Friday, February 17, 2012

Whirling Dervishes

I love cross-genre art. I love it when musicians base song lyrics on literature. For example: “The Battle of Evermore” by Led Zeppelin is by way of Tolkien; “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” by the Police is by way of Goethe. I’m sure there are many (more current examples) out there that I’m unaware of.

The opposite occurs too. Writers sometimes take their cues from music or painting.

According to a creativity book I recently finished and recommend, Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd, I’m a bit of a “whirling dervish.” I go from one artistic thing to another. It’s not ADD, although it may appear to be. It’s just that I hate burning my artistic bridges in order to specialize. 

I have an easel with a half-finished canvas set up just in case I get creative fever for turquoise and persimmon paint instead of bold verbs and precise nouns. I’m a sucker for interesting forms and spaces. Trees mesmerize me. 

Music, especially if it has an odd rhythm, gets me right here in the heart and the muscles—activates that “dance” sense known as “kinesthesia.” (Happily, I leave the playing of music to those who are good at it, which I'm not.)  

Art genres overlap and feed into each other in some wonderfully inexplicable way.

You may have noticed that the title of my blog, “The Writer Shade of Pale,” is a corruption of “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” That's a song by Procol Harem from the 1960s that relies on imagery from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (“one of 16 vestal virgins,” who, BTW, “were leaving for the COAST.” See my earlier post, “Life’s A Coast.”)

Does your writing involve other artistic genres? Are there songs you know that are taken from literature or vice versa? Do you engage in another art that inspires your writing? If so, leave me a comment.


  1. "Ramble On" from Led Zeppelin II is also from Tolkien. This is a great piece, Muse, thanks.

  2. Thanks for the tip on "Ramble On." I'll have to listen more closely.

    The title, "Misty Mountain Hop" probably came from Tokien too, but the song's not really about that. :)

  3. I love this post. I find that my creativity takes on different forms. Most often it is writing, but sometimes it is drawing or painting. And then each form feeds into the other. It's wonderful to have a variety of creative outlets and to experience how they intersect and overlap. Oh, and I, too am mesmerized by trees! (See this post on my blog:

    I almost forgot, I stopped by to let you know that I gave you an award on my blog today.

    1. Thank you, inluvwithwords. I look forward to getting to know you. Sounds like we have a few things in common. I'm glad you're over that bug!