Friday, January 7, 2011

Music sparking the imagination?

"It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin.
He says, son, can you play me a memory?
I’m not really sure how it goes.
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes"

from Piano Man by Billy Joel

I’m sitting here trying to write and the only inspiration I feel are the strains of "Piano Man", a Billy Joel song, running through my head over and over and over.

“It’s nine o’clock…” It’s nine here too and I think is it time for me to quit even though I’ve only just started writing at my computer. It has been a full day and I’ve only just now put all my other responsibilities to bed, both literally and figuratively.

“The regular crowd shuffles in…” Seems it gets later and later when I can sit down and write and I don’t feel like I’m really at my best.

“Makin’ love to his tonic and gin.” What I really want is to drink myself silly and forget for a while that I have a book to finish, a class to prepare for and the constant drone of marketing needs.

“But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete When I wore a younger man’s clothes…” This song mimics my mood exactly and while I want to get lost in its beauty, my practical side won’t allow it. I try to shift my thoughts to my own prose but the song keeps drifting through like it’s caught in a skip. If I can’t get rid of the words, I try to figure out why. I discover that these words are great little bits of description that convey great emotion. I’m a minimalist when it comes to description and setting in my books. I’ve always hated reading long passages of description and typically skipped them when I read. But as I look at these words I think what great writing. What a picture they paint. My mind finally shifts to my own work and I jump in. Ready to try my hand at the prose. The music and words swirling in my head have sparked my creativity. Maybe someday someone will pick little pieces out of my work and say the same thing. Now I have to get to work or there will be nothing to comment on.

Thanks for the memory, Piano Man.


  1. Billy Joel is a genius. I love his music.

  2. Wait a minute--is your creativity turned on by BJ's words or the drinks you are imbibing as you listen??? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..I love listening to the oldies, but goodies...such nostalgia.