The Writing Playlist


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

The Writing Playlist

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

In my world music is the backdrop of a lot of things. I listen to it while working at my day job of writing letters. I listen to it while I drive my car, if I’m not listening to an audio book. I usually wake up with a tune in my head and go to bed humming.

I have stockpiled a lot of music on my phone and my tablet. It’s a very eclectic collection from Irish instrumentals, Spanish instrumentals, western ballads, movie soundtracks, operas pieces, disco, dance tunes (Macarena), and techno.

However, there are certain pieces of music I’ve purchased just for the purpose of writing. And I’ve created my own “Writing Playlist.” These are the ones that make my skin prickle with excitement because I can feel the story hiding in there. Some of the stories are very evident, like watching a movie. But some of them are like playing a hidden pictures game. It’s there. The instructions tell you it’s there. There may even be a ghostly shape of what the story looks like, but I have to see it. And then, half way through the song, it begins to glitter and I wonder why I didn’t see it straight-out before. So I look away, then look back, and I have to find it all over again.

So, I’ll show you some of my writing playlist, and I’d love to know what your writing playlist looks like.

  1. Music of the Night – from Phantom of the Opera
  2. Phantom of the Opera (Junior Vasquez Club Remix) – from Phantom of the Opera
  3. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
  4. Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
  5. It’s All Coming Back to Me Now – Celine Dion
  6. Dark Lady – Cher
  7. Hotel California – The Eagles
  8. Fire On High – Electric Light Orchestra
  9. Here We Are – Gloria Estefan
  10. Hallelujah
  11. Tom Dooley – The Kingston Trio
  12. El Matador – The Kingston Trio
  13. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  14. Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show – Neil Diamond
  15. Try – Pink
  16. Just Give Me a Reason – Pink
  17. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
  18. Cell Block Tango – From Chicago
  19. Blood Theme (Alaska in Winter Remix) – from the TV series Dexter
  20. Perfect – Pink

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

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The Moon


Postcards From the Muse

The Moon

You’re riding in the car late at night.  The sky looks like black velvet with tiny rhinestones dotted around the darker inkblots of clouds.  You admire the dark shapes the clouds make and notice a bright sliver working its way out from under the edge of the blackest splotch in the sky.  The moon struggles for attention.

As you watch the contest, you notice that as the cloud moves at just the right angle, the illusion of a frowning brow is created over the face of the moon morphing it into a giant eye watching the earth below.  You can’t take your eyes away.  A fuzzy line of fog forms around the silver disk morphing the illusion further.  You suddenly feel certain that a being observes and takes notes of the night life on the planet.

Who or what does this eye belong to?  Does it spy on a crime taking place?  Has a lover’s tryst caught its attention?  And why does it choose to appear angry?  What story can you find here?

Congratulations.  You have just received a postcard from the muse.

Nandyekle.com

The Moon


Postcards From the Muse

The Moon

You’re riding in the car late at night.  The sky looks like black velvet with tiny rhinestones dotted around the darker inkblots of clouds.  You admire the dark shapes the clouds make and notice a bright sliver working its way out from under the edge of the blackest splotch in the sky.  The moon struggles for attention.

As you watch the contest, you notice that as the cloud moves at just the right angle, the illusion of a frowning brow is created over the face of the moon morphing it into a giant eye watching the earth below.  You can’t take your eyes away.  A fuzzy line of fog forms around the silver disk morphing the illusion further.  You suddenly feel certain that a being observes and takes notes of the night life on the planet.

Who or what does this eye belong to?  Does it spy on a crime taking place?  Has a lover’s tryst caught its attention?  And why does it choose to appear angry?  What story can you find here?

Congratulations.  You have just received a postcard from the muse.

Nandyekle.com

Taking Control


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Taking Control

By Nandy Ekle

 

I have the best day job in the world. I work for a major finance corporation in the correspondence department. So I read letters, analyze the letter, research the contract and write a letter in response. So I spend all day long in the bottomless pit of words. And when we’re behind, as we have been quite a bit for the last year or so, we work overtime, still swimming in that ocean.

I love this job because it utilized every part of me I always enjoyed using—analyzing, investigating, reading, and writing. However, one of the drawbacks is by the time I get home from work, the words have just given up. As a result, I have not written much during the past year. I had forgotten how good it felt to write.

This week I made myself a promise. Beginning this week, I will take my entire lunch hour for myself. I decided to spend my lunch HOUR writing.

I also bought some new music on my player. Now, by the time lunch comes around, I’m very excited to get the writing time.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

Writing the Memoir


Outtakes 185

Writing the Memoir

by Cait Collins

What is the best way to prepare to write a memoir? Like any other genre, there are numerous approaches to researching and writing a personal story. The following are a few suggestions for getting started.

Write from memory. I began writing Tables and First Love Forever Love by drafting chapters based on my memories of events, places, and people. After completing the draft, I’d read and edit the piece, making notes of facts I needed to check. I’d research the missing information, make the necessary changes, and polish the chapter before presenting it to my critique group. I find getting the basics on paper and then filling in details works best for me.

Go through family photo albums to get inspiration. Sometimes there is a glimmer of an idea for a scene, but the memories just don’t click. A picture can jog the memory and spark your imagination. With the photograph nearby, the writing flows and soon you have a draft of the chapter.

Look for letters, journals, school memorabilia, and yearbooks that might lend insight into your project. My father’s military papers and his notes and writings have been as valuable as I write Tables.

Music is a good trigger. Download some of the songs from your youth and listen to them while you work. If you are describing how you met your spouse, sit back and enjoy “your song” or the music played at your prom.

If you think you would like to write a memoir for your children and grandchildren, try journaling. I’m not suggesting you write about putting carrots in the crock pot on a daily basis; however, keeping notes about vacations, holidays, and special events will help you when you begin to write your story.

Getting started may be the hard part, but once you determine your theme and the events you want to record, the project will move along quickly. The memories will flow and you’ll find yourself laughing and crying as you write. That’s good because those emotions will translate to the writing. Just remember to focus on the reason you are working on the memoir, and let that be your guide.

Music to Write By


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Music to Write By

By Nandy Ekle

 I love all kinds of music and this time of year is rich with tunes. There are hymns to God as well as love to fellow man. There are songs about the magic of the season and joy of children learning about Christmas. And there are always love songs because this time of seems to inspire romance.

For the past few mornings I have woken up with a certain song in my head that I’ve heard on the Christmas radio station. It’s not necessarily a happy song, and that’s why it continues to play through my brain. I know there’s a story in that song.

When I hear the words, its’ easy to slide into that zone and visualize the confusion and torment the singer feels. I hear, see, and feel the whole thing play out. I can even smell the scents in the room where the holiday party is taking place. The character in my head picks up a nibble from a tray and I taste the morsel as he/she pops it into his/her mouth.

My job now is to write down what my character tells me through the song. I need to let go of the reins and let the zone overtake me completely to get my own words on paper.

Listen to one of your favorite Christmas songs and let your senses take over. Let the magic of the season write the story for you.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

It’s a Real Job


Outtakes 54

It’s a Real Job

“I always thought about writing a novel. I think I could do it.” I hear that statement 99% of the time when folks find out that I’m a writer. I’m sure most authors have heard similar responses. If people really understood what it takes to write that novel, they might reconsider their responses. Do these well intentioned folks really think writing is easy?

What does it take to be a writer? Some would say talent is the key component. Of course there is a certain degree of talent involved. However, there are thousands of folks who have the ability to write, but never start. I have a nephew who has talent, but he doesn’t write. Why not? Because he prefers music to the written word. He devotes his energy to perfecting his skills on the various instruments he plays. Simply put, talent comes into play when the writer has the desire to write.

The desire to put words on paper propels a talented person to begin the journey. He buys the right books, studies the craft, experiments with a few ideas. He might join a critique group and a writers’ group. As he presents his work to his peers, he receives kind but honest feedback on his writing. He rewrites, but his critique group still is not satisfied with his efforts. Frustrated, he packs the first novel in a box and shoves it under the bed. The book is never completed.

A successful writer combines his talent and desire with bulldog tenacity. No one is going to convince him it can’t be done. He plans his writing time; places his backside in the chair and writes. He listens to other writers’ critiques and does the necessary rewrites to produce a better product. The writer risks rejection when he submits the finished novel to agents and editors. A writer doesn’t expect overnight success or instant wealth. Instead he will take the free short story publication to enhance his writer’s resume. He will volunteer to help at a conference or present a program to students. He keeps up with current trends in publishing. Deep in his soul, he believes he will be a successful writer and he works for it.

Writing is a real job.  It requires talent, desire, effort, a thick skin, risk, confidence, and tenacity.  No one component is enough. Even Snoopy concedes “Good writing is hard work.”

Cait Collins

Killing Me Softly


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

Killing Me Softly

It’s that song!  You know the one I’m talking about.  When you hear it on the radio it commands your attention and pulls you in, ears first, then your head, followed by your soul.  It’s the words, the tune, the voice, the chords.  There’s just something about that song.

Music is a wonderful place to find a story. It’s not always obvious, in fact sometimes you have to dig for it.  But you know it’s there.  It’s hiding between the words and the notes.

Over and over you listen to the piece and over and over you fall into the score searching for the real story behind the lyrics. A single phrase fogs your imagination further and the mystery grows deeper.

Listen closely to your music and piece together the story.

Congratulations! You have just received a post card from the muse.

Nandy Ekle

The Moon


Postcards From the Muse

The Moon

You’re riding in the car late at night.  The sky looks like black velvet with tiny rhinestones dotted around the darker inkblots of clouds.  You admire the dark shapes the clouds make and notice a bright sliver working its way out from under the edge of the blackest splotch in the sky.  The moon struggles for attention.

As you watch the contest, you notice that as the cloud moves at just the right angle, the illusion of a frowning brow is created over the face of the moon morphing it into a giant eye watching the earth below.  You can’t take your eyes away.  A fuzzy line of fog forms around the silver disk morphing the illusion further.  You suddenly feel certain that a being observes and takes notes of the night life on the planet.

Who or what does this eye belong to?  Does it spy on a crime taking place?  Has a lover’s tryst caught its attention?  And why does it choose to appear angry?  What story can you find here?

Congratulations.  You have just received a postcard from the muse.

Nandy Ekle