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03 January 2010

Michael Hedges and novel writing

I'm off on an interesting venture and for the first time I'm going to share my process a bit on my blog.
     I'm writing a new young adult novel. It's rainy and heavy outside - winter in Georgia - the perfect time to hunker down and concentrate my creativity on this process. Which is not an easy one, I must admit.
     I circle like a dog for ages trying to get my brain into the story, and once there, I don't want to leave even though it's all consuming to my being - a fun but sometimes uncomfortable place to be.
     One of the things I like most about writing is pulling from my own experiences and seeing how I can connect dots to things previously unconnected. In that vein, one of my all-time favorite musicians, Michael Hedges, and his playing style ("slap harmonics" and "tapping") will figure prominently in my story. That won't be his name in the book, but anybody who knows music will recognize him.
     Why do I love his music? Have a gander at this - one of my all-time favorite songs - Michael's music set to "I Carry Your Heart" by E.E. Cummings (turn your sound up):

But while "I Carry Your Heart" is wonderful, it doesn't begin to show off what Michael could really do with a guitar. For that, have a peek at "Ritual Dance" (yes, that is ONE man on ONE guitar):

     You may recognize the song as it was used in the movie "August Rush" played by Kaki King. Get some previews here. And check out "Bari Improv" which is completely inspired by Michael's style (I'm guessing "Rickover's Dream" or "The Rootwitch"). Here's the clip from the movie:

     Unfortunately, as it so often happens with the truly talented, Michael is no longer with us. He died in a car crash in 1997. But I got to see him in concert, completely inspired, several times before he died (boxing shorts and all). Rarely have I ever felt so exposed to completely raw, pure, genius as when watching him play.
     Every now and then as I write, I stop and listen to Michael do his thing. It sends chills through me, which I hope I then apply to the page with my words. These are the things that inspire me.

4 comments :

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

He is clearly your muse!!! A reminder that our creativity muses don't always come from the art form in which we work! Very cool.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Yup.
:)
e

Paige Keiser said...

Oh WOW! I used to listen to him in high school, thanks for posting these videos--I've never actually SEEN him play. I'm sorry to hear that he passed away, I had no idea. How sad.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

We lost him too soon.
e

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