The Sounds Of Inspiration, Part I: M83

I made a big decision last week. Miss Pink has officially signed up as a participant in NaNoWriMo. I’ve had a story simmering in my brain for years, and since nothing else seems to jump-start me into writing, I know that a competition will do what years of good intentions have not succeeded in doing. And I am very competitive, little earbuds. In an attempt to streamline my creativity and force me to have no alternative other than to writewriteWRITE, I’m going “offline” for the month of November. That means no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no TinierMe, none of the hundreds of online ways that my time gets devoured. As for my beloved bevy of blogs, I’m scheduling Hot Pink Headphones and Otaku Haiku to update automatically. (Yup, that means from here until December every entry will be pre-written, how organizational and unexpected of me!) I’ll hop online for just a bit on Fridays to update The Procrastinator’s Project Journal just to keep track of how I’m doing, so for the curious, that’s the place to go.

But enough with the chatter! In honor of me striving to complete one of my dreams, the next month’s entries will be a new series devoted to the music that inspires. Everyone gets their inspiration from different sources. Music is obviously at the top of my list, as it is for many others. However, I’m quite particular about what music I listen to when I write. For me personally, the music can’t have a lot of words, or else I’ll be distracted trying to decipher them. If it’s music with words that I’m familiar with, I’ll stop writing and start singing. I love soundtracks, but I can’t listen to a soundtrack in full because I don’t want my work to be shaded by whatever film the music is describing. There are even particularly evocative pieces of classical music that are off limits due to the fact that I made strong memories of it whilst reading a favourite book as a youngster. (For example, I used to listen to the Amadeus soundtrack on repeat as I read Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, so that one, beautiful as it is, is out.) What does that leave me with, dear reader? Quite a huge amount, actually, as every year my music collection expands exponentially.

My inspirational music comes in many forms. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years at university I stayed up incredibly late and wrote in a personal blog to the seemingly endless beats of techno. That was a very prolific summer! These days my go-to writing music is ethereal/dream pop/shoegaze. That genre is immediately atmospheric and always sets me in a mind frame of wanting to be alone with my thoughts and my characters, “in a world of my own,” as Alice (the one who travels to Wonderland and back) would say.

Today’s artist love (and video of choice) is M83. I first heard them several years ago thanks to a random iTunes playlist that included their breathtaking song “Run Into Flowers.” I loved that song so much that I delved deeper into their catalogue, and that’s when I found one of my desert island albums, Saturdays = Youth. Every song is a gem of pure moodiness and otherworldly ambiance. It continues to inspire me every time I listen to it, and I listen to it quite often (especially when I need to get into a creative or contemplative state of mind). I don’t have to skip a single song on this album, which, as any music fan knows, is quite a feat. Oddly enough, one of the songs that induced me to purchase said album, “Graveyard Girl,” is now the track that I listen to the least. However, I know the reason is because that song already has such a strong story to it, and as I mentioned above, I need less structure and more general atmosphere in my creative music. I could pick any song from this album to share with you, but since I only have time for one today, I’ll begin at the beginning: “You, Appearing.”

This video perfectly expresses what I crave in the music that inspires me: ambiguousness, and vague undertones of an unnamed mood. This song, and indeed this album, provide the paint. It’s up to me to draw the actual picture. What more could an artist ask for?

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