Posts Tagged ‘iTunes’

Music has always been a source of inspiration for me, especially when writing, and I like it in almost any flavor: rock, pop, jazz, opera, classical, folk, hip-hop, holiday, inspirational, metal (although I tend to stay away from speed metal), show tunes, Barney (well, maybe not Barney)…you get the drift.

When my husband and I were hosting our radio show, “Live with The Lost Italian,” I would choose the music for each segment. That is, the “intro” and “outro” according to my producer friend, Dustin. For two and a half years, every Friday night I would hunker down at my laptop and sift through iTunes, looking for the perfect song to enter and exit each segment. I would search words that were related to our topic: tomato, soup, peaches, hotdish, cheese, fried chicken, etc.  Sometimes it wasn’t so easy, and I’d have to find a backdoor route, like using a phrase instead of just a word: I love tomatoes, soup is my life, green asparagus, and so forth. You would be amazed at all the songs out there, just waiting to be discovered.

When I have a big project coming up that requires inspiration, writing or otherwise, I turn to music. (I’d have to exclude bookkeeping from this list, since I would probably only associate it with lullabies. Zzzzzzzz…..) I compile playlists around what I think I need to feel to be inspired. When I was writing a speech for a fundraiser for the F-M Opera Company, I needed music that would give me courage. “Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky works wonders; “I Still Believe” by The Call moves me every time and often works its way onto many of my playlists (I always get choked up at the lyrics “For people like us, in places like this…); “Eye of the Tiger” ridiculous, but true…

I had about a dozen songs like that, and I would listen to them over and over in the days leading up to the event. Only one of them was actually an opera song: Pavarotti’s “Nessun Dorma” – I threw this in just to keep me focused on the mission, but holy cow, is it inspirational!  These tunes helped me create the imagery and atmosphere I needed in my head in order to reach my goal. Oh, and by the way, that playlist has pushed me to raise over $200,000 for the FMO in just five nights over the past four years.

For my novel, I really wanted to seek out new music, especially tunes from Norway and Ireland. Turns out, not so easy to find Norwegian rock on iTunes. I had to dig a little deeper, so I clicked over to Google (oh Google, how I love thee!), and started to search. I stumbled onto an article in Wikipedia about Norwegian music. I clicked through the links to different bands and sampled their music, until I found BIGBANG. Heralded as Norway’s best live band, I tried to find their website, but got directed instead to an outdated Facebook page and an entry on MySpace. I returned to iTunes and, BAM – there they were. I listened to only a few tracks before finding “Wild Bird” from the Edendale LP.

Upon hearing the opening count “En, To, Tre, Fire” I knew I was hooked (the rest of the song is in English). As I continued to listen, I couldn’t believe my discovery – it’s as if they wrote the song specifically for this book. I love, love, LOVE this song. When I listen to it, I can see my story unfold in my mind, almost as if I’m watching a movie. I can see the location, the characters, the challenges – all from one song. I downloaded the song immediately, and it has become my anthem for this project.

I’m a big believer in serendipity, which must run in my family because my sister, Carolyn Solares, writes a great blog called “Signs and Serendipity.”  There are times when you just know something is right. The band’s name, for instance: BIGBANG. I needed inspiration to create my story, and when I found this song, it was as if a “big bang” went off in my head. Esoteric and hazy images of characters and varying plotlines suddenly shot into focus. My mind cleared in order to make room for the stage of my story. 

And in case I needed any more signs, two days after finding the song, I discovered this little nugget. I have had this novel in my mind for the past year, and have referred to it as my “Lightseeker” story. Part of it takes place up in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, and I was doing some research on the types of birds that inhabit this part of the world. I’d spent time in this area when I worked on cruise ships, and the bird life is prolific. Puffins, Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Arctic Terns, etc.

I remembered seeing Arctic Terns in both the Arctic and Antarctic, but I couldn’t remember what they looked like. I went back to my old pal Google for some help. I don’t remember what search term I used, but I followed a link to someone’s personal website, only to find a poem at the top, entitled: “Arctic Terns – The Lightseekers.” Okay, that’s pretty serendipitous…and the name of my novel’s anthem is “Wild Bird.” How’s that for inspiration?


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