Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Does Your Imagination Sound Like?

Greetings and welcome to the establishment. In a previous post, “The Sound That You Write To,” I dealt with the types of sounds, music, and acoustic environments that I find myself putting words onto paper. In this week’s installment, I would like to push that thought a little further and talk about what fuels my imagination in hopes that you might give it a try.

Everyone has something that drives his or her creative abilities. In my case, I use the above-mentioned sounds to inspire, create, and imagine my stories and tales of adventure. For me, music and other acoustic sounds “fuel” my imagination and resulting creative processes.

Warning: techno-speak. Reading through the laws of thermodynamics, the law of conservation states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time. A consequence of this law is that energy can neither be created nor can it be destroyed, it can only be transformed from one state to another. This means that the only thing that can happen to energy in a closed system is that it can change form. For example, chemical energy can become kinetic energy. I would like to add “acoustic energy can become creative energy” as one of the extensions of this example.

My “creation process” represents the closed system (encompassing basically everything within God’s Universe which one pulls from to create stories). The music that I listen to represents acoustic energy. My imagination then transforms this energy via the creative process. The result is a story, idea, or scene that you create from “nothing.” Your imagination is the mechanism by which this transformation takes place. I can relate the different types of music I listen to, which fuels my creative thought processes, to the different octane ratings of fuel that you can put into your car. The different beats, tempos, instruments, voices, and genres can all be combined in infinite ways to create different “octane” levels, all producing different results. In this case, volume level serves to increase or decrease the “purity” of the octane mixture.

Ok, enough “techno-speak.” Right? I will leave the underlying scientific explanation to The Lord (as He is the Ultimate Authority on the laws of physics). But…..maybe the following explanation will help to simplify this idea:

Take a piece of rainbow-colored paper (representing the universe God has created) and put it into a paper shredder (representing the energy process being transformed and not destroyed). Then take the strips of shredded paper (representing transformed energy waiting to be used to create a story) and lay them out onto a flat surface in random ways (representing your imagination creating a story and putting it into words). The result: you get a new, different picture (story) when compared to the one you originally started with. In my case, the music is the original rainbow-paper. It is then fed into my imagination (the shredder). The resulting “transformed energy” is then used to “create” stories, plots, and characters. Same concept happens when segments of music you listen to gives you “goosebumps.” The music, in this case, is just channeled into another form of energy: creative energy.

Ok, nothing New Age or anything like that here…just trying to find an analogy to explain how music seems to inspire my creation process. I find that when I can’t think of a plot, characters to tackle that plot, or even a setting for my story to take place; I just put on some music, close my eyes, and watch the whole thing get created on my internal theater system. It just happens. Then, as it happens, I just start actively controlling the scenes.

As I have been writing this post, the cd changer has been going through several mixes I have done to inspire my writing process. Let’s see, A-Ha (80’s group), Loreena McKennitt (Celtic), and Lou Gramm (80’s again) have all been helping me “get energized” to write this post.

Remember, God’s Imagination Makes All Things Possible…even the impossible (hint, we call those miracles). If God didn’t have an imagination, we just wouldn’t be here. So, put on your headphones, spin up your favorite music, and let the stories flow.


  1. I would love to read your earlier post about writing and music. I don't know how to find it.

  2. I, too, use music--mostly classical--as a creative stimulus. When I need to be funny, I like mellow jazz, such as the piano music from Charlie Brown specials. But I can't play the vocal stuff, much as I like it--I want to sing, and that distracts me from writing!

  3. Sharon, just search for the title, it was done in June on this board. It was a guest post by me done under Rick Barry.

  4. I envy you--No way I can write or sleep unless I can hear a pin drop.

  5. A very intriguing and thought-provoking blog topic! Decades ago Hollywood also began using music to evoke certain moods (fear, tension, whimsy, etc.) in audiences. They named it "mood music," and it's still used to this day.

  6. Some time you need to create your own white noise just to drown out the noise of everyday life...