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Full Altered Playlist

Friday, December 16, 2011
Two weeks ago I wrote about some of my favorite songs from the ALTERED playlist over on the BNW blog and thought I'd expand here to include the playlist in its entirety.

I always listen to music while writing. It's hard to function without it. Just like music helps you find your momentum when working out, I feel like it does the same for me when writing. I find a sort of rhythm, if you will!

As you can see, there are A LOT of songs on this list, but I would say I listen to the first twenty probably the most. And if I had to pick just one song that defined ALTERED, well, I would tell you I'd have to pick two and I'd say "Drumming Song" and "The Outsider".

Horizons Puscifer
Tumbleweed Puscifer
Better Hurt
Treading Paper Thrice
Black Dog Kelli Schaefer
Danse Russe Hurt
What the Water Gave Me Florence + the Machine
Tyrant One Republic
Passive  A Perfect Circle
The Outsider A Perfect Circle
Running Up that Hill Placebo
Fade Into You Mazzy Star
The Humbling River Puscifer
The Change Evanescence
Tyrant  OneRepublic
Lights Ellie Goulding
Into Dust Mazzy Star
E.T.  Katy Perry
Rapture Hurt
Drumming Song Florence + the Machine
Sally's Song Amy Lee
Hurricane 30 Seconds To Mars
Flower Moby
Show Me Dizzy X
All I Need Within Temptation
Something for the Pain Redlight King
Before the Worst The Script
Bloodstream Stateless
Done All Wrong Black Rebel Motorcycle
Slow Life Grizzly Bear
Painted On My Heart The Cult
Secret Things  Ken Andrews

So what about you guys? Do you listen to any of these? What song from your own list could you not survive without?

Sensory Triggers Part 2

Friday, December 9, 2011

Before you read this post, listen to this song (or at least the first minute or so):

Whenever I hear this song, I get this vivid feeling that it belongs to a story I’ve yet to write. That feeling comes through unsure, like a voice crackling through an old radio. I see a girl. She’s blonde, slight, and she’s sad. She’s looking out a window as sunlight pours through the lace of dirt and grime. I know she’s waiting for someone, or missing someone, but I’m not sure who.

I know there’s more, I can sense it in that split-second image, like there are conflicts and emotions on the outer edge that I can’t yet see. And I want to see. I want to see so badly.

I’ve talked about sensory triggers before, from a character’s perspective, but those were tied to memories. This girl is completely made up. So why do I feel so strongly about her?

Sometimes I wonder if writers experience the world differently than others. I’m not trying to sound better than non-writers (oh no, we writers are crazy, we are not better in any way!). It’s simply introspection on what it means to be a writer. 

Whenever I’m on the beach, and it’s windy, and the waves are crashing against the shore, I’m reminded of this reoccurring dream of mine that goes like this:

I’m running down the street. It’s pouring. I catch flashes of the ocean to my right in the alleys between houses. I know where I’m going. I need to hurry. Hurry. Hurry before he leaves.

I reach my destination---a house on the ocean with cornflower blue siding and crisp white trim---and push through the front door. I see him in the living room in full military uniform, a beret in his hands. He looks at me. Regret and sadness pinch at the corners of his eyes and I want to yell, Why didn’t you tell me you were being deployed? But I’m just glad I caught him before he left.

His name is Jordan. And still to this day I miss him, this boy I’ve never met, who deployed for some nameless war and never came back to dream-me.

There is a story there. My emotions are so strongly tied to that dream that just being near a stormy beach makes me sad. Do non-writers ever feel this way? And if they do, do they ignore it? Discard the feelings as insignificant because they were dream emotions?

I have no thoughtful or provoking conclusion to this post. I wish I did. I merely wanted to examine this sort of thing, whatever it is, and see if there were other writers out there with similar experiences.

Do any of you have fictional characters/emotions/scenes that are triggered by something specific? The smell of something sweet? The weather? The sound of rain?