Category Archives: music

Five songs for the resistance

Some songs for the resistance-






Perhaps I am showing my age in that most of these songs are from fifty to sixty years ago, the last time we were in serious need of marching songs.  Perhaps we need a new generation to write the anthems of the new resistance.  Nevertheless, these still speak to me, especially Pete Seeger’s interpretation of We Shall Overcome, which breaks my heart every time I listen to it.  Take heart from this music, and do what you can.


Impressions while listening to Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “Fordlandia”

Solar winds
scour the sky
Frozen worlds
locked in mystery
The dreadful fall
of burning spaceships,
lost in heaven-spanning battles.
Silent monuments
of forgotten races,
tombs entrapping the secrets
of millenia.
The screaming passage
of the event horizon,
skimming darkness and chaos,
to fall, fall, fall
back to a morning
beside the sea
I watched you walk
barefoot, smiling,
in the sand,
and I feel the touch
of a lost-love’s hand

Progress report– Princess of Fire, ELO and the quest for inspiration

Princess of Fire is now at 130,000 words, a little below the pace I wanted to set, but not by much. The effective total word count is probably several thousand words less than that, because I’ve found some redundant material that needs to be cut. I haven’t started that process yet, however, so I’m going with 130,000 for the time being.

My best guess that I have one complete chapter and parts of two others left to do, perhaps 10,000 words, perhaps some more. The operative word there is ‘guess’, but I am, thank God, getting close.

One aspect of my writing process is that I frequently listen to music while writing. Somehow providing a soundtrack to my narrative composition seems to enhance it. I am not sure what the exact mechanism is, if the music inspires me to push harder, or if there is some sort of creative synergy in my brain between the words and the music, but it seems to help.

Sometimes it’s not easy to understand exactly how a certain piece of music enhances my writing; a casual observer might wonder how a pop-rock tune from the ’70’s relates to a science-fiction novel set in the 21st Century. But for this last push that’s exactly what I have been doing– I have been listening to a lot of Electric Light Orchestra, which is a large part of the soundtrack of my youth. For example, “Telephone Line”–

and “Do Ya”–

both of which have been helping me push through some intense scenes (flames, ash falling from the sky, Kathy facing down an angry mob by herself– the usual stuff. Poor kid). How they help me, though, is something of a mystery.

Some other stuff I listen to is a little more straightforward–

And, yes, I really lean toward the epic.

There are a few pieces, though, that I find so powerful that I have to save them for very special occasions. One of these is Patrick Cassidy’s “Funeral March”–

So far I have only used this to help write the little bit of Princess of Stars I’ve gotten down to-date– it’s just too intense for daily use.

I know other writers use music to inspire them, so I’m not a complete oddball. If anyone cares to share their writing soundtracks, or the other inspirational tricks they’ve developed to help grease the creative wheels, I would be really interested to hear about them.