How I Write…Continued

So I wrote a post a few days ago about how sometimes things I hear other people experience, or things I experience myself, or things I just see on the outskirts of my existence in life inspire me to make up some fictional people and tell a story sometimes. But those aren’t the only catalysts to creativity and writing it down for me.

For those of you who are regular blog readers, and have been since at least February, you won’t likely be surprised that music inspires me to write often. In fact, music is probably my number one spark igniter for writing new fiction. I feel rhythm…drum beats, bass lines, other percussion from vocal offerings to tambourines and amplifier feedback; I latch onto melodies and harmonies; I catch lyrics, from full bodied stories in themselves to just snippets of lines, and it inspires anything from characters to plot lines in my head. Often, parts of several songs combine to form an imaginary friend for me. An example from my novels is Josh Shepard. (The Building Series). The Killers (a band I’m CERTAIN Josh would like) have this song, All These Things That I’ve Done that has this repeating lyric in the bridge: “I got soul, but I’m not a soldier…”
That’s like…JOSH. I’ve written hundreds of pages detailing who Josh is and how he sees the world and interacts with people and forms relationships with them…what kind of friend he is, what kind of romantic partner he is, what his politics are, what his ambitions in life are, what he believes and doesn’t believe, but…those 8 words are basically him, condensed. That’s a part of where Josh Shepard came from. Those 8 words in that Killers song. I like that whole song, but the rest of the song is NOT Josh. Just those 8 words.

But I’ll get more detailed about music and how it inspires me to write fiction by going over my short story, Caller ID.

I have a friend from 8th grade (right? I’m a people keeper. So if you’re a friend of mine now, and you wanna stick around, and we don’t have a major life-value conflict? You’re a friend of mine For-Ev-Er.) who knows me fairly well as far as People Who Are Not J know me, and he knows I have a music trigger for writing. So I was bitching about writer’s block to him once about 5 or 6 years ago, and he said, ‘How about writing a story that comes from the song Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand by Primitive Radio Gods?


First, just have to say…that was an OUTSTANDING song prompt for writing. Because the lyrics are just vague enough to be twisted into lots of storytelling lanes. But they’re also significant enough that it was a helpful jump start for me. And I mean the TITLE of the song is great as a prompt without even listening to the lyrics. So from just the TITLE, Aaron Silverman was born in that opening scene.

And for those of you who have read the story, these were important lyrics for me…

“I’ve been downhearted, baby…ever since the day we met…”
“An old friend calls and tells us where to meet…”
“Does summer come for everyone? Can humans do as prophets say?”
“A life is time, they teach us growing up…”
“You ride the waves, and don’t ask where they go…”

And the song in its entirety can be taken in so many different ways and so many different directions, that made me think about Aaron’s thought process. He thinks he’s mapped out every conceivable outcome, every possible result of the action he takes. But he’s wrong. I love and hate that about life. That there always seems to be something you didn’t think about, something you didn’t plan and prepare for…some new way to be mistaken and taken by surprise, but it’s not always BAD. In fact, sometimes those outlier, un-thought-of possibilities in life are our greatest opportunities. We just have to look at them that way.

Maybe this post didn’t make any sense of me or my story, but I gave it a shot. I’ll be writing more about writing in the near future to try again. In the mean time, please read my fictional work, and if you have any questions or requests, I love hearing from readers.


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