I don’t want to write because of books. Weird, right?

So there was a blogfest going around about what book sparked your desire to write. I wanted to participate but I couldn’t think of a single book. Not one. And I thought that was weird. Then today I was watching the morning TBS syndicated showing of “Supernatural” (which I totally love, by the way) and the title sequence song was “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. And it struck me that Kansas was why I wanted to be a writer.

If you aren’t familiar with Kansas, they were really big in the ate 70s (I think?). I was born in the late seventies, so my exposure to them was due to my father. He was a guitarist, you see, and he listened to music all the time (just like me – so is it nature or nurture, do you think?). Anyway, he loved Kansas. And the Beatles and Dan Fogelburg and lots and lots of classical music. It didn’t occur to me until I reached middle school that I could listen to anything else.

But I digress. The thing about Kansas is that, like many similar bands in that decade, they wrote story music. It was poetic and LONG and had lots of electric organ solos (which I hate). But I remember being on a girl scout trip when I was maybe 10 years old? And I was listening to a Kansas mix tape on my walkman. I was bored so I was really listening to the words instead of the tune, which was more normal for me. It was “Closet Chronicles” and it’s about a king who disappears. I can’t even summarize it or pull out a few salient lines because the whole song is the story. And as I listened to it and stared out the car window at the high desert landscape, a whole story unfolded in my head and I though “this is it”. And then I listened to “Nobody’s Home” and “The Wall” and they just evoked such vibrant images in my mind as we drove – images that interwove with the landscape and even now when I hear “Coset Chronicles”  I see the dusty colors of the mesas and scrub – I think we were driving near Lake Havasu. And when that story plays out in my mind, it’s set in a castle that looks like a towering rock formation.

So I don’t want to write because of books. I want to write because of music. I think that’s weird, but what can you do? I guess it’s all about living in an imaginary world, whether of words or images or harmonies. They’re all linked together for me, anyway. And Kansas has a lesson on story structure, too, but maybe that’ll be my next post.

So let me leave you with a few lines from “Carry On…” that still give me chills:

“You will always remember, that will equal the splendor. Now your life’s no longer empty. Surely Heaven waits for you.”


Filed under Music, Reflection

13 responses to “I don’t want to write because of books. Weird, right?

  1. Books don’t inspire me to write, either–or, to put it specifically, they inspire me to write, but inside that world or with heavily derivative themes, which I don’t allow myself to do because I find it a waste.

    Music doesn’t really do it for me, either. In the end, what inspires me is myself and ideas that I want to write.

    Great post!

  2. I struggled with that blogfest as well because I couldn’t come up with any one book that made me want to write. This post is SUPER interesting because I never thought about the correlation between music having an influence. And if so, then what about movies? And then it hit me. I write SF/F because I great up watching it. Now I feel like I have a somewhat legitimate reason, or at least, a good excuse!

    And really, who doesn’t love the Winchester brothers? *sigh…*

    • I think movies influenced me, too – they still do. I keep thinking about structure and characterization in terms of movies and TV and it seems more obvious than in book sometimes. And Supernatural is a pretty good example of that. And yummy 🙂

  3. Great post. I could never think of one book that inspires me to write – it’s not specific books, it’s storytelling in general. This is why I love acting, too: I love telling stories. i love immersing myself in another world for a while, and giving other people the opportunity to do the same.

    • I’ve done a lot of theater and when I read/write, I totally act everything out in my head. I think that stage experience has really helped me with scene staging and dialogue – I can envision the blocking and the character interaction in a more physical way.

  4. Hello from a fellow campaigner in the thriller/suspense group.

    Now that was interesting. How neat that it is music that inspired you to write.

    I love the music you were inspired by, and it is the stories those songs tell and the images they evoke.

  5. I experienced the same thing with Springsteen and Dylan.

    Though books contributed, too. 🙂

  6. Jill

    Great post! I’m not sure who the troubadours of today are, but Kansas sure was fantastic.

  7. Hello, fellow Campaigner! Nice post. I like country music for the same reason you like Kansas–there’s a story in every song. I’ve copied several wonderful ideas from country songs for my novels.

  8. Hi fellow campaigner – I was inspired to write by books but everything else inspired me to write too. Now if I could just find an inspiration for revision. Yoicks.

  9. Another campaigner chiming in here! Nice blog. Music really helps me write. Books help me learn technique. But the desire to write? That came from the feeling books give me in general, not one specific book. I like the ability to sink into another world.

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