My Visit to the Tremendous Angel Oak Tree

In an attempt to regroup and heal a fraction from the heinous and disappointing ramifications of the past year and a half or so, a good friend and I decided to attempt to get away for a few days…I haven’t really been able to relax much because…well, the obvious reasons concerning the world currently, but I have managed to find a few moments of enjoyment.

On Sunday, I finally got to visit a tree that I’ve been in love with for years and wanted to visit: the Angel Oak Tree in John’s Island, SC, and it was beautiful beyond words to see in person. Pictures don’t do her justice, but here are some taken on my visit. (photos not taken by me are noted)

Imagine all this beauty has seen in its hundreds of years of life…

 

angel-oak-1-22-17-001

angel-oak-1-22-17-003

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photo by Brandon Kahn
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photo by Brandon Kahn

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angel-oak-1-22-17-029

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A final hug before parting…until next time….

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photo taken by Brandon

I will be back home tomorrow from my attempt at a vacation from the real world. I’m still trying to recharge because no matter what, there’s a lot to be done when I get back home, and not all of it is writing related.

I want to live in a world where we can have trees that are hundreds of years old, and people to appreciate them. So take a moment, take a breath, enjoy, and get to work. I will be.

Have you ever been to the Angel Oak Tree, or visited another place you’ve longed to see? Please share, I’d love to know!

Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part Three

It’s been incredibly odd not posting the last couple of weeks, and at the same time I feel like I could use a few more, I’m still recovering from my move and settling in to my new place. Whether you may or may not be aware, July happens to be a Camp NaNoWriMo month, practice for the big NaNoWriMo of November. I mention this because of the call for music I’ve seen among a few Twitter people’s I enjoy following, so now seems a great time to share some more music to inspire your writing. So, without further ado:

UCD Choir- Mo Ghille Mer

Songs like this make the Irish part of my heart throb. When I listen to this song, I often get goosebumps as I close my eyes and get lost in the beauty. The scenes that come to mind while listening to it changes, but the strongest involve woods with sunlight streaming through trees, green hills with determined and heartened characters making their way across them; perhaps the search for something lost prompts an unexpected journey.

Erutan- Transylvanian Lullaby

Where to start with my love of Erutan’s work? She’s absolutely sensational, her skill and talent are on display in this beautiful music. Setting aside the amazing fact that she arranged and performed each part of it herself, the music and voice are enchanting. It’s a lullaby for a reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s not ripe with ideas to pluck like the strings of instrument or heart.

Jeff Beal- Next Line (from House of Cards)

Whether you listen to this song without having seen it in context of the show it’s from, or not, there’s no denying the intensity creeping through the music and voice. The way the music grows, the ethereal voice surging through the background, has followed me into my dreams and waking thoughts. There’s triumph as well as suspicion lacing through the notes that seems to put me in mind of capes whipping through the woods, leaving behind or surging towards something.

Zardnonic & Voicians- Bring Back the Glory 

I know, not a typical suggestion, but I have been a fan of this one ever since the first time I had the most vivid daydream to this song. Seriously, it was awesome in the true sense of the word. This song was the soundtrack to an epic battle beginning in free fall from the sky, swords clashing and wind twisted bodies about, dragons soaring in, flips, dives…it was a hell of a spell to find myself unexpectedly under. I wrote at least three different variations of a scene to this song, who knows how many more I’ll manage.

Hans Zimmer- Romani Holiday from Sherlock Holmes

It starts off soft and slow, but it doesn’t take long to pick up the pace and meet the notes that make your spine tingle…or mine anyway. Hans Zimmer is a fantastic composer and there are countless examples to prove it, and this is one. I love putting this on when looking for energy for a scene, perhaps a chase, switch, gambit, or a chaotic moment; my fingers can’t always keep pace.

Poitin- The Congress Wheel

Another song from the Sherlock Holmes, this one has a lot of energy and is sure to fuel your scene with its vivacity. It could easily inspire a jovial tavern scene, a suspenseful chase, a flirtatious allusion, etc. Even just listening to it a couple of times will inspire you to do something, so why not write a few paragraphs?

Misty Mountains Cold- The Hobbit

You don’t have to have read or seen The Hobbit to appreciate the inspiration that can be found in this song. I enjoy the landscapes and culture that come to mind as I listen to the sweet, rumbling voices in this song, even if I ignore the actual lyrics. When writing adventure, a harrowing journey, foreshadowing of trials, yearning, this is a good song to look to for inspiration, in my opinion.

Clocks and Clouds –Darkness Gives Way

I found Clocks and Clouds through Twitter, after they crossed my path by chance. As those who’ve been around a while can attest, I’m an adorer of strings, and this song plucks my heart just right. The shifting of the tempo and music lends itself to a changing scene, infusing you with all of its energy before you let fly on paper or screen.

For whom the bell tolls – Steve Baker & Carmen Daye

Donnie Darko fans may recognize this song, and it’s certainly one you should listen to if you’re looking for something to set the scene and inspire something dark, plaintive, haunting, sorrowful. It makes me think of a gallows on a frozen day, tears becoming icicles on frostbitten cheeks, perhaps a weary procession through a desolate wood. I don’t know many writers that could say they enjoy writing the type of scene invoked by this song, but listening to it could help channel that emotion into your words and your scene.

Vlada Mars- The Storm

When it comes to purely instrumental music, it’s more likely to be more solo strings than piano, just happens to be a personal preference. However, thanks to a suggestion from the witty and wonderful B.E. Van de Viere on Twitter, I gave a listen to some Vlada Mars and found The Storm. This music puts me in mind of grand old houses with something hidden inside, mysteries waiting to be unwrapped like presents, tumultuous situations ready to spiral into chaos.

Between Music- Breaking the Surface

Between Music is a band that plays and performs their music under water…yes, you read that right, under water, and some of the most hauntingly beautiful music you will hear. Putting aside the amazing ingenuity of creating instruments and apparatus to make this possible, I think it’s hard to disagree with the fact that this is some of the best music to inspire water related fantastical beings; mermaids, sirens, nymphs, water gods and goddesses, whatever story you find in the watery depths of the oceans. It’s definitely not for everyone, but something about this holds an ethereal beauty for me.

So concludes Part 3 of music to help get those writing gears going. I hope you’ve enjoyed! Do you have any favorites?

 

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Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part One
Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part Two

 

 

 

Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part Two

If you’re familiar with my blog, you may remember this post ,where I shared some amazing music that is great for writing to, or as inspiration for writing a scene. Since there is so much sensational music to be had, I had to split up my list. So without further ado, here is some more music to fuel your creative fire:

Faun

Egil Saga

Faun is an excellent source to turn to for fantasy writing or something with a Celtic or ancient feel to it. Their lyrics are often in languages like Latin, German, Scandinavian, and Greek, which adds to this old feel. I really enjoy this song, imagining a woodland realm of my creation as I type to the beat.

 

The Piano Guys

Cello Wars (Star Wars Parody)

This is another amazing band with cellos, can you tell I’m a fan of strings? I really love the beat in this one. It’s a familiar tune to Star Wars fans, but has a twist in the music with an up beat that will keep your head bobbing. An intense but fun scene comes to mind, perhaps a chase and formidable fight. The possibilities are up to you.

Adele – Hello / Lacrimosa (Mozart)

There’s something so beautiful and sad and about this piece, sometimes I just close my eyes and listen, letting the images wash over me. Often times I imagine and end up writing memory scenes, something poignant but adds to development, action, something; it builds, just as the music does. Or perhaps it’s the background to a harrowing journey where the hero or heroine is continuing despite all odds. You’re the writer, you decide, but give yourself a moment to experience this music and see what comes to your page from it.

 

Celtic Woman

A New Journey- Reels

Mairead Nesbitt is another amazingly talented musician that I adore watching play; she beams like the sun itself while she dances and flies over the stage, and it’s the same energy and heart that makes me want to give to my writing. There are so many possible scenes to write to this finger and toe-tapping if not feet flitting song; it’s wonderful for a warm and jovially setting or mood.

 

Epica
Sancta Terra

There’s something mysterious and intense in this beautifully delivered song. I’ve loved Epica for years, Simone Simmons has a voice that rings like glass (I got to meet her and the band once too, which was amazing). I find myself picturing different scenarios if I close my eyes and let myself feel this music; when I set myself to page to write, there seems to be an intriguing dark undertone at times, but it’s always a bit of a surprise what will come out. Sometimes I just soak up the majestic notes and hope they later somehow filter out through my fingers in my work.

 

Black Violin

Dirty Orchestra

For some reason, the first bars make me think of snowflakes falling, and soon after a white blanketed wood comes to mind, with running feet and snow flurries in the air behind fast freezing footprints, and off I go! There’s something fun and dark in this song that just begs for a dark yet scintillating story to accompany it.

 

 

Ramalama bang bang

By Róisín Murphy

Perhaps it’s the beat, perhaps it’s the overlay of her voice over the rhythm, who is to say? What I do know is that there is something incredibly fun about this song that gets my fingers twitching and makes me want to start typing out a story if not dancing around my apartment.

 

Simply three

Demons (Imagine Dragons) Cover- (violin/cello/bass)

Yes, if you still haven’t caught on, I’m a big fan of stringed instruments…but can you blame me? I mean, listen to that beauty….there’s no other way to express or describe things the way music does, but the images this song paints for me ignites my desire to try. Instead of with color or notes, I use the words I can find to describe the sensations and moments I want to capture and express, to encapsulate the essence of this song that is a story of its own. This one makes me think of homecoming, returning from a long journey with a myriad of mixed emotions.

 

Counting Stars (One Republic) Cover- (violin/cello/bass)

Something about this music makes me think of friendship and a general sense of joyfulness and activity. Closing my eyes, I imagine a vibrant and busy village nestled among the trees, ready feet kicking up dirt and grass in excitement while laughter rings among the strings’ notes. I wish my fingers could move as deftly and quickly as the thoughts that are stoked by this lovely music.

 

And there you have it, Part 2 of music to write to! There’s a good chance you’ll see another of these pop up as I remember and find new (or old) music that sets my writing fingers to tapping and my imagination whirling.

What did you think of this list? Do you have a favorite, or a scene that comes to mind?

If you feel like a fun little challenge, write the opening line to a scene inspired by one of these songs and share below in the comments!

music post

Inspiration Corner: Art Spring

It’s been a while since I’ve shared  up a hearty helping of art inspiration, though it’s certainly not for lack of devouring hours’ worth of art ogling.

Spring (the weather we’re supposedly having between blasts of winter), unsurprisingly  brings to mind awakening Mother Nature, growth, and rebirth, which also makes me think of rising from the ashes. So, here are pieces from some amazing artists that caught my eye and inspired me (links to the artists’ original post if you click on the piece):

field_of_flowers_iii__mother_nature_by_ireneastral-d7ff5wd phoenix_by_guillaume_phoenix-d7k11t2

ashes_of_ophelia__s_death_by_lunebleu-d2zs6ps prayers_of_mother_nature_by_mrnepa-d7he7qs

mother_nature_by_silentplea-d45rzm9  from_the_ashes_by_tylercreatesworlds-d6u93wc

ashes_to_ashes_by_alexiuss-d76x37t  ashes_of_time_by_iardacil

phoenix_by_laura_csajagi-d1mdi6k  mother_nature_by_alicechan-d6f8z2t

their_strength_by_westling  spring_by_phoenix_feng

s_reborn_by_anotherwanderer-d733tiv  mother_nature_by_kelogsloops-d7p25ke

 

ashes_by_ariel87-d6qd6tj  from_the_ashes_by_nataliedecorsair-d6xnets

ashes_to_ashes_by_elestrial-d38wx0y  karolinkacuddziewczynka_by_krowka7-d5z9hrd

spring_by_yuchenghong-d2ler0d  spring_by_littlepurplebee-d3ehv3y

the_tree_by_shortcircuit123-d7el269   new_by_chriscold

life_by_alectorfencer  spring_by_la_chapeliere_folle-d63cn4r

new_life_by_rawrrrr_321      tree_of_life_by_emberblue-d4l2vnr

life_by_endzi_z-d3iiw61  tree_by_marcoso86-d1wgctj

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these. Do you have any favorites?

 

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Inspiration Corner 2

 

Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part One

Everyone who sits themselves down to face off with their manuscript, short story, essay, or other, has their own preferred setting. Some are incredibly specific and strict in what they require in order to fill a page with their words, either the time, tools, the place, the silence, or the music. Others may have their preferences but can generally make do with circumstances at hand, whatever they may be. Then of course, there are some that don’t think and just do, sometimes it’s the same, sometimes they deviate from their norm. The point really is that everyone is different. Today though, I speak to those that enjoy or even use music as their inspiration when it comes to their writing.

Personally, when novel writing I do enjoy listening to music. Many times I intend to listen only as inspiration before I start, but there are often times that I my fingers just start flying while the musical spell is still at work. Truly, music is an experience in itself when given the time it deserves. Sometimes I get too into music and I feel like I’m about to combust because my physical body cannot hold everything a certain note or song makes me feel…but anyway, I thought I would share some music that has fueled me while writing or given me inspiration before diving in to my world of words.

2Cellos

If you’re familiar with my blog you can hardly be surprised that 2Cellos are on this list; I got to experience a sensational concert and watch them play live. But here are two particular favorites to write to.

Celloverse

Something about this melody (and the background of the video if you watch it) just invite movement, action, creation. I’ve often found myself swaying along to the music only to realize that my fingers are dancing across the keys.

Hysteria

If you follow me on social media at all, there’s a good chance you’ve seen me share this at least once if not more. The plaintive and hauntingly beautiful notes in this evoking song strike a chord within me that cannot be easily explained. This song often sets my fingers aflame and results in pages of emotionally charged words.

 

Lindsey Stirling

Shadows

I love watching Lindsey Stirling play just because of how much she enjoys it. This song in particular always puts me in mind of a hero or heroine on a harrowing journey, but determinedly on their way with spirit and drive. So, that’s often what I write when looking to this one for inspiration.

 

Irish Party in Third Class and Johnny Ryan’s Polka

This duo of songs will get you up and moving no matter how the day has started. I love writing a fun and merry scene, jovial talk, and dancing feet to this sprightly tune. I happen to also love this type of music and have many characters that hail from such hills and moors these songs call to mind.

 

Apocalyptica

Hall of the Mountain King

No matter how many times I hear this song by Apocalyptica, I get chills and as if I will explode without somehow channeling the energy this song builds within me, into something else. When I write to this song, I think of intense scenes of an epic tale, escape, loss, perhaps even battle or war, but the writing comes fast and I’m always a little breathless when I’ve finished.

The Path

The alternating pattern and charged energy in this song put me in the mind of opposition; the cellos seem to be answering each other as they play against their own shadows, so I enjoy listening to this when there’s controversy or something unexpected may happen.

 

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star from Dead Space

I may not necessarily listen to this while writing, that greatly varies, but one thing I can be sure of, this song inspires eerie imagery and macabre scenes that make your spine tingle and pull your blankets close at night.

 

Pentantonix

White Winter Hymnal

I’ve been a fan of Pentantonix for a while now, I have a hearty appreciation for well-done a cappella, but this song in particular really enchanted me. When I close my eyes and listen, sometimes I focus on the lyrics themselves and others I just float along with the melodic voices and move with the rhythm, feeling the energy and the beauty without the words; from that I see visions of fairytale forest chases and snowy woods, red capes whipping in the breezes with the snapping of trees’ fingers…

In effort not to overwhelm anyone, I’ve decided to split this post into…however it many it takes to share all of the soul tinging music that makes this writing soul surge. These are some long and recent favorites that can really help me with a mood or a scene, or even give me an insight to a character. It truly is amazing what the power of music can do. I hope you’ve enjoyed!

What do you think of these? Do you have a go-to song, band, or type of music when you’re writing?

 

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Sensational Music to Make You Write: Part Two
My First Writing Workshop and Pitch: What You Need to Know

 

Inspiration Corner

It takes only moments to become completely and hopelessly distracted while seeking out inspiration. Whether utilizing the vast store of images I’ve saved to my computer over the years, or turning to the Google gods, one “quick look” can turn into hours. After a while, it’s no longer a matter of searching for, but absorbing all of the wonder that is before you…at least that’s how my inspiration wanderings tend to go.

I have folders upon folders, bookmarks aplenty, a host of sites, and more to turn to for sparks of creative juice, or just to ogle extensively as I imagine each movement or color that became a part of the piece I’m looking at. Both for my own drawing, painting, etc. as well as for my writing, I use visual art to stimulate my thoughts, to aspire to, to give my soul the much needed food it seeks.

I love art in all its many forms. My taste is eclectic and my preference in style or subject is often dependent on my mood, but I still soak up each new work I come across that imprints on my mind, heart, or soul and eagerly look forward to what I might find next.

I am also fortunate that the friends I keep often produce pieces that inspire me.

Friend or stranger doesn’t matter, I am incredibly thankful for all the breath taking works that inspire me and their wonderful creators.

What are some examples of what inspires you?

Links:
http://kelogsloops.deviantart.com/art/the-wild-collective-549517486?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=1
http://carlos-quevedo.deviantart.com/art/Asteria-535264129?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=2
http://picolo-kun.deviantart.com/art/Pets-of-the-Wizarding-World-Owls-545416017?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=11
http://l-e-n-t-e-s-c-u-r-a.deviantart.com/art/Centro-di-Follia-Arriva-550554120?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=0
http://ladydulac.deviantart.com/art/Lady-Lestat-190306116?q=gallery%3ALadyduLac%2F27757137&qo=32
http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Lady-Grey-243904589?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=712
http://lucitaniamarie.deviantart.com/art/Ixtab-177747203?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=738
http://princess-of-shadows.deviantart.com/art/room-VII-dream-288756015
http://wolfroad.deviantart.com/art/My-soul-271216253
http://myblackparadise.deviantart.com/art/Silence-of-the-Brave-524910316
http://mariaamanda.deviantart.com/art/Wings-of-Music-Stock-422828935?q=favby%3Amyblackparadise%2F11728143&qo=291