Posted in Blogging, Life, Music, Poetry, Story-Telling, Writing

The Muse And Me

I was listening to the radio this morning (NPR Morning Edition) and caught something very interesting: a music competition hosted by the owner of Bleeding Fingers (Hans Zimmer), which produces music for television. Zimmer created a piece of music, very cinematic, and challenged musicians to compose pieces based on it. The winner would be hired as a staff composer at the studio.

Here’s the piece of music that the challenge is based on:

Yes, very cinematic. It’s something I’d expect to hear at a movie theater. Pretty grand overall.

The contest winner was announced on Morning Edition today. His name is Daniel Suett and he’s a 22 year old composer from London, England. He actually submitted 12 variations and each one was better than the next! This guy is brilliant. Here’s one riff he took:

Very open, very grand, no? But how about this one:

I must say, it knocked me off my socks! There are myriad themes he incorporates, some contemplative, some fiery, some exotic, some playful, some sad, all fabulous.

I could listen to these all day. But something else happened, too. I suddenly started thinking about the ways music has inspired my writing. I listen to music of one type or another all the time. I listen to some because I enjoy it. Others make me feel a certain way, like Daniel Suett’s did. I have a little library of sounds, like music snippets, stingers, loops and full-out songs. I like to play them, just to see what pictures and words fill my head.

I was browsing a royalty-free music site a few years ago and came across a piece by a German composer. It was one of their promotional free offers. The piece was moody, low, contemplative. It touched me somehow and I added it to the music snippets I so frequently listen to.

I was listening to the piece one night and words suddenly started popping into my head. I was having a bad year, I recall. It was shortly after the recession of 2009 hit and I had lost my job and run out of money. I was able to get back on my feet, but not without doing things I didn’t really want to do. I had to swallow a lot of pride that year and I hope to God I never have to do that again.

In my mind the words matched the music and, by extension, my mood. I started jotting the words down, trying to find the right balance: a beginning, a middle/climax, an end. Just like music, actually, and just like a story. I started hunting down images and videos, mostly my own, although there was one I took from a free image site. Then I began to put a video together, combining all those elements.

Spring Flower

The result after many, many edits, was a poem called “Ruminations.” It doesn’t rhyme, but I think it does have a certain oral balance to it.

So, this is my brain on music:

I’ve got other ones, mostly trailers for books or short stories. Damned if the videos aren’t better than the stories. I’ll have to do something about that!



Posted in Poetry, Story-Telling, Writing

April’s shoure soote

The Canterbury Tales. Our first substantive taste of writing in the English language, such as it was. Wonderful, funny, bawdy and morally instructive, even if Chaucer did end up apologizing for his hubris in writing them.

700 years is a long time to wait for a remake, but it’s finally happened! In the spring of 2012, a group of modern-day pilgrims decided to re-create the original journey to Canterbury and record it in words and images. It’s online for our reading and listening pleasure. Will this remake last as long as the original? Only time will tell.

Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales 2012 – a multimedia pilgrimage

Inspired by one of the English language’s seminal works, 24 modern-day pilgrims – including two from China and one from Bermuda – braved piercing April ‘shoures’ to undertake a full-scale re-enactment Chaucer’s masterpiece, acting out the tales as they travelled on foot to Canterbury in aid of the National Literacy Trust.

Join Henry Eliot – aka the Host, Harry Bailly – for a dazzling account, featuring pictures, audio and video, of a pilgrimage in the literary footsteps of one of Britain’s greatest poets

Read the rest of this story.

Posted in Life, Music, Poetry, Writing


This production happened somewhat on its own. I’m not a poet and never felt the inclination to follow that particular writing path. But, a story is a story. This rumination actually began with the music. I found it online, at a site called Audio Jungle. The download was offered for free and, after listening to it, I decided to take them up on the offer. It was very contemplative and mellow. I guess I needed some of that.

One night, as I was listening to the music on my headphones, phrases started popping into my head. I ended up writing them down and then arranging them into a rough poem. The process reminded me of refrigerator magnet poetry kits. You take words, arrange them into lines, then move the lines around until everything fits. I eventually added a few of my photos and a video I took over a year ago. The result is below. Oh – there’s one photo that’s not mine: the path. Enjoy!