go the opposite direction.  My first novel is, at least to me, a bit unconventional in I can’t put it in one genre.  I fought a few rounds of editing, trying to rewrite passages I’d already poured blood, sweat and tears into, in order to make it fit more into a mainstream genre.  It was rather tortuous and almost all of those changes where tossed out for the original plot.  The characters were not happy, I wasn’t happy and I’m certain the muses were not pleased as I tinkered.  But, how else will I be able to sell it?  For publishers the book needs to be marketable but also differentiate from all the other books on the market.  It’s a tall order when really I just wanted to give some love to characters who have been developing in my brain for, at least, the past 15 years.  I’m ok with it not fitting squarely in one genre though, it’s the story I wanted to write.  So, as I get ready to start the next project, I’ll take this advice to heart.  I’ll write what I feel is best and what makes me happy.  At some point or another, someone besides myself will love it.  Right?

Creative Spark

I’ve often wondered how the creative spark knows when to strike.  Is it really the Muses?  Do they sit back and watch us poor struggling writers and then go BAM (ala Emeril Lagasse style)?  I imagine they then switch to their best Oprah impression and declare everyone a winner of some new idea, whether it’s a fabulous one or not.  Whomever is responsible, I’d like to request inspiration wait to hit me until I’m out of the shower.  I do receive a lot of late night inspiration, so I’m going to assign those ideas to the Muses and assign my poor mal-functioning, un-caffeinated brain the responsibility of shower ideas.

Perhaps I’ve trained my brain to create in response to the sound of rushing water and like Pavlov’s dog response to a bell, water equals ideas.  I, of course, think all of the ideas are genius and curse at myself for not having thought of it sooner.  Some arrive fully fleshed out!  Characters show up and engage in witty conversation and I know it’s dialogue for some project I’m working on.  If my neighbors could hear me they’d certainly think I’m mental.  My family doesn’t count; they’ve already heard about many of these conversations and they’re stuck with me.

There’s only a small, tiny problem.  There’s no way to write it down fast enough.  My brain powerwalks to the next idea like I do when I see cake put out at a function.  Not only is my brain excited and devours a new idea, it aptly forgets what it was doing beforehand.  I come out of the shower sparkling clean from triple hair washes and frustrated from lost ideas.

I’ve rushed out to write something down before, but soggy paper and especially a soggy phone are not ideal.  I also have a cat whom I feel finds perverse joy in tripping or swiping at me to show her love of being adopted.  I remember another author once saying she had the same problem, so she took to writing on her mirror and shower walls with lipstick and an eyeliner pencil.  Her partner questioned some of the notes left behind when they described fight or murder scenes.  I’m pretty certain I’d run into the same thing.  Not to mention I hate cleaning and it would take daily elbow grease to clean it all up.  There’s a possibility it would look like a crazy person’s stay in a psych ward.

So, dear Muses or sleepy brain or the person supplying the creative spark, now that I’ve harassed you and complained about your visits.  Please don’t stop.  But, if I could have tiny wish, please just alter your visitation plans.  Or drop me some memory exercises so I can retain all the good ideas, not just the well cleaned hair.