So far, I can’t write a decent dramatic moment without listening to music. I’ve even developed the habit of filing away ‘theme music’ for my characters, their various moods and moments of intense interaction.
Where to begin? Well, with classical, of course: Mussorgsky, Mozart, Beethoven, and Grieg — and that’s just for starters. Then I segue into movie and stage soundtracks, with Danny Elfman, Bernard Hermann, and Klaus Badelt.
Though it’s rare, the occasional song will inspire a scene or bits of dialogue. Currently, various lyrics by George Harrison and Chris Isaac speak to me.
For example, I had “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky playing in the background while I was peeling shrimps for a marinara sauce. “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs” cued up and began to play,…
… and a cinema began to flicker in my head.
After the first two measures of music my inner eye exploded into visions — I was seized by a frenzy to put into words what I was suddenly witnessing behind my eyes.
I dropped the shrimps and scrubbed shrimp goo off my hands onto my jeans as I scurried around the cook island over to my laptop on the breakfast bar. I was in a cold panic. I had to put into words what I was seeing before the music was done — it’s a relatively short piece — and before the whole gift could evaporate from my memory.
Ben — and the cats — stared at me like I was losing my mind.
Music is that powerful, and that piece never fails to give me a delicious case of the shivers.