Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Lux Aeterna

overcast, cool, temps minus 4

Feels a little colder to me, but it is still WAY milder than normal.

Am having great fun engaging now with the next book. Just letting my thoughts run free. But I also realize how important music is to my creative process. Each book has had both poems, and pieces of music that have inspired it. Sometimes with lyrics, like the searing Leo Ferre piece called 'Avec le temps' that inspired the next book - Bury Your Dead - and the instrumental 'Colm Quigley' that inspired The Brutal Telling.

I was watching the pairs short programme at the Olympics the other day and as always was amazed. I just love all of them! And get so caught up in their stories...borders and frontiers disappear and it seems to become about the people - the human stories. But - what struck me like lightning - it really feels like a jolt - was the music used (co-incidentally) by one of the Canadian pairs. They didn't do so well in the standings, but their music stunned me. I loved it.

Yesterday I decided to try to find out what it was. I love research - part of what I adored about journalism...following leads and trails - and the amazing satisfaction when you find what you're looking for. So I googled and searched, refined my search, tried different things...and finally found a reference to it. The piece was Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell, from his larger work Requiem for a Dream. Though, I actually think it was a slightly different version called Requiem for a Tower. But I downloaded both.

As soon as I heard it I knew it was the 'track' to book 7, which is tentatively called A WORLD OF SIGHS - from an Othello quote.

My books, I've long realized, are individually like pieces of music, and often collectively like a that over the arc of several books and story lines, there are different movements.

After BURY YOUR DEAD - which as you'll see is like a final movement - rich, full, dramatic - the next book needs to start the cycle again. Ridiculous to keep building dramatically...then the series would turn into a melodramatic shriek.

No, there are natural ebbs and flows, and book 7 is really the beginning of another 'symphony'. Indeed, the thrilling part in finding that piece of music is it tracks what I hope A WORLD OF SIGHS will feel like - but it is also what the next arc of a few books will feel like, over the course of Lux Aeterna.

Not sure if this is making any sense, but it is thrilling for me...indeed pivotal. A turning point in approaching a book. so many unseen elements need to fall into place for it to feel real to me, and be propelled along. Having music in my head as I'm writing (granted and thankfully not all the time) - is a huge inspiration.

The trick, though, is not to over-listen to it, and have the 'magic' and power wear off. Now I'm afraid to listen to it at all until I start to write on March 1st. We'll see if I can or if I give in to temptation. As Oscar Wilde said, 'I can resist anything except temptation.'

Having fun watching the Olympics. I just adore the skating - hockey I'm afraid doesn't do much for me - but I do love curling. Such a game of nerves and strategy. Of finess. What an interesting - and probably psychotic - country Canada is - to embrace and love both hockey and curling. Like our seasons, we are drawn to extremes. Well masked behind a courteous exterior.

Thanks for letting me prattle on about music. It feels quite divine when something hits like that. Very exciting.


Susan Fish said...

Louise - I devoured your books after discovering your writing in the Globe and Mail at Christmas. Yum yum. Thank you. This piece about music really speaks to me, because I do the same thing with my own writing. I find it really satisfying to go back to listen to the music at the end of my writing. In fact, I did just that in Montreal this past weekend.

I'm curious about Colm Quigley though. I can find Colm Quigley as a fiddler, but not as a tune. Should I keep looking?



Jodi said...

Susan, there's a link on Louise's main web site.

The group is called Leahy.

Link here to sample mp3:

Rena said...

What about incorporating the Olympics into one of your next books? Perhaps games set in Quebec?

Cece said...

Thank you. My 20 year-old son and I were both struck by the music-and now we can both download it to our iPods.

Donna K said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing the recesses of your mind with us. Very deep..creative..cavernous (is that a word?)..very cool.
Donna K.

whalewatcher said...

Good morning, You asked if what you were saying about your books and music connecting made sense to anyone. Oh yes, it really does! Honestly I do understand what you were explaining (I wish I could do it) and find the process you talk about fascinating. I wish I could say there was something in my life that flowed together that way, but at least I get to enjoy reading that comes from your talent : ) Thanks for explaining and 'including' us in the process.
Have a super day!

Bev Stephans said...

Hi Louise,

I loved how you incorporate the music with your writing. It just makes so much sense to me as I love to have music playing when I'm in the middle of an extreme task.

I'm so looking forward to "Bury Your Dead". It seems that I'm like a small child waiting for Christmas when I'm waiting for your book to be published.


Susan Fish said...

Thanks Jodi!

Marjorie said...

Louise, sharing your creative process with us is an honor. We can follow what you are saying very well. You draw inspiration from the work of other artists. Makes sense to me!

And I thank you for Leahy. I got their CD with "Colm" on it because of you and I love it.

Did you notice that one of the male ice skaters used the music from "Yentl" as his music? That put a smile on my face.

Marjorie from Connecticut

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

you know what thrills me? It's what a community you are - helping each other. And helping me.

I'm so glad my talk of the power of music in my process made sense to you - and clearly it does the same for many of you.

I guess that's also why people exercise to music - and some athletes perform to it...both the overt performance like the skating...but I noticed some of the snowboarders were listening to iPods before and perhaps during their events.

Music gives us power and strength and lets us do what on my own I can't do. Music is a partner. thankfully one that doesn't take a cut - or voice an opinion. A silent partner.

(by the way - that is a wonderful, older film...Silent Partner.) Speaking of old films, I rented The Thin Man the other day...I adore them. Had, and probably still have, a crush on William Powell.

Finals of the men's skating tonight. So exciting. Though its no curling match.

Barb said...

Am listening now to Requiem for a Dream and am actually imagining it as a soundtrack to a movie, which for me, anyway, translates nicely to background for a book...your next one. :) In fact, I'm able to picture certain characters doing certain things as the music plays.

Years and years ago I became obsessed with the theme to Mystery Theatre's Reilley, Ace of Spies. It was before all these wonderful internet helpers, but eventually I tracked it down, and ordered it.

Here's a link to a short portion of it..

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Barb,

ha - love it. I just did the same thing, listening to the music - actually Requiem for a Tower, in the car on the way to Vermont...and imagining the characters doing various the theme to a Gamache TV program. Very fun. Thanks too for the link.