Once a week, I indulge in a ritual that has stayed with me for many years. I open up a webpage, find my way to the Australian singles chart (ARIA or Take40, either will do) and then listen to new tunes, passing judgement and deciding which ones get to become one with the Force...I mean, my music collection.
Music is a huge part of me. I was raised by parents who favoured the 70s and 80s. My education continued at school where the hits of the 90s were sung from classroom verandahs (I was always Posh Spice, because of my half-Englishness and discerning taste, obviously, and not my attitude, not at all). During the 00s, I spent time as a radio DJ with my finger on the pulse of modern music. To complete my wealth of musical knowledge and taste, I discovered fanvideos online (clips of TV shows or movies set to music that supposedly matches the characters) - and along with those, I found music that never hit the airwaves.
During all this, I picked up an appreciation for many genres. Though my collection still heavily favours 80s pop (Duran Duran forever, amirite), it also contains jazz, classical, instrumental (I have a huge weakness for violins & cellos), indie, rap, R&B, gothic rock, death metal, club and whatever else you can poke a stick at.
And I'm extremely glad, because I'm one of those people who listens to music when I write. Oh, not all the time. Just when I need it. As someone who has led a very happy life, I find it difficult to draw on my own experiences when I need to write certain scenes. I do like to make my characters suffer - so bring on the music! Adele is probably the most obvious - need to write about a break up or loss and regrets? She's the queen.
It's very possible that a song I find on the chart becomes a "theme song" of sorts for whatever I'm writing at the time, if the lyrics and mood speak to me. And that song gets flogged repeatedly until I no longer hear it when it's played.
Music gets my creative energies going. And it reminds me of a time when I could, at the push of a button, subject people to music they absolutely HAD to hear. Well, the people in my local area anyway!
When I was 15 (and, by then, producer of my radio show), I bemoaned the fact that most modern music was trash. I'm still that crotchety young granny. I find that most music now sounds EXACTLY THE SAME (obviously I know what I'm talking about - trust me, I was a radio DJ and there can be only ONE opinion haha).
So if that something "a bit different" comes along, I love it.
And it becomes part of my work.
Just where was that chick anyway? Did anyone actually finish the game?
I left no clues on this blog for my departure (a pre-wedding honeymoon). However, often my clues will turn up later in my writing. While I loved reading about castles as a child, I had never stood in one so I had no idea how to convey that in writing - until I visited the UK and stood in many, many castles. I was fascinated by those perched atop rocks and how the type of rock used could decide the outcome of a siege. My YA fantasy goes into this a little bit.
I once visited Dartmoor and became quite taken with the rugged tors guarding the windswept land (on a related note, I learned that you should never mock tors - I was justly punished by one, but that is a story is for another time!). So now one of my characters lives on moors studded with menacing boulders.
I have cherry-picked details from different locations to make up a fantasy setting. But one day I am hoping to use the places I have visited as backdrops for my stories. My most recent adventure took the better part of a month and I was able to add new cities and countries to my growing list of conquests. I also returned to Britain because it is a wonderfully magical place. No Hogwarts necessary.
So where in the world was I? Perhaps time - and my stories - will tell. ;)
PS: For those who hate mystery, I will at some point in the future post my adventures to the travel blog linked in my sidebar. I am feeling a little burned out and more than a little jetlagged so you may be waiting a while!
Alyce Caswell is an aspiring writer who apparently lost her mind, threw away a steady job as an office junior and entered the realm of imagination.
She has blamed her accomplice and husband for giving her this most excellent opportunity.
Alyce has written articles, poems, short stories, books
and several embarrassing blogs. She hopes this venture will avoid the usage of cat gifs.
Links of Interest
A Rambling Rover
Alyce's travel blog which features various castles, stone circles and bemused musings about the Northern Hemisphere.