Writing connection: Inspire yourself with a song or a picture

Sunday, September 6th, 2009 | No Comments »
Tags: , , , | Categories: Writing |

I find that the best of my first drafts and free writes are inspired by songs that strike a chord inside me. I once wrote a short-short story inspired by an epic Vietnamese song about a wife who sits on a cliff overlooking the sea with her baby and waits, and waits, and waits for her husband to come home from war. Eventually, she waits for so long that she turns to stone. There is a boulder in Vietnam somewhere that actually does look like a woman, cradling a baby, looking out into the sea.

I can’t say it’s the best thing ever, though it is one of the few pieces that I’m very proud of.

Here’s the piece in its entirety:

House Husband
My father is a rock on the hills overlooking the distant horizon, waiting for my mother, the soldier, to find her way back to him. He sits, still and silent, and the raindrops are his only tears, the wind his only sigh. He doesn’t shift, doesn’t complain, doesn’t mind the wait. He is good at waiting–just as he is at cooking, cleaning, changing the fish tank, carrying heavy loads of laundry up and down moldy stairs, vacuuming the carpet, taping my mother’s soap operas, mopping the floors, putting me to bed. So he grows moss at the base of his stone-feet, and the water falls into his ever-open eyes, and when the soldier comes back from her long battle with customers and invaders and employers and herself, he can no longer speak, or see, or hear, or taste, or feel. He is the rock on the hills overlooking the distant horizon, waiting.

So the next time you’re at the music store, pick up something at random in a genre you enjoy, and see if any of the song titles inspire stories or characters for you. What about the cover art? Or, has there always been a song you’ve really liked for its details and its impact on the soul? Try to write a short story to explore the characters and situations in the story.

Happy writing!

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