Monday, May 7, 2007

So Cruel...

Music plays a significant role in my life and my writing. And because my tastes in music run the spectrum from crooners like Tony Bennett to fun loving troubadors like Jimmy Buffett I have a lot of music to draw from for various moods that I might be in - or be writing about.

I'm currently writing the follow-up to my first novel Running Wrecked and I'm finding myself exploring the darker side of human nature. So for musical inspiration, I wandered over to the CD rack and started from the bottom looking for those albums that I haven't listened to in some time. The ones that got slowly rotated to the bottom as the new stuff came in. And there, on the bottom, I came across an all-time favorite that I hadn't listened to in some time - Achtung Baby by the Irish group U2. And on this album is a tune called "So Cruel." The first stanza goes:

We crossed the line
Who pushed who over?
It doesn't matter to you
It matters to me

The song is about a personal relationship gone bad - but it means more to me. It speaks to the cruelty we can inflict on each other without realizing the consequences of our actions. We cross the line everyday - and do we realize it? Who pushed who? Does it matter? It matters to me.


Joe Moore said...

Very nice post, Mark. Quite thoughtful. Music plays a huge role in my writing as well. The big difference is that I use movie scores for inspiration since I find that music with lyrics becomes distracting as I write. Over the years, I’ve amassed a large collection of movie scores and converted them all to MP3 files on my PC. This way, if I’m drafting a dramatic scene, I might be listening to the music of THE ILLUSIONIST, CRASH, DIABOLIQUE, or FORGOTTEN. If it’s more romantic but on the dark side, I choose CHARLOTTE GRAY, ENGLISH PATIENT, or MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA. And if it’s a bit lighter, there’s MALENDA, ANGELAS ASHES, or THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING. Ethereal scenes call for THE MISSION, SOLARIS, or THE VILLAGE. And if I’m dealing with something truly apocalyptic, which happens quite frequently in all our thrillers, I have the scores to RED DRAGON, THE RING, SORCERER or BEAUTIFUL MIND playing in the background.

Most of the time I just launch Winamp and click random play. It picks the mood for me from the hundreds of scores stored on my computer. The movies would be flat and lifeless without music. That’s why I believe music can add so much to a writer’s mood as we sit and draft that next chapter.

Happy listening,

Nina Wright said...

Thought-provoking questions at the end, Mark. You might not guess it from my humorous fiction, but I, too, like to examine people's darker motives when I write. I'm intrigued by notions of action and consequence, awareness and reality. Just because someone is unaware of the damage s/he causes another, does it lessen the culpability? I think not, but it surely complicates the equation. And that's where the story gets interesting.


Mark Combes said...


Humor and horror are two sides of the same coin - or can be at times. You can illustrate your point by making a joke - or by showing the ugliness in all its "glory."

And Joe, I'm paying attention more to HOW I go about writing now that I'm workin on #2 - book that is....see, humor/horror....

Anyway, it's interested - at least to me - how my mood and what's going on in my life (or the music I'm listening to) can impact what I put on the paper. Funny how the mind works....