Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Musical inspiration - Carrie Lofty

Does music make the world go round? Or is that love? I get it mixed up because, in my mind, the two are deeply intertwined. Music is for wooing and shagging and dancing and dreaming. It's no wonder, then, that I draw a great deal of inspiration from music as I write. I know some folks can't work with noise or other distractions, no matter how pleasant, but I couldn't write another word without a musical spark to urge me forward.

So I wanted to talk the songs that inspired me as I wrote What a Scoundrel Wants. In case you're curious, my complete playlist is available on the excerpt page of my website. These are seven that played very important roles:

"Can't Let It Go" by Goo Goo Dolls

Originally, Meg was all sweetness and light. Hard to imagine now, but when I started writing, she was a passive person, all fearful and shrinking. I assumed her blindness would make her that way. Then I heard this song, and the lyrics clicked for me: "I was your anger and you were my fear." I realized that Meg is pissed at the world, and Will is afraid of living responsibly within it.

"Protection" by Massive Attack

Soon after Goo Goo Dolls set my characters in the right direction, I found this one among my husband's vast collection. More lyrical layers for my lovies, the completeness of which I don't even need to explain:

This girl I know needs some shelter.
She don't believe anyone can help her.
She's doing so much harm, doing so much damage,
But you don't want to get involved--
You tell her she can manage.
You can't change the way she feels,
But you could put your arms around her.
I know you want to live yourself,
But could you forgive yourself
If you left her just the way you found her?
I'll stand in front of you, take the force of the blow--
"Bonny Swans" by Loreena McKennitt

At the heart of Meg's discontent with the world is her relationship with Ada, her sister. And again, I didn't want a lovey-dovey sisterly relationship. My own daughters are best friends and fiercest rivals, so I wanted to give provide emotional depth and honesty to the enmity that can exist between sisters. This song is an extreme version of that idea: the eldest sister drowns the youngest in a river, all because of a man. I listened to quite a bit of McKennitt's entire collection, absorbing the old medieval-ish feel.

"Four Walls" by Charlotte Martin

Maybe because I knew who Will Scarlet was, mentally, right from the beginning, most of my inspiring songs have to do with Meg and her character. She was a tough nut to crack. This one added depth regarding how she interprets the world. I realized that she would only be happy in life if she could find the strength to admit her limitations.

Gonna feel my way around you,
And then you're gonna get down on your knees.
Grow accustomed to the darkness
And see what you're supposed to see.
Head up straight--I know what I'm doing.
Head up straight--I know what I'm doing.
I don't.
"Fall in the Light" by Lori Carson and Graeme Revell

This song evokes a certain sense of out-of-body and drama, a deep sadness. It's ethereal and beautiful, very haunting, with an undercurrent of loss and pain. I played it repeatedly as I wrote the scenes Meg and Will share at her cabin. "In this moment, hold on, when everything has come apart. It's in this moment, right now, when it can come together."

"Missing" by Beck

My brother sent me this one when he and I brainstormed early in the process. He imagined Will as having a steady outer shell, a laid back groove, that belies the intensity of his thoughts--which was right on board with what I wanted to portray. This song feels mellow, but Beck's lyrics show the depth of his emotional turmoil.

I prayed heaven today
Would bring its hammer down on me
And pound you out of my head.
I can't think with you in it.
And I can't help it...

"(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" by Bryan Adams

Of course! Although the opening line seems a bit silly because Meg's blind: "Look into my eyes and you will see what you mean to me." She'd probably slap someone for being a stupid idiot.

Anyway, that's a looksee inside where music helps me create. Did you know any of these? Did you find something here that strikes your musical fancy? I love passing on favorite tunes!


lisabea said...

How do I love Beck? Let me count the ways. I also love seeing play lists for writing.

Do you play them non stop and drive everyone crazy as you write? Not that I would EVER do that...but, er, I've been known to hyper focus.

Carrie Lofty said...

My husband hates it when I do that, which is often. I feel like I'm sucking all the goodness out of the music and channeling it :)

Tracy said...

I love hearing all the music involved in writing. It's great seeing all the different authors playlists for each book - I think it really says a lot of about them when they were writing.

Thanks for sharing this - very cool and now I have some new music to go check out. :)

little alys said...

A little late, but welcome to the Island. :D

Ah, music inspirations. Teehee. It's always nice to see the inspirations behind certain books, especially music ones. My sis LOVES playing a 'current' song over and over and over again. Drives me insane. Thank goodness for earphones, right?

sula said...

I remember working on a big senior thesis paper (topic: the World Bank and IMF) and listening incessantly to an Icelandic band called Sigur Ros. To this day, that CD makes me think economics. lol. so weird.

yay music!

Carolyn Crane said...

Oh, this is such an interesting post! I love seeing playlists like this. So do you listen to them over and over? Anyway, congrats on the big release and great reviews.

Jane said...

Happy Release Day, Carrie. The only song I've heard is Bryan Adams' ""(Everything I Do) I Do It For You." I have heard of most of the artists. I once saw Lori Carson perform when at Tower Records.

jessewave said...

Hi Carrie
I guess Ally Blue hasn't seen your list because she "hearts" Beck. For me Bryan Adams is a favourite especially this song!

Sarai said...

This is a very interesting blog post. I love it and now I have some wonderful songs to add to the Ipod

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