It is with a light sorrow that I write this post today. I have just a few minutes ago learned of the passing of a musical artist who produced in the independent realm of music. This is an appropriate time for me to express the importance of how music interlinks with my writing process, something I’ve always wanted to write about.
Last year, I happened upon a piece of profound music while streaming online. The artist was Marjorie de Muynck, a Santa Fe based musician who produced “sound healing” work through music. I purchased her CD that became the inner soundtrack for a piece of writing that has now evolved into novel. I was told that it is always good practice for a writer to thank other artists who offer inspiration so that they can hear from others in the world who appreciate what they do. Since I had yet to even get going on the inspired writing in a serious way, I thought I would wait to contact Marjorie when the project was underway. Today was that day, and while I searched for her email to write to her, I learned I was two months too late.
I’m not sure if its coincidence or not, but the piece of work that has evolved into a novel inspired by Marjorie’s music is the e-book I plan to publish at the end of the month, a decision I just made only a couple of weeks ago. That novel has morphed into a trilogy, an endeavor I never imagined I would take on, however, the work gives birth to itself. Marjorie’s music has played an integral part in all of this.
Every piece of writing in my world is always accompanied by its own choice of music. I say “its own choice” because there is a magical quality of how a story and a certain piece of music can work in concert to transport me into the world my writing creates. It is as if the music and the story have chosen one another, creating its own symphony, and I act merely as the tool to put pen to paper. Most often, it may only be one or two pieces of music that I will stumble upon that will carry me through weeks or months of writing one story. This is all I need to transport me into the world of the fictive dream, the experience where time ceases to exist, the “zone” as I call it.
I don’t usually divulge my musical inspirations, as I find it a private matter, at least until the work is out in the world. However, I felt moved today to open up a little, and to remind myself on a bigger level how important it is to not put aside or procrastinate an offering of thanks or generous words to those who have inspired me, whether it be another writer, artist, or someone in my personal circle. If you are moved by someone’s work in a profound way, let them know. You’d be surprised how a few words could make an artist feel good about the work that they’re doing. Maybe your letter will catch them on a down day, and wind up turning their day around. And this is not something contrived. I’ll end with a short story to prove this.
When I was in grad school, I had just begun to write my first novel. Each month, I had to submit excerpts of the novel to my faculty advisor. I won’t divulge her name, but she is a well known writer whom I was told is one tough cookie to have as a critic. One particular month, I submitted an excerpt of my novel to her. She was delayed in sending me back my work with editorial comments as she had been quite ill (I didn’t know that. I thought maybe my writing had sucked big time). When she finally mailed my work back to me, she called me and told me that she had spent an afternoon with a bad headache in bed and my work was the last for her to edit. She didn’t wish to do it at all, but she forced herself to read the 40-50 pages I had written. Not only did she read the entire thing, she told me her headache went away, and that she loved the writing that jolted her awake. She was the first successful, veteran writer to tell me that my writing made her day. Those generous words made my day, and even now, inspires me to keep writing.
So if there is an artist out there, whether it be a writer, musician, painter, that inspires you or your work, or both, let them know.