Music has always inspired me. People resonate with story, and music is story, even without the words. My 2011 NaNoWriMo novel was inspired by The Rolling Stones’ Jigsaw Puzzle. My 2010 NaNoWriMo novel was partly inspired by April Wine’s Weeping Widow. Some songs inspire story, but some songs help motivate me to write, a sort of positive reinforcement.
I need some positive thoughts as NaNoWriMo approaches and John has no story idea, yet. Maybe I should listen to some music. *grin*
Here are my top ten songs about writing, writers, or inspired by novels for NaNoWriMo 2014. There are many more, and some of my favorite didn’t make it this year. I could easily include Sympathy For The Devil, and while it is one of my favorite songs, it doesn’t inspire me to write. That’s my only criteria – inspiration. Enjoy.
I like Jion Gomeshi and his CBC radio program Q. He is already a Canadian Icon. He was also a member of this short-lived Toronto band with the one Canadian hit. It is a lively, fun song full of bad puns. It’s about a guy who likes to go out dancing but his girl likes to stay home and read quietly — “Lately we’ve had some friction. My baby’s hooked on, short works of fiction.” Listen, smile, and groan. Get your pen or fingers moving.
2. Paperback Writer by The Beatles.
I’ve always had this song in my head. The Beatles have written so many great songs, yet when you drift back to this cheesy song about a trade fiction writer, you should pay attention to the message. If I had when I was a teenager, I might be a real author by now. *sigh*
3. Been Down So Long by The Doors.
I picked up the book Been Down So Long, It Looks Like Up To Me by Richard Fariña. Fariña is a tragic figure who died from a motorcycle accident two days after his novel was released. He was a Greenwich Village musician in the early sixties, hung around with Dylan, and married Joan Baez’ sister. I haven’t read the novel yet, but the phrase “The Classic Novel Of The 1960s” is what inspired me to spend $.50 on it. Listen to him play here.
4. The Battle Of Evermore by Led Zeppelin.
A Song of the final battle in The Lord Of The Rings. It’s many peoples’ favorite Zeppelin song and is certainly one of mine. I’ve read LOTR three times, and, like many want-to-be writers, it’s a cornerstone of my inspiration to write. I feel like I want to jump on that fantasy band wagon every time I listen to it. I don’t write fantasy, so I drop it to number four. *grin*
5. Ramble On by Led Zeppelin.
Back to back Zeppelin and back to back LOTR. Might as well get them over at once. This song doesn’t move me like Evermore does, but not by much.
6. White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.
Inspired by Alice In Wonderland, but this is basically a psychedelic song about drugs. Just what the writing doctors orders some days. This song is actually somewhat literary and metaphorical. I find it helps me find that dreamy zone where great words are sometimes born. *wink*
7. Hemingway’s Whiskey sung by Kenny Chesney; written by Ray Stephenson, Guy Clark and Joe Leathers.
“He didn’t like it watered down. He took it straight up and neat. If it was bad enough for him, it is bad enough for me. Hemingway’s Whiskey.” Yeah, many versions, much debate on which version is best, but I like them all. This is a slow, thoughtful song. You can feel the angst in the narrator’s life. No details, just that Hemingway’s whisky is the right medicine. Listen to this when feeling dejected and make it worse . *grin*
8. I’ll Be A Writer by Soltero
I don’t know who this guy is; I don’t read French very well. Mon francais et pauvre. But listen to the song. I’m tempted to vault it to the top of this list, but I can’t. The track is rough; the song is rough; the artist is rough. Yet this song about the downtrodden writer we all know hits me. I love it!
9. Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen.
I cannot listen to The Boss very much. He is not a casual listen. In some ways I find him too mainstream. His voice screams dark and dirty but his music tends to be clean. The juxtaposition bothers me. This song is from his Born In The USA album, and it is not an album I really ever cared for. This song, though, works for me. Its lyrics are meaty and meaningful. The song is about struggle, a wayward soul trying to find himself. Like so many of us, he is also trying to write a book. Story is such a big component of the human psyche, and this song brings it out for me.
10. I Be Bound to Write to You by Muddy Waters (1942)
This song tells me how important it is to write. This song is about letters, not stories, but letters are stories. I think somebody even published a whole book of epistles. And of course it’s Muddy Waters. Give it a listen. The quality is awful and the lyrics hard to follow, but the inspiration is there.
So there you have it — ten songs to inspire you to write. Happy November!