Musical Inspiration

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Many thanks for inviting me, Ailsa. Today I’d like to talk about ear-worms. You know what an ear worm is – a tune that gets stuck in your head and goes round and round and drives you slowly demented. The hero of my new book, All the Wild Weather, third part of the Larus Trilogy, is afflicted by a mysterious ear worm:

‘It was a mournful sort of melody. Played on a flute. Or something like that. Paddy was sure he’d never heard it before. His musical tastes inclined more towards heavy metal. And this was as light and flimsy as a dandelion seed. It didn’t seem to be quite complete as a tune, and stopped abruptly, without ever quite resolving itself. There was something discomforting about a melody that just stopped without as much as a by-your-leave. It meant he could never get to the end of it, and kept going back to the beginning. It was becoming distinctly irksome after a while, so he tried humming a different tune. But whatever he did, that light-as-air refrain kept insinuating its way back into his head. It’s just an ear worm, he thought. One of those tunes that get stuck in your head. Happens all the time. He had to concede, however, that it was usual to have actually heard the tune somewhere first.’
Poor Paddy. Little does he know that a mere ear-worm is the least of his worries; the tune reappears every time the not-quite-real Isle of Larus is about to rudely interrupt his life.
Music is notoriously difficult to write about, of course, and describing an imaginary tune is almost impossible, so I will admit I had a real ear worm in mind. It’s particularly appropriate for you, Ailsa, as it’s a French piece – the Sicilienne by Gabriel Fauré, written in 1893. A classical ear worm is rather unusual, I guess, but I heard it on the radio and carried it around in my head for a long while. Sitting on the beach in the little cove close to my house watching the tide come in one day, I began to compose words to the tune:KathySharp“No gale nor storm, nor all the wild weather
Can keep the flood tide from the shore…”
I never made a usable song lyric out of it, but it did give me an idea; from that moment the final part of the Larus story began to take shape. Nothing a writer thinks of need ever go to waste, eh? A whole book from an ear worm and an incomplete song lyric! Inspiration takes strange forms sometimes, doesn’t it?

All the Wild Weather, third and final part of the Larus Trilogy is published in e-book formats on 11 August 2016. Available for pre-order now http://amzn.to/29QyIqJ
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kathy-Sharp-111574195915740/
Twitter: @KathySharp19
The Larus Trilogy:
Isle of Larus,  http://tinyurl.com/olfyskv
Sea of Clouds  http://amzn.to/1wYCPH0
and All the Wild Weather (to be published 11 August, 2016) http://amzn.to/29QyIqJ
Kathy’s Telling Stories: Monday Blog
Finally – here is the link to the music that inspired the book 


5 thoughts on “Musical Inspiration

  1. Thank you for a fascinating post, Kathy. I didn’t know the term ‘ear worm’ and I had never heard the Sicilienne before. What haunting music indeed. It’s beautiful. I wish you lots of success with the Larus Trilogy.

  2. I think it started as a German expression, got translated then became popular. I suffer from these constantly but not usually such beautiful music. I can have Teddy Bear’s Picnic in my head for days …………gaaaaah no! For every bear that ever there was………..STOP!

  3. I am with Ailsa. Mine tend to be really annoying tunes… I was a bit worried when clicking on the video just in case it gets comfy in my head. A great idea for a story indeed!

  4. Thank you, everyone. As a regular singer with a choir, I’m used to ear worms. It happens whenever we learn a new song. At first you can’t remember the tune however hard you try, and then you can’t get rid of it…

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