Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Finding the center

There are days when the bills have to be paid, the dog needs to be taken to the vet, the laundry is threatening to overtake the bedroom, and there isn’t a clean dish in the house.  No matter how hard you try, reality keeps dragging you out of the fantasy world of your creation, and keeping words from hitting the page.  I’ve been having this problem a lot recently.  Stress and frustration are disturbing my peace of mind, which is so needed when it comes to creating.

But when I can string together a few undisturbed minutes to hunch over my keyboard or notebook, I have found that music is often the best and quickest way for me to return to the world of my own creation and the characters that I love. 

I was startled recently at how quickly I can be submerged in a world – even one that I haven’t visited in a while.  I turned on my iTunes a few days back and just left it play while I tinkered with other random things before getting to work. I was drawn from my research when the song “Gabriel” by Lamb came on.  I hadn’t listened to it in a long time and I had played it most frequently when I was writing the Dark Days series. 

With the first few haunting strains of music, I was zipped to Mira’s world.  It was like being dropped naked in icy water, the emotional response had been so strong.  In an instant, I could recall the rhythm of Mira’s speech, her know-it-all smirk, and her love of Danaus and Tristan.  I could see her dark world spread before me and all its players, standing frozen as if only waiting for my command.  In that moment, I think I could have picked up writing that series without batting an eye. 

It has been roughly two years since I last wrote a Dark Days novel, so some of the songs have faded from my mind.  “Gabriel” has a special place in my heart, as well as “I Remember” by Stabbing Westward.  That one has always made me think of Danaus and Mira.

Gage and the Asylum Tales have been a little harder to peg.  Gage’s moods have been a little more mercurial and there are a wide variety of personalities that pass through the tattoo parlor.  For large sections of the series, I’ve relied on Shaman’s Harvest, particularly “Say the Same,” while Pink Floyd tends to invoke Bronx’s personality in my mind.   Gage is also a fan of “Sound of Madness” by Shinedown.  That one always gets me in the mood for a good fight scene.


Helen Lowe said...

Thanks for this great post, Jocelynn. Music is an important accompaniment to writing for me as well, but I really love the way you describe 'Gabriel' evoking your world and characters.

Kim Falconer said...

I agree with Helen, Jocelynn. It's spellbinding just listing to how the music transports you. I prefer the sounds of nature around me, but oh boy, you make a fabulous case for music!