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? '
Music. Inspiration. Ideas. Spirit. Holiness. Humor.
Godliness. Destruction. Emotion. Gut. Glory. Imagery.
"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"|
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...
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.|
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!