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Being Brave

I can never be perfect, and I’m going to stop trying to be someone else’s version of it.

This year, I’m going to cut loose. Break free. Fly like an arrow sprung from its bow. And a thousand-and-one other clichés that remind me of songs and all mean the same thing.

I am going to give honest opinions and upset a few people. They’ll get over it. And, if they don’t, oh well. My object is never to wound. There are moments to speak and moments to hold your peace. I will rely on my conscience to tell me which is which.

I’m going to be myself. That goofy, screwed-up, sing-in-the-car optimist with thick-soled feet for shoes and rain in her hair. I’m going to wear clothes best suited to fantasy characters – because this is the attire that makes me feel most alive. I will celebrate woodland tones, bask in lemon yellows. I will welcome the breeze and soak in blue sky. There’s a lot of beauty in this world, if you look for it.

A few years ago, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be brave, be bold. It occurs to me that this is something to commit to again and again. I want to be a force for good. So I’ll endeavour to be the brightest version of myself.


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Making Music Your Muse

I think songs are kind of like flash fiction: they capture and suspend a moment, story or emotion in a few minutes. Music helps with my writing sometimes because it can be a little like playing dress-ups: slipping into another person’s thoughts, or trying on different perspectives.

While I’m on a music-is-might kick, I want to discuss ‘Push’ by Matchbox Twenty. Those guys did a hell of a job because that song makes me ache for the fictional victim and aggressor. Vulnerable, angsty lyrics coupled with a raw sound. ‘I’m a little bit rusty…’ Well, that’s genius.

I don’t think ‘Push’ is suggesting that anger is the answer to any problems. Far from it. But it helps the willing listener understand the mindset of someone who has felt pushed around by life and wants to push back. If anything, to me this song suggests that we should be careful not to punish the people in our lives for personal baggage.

The great thing about a song is that it’s open to interpretation. If you don’t want to reconcile ‘Push’ with abuse, it can mean something else to you. Who hasn’t wondered whether or not they measure up to their own standards, or someone else’s? Who hasn’t felt doubt or insecurity, or like they’d like to shine despite their damage?

I could probably keep ranting and analyse this four-minute song for an hour, but I don’t want to take you (or your attention) for granted. 😉 So right, yes, back to my main point: songs can really help provide inspiration for writing stories because they can help you get in a particular mood for a given scene, or assist in developing characters. I like to listen to music while I think about a story, but rarely play it while I’m actually writing, because then I get distracted. I don’t want to have someone else’s lyrics in mind when I’m trying to listen to my characters. I know other people work differently, but I just thought I’d share what works for me. Please feel free to comment about your favourite song, what it means to you, or how you use music for your writing!