Music: Move Me, Mark Me

From poems about music itself, to poems about the emotions evoked by a certain song, to pieces written with lyrical description, music has always been my #1 inspiration.  It has prompted my best pieces, my best lines, my best phrases, and even when I write non-creative pieces (like essays and research papers), listening to music while I write never fails to help me find the best ideas and compose my best work.

“sometimes I wonder what it is
beneath my ribs
that beats and flutters so
and rises with the words
of a crooning song
         the lyrics a cry for freedom
         the notes a bid for flight”

“I have become nothing but a helpless instrument of emotion tied to the beautiful music of the world with ribbons of scarlet and cobalt hue, strong as the chords of love and agony, and just as vivid.”

“…the music dances with wild abandon
among my wandering, delirious thoughts…

it rushes past the blued shards
of my tattered consciousness,
caressing them with a feathery touch as it goes by,
bringing the song to my lips
and I sing, sing for all the world to hear,
the sound in my throat bubbling with the beauty
of a writhing, twirling, forgotten art.

the perfection of its grace spins webs
of cobalt and ebony in the shadowed recesses
and craggy caves that wind through my skull,
weaving the bright ribbons of sound
through my very  b  e  i  n  g ...”

 “…if only I could lose myself
in the twirling play of the baby arpeggios
and breathe the pure beauty of their intricate song,
in that place where the only emotions
are the ones evoked by the crying melodies
and wistful harmonies that sing to me
as they carry my soul to the wavering edge
of their mysterious realm, which rests
between our world of tangible reality
and that realm where the stars  v  i  b  r  a  t  e
and the moon can hum.” *

Getting inspiration to write isn’t the only reason why I love music, though.  I’ve loved to sing ever since I was little, and even though I took piano lessons for a few years and violin for a few weeks in elementary and middle school, singing is the only music form that I’ve ever truly loved to do.  I’ve often thought that if I didn’t love writing as much as I do, I would have pursued a career in music.  Actually, I’ve often wished I had the time in my college schedule to squeeze in a music minor.

I’m sure it’s already abundantly clear through my posts, but I have an intense passion for art, and I count music and writing as two of the most beautiful forms of art there are.  For me, writing and music are not just hobbies or career choices; they are things that define me.  I wouldn’t be who I am if either one of them wasn’t in my life, and I know for a fact that my content and style of writing would be drastically different if music was not such an enormous influence on me.

I won’t go into who my favourite music artists are right now because that question alone has an answer big enough to fill its own post, but you can be sure it will be coming in the near future!  One thing you’ll come to understand about me is that when I get excited about something, it’s hard for me NOT to share it with others.  I love introducing people to the things I love so that they can come to love them too!

So what are your biggest inspirations?  What kind of music do you like to listen to and what role does music (in general) play in your life? I’m very interested to hear your answers, so tell me in the comments below!

 

*Each of these quotes are excerpts from pieces of my creative writing (though there are many more examples of music showing up in my writing than just these four examples!).  If you would like to read the whole pieces these quotes came from, just ask me and I’ll send you the links!  Or you can just wait for me to feature them in my Creative Writing posts (:

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What Exactly IS a Feature?

We go through school constantly being taught how to write an essay: start with the introduction, come up with a thesis, the body should be such-and-such a length, the conclusion restates the thesis, start out broad and then get specific, support your thesis with strong points, prove your points and don’t just state them, blah blah blah, etc. etc. etc.  Somewhere in that time, some of us decided we didn’t like writing and reading very much, so we became scientists and mathematicians and doctors.  The rest of us read more than we had to and wrote more than we had to – and we discovered we liked it.  We liked reading and writing outside our schoolwork, and we had the desire and ambition to try our hand at other forms of writing than the all-important essay.

So we discovered story and poetry.  And with story, we began to experiment and learn and discover.  We started to develop our very own style and voice, often incorporating and emulating the kinds of techniques we admired in the styles of our favourite authors and favourite books.  We wrote stories and dabbled in poetry and created characters and designed settings and worked on our description skills.

We might not have been taught how to do all these things, but we learned along the way through endless trial and error, and eventually, we discovered how to write a story.

Now we know how to write essays and stories.

 

 

So writing a feature poses a problem.

At least, it did for me.  I hope I wasn’t just speaking for myself earlier, but that’s basically how I learned how to write: I was taught how to write an essay, and discovered story-writing basically all on my own (I don’t count the occasional assignment to “write a story about this historical figure” or “write your own version of your assigned literature reading for today”).

By the time I got to this Magazine and Feature Writing class, I could probably write an essay in my sleep.    (. . . Well, I could at least tell you HOW to write an essay in my sleep.)  And I already “write” stories in my sleep (I often get inspiration from dreams).  So when I was told to mix the two in a completely new form of writing called a “feature,” I was completely at a loss.  How do you combine research AND creative writing AND somehow include an unspoken but clear and specific point?  I understood that that’s what a feature is, but I was utterly confused as to how I was supposed to balance all three elements into a piece that sounded (at least somewhat) like the examples I had read.

As a result, it took me an absurdly long time to gather my research, figure out how to fit it together with my storytelling, AND weave in my underlying point.  I won’t say it’s the hardest piece of writing I’ve done, but it definitely stumped me for longer than any other piece of writing has since high school.

Please don’t misunderstand: I am not trying to say that anybody failed to teach me what I needed to know for this assignment, nor am I saying that I should have been taught this information any sooner than now.  Actually, I love to be challenged, and learning things that are completely new to me gets me excited about continuing to improve my own writing and field of experience.  This piece just happened to be especially difficult for me to figure out.

If you would like to read my full feature, I’ve posted it here: http://mistressofquills.deviantart.com/art/Fighting-to-Fit-In-408119218  Please note: if you want to comment or critique my piece, you have to make an account on that site in order for me to see it, or you could just post your comment here instead.  Thanks for reading!

My Creative Writing: Poetry

Many of my creative pieces can be linked back to the specific songs that inspired them, and this one is no exception.  Music can evoke such potent emotion, and I love letting that emotion just carry me away.  As always, I appreciate each and every comment and critique!  Thanks for reading!

 

Cursive Lines

sometimes I wonder what it is
beneath my ribs
that beats and flutters so
and rises with the words
of a crooning song,
the lyrics a cry for freedom
the notes a bid for flight

it feels as though it wishes to burst,
as if
(if it swells any more)
I will rise on its current,
floating away in the wind,
the freest bird in the sky

but the cold of the world
drags me down –
the beat within the white cage
labors on,
the fluttery throb of hope
all but lost

for though I reach out,
my fingers grazing the rough edges
of my unfulfilled dreams,
they tease my fumbling grasp
and withdraw
out of reach

I wish to sing,
to let my voice be carried
to the ends of the world
as my inky fingers
dip again into the feathery depths
of the well of my inspiration,
my fingerprints everywhere
touching everything
everyone
with the words of whispered rhymes
and heart-rending tales

who hasn’t wished
for the beautiful dreams
that haunt the gold of sleep
to come true at last?
but ah, few get
the reward of white doves
and the chance to dream on

I wish that the beauty
                                                         higher

                                                me

of cursive lines would  take
as the sun in my heart burns on
longing for what?
its own song is a complicated string
of arpeggios and dissonant chords
that beg for my attention
as my mind wanders
following the flapping wings
of my fleeing fantasies

no diamond tears
or crystalline cries
will make the music of my heart
and the ink of my soul
translate itself into the weeping voice
and dancing fingers
of my wandering dreams

yet still I wail and    s  t  r  e  t  c  h    out my hand
toward something that seems
to move slowly away
an enigma of the flowing river
its caresses cold and gentle
against my bloodless body

so yes, I wait
as the condensation
of all that I wish to be
falls on the ground of
who I am.

 

 

 

~   fly me away
on wings of old
up to stay
among the stars so cold

on wings of white
and dreams that soar
show me the sight
of what flying is for

My Creative Writing: Poetry

Ok, I must admit that I’m really excited about this post.  This week’s piece of poetry is “balloons and fairy wings.”  Of all the poetry I’ve ever written, this one is my favourite. :3  I realize that in saying that, I’m setting myself up for high expectations from my readers, but I’m going to say it anyway!

This poem also happens to be one of the few pieces I’ve read aloud, so if you’re interested in hearing it, here’s the link: https://soundcloud.com/mistressofquills/balloons-and-fairy-wings.

Anyway, I always love and appreciate comments on the quality and writing I display in the “My Creative Writing” posts, so thanks for reading!

 

balloons and fairy wings

I wish emotions
could be tied to words
the way they’re tied
to memories:
like the way strings
are tied to balloons
or the way wings
are tied to fairies’ backs –
with a bow and a knot
so the words
are never forgotten
and the emotions
that swayed the heart
and captured the soul
at the time of their birth
are never lost to the snatching,
jealous fist of time

you see, it’s quite a journey
being born as a writer’s words:
you open your eyes
to a world of vivid color
and (sometimes)
crippling emotion
feeling the sharpness of reality
hearing the noise
of a deaf world weeping
tasting the tang
of an infant’s breath of old air
and noticing the scent
of a cruel, unsympathetic universe

an infant word
is like an infant star:
when you grow
(and become loved
by your Creator)
you mature to shine
with your own beauty –
a brilliance
to which very few things
can ever compare

yet you are distant
and your light so very cold…

but I love you
and the stars
anyway

My Creative Writing: Poetry

Finally I’m getting to show you some poetry that isn’t ancient history!  I feel like I’ve come a long way in improving my poetry since I started writing it regularly, so it’s nice to look not-so-far-back and feel good about the quality of these pieces.  Today’s poem is one that I wrote in March, called “I Never Said I Was Ordinary.”  As always, I would really appreciate comments about the poem’s quality – what works and what doesn’t?  Does the meter flow well?  Do the images make sense/ are they clear to you?  Do the rhymes work?  Is it too long/ are there parts you think are unnecessary?  Thanks for reading!

 

I Never Said I Was Ordinary

you look at me as if there are stars in my eyes
blinding you with an unknown brilliance~
at least, unknown to me.

you say I don’t know it, but that I am wise
and I push you to the limits of resilience,
though I am too far gone to see.

you say the glimmer in my heart
shows itself in my written art,
yet I can’t see what it is I write,
as though my mind takes flight.

for though you see an innate beauty in me,
I only see what my eyes perceive~
if that is truth, then so be it.

I only see the world in its reality
with all the pain of humanity it can conceive
and the fleeting beauty within it.

my mind roams amongst the sea mist,
floating like a bird o’er the water, sun kissed
so yes, my eyes take on the absence
and glimmer with the reflection hence.

you say I am noble, radiating poise,
that I show a dignity born of confidence –
if I do, it was born of a once profound disquiet.

you say my voice is light and lilting, a sweet noise,
that my words leave you listening in suspense,
but I only hear the beauty of the still and quiet.

my dear, I am simply crying to the moon,
aching to sigh and sing and croon,
my voice rising with the song of a faery –
for, my love, I never said I was ordinary.

My Creative Writing: Prose

Hey everybody!  Since I have a few more days before my next school-related post, I thought I’d start up my creative writing posts again!  This piece I’m going to show you is the first section of my new flash fiction series.

The point of the series is partly for description practice, partly for character development practice. The characters in it will always go unnamed because I want to practice creating characters who are unique and dynamic without the help of a lot of background and history (which inevitably comes with names). We’ll see where this goes, but for now I’d love feedback on the settings and scenarios I’ve created – are they clear and easy to visualize? Does the plot make sense? Does the amount of mystery I’ve added bring confusion or suspense?

Thanks so much for reading!

 

In the Night – Section 1

As she walked home that dark night, the rain puddles reflected the light of what few stars could be seen in the sky above London’s great city lights.  It was pretty, she thought, but sad that so much beauty could be lost because of something that was beautiful itself: light.

She sighed, and hummed a few notes from a song written in minor chords.  A weeping song, she thought every time she heard it; a song of writhing emotion and contorted feeling.  That’s how she felt now, walking home from the party.  Funny how something of a merry nature could make one feel so contemplative and melancholy.  She smiled a little sadly at the thought.  As contrary as the sentiment might be, she loved it for its truth.

Thus lost in thought, she didn’t notice the shadow that didn’t move, the darkness that shouldn’t be, the still that shouldn’t be silent.  A smirk made the corners of his mouth lift in the dark perversion of a smile as his hands began to tremble in anticipation of his crime.

Still oblivious to her peril, she walked on, her mind lost on a cloud of intricate thoughts, her senses tuned in to the smell of rain, not the garbage that filled the alley.  Her forget-me-not eyes saw only the yellow lights shining on the craggy bricks of the buildings and the little slice of ebony sky above their spires.  Her ears heard the noise of a city full of a unique and diverse people, not the clumsy sound of a man’s footsteps treading in the pools of water she had admired not so long ago.  Her tongue vibrated with the song she sang, filling her heart with the music of a dreamer.

But all cannot happen as it was intended to, for fate is not a thing to be predicted.  It laughs at the chances it gets to use the blind side of things and mangle what might have once been order into chaos.

The feet that so innocently skipped through the puddles turned a corner, and her figure disappeared from his sight.  He growled under his breath and quickened his pace, rushing around the corner after his prey.  But there she was, still wandering in her imagining dreams, and yet… she was no longer alone.

This time she felt the presence of her pursuer, but as she turned her head, all she saw was a ragged figure breathing heavily as he leaned against the corner of the building she had just come around.  He wouldn’t dare follow her with any of his previous intentions now – she had led him away from the forbidden alleys and out onto a common but very busy street.  Vendors selling dessert pastries and beer to passers-by, taxis screeching by with their glowing yellow signs, people meandering along the cobblestoned street with scarves and long coats to cloak their individuality.  She was swallowed up in the throng, and he cursed, his resentful eyes not on her, but him.

Creative Writing and the New Adventures of Magazine and Feature Writing

Well, I think it’s been a sufficiently long time since I last posted an entry here that I can say, “I’m back!”  The summer is officially over and I am back in school with a new Writing class in my schedule: Writing 300 – Magazine and Feature Writing.  One very exciting feature of this class is that I’ll get a few different chances to send off the pieces I write to (hopefully) get published!  Obviously there’s no guarantee that they will get published, but it’s still an opportunity that I don’t intend to waste!

As a result, we’re back to regular, weekly posts again!  I still fully intend to post about my creative writing, but once a week I’ll post about other various topics too, and these posts will often have something to do with a concept we learned in class that week.

In class this week, the point my Professor made over and over again is that the material you need to write a feature is everywhere – in the seemingly mundane events of your everyday life, in your conversations, the interactions you have with acquaintances, friends and family members, the effect something you read or watch has on you, etc.  I thought this was an interesting (and very important) point to encounter in a Magazine and Feature Writing class because as a creative writer, I get my inspiration from everything around me, too.  Inspiration for both my poetry and creative prose often come from the music I listen to, the artwork and photography I see, the weather, the events of my past, my hopes for the future, the ideas and opinions I form from what I hear and read on a day-by-day basis, dreams I have, and even my various moods throughout the day.

I must admit, though, that when I first signed up for this class, I didn’t really wanted to take it.  Why?  Well… now I know it’s because I was simply ignorant of what this class is about.  At the time, though, I thought I didn’t want to take it because it didn’t fit my definition of “creative writing” – it wasn’t a “Writing Short Stories” class or a “How to Write a Novel” class.  Therefore, I decided it wasn’t a class I wanted to… well, waste my time with.  Now that I’ve attended class for a full week now, however, I am very, very excited to continue the class because I learned that there is an element of creative writing here.  There may be some instances when I need to do some research and conduct a few interviews, but I’ll still be writing stories – just not the kind that I’m so used to considering “real” stories.  If I want to hold my own in the competitive writing industry, I need to learn all kinds of different forms of writing, and this is one of them.  Of course, it’s a plus that this discipline counts as creative writing!

In short, I’ve learned a lot more this week than just the definition of a “feature” and the difference between a commentary piece and a short feature piece; I’ve come to understand my position in my field a lot better, and I have a clearer vision of where my future is headed and what I need to do to get there.  Now on to the hard stuff!