Wondrous Love (Using Music-1)


I don't know how to write without music.  Everyday I listen to songs over and over again while I compose scenes.  I know each of my characters' favorite songs, and I listen to them almost everyday while working on my novel.  And I also know songs that are important to particular scenes in the book.  So I listen to them throughout the writing day.  When I am not at my laptop I am always thinking of my novel and the people who populate it, so often I am singing the soundtrack to my novel as I work in the garden or walk in the woods or drive down the interstate. 

Music is my best resource for jump-starting my creativity everyday.  

Here is one of the most important songs to the novel.  For my main character, Micah, this song makes him think of how hard he once believed and how badly he wants to believe again.  In fact, when he hears this song, he is able to believe--if only momentarily.  Here is one of the all-time greatest voices--Jean Ritchie's--singing one of the best songs I've ever heard.  Below that is another version I'm listening to throughout the day as it is closer to the way the song is sung in the novel--by a choir in a large church.  "Wondrous Love" is an American folk song that became a standard gospel tune.  Because of its elegant lyrics it is often mistaken to be an English ballad but most musicologists believe it came out of the Appalachian tradition and then was folded into worship services, particularly those of the Episcopal church.  The internet is such a great resource for novelists because it gives us easy access to things like this that may have been harder to seek out in the past.  


For more on living like a writer everyday read my essay "The Art of Being Still" that was published in The New York Times in December 2012.

Photo-"Jean Ritchie with Sugar Maple Leaf", (c) 2009, Silas House, taken at The Hindman Settlement School

Comments

Maria said…
Thank you so much for taking the time to share these insights. I love how you weave music into your books. Nowadays whenever I hear Mother Nature's Son I always smile and think of Eli.

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