Wednesday, November 11, 2009


When I'm writing I almost always "discover" a song that I already know. I hear it in a new light, and it makes me think. I become obsessed.

My current obsession song? Bouncing off Clouds. I'm sure it surprises nobody that it happens to be a Tori song. I look to Tori Amos for inspiration as I look to Madeleine L'Engle. And I'm never left wanting. Here are some of the lyrics that I'm obsessing over:

Make it easy
Make this easy
We could make this easy...
It's not as heavy as it seems

I like the simple idea that sometimes we make things harder than they need to be. That we can make things easier. That bouncing on clouds is a choice we can make.

You say you're waiting on fate
But I think fate is now
I think fate is now
Waiting on us

Fate isn't set, and it is in fact waiting. For us. How interesting an idea is that?

To deepen and widen the obsession with Tori--here is an interview with her describing her dive into sorrow to come out with her song, Tear in Your Hand. Years ago, this song introduced me to Neil (Gaiman) with the lyrics:

"If you need me, Me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the dream king. Neil says hi, by the way."

At the time, I started reading Neil Gaiman, and loved his stuff. And I discovered Tori as a tree in Neil's book Stardust. (Here's Neil reading the first chapter.) I spent a few happy years looking for references for Neil in Tori's songs and Tori in Neil's works.

Further fodder for the obsession: Here's an interview with Tori explaining her process writing the song, Happy Phantom.

What do you obsess over, if anything, while writing? Do you find that the process of others--writers, artists--makes you expand your own process?


  1. Oh I just obsess over anything and everything. And now I have "You are an obsession" running through my head, but I always pick up songs with very little prompting. What's fun is when I have the video in my head. And now it's morphed to "Sweet dreams are made of this" because I know that video better.

    My brain is a scary neighborhood.

  2. With writing I obsess over whatever it is that I'm working on. And yes, talking to other writers definitely expands my process, gives me new ways of looking at things.

  3. Okay...I'll try again.

    I love your name.

    I'm obsessed with Flo Rida's song Roots...

  4. I am so addicted to discovering other writers' processes! I scope YouTube for interviews... all sorts of things.

    I mostly listen to soundtracks or white noise while writing, to help me focus. If it's classical music, I start thinking about the music; if it's sung, I listen to the words.

    I have this really weird thing where, when I'm SOooooo close to being done, I just won't get out of bed except to go to the bathroom and eat until it's done. This has resulted in three days, once, LOL.

  5. The Gaiman/Tori thing is kind of odd. It works though and I really like and respect Gaiman's work. Music is definitely a source of inspiration for many writers. Nice post.

  6. Sarah--I find your neighborhood fascinating.

  7. Paul--That sounds like a good obsession to have. Fruitful.

  8. Welcome Sharon. I'm listening to Roots right now, to check it out. Lyrics and beat both addicting--thanks for sharing the obsession!

  9. Natasha--That bed thing sounds so cozy. SO John Lennon--a bed-in for writing!

  10. Tracy--I think I like the Gaiman/Tori thing since it spans music and writing. A kind of bridge between the two creative worlds.