Thursday, December 8, 2011

I Got The Music In Me!

Ruthy here!  Let's do a little last-week housekeeping first:  I still have twelve copies of Yuletide Hearts available to do-gooders out there! The original challenge was two hours of bell ringing, but obviously not everyone is comfortable with begging....


So, here's the skinny:  IF YOU ARE DOING AT LEAST THREE (3) HOURS OF VOLUNTEER WORK TO HELP THE LESS FORTUNATE... THEN SEND YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS TO ME AT ILOVERUTHYBOOKS(AT) GMAIL(DOT)COM  I will cheerfully fork over a copy of Yuletide Hearts because I want you to love it, pass it around, tell folks how good it is and generally be my cheerleading squad across the lower 48. Easy-peasy, right? '

 And now we take you back to your regularly scheduled program.

Music. Inspiration. Ideas. Spirit. Holiness. Humor. 
Godliness. Destruction. Emotion. Gut. Glory. Imagery.

First example:

"You'll Think of Me"   Keith Urban.... This is a classic "dumped" song... You feel the singer's pain, his emotion, his time going way too slowly. And he knows, he KNOWS she's wrong, that she'll regret leaving... but by the time she comes back, he'll be over her. Moved on. Living his life.

Here's a mid-verse. Check the sparse use of words that good songwriters excel at:

I went out driving trying to clear my head
I tried to sweep out all the ruins that my emotions left
I guess I'm feeling just a little tired of this
And all the baggage that seems to still exist
It seems the only blessing I have left to my name
Is not knowing what we could have been...

What we should have been...
Songwriters: Brown, Darrell A; Lacy, Tyrone Kelly; Matkosky, Dennis;

You can here Keith sing it HERE


Hearing those words I felt a book. A book that encompassed the pain of being left behind, of being dumped, of feeling not good enough when you know the person is just plain wrong, when every instinct tells you that what you had was right and good, but now it's gone. 

From this song came "The Prodigal" AKA "Running on Empty", a tough, tightly-woven story of a young athlete whose innocence was destroyed by her high school track coach, a man who preyed on her teen-age vulnerabilities. Ten years later, happily married and seeking peace, she realizes the coach will never let her be happy. He'll never leave her in peace.  He threatens her. She knows he means it. She's always known. 

And so she leaves her husband... her home... her family.... and ends up across the country, pretending to start anew until she's forced to come back eight years later because her mother is ill. She returns to a town that hates her for leaving. For breaking the heart of their beloved police chief. And hated her more for coming back and stirring up old wrongs.  A town that loves its teams, its sports and its winning coaches. 

This song reflects her husband's feelings of knowing she never should have left, of knowing they shared the love of a lifetime, while recognizing he had to get on with his life. And he does... until she comes back.

On a lighter note my buddy and fellow Love Inspired author Mia Ross told me that she got great inspiration from Thompson Square's "Are you gonna kiss me or not?"  
Keifer and Shawna, the husband-and-wife team of "Thompson Square"
 The effective chorus lines are:  "Are you gonna kiss me or not? Are we gonna do this or what? I think you know I like you a lot, I really think we've got a shot..." Songwriters: David Lee Murphy;James Allen Jr Collins Lyrics

Mia just found out that she's sold her THIRD book to Love Inspired (yayayayayayay! Way to go, Mia!), a Christmas book that will come out in 12/12, and this song fit her perky, impatient heroine and shy hero to a "T"!  And not for nothin', Mia and I will have Christmas books out the same month... And for two gals who started writing together years ago, oh my stars.... This is delightful! Thank you, Love Inspired!

My favorite Christmas hymn is "Child of the Poor/What Child is This" (Spend five minutes away from me and watch this gut-wrenching video and hear this beautiful hymn HERE) a medley put together by Scott Soper. The words seize me. They pull me. They offer a stark look into the reality of what it must have been like for that lonely couple, cast out, left out, with few belongings. I've got to believe that visiting angel's words might have seemed far away when a young Mary labored for hours on that cold, December night.

Helpless and hungry...
Lowly, afraid.
Wrapped in the chill of mid-winter...
Comes now among us, 

Born into poverty's embrace,
New life for the world

I cannot hear these words without feeling a story. A cry. A lament. So many people cling to this hope of a God of the poor... And from those words came a story of a little girl, a child, poor. Alone. Living a degrading life of poverty with an angry, neglectful father, a man too consumed by his addictions to realize the brilliant child he had. And into that darkness came a teacher. A light. A hope. A new beginning...  Those words inspired "The First Gift" an as yet unpublished book that takes that child and wraps her in love until matters get taken out of the teacher's hands...

And we see that life may take some bad twists until yet another teacher steps in and braves the loss of her job to save the girl again. 

The First Gift was the General Fiction winner of the Noble Theme (now Genesis) contest in 2006 (maybe... or '07... Obviously I don't have awards posted on my walls!), a Hallmark Hall of Fame type story inspired by a Christmas hymn. 

Words evoke emotion in well-written tunes, but often it's the balance of written word to piano or string or flute or percussion that sends a simple song spinning to unforgettable status in our heads.

Hello, World  is one of those songs.  Released by Lady Antebellum 

I just love their music. The emotions, the instrumentation, the timing.  They play emotions. Amazing.
 and written by Tom Douglas, Tony Lane and David Lee, the words paint a picture of  what's truly important in life as the sight of a child soothes a harried businessman's day, and makes him start thinking of what should really matter. Where he went wrong. When he lost God...  And in that wondering you get the sense of America, so busy, so bustling, in such a hurry... And sometimes forgetting to grasp the little things. Stop by a church. Bend a knee. Wave to a child. But coupled with those words is amazing string and piano accompaniment, notes that linger or soar to complement the natural emotion of the lyrics. This is what I long for in my books, that the words sing a message of renewal, hope and cheer through the occasional tear. Because... Hey. Tears happen.

Hello, World has inspired a beautiful yet-to-be-written-but-existing-in-my-head book of choices. Of how one choice ripples the effect to so many, and how differently two people might see the same choice, that same glass half-full, half-empty. And how will they ever come to agree on what's best for that lonely glass? You can hear the haunting beauty that is Hello, World  HERE.

And finally there is this amazing track from Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "What Child is This", a song from their awe-inspiring 2004 "The Lost Christmas Eve" album. 

 In this father's song I felt the sorrow and repentance that would become the basis for Conor Bradstreet, a rich New York corporate lawyer who struggles back to his Heartland-America roots by reckoning with God in the form of a homeless man one cold, wet Christmas Eve on the Brooklyn Bridge.  God wins...  eventually, so does Conor.

Some of us listen to music when we write. I can't do that. I can block out stupid TV shows. I can block out other people's conversations about unimportant-to-me things, but I cannot block music or children. Both tug me.

But when I'm on my own, not writing, music is my mainstay for letting the Holy Spirit inspire a thought, a tilt, a story, a tale.

Of course it's easy to BLAME HIM if I mess up, but he is, after all, the Holy Spirit... He's got broad shoulders and he's tough as nails.


Today's assignment is to share your thoughts on music's influence on your life, your writing, your story choices. We've got two lovely baskets of goodies and Ruthy books to give away today, to two lucky commenters... And I want to hear what you've got to say!

Join me for coffee-from-the-Keurig inside!


Jamie Adams said...

Music plays a big part in my creativity. Having diabetes that so far has been controlled through diet and exercise I spend a lot of time walking. I find the time goes by much faster if I listen to music. Actually the music carries me away and my walking time is doubled without my realizing it.

Some of my best story ideas come during those music walks. I love most types of music but country is my favorite. Lady Antebellum is tops right now. When I get writers block I listen to one of their songs.

Helen Gray said...

Here's the coffee pot!

Some people consider writing to be their ministry. I don't. Mine has always been music. (Writing is my craft.) And it has always been complementary to my husband's ministry. I sing. I play. I listen. It touches me, inspires me, comforts me, whatever I need.

But, like you, I don't play music when I write. Same reasons.


Ausjenny said...

I hadn't heard part of the song before but it sure is powerful. I do like What child is this except It does make me think of icecream as the icecream van plays this tune.

Oh I got your latest book this week (it only took on month to arrive so am excited) One question can I read this book before the other 2 or will it give to much away?

Tina Pinson said...

I suppose music plays a roll, gets me thinking. But I do music differently I have written songs to go with my story lines. I don't have to get permission either.

From a Christmas scene...

Mary wrapped her baby
In rags worn and old.
And pulled him gently to her chest
To protect him from the cold.
She considered what the angel said
And all the prophets had foretold
And prayed that when his time came
She could protect him from the world.

And the shadows fell...

Tina P.

Anonymous said...

Whispering Jesse. John Denver authored this song/story of a cowboy who's living a life of regrets, love lost, mistakes made.

"I'm just an old cowboy...too old to ride anymore and too blind to see. I sleep in the city now, away from my mountains, away from the cabin we always called home.

I dreamed I left there, on an old palomino, whispering Jesse rode right by my side. I long to hold her, to hear her soft breathing. the touch of her cool hand on my fevered brow.

It seems the mind runs wild when you're all alone. the way that it could be, the way that it should be. the things I'd do differently if I could do them again. I've always loved spring time, the passing of winter, the green of the new leaves and life going on. the promise of morning...

Whispering Jesse still rides in the mountains, still sings in the canyons, still lives in my heart."


Jan Drexler said...

Oh Ruthy, I can tell where you get the inspiration for your stories - they pull at the same emotional heart strings as the music you listen to!

We love music because we connect with it, deep down. Words set to music hits us in places that words alone can't reach - you mentioned the pairing of the right music with the right words. They're powerful.

A good story does the same thing - we follow the actions and emotions of the characters, placed into sometimes impossible situations by the author, and we feel what they're feeling, make the decisions they make, experience the redemption they experience. A good story can change our lives.

You wrote: "This is what I long for in my books, that the words sing a message of renewal, hope and cheer through the occasional tear." I think you can stop longing for that to happen - this message shines bright and clear in every one of your books. Just keep it up!

Last week when you were here we mentioned Heifer Project. Can I shamelessly plug two other wonderful organizations?

The first is Compassion International - What a blessing it is to watch those sponsored children's eyes change through the years.

The other organization is Rafiki Foundation - They run orphanages in African countries that have been hit hard by AIDS. It's a small organization doing stupendous work.

I have a copy of Yuletide Hearts, but will give it to a friend if I win one here (!), and a gift basket would be so much fun. I assume it includes chocolate :)

Janet Kerr said...

Hello Ruthy,
Yes, music makes me "feel" that like you I cannot block it out, my heart sings!

Jan K.

travelingstacey said...

I knew I would love this post...because I think music is definitely a part of me. I've been playing the flute since I was 9 years old and there are times when I'm playing in church that I feel like the Holy Spirit is being glorified through me. Even at my age, I still feel like I am improving through His help. But I not only enjoy playing music, I absolutely love listening to music. I love anything that has a solid meaning...or is just fun. I have listened to John Denver's "Annie's Song" more times than I care to say...I almost feel my senses filling up like a night in the forest : ). I also love classic U2 and other rock. Christian singers like Jeremy Camp, Jennifer Knapp, and Caedman's Call are also favs. Caedman's Call sings a song called "Piece of Glass" that's about someone looking in the mirror and how it affects them. Part of the chorus says, "Who are you that lies when you stare at my face/ telling me that I'm just a trace of the person I once was/ but I just can't tell if you're telling the truth or a lie/ on you I just can't rely/ after all you're just a piece of glass.." Love that. Anyway, I could go on and on. Great post, Ruthy! I'd love to have my name in the hat!

Project Journal said...

Ruthy - I KNOW it sounds awful, but I don't have time to do anything :/ Seriously. Between school wrapping up, finals, appointments up the WAZOO (trust me, it's ridiculous how many appointments I can have as a 19-year-old), work, then Christmas, and my wisdom teeth removal (yep, all four. Two are rotting, one is compacted pretty badly so much in fact it's in danger of ripping the nerve in my jaw on removal :/ I hope NOT! Lol and the last lil tooth of wisdom hasn't begun to come in yet, but they still decided to take it.). All that? Yep, that amounts to about ZERO time to even think. I helped Mom shop for our community kids and for Alicia's child through school (you take a tag and has a description of a child and their needs/wants). We had a newborn baby boy to shop for this year ^_^ loved it! Also, a two and six year old girl. But that's probably all I'm gonna amount to this year, unfortunately. In respects to your bell ringing, we don't have any Salvation Armies here, sorry!

Anyway, music.....ahhhhh music. Music is kind of my center of gravity to be honest. I'm not so sure I could survive without it. I almost always have it playing if I'm on my computer, it's ALWAYS blasting in my car ;) always have my iPod with me, etc lol. I'm kinda crazy! I know when I'm writing, the background noise helps me, but it's a controlled noise. When I am doing homework, normally classical or at least instrumental is playing. Writing a blogpost? Right now, my Christmas station on Pandora :D Love me some Billy Joel, Straight No Chaser (or ANY acapella), David Archuleta....but Missy knows all about me and him ; )

There is literally a song for every emotion, every mood, every moment of everyday and I truly believe that. Why not take advantage of that whenever opportunity arises?

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Wow Ruthy, that is so neat how music inspires your book ideas! I don't ever remember a time in my life without music and a song can always take you somewhere - past, present or future - gotta love that :)

Anonymous said...

Ruthy thank you for sharing another part of yourself via music.
Usually when I am alone I like it quiet. There is always something on when anyone else is home. I do need some music in my life or my thoughts get too gloomy so I listen to praise music and at Christmas anything goes, Christian, secular, kids,chipmunks, organ and chimes anything, if it's Christmas I like it. Except for 'Here comes Santa Claus" Don't like that one.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jamie, I hear you. Lady A evokes emotion. Emotion equates stories. One feeds the other. And I'm so glad to know we're kindred spirits. Although I don't walk. Like, ever. I tried it once. Oh my stars, it wasn't pretty. ;)

But how amazingly cool are you that you are working so hard to control your diabetes like that. Jamie, THAT ROCKS. You go, girl. And keep writing. And walking. And thinking.

Helen, what a beautiful distinction. Craft vs. ministry. And I'm glad we're both tugged... Because that's the point of a beautiful song, isn't it?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jenny, you can read it! It's a stand alone and you'll love it just like that. If it was the first book of mine a person ever read, they'd RUN TO THE COMPUTER AND ORDER MORE... because it's just stinkin' sweet.


When Matt trips over his tongue trying to flirt with Callie... When she's his light shining in the darkness... oh, honey. Just read it. You'll see. :)


That's taking poetry and developing a story to envelope the poem! Oh, why didn't I think of that???? Because now you look smarter than me, and I'm like, really, okay with that, to a POINT, you know, but not like every day... Oh, sweet thing, that's just given me such a wonderful idea! God bless you for being so smart, sharing and caring.

Because like the Care Bears say: Caring and sharing go hand in hand.


Ruth Logan Herne said...




You must write that story. Now. Like put other stuff on hold and write that story. I can SEE it. Feel it. I can sense that regret (Like Cade in Running on Empty) of knowing that what was perfect and true should never be rent asunder.

Go. Hurry. I can't wait to read it, honey. And I'm not even kidding.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Jan, bless you for your gentle and loving words of affirmation. You made me get teary-eyed. Brat.

I love shout-outs for cool organizations, especially when I forget how blessed I am. Thank you! Gotta check out Rafiki Foundation. I have a beautiful grandson whose biological family was in Ethiopia. He came to us two years ago, so the good work done by organizations pairing children with loving parents is a wonderful thing!

And it's your fault that I now own two VIRTUAL GOATS as Christmas gifts. :) Thank you for that shout out! And my editors and agent thank you too, they just don't know it yet!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet Kerr, exactly! The music moves me, I think, a story evolves.

But it often starts with the music. Or if it doesn't start there, if the idea springs from somewhere else (like the sentence my son-in-law Jon uttered that inspired Mended Hearts, Love Inspired, September 11) I'll hear a hymn or song that takes me deeper into that book.

God is funny that way! Oh... that God!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Stacey, those are gripping words. What we see in that looking glass is often so different from what the world sees...

It's like a warp in time because we see what we try so hard to hide.

Oh, I love that, woman! And I'm a big John Denver fan. Chris Wilson, a Christian and folk singer song-writer does a beautiful version of Denver's "Merry Christmas, Zachary" on his Christmas CD that's just enticing. Warm. Beautiful. And I rarely like other versions of John Denver stuff, but Chris Wilson can pull it off. His website is HERE

I could listen to him all day. Lovely, lovely.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hannah, dear girl, busy equates GOOD in my book! I love busy, so you go ahead and keep your plates spinning.

And thank you for taking the time to help your mom. The wisdom teeth are a pain in the ... um... mouth...


My kids had to have their's extracted too, and it makes for a fairly UN-FUN vacation. (I'm pouting for you, just a little)

But God bless you in all you do, Hannah!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Eva Maria, yes... My excursions are not limited to present day, LOL! I've been known to wonder about what's gone past...

And what might lie ahesd. And technology tells us we haven't even scratched the surface of that!

Amazing things, notes. Words. Tunes.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Anonymous... Who art thou, fair maiden???


Like you, I'm more prone to liking the hymns of Christmas. Or songs (like most anything arranged by TSO) that evoke powerful emotion and imagery. The thought of that father finally finding his son, and realizing what he gave up... and how wrong he was to resent Christmas and lights, and carols, and joy...

Pain shows itself in so many ways. We forget that God's got doors and windows abounding. Sometimes we just need to tiptoe over and re-check the walls we've built, right?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Unfortunately I was standing behind the door when God gave out the gift of music. I really have no ear for it. I have poor auditory discrimination so I only know the words when I see them written. Then I go "Oh that's what they are singing." LOL

But music is inspiring I'm sure. The angels sing all the time, so it must be wonderful. Go Ruthy. That is what I love about the Holy Spirit. He uses what we love to talk to us. He talks to me through nature. He talks to you through music. Go Holy Spirit.

Sandra Leesmith said...

About service and Yuletide Hearts. We think of standard things as service like ringing bells, doing some volunteer work in church. But there are many ways to serve.

Many of you are serving through your jobs. Like you, Ruthy. One of the biggest and best services you provide is a loving environment for those kids. You think of it as a job, but in reality it is a ministry.

Just smiling at someone is a service also. Helping parents, helping friends, doing something extra for your boss at work. These are all ways we serve and don't even think of it as such.

And that's why we love Christmas because it brings out all those little services from within us. Christmas reminds us to be giving and joyful, something we should be all year long. And I'm sure that's why you love Christmas, Ruthy, because you are caring, giving and joyful all year. (In spite of the snarky attitude. LOL and the fact you kick my behind every once in awhile. And I'm not admitting I needed it. LOL)

Merry Christmas my friend and all of you out there.

Jackie said...

I often have music playing when I write.
George Strait has tons of getting dumped songs and love gone wrong. He IS the king of country music for a reason.
You mentioned some of my favorite songs in this post, I think we could take a road trip together and not fight over the music.
On a story I finished, I had song lyrics in my story notes to refer to.
Psalms shows us how important music is to God also. Thanks for sharing today! I loved this post.
Jackie Layton

Sherrinda said...

I love music and have recently discovered Spotify! I am building playlists right and left and have a super-duper one for writing.

As for music giving me story ideas...I have a story idea that I got while listening to Il Divo. While I love their music, I think it was their gorgeous faces (along with their inspiring music) that stirred up a story. The problem is I've only written historical...not contemporary, so I'm kinda scared to run with this idea.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Ruthy! I've gotten a number of ideas from the words to music, too. Sometimes a scene just jumps vividly into your mind when you hear them--and I'm betting that the SAME song evokes different scenes, characters and situations for different writers.

MaryC said...

Love, love, love this post. It sings to me. :)

Like you, Ruthy, many of my stories are inspired by songs. They just get my brain playing that "What if?" game.

There's a line in Blake Shelton's Austin that inspired one story in particular.

"What kind of man would hang on that long?
What kind of love that must be?"

Doesn't that just scream STORY at you?

I actually really love the whole song and it certainly has that happily-ever-after ending.

Another song that went with it for me - and helped mold the same story - is Keith Anderson's "She Could've Been Mine."
Some sample lyrics -

"She started talkin’ ‘bout our future and it scared me half to death
So I ran away but to this day her memory takes my breath....

Home for the holidays, a friend’s party New Year’s Eve
I turned around and found familiar blue eyes staring back at me
A little girl came runnin’ up and took her by the hand
And a memory in miniature said, “Mommy, who’s that man?”
You should’ve seen her little smile
You should’ve heard her little laugh
Oh the way her eyes just danced
When she brushed her hair back"

And then the refrain -

"She could’ve been mine
She would’ve been in another place and time
And now and then I go there in my mind
She would’ve been
She should’ve been
She could’ve been mine"

*happy sigh* I love music.
Can't sing to save my life but who cares when I'm home alone and can churn the volume up.

Mia Ross said...

I always love starting my day with a Ruthy post! Especially since this one has good news for both of us tucked inside :)

When I'm mulling over the important elements of a story, songs remind me just how much you can say in 3 minutes or less. Keith Urban has a special knack for this, which is why I LOVE his music. If you choose the right words and set the scene well, you can make people laugh or cry or think about something in a new way.

Then again, some songs make me hit a different button on my stereo. I try not to write that way ;)

Joy said...

Music definitely plays a huge part in my life. It ministers to my soul. It helps me relax and focus. It encourages me to do better and to give it my all. We listen to music daily in our household. My husband and children all play instruments. Yes, music is a big part of our life and it is something that always will be. When I feel like I have come to a block in my writing, I turn on my favorite music. Aaron Shust is very soothing to my soul. He loves God so much and it really shows in his music.

Carol Moncado said...

<3 country music.


Wrote one one time [won't be published in this lifetime though] called 'On the Other Hand' about a guy who is forced into a marriage with someone who's not his girlfriend. They're totally meant to be together of course, but the first time he sees his now-ex, he has a hard time remembering why it is he's not supposed to be kissing her. Until there's a glint off a golden band.

That reminds him of someone who would not understand.

He wishes he could stay.
And be her lovin' man.
But the reason he must go
Is on the other hand.


And the sequel... Unanswered Prayers ;).


I write best, like at Panera etc, with headphones in and my WOW playlist rockin'. I have the WOWs from 98, 99, 00, 05, 07, 11, and 12. Just have to make sure I don't cry when 'Letters from Home' comes on.

I wish I could find a way to make the very convoluted plot from On The Other Hand work in a contemp without being so convoluted but... Much easier to do the 'forced to marry' thing in a historical methinks...

I've got more. And wish I had time when I had no kids and no other obligations when I could go ring bells. Not quite as bad as wisdom teeth and all that, but very little kidless free time.

Speaking of... time to go get ready for work... Last day of class. Grading done. Finals Tuesday and all I'll have to do then is grade the final itself which is mostly scantron. And the assignments they turn in today. But those are easy.

Cindy W. said...

Music has always inspired me. My life would be so boring and empty without music. Country Music has such wonderful stories in their songs that each song could inspire a story as I'm sure a story inspired each song.

There is an old, old song from Michael Martin Murphey that in the past was a haunting song for me. Title, "Wildfire". It has inspired ideas in my mind in the past and I hadn't thought about it for years until I read your post. I may have to rethink some things. :) Thank you Ruthy!

Sometimes I can get an idea just from a few words of a song or the entire song speaks to me. I am a BIG, BIG, BIG Lee Greenwood fan (his mom was a friend of mine before she passed away)and his music always speaks to me. Like the song I.O.U. conjures up all sorts of story possibilities. Then there's Conway Twitty's "To See an Angel Cry" and also George Jones', "He Stopped Loving Her Today". So many possiblities with Country music, Yee Haw!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Sherri Shackelford said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration, Ruthy!

Jeanne T said...

I love listening to music, and I love singing, but I don't listen to music very often when I write. I get distracted by the lyrics and harmony lines I hear in my head.

Listening to music at other times, though, ministers to my spirit and focuses my mind upon Jesus. It leads my heart into worship.

When I was much younger, singing always brought comfort to my soul, especially during the drama days of high school. It has the ability to renew my perspective and realign it where it should be.

As I read your blogpost today, I thought about how listening to other genres of music from my norm may inspiure creativity in my thoughts, and churn up some story ideas.

Tina P., loved your lyrics.

Time to get kids to school. Hope to pop back in later. Love this conversation you've begun, Ruthy!

Jodi Janz said...

This post struck a deep chord in me. Music is such an important part of my life. I just wrote a post a couple days ago about how much it is - yet I can't sing a note in tune or play a single instrument. I was amazed when I did a Spiritual gifts assessment that music came out very strong on there. I figured the only ones who would have music as a gift were the ones who could sing it or play it impressively.
However, the interesting thing is that every one of my stories have a song with it. It is an element that God gave me with story number one and He continues to bless me with it. The story does not come from the song - like yours do, Ruth. Instead they are a part of the story of the MC. They usually come about half way through the writing process and I am blown away and amazed at how God orchestrates their selection. I couldn't possibly explain it here.
That's enough chatter for now, but I really could go on and on about this topic. It is so very encouraging to me to see music playing a key role in other writers as well.
Thanks for posting.

Linnette R Mullin said...

Ruthy, LOVE the post! What a wonderful way to be inspired as a writer!

AVB - Acappela Vocal Band came out with a song in 1989 called, "Song in my Soul." ( It goes like this:

"I've got a song in my soul and I want to let it out. The Spirit in my life, well He makes me want to shout. He moves the beat with every beat of my heart. He put a song in my soul when He made me."

This is so me! I've actually written about a dozen songs that no one will probably ever hear except those who are close to me. :D Music is as much a part of me as stories are. I can't listen to music when I write. It's too distracting. I can shut almost anything else out, but music and a good story on tv will disrupt my writing nearly every time.

Has music inspired stories? Hmm... I don't remember. Not in the same way you described. But probably in a way I'm not cognizant of. For me, my songs are stories.

A young pianist from back home who is awesomely amazingly gifted said I have a tone to my piano playing she's never heard anywhere else. And, yes, she meant it as a compliment. At least, I took it that way since she's always been enthralled with my playing.

I think it's because I let my fingers sing. I can't really explain it, but they do. Since I can NOT sing and play at the same time like many pianists do, I let my fingers sing for me. Probably why my tone is so unique.

So, that is my weird connection between writing and music.

Sipping on English Breakfast tea that is fast getting cold...

Kayla said...

I love that I'm not the only one who gets so involved in a song that it's distracting from writing! And that songs tend to spark book ideas. There are times though where I find that I'm listening to a song and realize that it's describing exactly how my character is feeling. Because of that, my books tend to have theme songs. The book I'm working on now has a Lady Antebellum song as it's theme actually. One Day You Will is my go to when I'm feeling down, and like things might never get better. It reminds me that even if I can't see it now, God has better things for me down the road. Thanks for the post! It made my morning so much better. <3

Julie Lessman said...

Oh, Ruthy, you are SO right -- music does it to me every time too, moistens the eyes, thickens the throat!! Only I seldom get stories in my head from them, so I must be doing something wrong ... :)

One of the best music/my books relationship I have is with the Hillsong worship song called "Glory to the King," which was my main worship song while I wrote A Passion Most Pure. So much so, in fact, that to this day when I hear it, I am transported back to the story of the O'Connors and Faith O'Connor's resilient faith. I even used a Scripture line inspired by the lyrics:

You're the Father to the fatherless
The answer to my dreams.

Fun post, Ruthy!!


Kayla said...

I know exactly what you mean about music sparking ideas! I also tend to hear songs while I'm working on a book (not while I'm writing either mind you... I also find it too distracting), that make me think, "Wow that's exactly how my character is feeling." I actually started picking theme songs for each of my books, and my first has a Lady A song called One Day You Will. (Loving that other people find Lady A as inspiring as I do.) It's a song that reminds me that even if I'm down and feeling like things will never get better, God has good things planned for me down the road, I just have to wait on his timing. Thanks for the post! It made my morning so much better. <3

Melanie Dickerson said...

Great post, Ruthy! I've been planning on thanking Taylor Swift for helping me plot my Snow White story (which, according to rumor, is coming out in August, SH!) because I think I plotted that entire book while listening to "Love Story" and "Enchanted." Those two songs just start the creative juices flowing, It's AMAZING! And I don't even like country music, but I love Taylor Swift.

And I can write like the wind when I listen to Andrea Bocelli. I've said this before, and it's still true. I write faster when his CD is playing in the background.

Donna said...

Your post made me realize I have drifted away from listening to music like I use to. It's one of those things I've quit making time for due to not having enough hours in a day. I think I'll break out my MP3 player and find time to figure out how to put some new music on it. And my Steven Curtis Chapman Christmas CD has been calling me.
Thanks Ruthy!

Mary Connealy said...

You know how I got here this morning? Rather than just come directly to Seekerville?
I opened my Yahoo email address.
There was an email from Jennifer Tipton that came from her Facebook page with me and Ruthy tagged. Jennifer's poast as about Ruthy's day in Seekerville with a link.
So from Yahoo to Facebook to Blogger.

It's a social media pinball machine.

Mary Connealy said...

And Ruthy, your story about the girl and her abusive coach would be a SMOKING HOT PROPERTY in the Sandusky era.

Someone needs to write about the human cost of predators like him.

Mary Connealy said...

They're not VIRTUAL GOATS are they? They're real goats, you just bought them online. Right?
cuz if they're only virtual goats then you need to get your money back.

Erica Vetsch said...

I'm immersing myself in period music for my WW1 piece.

It's A Long Way To Tipperary

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag

Over There

but the one that really got me was:

Just a Baby's Prayer at Twilight (For Her Daddy Over There.)

Music is so powerful.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Whoa, Ruthy! Hold up on the caffeine a little. LOL.

When I read that post, I was bouncing all over the place. Couldn't keep up with how fast your mind works.

Great idea, though! I'll have to listen to music in a whole new way now. I do love a song that tells a good story.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Aw, Sandra. You were so stinkin' nice to me. Now I'm all mushy-gushy and it's all your fault.

And you're so right, my friend, that ministry should be our way of life through our jobs... those smiles... those hugs.... That plate of brownies dropped off... a ride for a shut-in.

I always think of St. James when I picture those things. The little personal acts that let others see Christ in us or through us. I love the quote: "Preach the Gospel at all times. When all else fails, use words."

That sums it up!

Jackie, you schedule the road trip! I'm in! And I'll bring M&M's for road food.

Mary Connealy said...

whoever wins ruthy's basket of goodies could you please email me at and tell me what's in it?

She makes it sound so good (In a big bad wolf kinda way). There isn't a puppy, right?

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

Oh music, how I love thee...

I can honestly say I've never been inspired by a certain song to write a story. Maybe it's because I don't listen to country, which is probably the most story-oriented musical genre out there. But I think music inspires me more by it's mood and tempo than actual lyrics.

I love listening to music while I write, and incorporating songs into my stories. Like Erica Vetsch, I try to listen to stuff appropriate to the time period of mood I'm evoking (movie soundtracks are great for this). In my current work, I have two characters slow dancing to Norah Jones' "Come Away with Me" in one scene. I've always thought it was a romantic, wistful song, and it fits perfectly with the moods my characters are in.

(Funny, a few days later I was telling a friend that I'd listened to a certain Norah Jones song about 10 times, trying to time the lyrics right with what was going on, and she immediately asked me if I was using "Come Away with Me." Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks of it as a romantic, slow-dance song.)

I'm not sure how copywrite laws work, but I like putting the actual music in my work, to help evoke mood more, but also, it seems odd that people in stories WOULDN'T have music playing at some point.

Love to be in the drawing, Ruthy!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Sherrinda, there's a reason it stirred you... First, they're cute.

But those nudges are such a lovely way to start a story! I love those first urges and glimpses. And then the story builds.

And if I make fun of Mary, the story gets funnier. Who knew?

It's odd how picking on Mary improves my writing and work ethic. Obviously a GOD THING. ;)

And Glynna, I agree wholeheartedly. Psyche 101 would call it button-pushing, right? The buttons it pushes for one might be totally different for another. Or none at all.

So HOW STINKIN' COOL IS IT when a story or a song touches the masses.... That's just amazing.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary C., those are both AWESOME examples. Oh my gosh, I love Austin, Love Keith Anderson and those words just talked to me, too.

Beautiful. Regret. Longing. New chances. Awww......

Darius Rucker's "Don't Think I Don't Think About It".... a song of regrets, of leaving and then wondering what coulda been, shoulda been....

"Between the work and the words and the whiskey, don't think I don't have regrets..."

AWESOME... You can come with us on the road trip, honey. ;)

Virginia said...

heehee! This was like a short tutorial tha I really needed,because I'd heard about all of these artists but never actually heard them. I don't have headphones for the computer so I had to wait until people were awake to actually listen to the songs.
My husband controls the stereo and his music choices are somewhat... more exotic. Banda, anyone? Oy, accordians by the dozens. At the best, it's Andes mountain folk music. Yeah...
I actually can't write when the music is on because I stop to listen... then somehow my characters are breaking up when they should be getting together, or falling in love with someone else entirely!

Virginia said...

Mia, congratulations!! That's such great news!

Tina, I loved that poem. So beautiful.

Stacey, I have to tell you that I've always hated 'Annie's Song' and mocked it on MANY an occasion. Then when my brother got married last, their first dance was to that song. He's 25 and his bride was 24, and to this young couple, it said everything about their love. I almost fell onto the floor!!! So, maybe it's just me.

I'm musical, I teach piano and took violin lessons for years.... But I stand in awe of people like Helen who can play IN PUBLIC. That's a whole other talent. :D

Mia Ross said...

Thanks for the congrats, Virginia. Ruthy and I are pretty psyched about it :)

travelingstacey said...

Thanks for the link, Ruthy! The second the music started my kids were over like moths to a flame. They love music, too : ). Stacey

Connie Queen said...

Ruthy, one of my favorite songs is Sunday Mornin' Coming Down by Johnny Cash. It evokes a feeling in me thats hard to describe. And my husband doesn't care for it which really kind of ticks me off! LOL.

I have a story titled The Sermon about an 80 year old preacher who is giving his last sermon. Everyone in the small town church only knows him as a meek, and somewhat boring preacher. But in his last sermon he tells of the greatest sinner of his time; himself. Basically, as a young man he is the man in Johnny Cash's song.

Not a romance, but I love this story. I need to finish writing it.

Helen Gray said...


I've never been able to do a lot in public, but music is a different story. A song contains a message and is a prepared presentation, so it's much easier to do than speaking. And I always choose songs that speak to me personally in some way. I figure if they touch me, they can touch someone else.

I spent a lot of years as a church music director, and was a high school band director for a couple of years. Music has always been my passion. Yet I don't play music when I write. Too distracting.


Virginia said...

Mary, as for the Sandusky era book on the cost of human predators... it SHOULD NOT leave out the fact that people knew, and did nothing. I think that is one of the biggest tragedies of the situation. That people saw, heard, knew, and did nothing.

But then that high school coach reported something very small, a mother's concern. And started the ball rolling. He didn't give up. He told the truth in grand jury testimony and kept the police on track. Of course, it was 3 years before any charges were filed, but that coach DID RIGHT by those kids when all the big dudes at the top just turned a blind eye.

I want to shake that man's hand... Or make him cookies. Something!

EC Spurlock said...

Great post, Ruthy! Like you, I can't write if there's music playing; the words get tangled up with mine, or the tune doesn't suit the mood. And I don't think I've ever had a story inspired by a song. But everything I write eventually acquires a soundtrack. Some just one or two songs, others an entire album worth. And not always the songs one would expect. :-)

And how often has God spoken to me through a song on the radio, or a song that comes into my head out of nowhere? Music is His voice too.

Tina! who knew you were a songwriter?! What a wonderful snippet of poem! Hope we get to see the whole thing one day!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mia, congrats on your third book sale to LI!!!!

YAYAYAYAYAY! We're cheering for you here in the village. Suh-Weeeet!


So, some guy just came randomly to my door to wash my carpet...

For free.

To get his new business off the ground.

On my quiet back country road.

I didn't see a meat cleaver, but I'm pretty sure he MUST HAVE HAD ONE SOMEWHERE, RIGHT????


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, Joy, Aaron Shust.... Lovely.

And I love that you have a musical family. We don't. Nor can they do mechanics. Or plumbing.

I mean, really, would it have hurt to have ONE PLUMBER, ONE MECHANIC AND ONE ELECTRICIAN IN THE FAMILY?

No music. No mechanics. Dagnabbit.

Have some eggnog.

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, I'll tell a music story, but it's not a cool, modern music story so....lower your expectations.

I was on an airplane and, as is my way on airplanes, I was praying before take-off. Not for the plane to fly well, but rededicating myself to the Lord, praying for forgiveness, just generally the things a person does when they're pretty sure they're going to die.

Which is my relationship with planes, but that's not the music story.

I was praying and it was just after my dad had died. All of his grandchidlren that wanted to sang the song "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" at his funeral. It was one of Dad's very favorites. And while I prayed that song came to me and was mentally running through the words.

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

This song struck me in a different way than it had before. We think of ourselves as needing to be faithful to God, but this song is talking about God being faithful to US! I hadn't thought of that in just this way before. God cares for us, provides for us, is our refuge. But it struck me in a new way as God being faithful to us.

This became the backbone of Calico Canyon. Grace, the heroine, used this as her source of strength, that God would be faithful to her, even when she had moments of failure in her faithfulness to Him.

Grace talks with one of her five young sons when they are trapped in a cave after an avalanche and to me, the pivotal moment in the book is when she says to little John, "I used to be brave."
And then she talks about God's faithfulness. This all came out of that song.

Connie Queen said...

Did you let him in to clean or send him on his way?

Melanie Dickerson said...

I like that story, Mary!!!

Virginia said...

Mary, I got chills! (And I love airplanes, used to fly 10-12 times a year, so the chills weren't of fear...)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Need to put on the Bocelli CD and write!!! Before my whole day is gone!

Jan Drexler said...

Mary, that hymn is the coolest one ever! And what a wonderful revelation for you right at the right time...


I love hymns.

Jan Drexler said...

Ruthy, the meat cleaver was cleverly hidden in the box with all the vacuum cleaner attachments.

He probably steals small children, too.

Or he just wanted to sell you a vacuum. But, hey, if you weren't going to buy one, why waste his time by having him clean your carpet?

On another note (yes, a music reference!),

We're happy dancing at our house today - I sold my first short story to a magazine :)

Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Vince said...

Hi Wonderful Ruth:

I not only like music when I write, like Tina Pinson, I actually write music to put into my stories. In my current WIP, (retitled ‘The Captain Who Was Stranded in a Cabin With a Romance Writer’) I have a complete song (with music) that plays a key role in the story.
(Did you notice how ‘key’ and ‘plays’ are musical terms?)

Setup: my heroine goes into a rough country western bar, frequented by real cowboys and motorcycle riders, looking for a hero.

Below are middle verses of “Looking for a Hero”. What the heroine sings is in italic and the hero’s words are in bold. (of course). In the novel Taylor Underwood sings the female part.

"I’m a bad boy, cowboy,
motorcycle rider
I’m six foot three
with a college degree
and even the cops
don’t mess with me."


“I can see him
coming over here
with his Elvis smile
and his three day beard.
He’s thirty feet away
but he's too d#m# near
if I had any sense
I’d get out of here!


“Hey pretty lady
my name is Mackenzie
and watching you
has got my heart
in a frenzy.
Let’s do this dance
so I can hold you tight
I’ll treat you well
and I’ll love you right…

‘cause I’m looking for a heroine.
I need a good woman
to help me love again.
Those honky-tonk angles
they stole my heart
threw it on the floor
and broke it all apart.”


”My name is Gwen
but I’m no heroine.
I don’t have the curves
to set your heart a-spin.
I’ve got mousey brown hair
and I’m a librarian
and you’re what the nuns
called the occasion of sin.”


"I may be a devil
but I’m the bad boy kind.
I’ve got these calloused fingers
to drive you out of your mind.
I’ll take you where you’ve
never been before.
I’ll love you until
I can’t love you any more."


There are more verses but I’m saving them for the book.

BTW: I think the best country video, from the male POV, is by Toby Keith:

How Do You Like Me Now?


P.S. In a way, Yuletide Hearts makes me think of the Ray Charles hit, “Hit the Road Jack”. Callie was dumped by her husband, Jake was dumped by his father, and Matt was dumped by his stepfather. "A Whole lot of Dumping Going On” (Jerry Lee)!

For those who want to be dumped I suggest, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Fifty Ways to leave your lover.”

Cathy Shouse said...

How has music influenced my life? Well, I got a degree in it.
As I took on more responsibility, it seems like I got farther away from it.

Of course, we have educated our kids and they know Billy Joel's Piano Man and we took them to hear Art Garfunkel in concert for our anniversary a few years ago. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is always relevant to any generation. :)

I was writing in Starbucks one day and the DVD collection offered (not sure if they sell full collections anymore?) at the time was by Police. When I'm writing, my theme song is "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." :)

I would LOVE to win one of Ruthy's treats.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

Cathy Shouse said...

How has music influenced my life? Well, I got a degree in it.
As I took on more responsibility, it seems like I got farther away from it.

Of course, we have educated our kids and they know Billy Joel's Piano Man and we took them to hear Art Garfunkel in concert for our anniversary a few years ago. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is always relevant to any generation. :)

I was writing in Starbucks one day and the DVD collection offered (not sure if they sell full collections anymore?) at the time was by Police. When I'm writing, my theme song is "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." :)

I would LOVE to win one of Ruthy's treats.

cathy underscore shouse at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruthy,
Newbie question -
Is Running on Empty available? I couldn't find it on your page, but I was doing a hurried search.

Thanks - and thanks for the encouragement. Tossing you some Frango. :)


Carol Moncado said...

Er, that should have been Letters from War. And ditto Walking Her Home. Both cryfests.

Are we entering to win Ruthy treats? I'd like some :D.

I've had plots jump out at me from a number of songs, mostly country songs, but I've not written any more of them yet. And I can't think of them of course...


Suburban Straightjacket - the one I'm pitching right now - the title came first but it's totally "Mr. Mom" by Lonestar.

Well, Pampers melt in a Maytag dryer
Crayons go up one drawer higher
Rewind Barney for the fifteenth time
Breakfast at six, naps at nine
There's bubblegum in the baby's hair
Sweet potatoes in my lazy chair
Been crazy all day long
And it's only Monday, Mr. mom

And I LOVE how the Barney rewinds goes up each time ;). But yeah - about a guy who loses his job and has to become Mr. Mom.

There's more. I'll think of them later I'm sure. Like tomorrow.

carolmoncado at gmail dot com

Diana Dart said...

All this praising and cheering over country music almost makes me wanna get into it... almost ;)

Now I could hang out in Cathy Shouse's house, what with the Piano Man playing right after Garfunkel and the Police on deck. Totally. Perfect theme song, Cathy!

But songs with stories woven throughout (no matter what the genre!) speak to me. They're actually kinda distracting while I'm writing, but gold for long car rides, while doing dishes and as I'm folding laundry. Sometimes it's like reading a heart wrenching/gut churning story in three-and-a-half minutes :)

Ausjenny said...

Thanks Ruthy I think it may be coming with me to Melbourne to read.
I am down to my last 3 states to read and one is a christmas book (so then I can read all christmas books!)

Faye said...

Songs are so inspirational. Loved the post, I especailly think that around Christmas there are some beautiful new songs as well :) Thanks Ruthy :)

Cara Lynn James said...

Hi, Ruthy! I just bought a copy of Yuletide Hearts today. I bet I'll love it! Bye--I'm going to start reading.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Vince!!! Love your song! LOL!!!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Hey Ruthy, can I just say I love you, sister.

okay enough mush. I listen to music when I write as long as it's nothing I can sing to.
Great songs today!

I've had 'All I Want for Christmas is You' by Mariah Carey in my head for two days. It's great to get you up off your seat and moving. Sorry if I wrecked the moment. :) Even Scrooge would be tapping his toes.

Casey said...

You know the music I love? Brad Paisley (now not all his songs, but a lot!) because he really tells a story with his songs. That's what I love in music is STORY.

I can't write without music. It's just too quiet to me and a-hem, I actually like writing to country music (Pandora). But I want to edit to Christian. LOL!

Anyway, wanted to stop by and say HELLO to Ruthy. So hello. :) Thanks for the post!

Pam Hillman said...

I skimmed the comments, so might have missed it, goes...

I can't think of any of my stories that were inspired by a song...

I don't listen to music when I write.

I rarely have any music playing at home or in the car if I'm alone.

Now, I'm wondering if something is wrong with me!

Andrea Strong said...

I am a writer today because of a country song. My wip is inspired by and named for Johnny Cash's song "Give My Love to Rose." A few lyrics...

Give my love to Rose.
Please won't you, mister.
Give her all my money
Tell her buy some pretty clothes.
Tell my boy that Daddy's so proud of him.
And don't forget to give my love to Rose.

I've told that story so often it's probably tired, so I won't tell it again.

The as yet unwritten sequel will be "Not a Moment Too Soon." It's not inspired by the Tim McGraw song, but it fits nonetheless.

Of course, someday when it's published (notice I didn't say if) the publisher will likely change the titles. :-(

Love this post, and I absolutely want a Ruthy goodie basket.

andeemarie95 at gmail dot com

Audra Harders said...

Whew! Glad I didn't miss today's Ruthy post! You are so right, girlfriend. Songs touch my heart and the next thing I know, words are filling a page and the next novel is born.

Music and lyrics make such a strong combination. Whatever your mood, your heart will latch onto just the perfect song to put your feelings into words.

What a gift.

Got me thinking. And humming.

I just love Lady Antebellum : )

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'd like a book. I'm trying to volunteer for something in our little midwest town of 1000....but the streets are ice, I'm afraid to drive, and....however, I AM still writing lessons for my writing group, and we're meeting w/out me getting paid like I used to. Could that POSSIBLY count? (Har har har). How about, when I get to AZ in a month, I will volunteer at a Cn. retreat house like I always do, for lots more hours than 3, when they have retreats? I work in the kitchen, clean, make beds, you name it. Ta da?

Have a good holiday season, Ruthie, and thanks for sharing your typical inspirations. And I'm glad i met you in the elevator in StL. Gail Kittleson


Ruth Logan Herne said...

This is Ruthy, reporting to you live from Nashville, Tennessee!

Yee haw!!!! Cindy, I love that song Wildfire! Now I'll be hearing it all day, sistah! And Sherri, you're welcome, sweet thang!

Jeanne, I hear you. Switching up genres sometimes opens new doors of thoughts. And sometimes it will be a Bible verse that catches me and then a song, or thought of a lyric will deepen the story in my head, but there is a music thread in my way of thinking. Such a blessing! Umm, as long as I don't sing for you.

We'll keep that on the down low. For your protection, of course!

Jodi, we are kindred spirits! How wonderful. Music is my therapy, and it's other people's music, but it takes me away from the same-old, same old. And I like how the music comes to you mid-story... I have that happen, too.

Which might just mean we'll share a room at the asylum, honey. Or that we can road-trip together and not fight! I think we might need a VAN for this road trip. Or a bus... Seeker road tour.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Linnette, I find a musician's spirit tends to come through the way the notes march or fly from the instrument, so your 'tone' is no surprise. From a heart like yours should come heartfelt music.

If you've ever watched Celtic Woman, Mairead Nesbitt is amazing. She can make the fiddle dance or the violin mourn... With a captivating stage presence. I'm using her as 'the model' for Katie, my one-legged heroine in my early 2013 book.... Katie lets nothing keep her down, not her weird family, not past sorrow, not her missing limb. And you (I HOPE, LOL!!!) feel that in her character. She's not broken. She's fixed.

And that's a huge POV difference!

Kayla, this is wonderful! Of course the fact that the heroine of WINTER'S END is Kayla because I love, love, love that name... You are already near and dear to my writer's heart.


Ruth Logan Herne said...

Donna, you are most welcome, and yes, grab the apparatus out and have fun with it! I keep radios/cd players on my porch so I can listen outside when I work in the yard. I have the laptop in the kitchen with my Itunes lists... I have radios or CD players in every room...

And for writing baby/mother/father things, I have "Sleep Sound in Jesus" a beautiful CD that if you want to transport your mindset into a nursery, listen to this CD. Lovely. Lovely.

Julie, I do that too! When a song plays, I "see" the scenes of my book/books. Or... new ones. ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, you're brilliant.

I will deluge poor Wendy with yet another story about how stinkin' stupid predators seek to ruin children's lives.

Does this mean I have to be nice to you? Because that might extol a cost too great. I'll think about it. 'Kay?

Melanie, I love Taylor. I use her as an example for my tweeeeeens, because her work ethic is AMAZING... And we know Ruthy loves me some great work ethic.

And Mary, the pinball analogy... Perfect. Now Pinball Wizard has replaced the last song in my head.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

They are real goats sold in a virtual wonderland of the Internet.

I do not get to name them, more's the pity.

But how cool that you can BUY A FAMILY A GOAT. OR TWO...

I'm still boggled by that and Dave is still happy that he doesn't have to replace the old cow fencing.

A win/win.

Erica Vetsch, yes, yes, yes! Not only are you beautiful, funny and sweet (kind of), you are so stinkin' smart.

(I generally say this to anyone who agrees with me.)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Stephanie, the rules don't let you use lyrics without permission from the publisher, writer, etc. so I'm waiting for the police to come and take me away. But they DON'T KNOW I'm in Nashville, so I might enjoy a few day reprieve.

But since they're all over the Internet, I think that using them in a positive light and giving credit to the songwriters and performers makes it okay in Ruthy-land.

But I'll let you know when the citation comes. Or the cute sheriff's deputy I'm putting in next year's books...

Oh. Yum.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Mary, I love, love, love that story. And I can feel that in Grace's character.

Those mischievous floor-pie eating boys. Oh my stars!


Really, how weird is that????

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Connie, get on it! That sounds wonderful, girlfriend. I love that song, it evokes an emotion that stirs the soul and makes us want to examine our consciences...

Virginia, I can just see your characters suddenly doing the Mambo or breaking into a salsa dance right before they break up in emotional turmoil!


Stacey, yes, my little ones flock. We dance in the kitchen. A lot. We pretend the round braided rug is a "track" and we run around it. But when the music comes on, the babies dance in their high chairs to get down. So cute!

They're creatures of habit and their favorite is still Billy Curringtons "Love Done Gone" because of the great sing-along-for-one-year-olds chorus:

"Ba da da, Ba da da!"
Ba da da, Ba da da!"
Ba da da, Da Da Da, Da Da Da!
It's just love done gone!"


We sing those "Ba da das" a lot. ;)

Linnette R Mullin said...

Ruthy said:

Linnette, I find a musician's spirit tends to come through the way the notes march or fly from the instrument, so your 'tone' is no surprise. From a heart like yours should come heartfelt music.

Thanks, Ruthy! :-) (((hugs)))

Off to play some of that music now. :D

Edwina said...

Music has played a HUGE influence in my life. I learned to "play by ear" when I was 6. I came home from church and picked out the melody of the choir special on the piano. I've been involved in church music in various roles all my life until about 2 years ago when I took a sabbatical. I really miss it and am ready to get back to it!

Moonine Sue Watson said...

I can listen to instrumental music when I write such a Kenny G, Christ Botti, Yanni, and various Irish tunes as well as classical music. I can't do songs with lyrics and write.

My husband is a musician so there is music in the house daily. We both sing in the church choir although he is the more talented.

I like the lyrics in country music because of the stories they tell.

I never thought of using those idea to write a story. That's a good idea.