Emotive space

I think it’s almost a law of nature that there are only certain things that hit an emotive space, and that’s what was always special for me about music: it made me feel something — Kate Bush

If you were to ask me who is my favourite female singer, I would automatically respond with Debbie Harry of Blondie.

But if you were to ask me which female singer has been a strong creative influence on me, I would have to say Kate Bush.

For those who like to keep track of shit like this, most of my creative influences are men. Ramin Djawadi. Ludovico Einaudi. Luca Guadagnino. Guillermo del Toro. Francis Lee.

They have influenced and still influence how I want to tell stories. For those who are not familiar with Djawadi and Einaudi, they are music composers. Yes, they influence how I see and tell stories. On a number of occasions, their music has evoked imagery and feelings that have informed the way past and present fictional characters behave and why they behave a in a particular manner.

There are a few ways for me to access the emotive space Bush talks about. But none have been as profound as music.

Music conjures imagery and feelings that pop into my head and give me something that is an equivalent to an epiphany. Canadian jazz musician Michael Kaeshammer’s version of St. James Infirmary was a catalyst in the creation of the my first novel.

My current playlist is always in a state of fluidity but Djawadi’s and Einaudi’s works are mainstays as I work to finish the first draft of the second novel. Other artists have a presence in my writing process, like UK singer/songwriter Jono McCleery.

I suppose I should mention the names of the pieces of music that make up part of my playlist. But I won’t do that simply because the music might give away the relationships between my characters. They are not so much spoilers as they could reveal the tone of the story I’m telling. I may share the playlist when the book is ready for public consumption.

But there is one piece that has landed on my current playlist I am willing to talk about beyond two sentences. That piece is Bush’s Running Up That Hill. Arguably that song may be the most used piece of music in television shows. C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation and Warehouse 13 are two shows that I know of, who have used the song. However, it’s not the original version by Bush that was used. Placebo’s cover was used by C.S.I. and a band called Track and Field did their own version of it for Warehouse 13.

As a side note, there is a band called Track and Field, based out of the UK. But they don’t seem to be the ones who covered the song. There is speculation the band was created just to record the song for Warehouse 13. I think the word used to describe this band was that they were a “project.”

I only discovered the Track and Field cover last week while I was wandering through YouTube trying to satiate my latest obsession. I’m not going to say what or who that would be. But I will say there is a theme linking my latest obsession to the characters in my second novel. I’m just going to leave it at that. I may talk about the theme but I will not name my obsession here.

Anyway, I heard the cover, figured out who performed it and wanted to buy the song. But, of course, the damn song is only available on the U.S. iTunes. What the fuck, folks? But I did find it on Soundcloud and I have no idea how many times I’ve listened to it.

Listening to Track and Field’s cover of Running Up That Hill took me to another part of the emotive space I regularly inhabit. I only access that area when the song/piece, characters and where I’m at with the writing, collide to give me a eureka moment. I don’t access it all the time and I have no way of knowing when it will happen. It just does. It has produced a collage of imagery and moments for the novel that I will be adding as I get closer to finishing the first draft.

I have always loved Kate Bush and her music. And I appreciate any well-executed cover of Running Up That Hill. Placebo’s cover of the tune was the first to blow me away. It just spoke volumes to me. But it’s funny that that cover wasn’t the one to give me my epiphanous moment last week. Hearing the simple combination of vocals, piano and drums in the Track and Field cover did it for me. It quietly opened another door in that emotive space and I was stunned.

Listening to it had me falling in love with the song all over again. Its lyrics and lietmotif evoke a myriad of intense emotions. It speaks to, or better yet, encapsulates the dynamic that exists between my three main characters. It asked me a question and I answered it. That answer is the key to finishing the novel.

It thrills me to no end that my writing process works no matter how far along I am in the story. No need for warming up. No faltering. Just rolling along with the scattered moments of genius. My genius is low level genius, but it’ll do. Happy to have any kind of genius. Period.

Now, back to that emotive space, my happy place. Back to feeling something.

Getting into the groove

If you do not have an absolutely clear vision of something, where you can follow the light to the end of the tunnel, then it doesn’t matter whether you’re bold or cowardly, or whether you’re stupid or intelligent. Doesn’t get you anywhere — Werner Herzog

After this coming weekend, my annual spring commitments will have been met and completed. I’ll be free. Free to finish my novel. To run headlong into that light at the end of the tunnel. I may actually stop being acting like hermit and be a little more sociable.

Or not.

Right now, I’m getting back into my writing groove and it feels great. That feeling is addictive. It means my imagination is getting to fire on all cylinders.

As well, on a whim and a little light bulb of an idea, I’ve started working on a series of abstract photographic images using my iPhone. I even have a name for the series — WODLife Abstracts. I’ll work on it when the mood strikes me. I’ll probably be at it for the rest of the year. I’ll only be posting the images on my Instagram account. I don’t plan on doing anything more with the images unless the gym owners think some of the images would be fun to put up on the premises.

Getting back into the groove also means I’ll ruthlessly mow down anyone who tries to disrupt my mojo.

Maybe I should continue being a hermit a little while longer. Best to keep folks safe if I do that.

I might even be more in the mood to listen to dance music and wiggle my ass. I might even be in the mood to go see a movie or two in the theatre or on iTunes. I really want to see You Were Never Really Here, starring Joaquin Phoenix. I hear it’s one hell of a movie. A Quiet Place is pretty tempting, too.

But my boys are calling to me. Well, actually, one has me by the shoulders and the other has me by the hand, making sure I don’t bolt from them as their adventure continues.

Pish. Why would I ever bolt from them? As if I would ever consider that to be a viable option. I have way too much fun with them. My boys know better. They’re just being cheeky.

Well, I gotta bolt… to be with my boys.

Something in-between

Education is the movement from darkness to light Allan Bloom

I guess when you look at it metaphorically, yes, education is the movement from darkness to light. And for some strange reason, I’m thinking of Snoke from The Last Jedi before he got sliced in two by Kylo Ren.

But I digress. Sort of.

But I would like to say that when one moves from darkness to light, one could and can go back to explore the darkness. I say this as a storyteller. And I say this in terms of understanding fundamentally who you are as a person and embracing the light and the dark that exists within yourself.

Let’s be honest, light and dark and everything in-between live within all of us. And I believe education is achieved when one figures out a way move effortlessly and without conflict between light and dark and everything in-between. That is what makes us complex beings. We are not just light. We are not just dark. We are both and something in-between.

I believe this is a theme I will come to explore more often in my storytelling. I think I’m making my first real attempt at complexity in the novel I’m currently working on. The idea of this story, the story of my characters, my boys, excites me because it’s a huge step towards becoming the kind of storyteller that is buried deep in the marrow of my bones.

I knew from the moment my boys charged into my psyche — hellbent on leaving a path of destruction and hellbent on monopolizing my attention — they would push me to be stubbornly ambitious and give me the desire to challenge myself when it came to telling their story.

My boys are indelible. The taste of light and dark and everything in-between. My desire is to be true to my characters, to be faithful to their stories.

That is my ambition. That is my mission.