Have you ever used a piece of music as inspiration for writing?
Today is the third Monday of 2015, and for this week's Create52 entry, I've done just that -- twice.
But first, if you're a new visitor to my blog, let me say "welcome!" and explain what I'm doing here. This is the third entry in my 2105 blogging initiative -- to create something new and offer it here on my blog each and every Monday of 2015. My creative offerings have been writing and music so far, and you can read more about the thoughts behind my Create52 goal HERE, in my 1st post of 2015 if you'd like.
For this Create52 post, I'm using another artist's music to inspire my writing. Let me first start with the song:
Voice of Chunk I -- The Song
In 1988, John Lurie and his band, The Lounge Lizards released their third album The Voice of Chunk. A cool mix of New York attitude, punk-meets-jazz sensibility, wry humor, poly-rhythmic funk grooves, sensual sax, and angular guitar by Mark Ribot, it is an album I really like, and I find it holds up well even today, 25 years after it's release.
The album is filled with a lot of songs that I like, such as the second song of the album -- the hard-edged grooving titular cut, Voice of Chunk. I love the haunting horn lines over the funk groove with the driving bass and piano riff. The way the two saxes and trombone blend is mesmerizing, and the guitar solo is edgy and fun. I also love the way it dissolves at the end into the floating horn riffs over the piano.
Here's the album cut:
It may sound like there's a lot of unstructured off-the-cuff improvisation in the song, but surprisingly, it is pretty tightly arranged. HERE's another video of the band playing the song live on TV -- notice how closely they cover the song part-by-part and yet still make it feel fresh and in-the-moment? I think that's pretty awesome.
Voice of Chunk II -- The Short Story
I find that there's a lot of potential for interpretation and creative thought in the music of Voice of Chunk, but that's not actually what ended up inspiring me.
It was the title.
"Voice of Chunk" -- just what does that mean???
I really have no idea what John Lurie, his piano-playing brother Evan (musical creator behind "The Backyardigans"), and the rest of the band had in mind with the title, but when I listened to this song last week, the words "Voice of Chunk" kind of turn root in my mind and planted seeds.
So, unfortunately, you won't be getting the whole thing here. Sorry to disappoint you. But in order to meet my guidelines for my Create52 bloggy-thingy, let me at least offer you a sample.
Here's the opening (as currently written):
Voice of Chunk
The Anderson place next door was on the market for less than a month after they moved to Florida. When Marge and I noticed the "Sold" sign in front, we weren't surprised -- Tom and Dotty had been dedicated about maintaining their home and it was one of the nicest houses in our cul-de-sac. Throw in good schools, a quiet neighborhood, and motivated sellers and we figured we'd have new neighbors pretty quick. They might not grow to be as close as the Andersons had been –- our kids had all grown up together, after all –- but we were still eager to meet the new arrivals.
The moving truck came on a Saturday morning. Marge was weeding and I was starting to mow when the semi pulled in with three men in coveralls. It was almost four hours later before a black SUV parked next to the moving truck. A burly man with bulked-up shoulders got out of the SUV, gestured at the boxes stacked in the driveway, and then swore loud enough for me to hear over the trimmers I was using. I shut them off and waved at the guy, but he turned away without responding.
At the time I thought that maybe he just hadn't seen me.
"They damn well shoulda been done by now," I heard him say. "C'mon, Chunk. Get your ass out of the car."
He stormed into the house as a woman climbed out of the passenger side. She was heavy-set with stringy hair, wearing an over-sized sweatshirt that was much too thick for the warm, muggy afternoon.
She glanced around like a mouse expecting a cat to pounce at any moment before her gaze eventually came to rest on me. Her eyes were pretty, but her face was a mask of fear and sadness. I waved again.
"Hi!" I called.
She briefly raised her hand in my direction before lowering her eyes and rushing into the house.
The moving men took another hour and a half to finish up and then the truck left. We didn't see any more of either the man or woman, although Marge said she did catch a glimpse of the SUV pulling into the garage before the door closed for the evening.
Our new neighbors didn't seem too interested in being neighborly.
Voice of Chunk III -- The 10 x 10
But the short story wasn't all of it...
"Voice of Chunk" was still on my mind when I made a post last week on the resurrected Creative Copy Challenge, website, and there, I went in an entirely different direction with the phrase.
I enjoy the CCC -- it was a website I spent a lot of time writing at several years ago, but the guy who'd started it (Shane Arthur) had to step aside and, despite some valiant efforts from several people (like Mitch Allen), it faded away. Well, evidently someone named Anne is trying to revive it and it's up and running again, with new prompts posted every Tuesday.
Each prompt gives ten words -- you just write whatever you want and share it in the comments, using the ten words in your entry. I used to do a thing I called "10 x 10:" Ten lines of ten words each, using the ten prompt words in order AND in the proper spot within each line (the first is the first word of the first line; the second is the second word of the second line; and so forth). It may not always result in a very cohesive story, but it's a fast way to generate some writing and a fun way to stoke the creative juices.
I used the words from last week's prompt to create a 10x10 also entitled "Voice of Chunk." I even made it rhyme, but it's definitely not what I'd call poetry.
HERE's the link to it at the CCC, and I've copied it below (the prompt words are highlighted):
Voice of Chunk
Tricks and schemes buried beneath soft words and smiled platitudes;
No limit to meaningless things he says to influence attitudes.
Like a telephone marketer selling empty dreams at outrageous prices,
He speaks to jiggle your phobias and stroke your vices,
and thrives on rallies, driving crowds of rabid followers wild.
No sound bites for the multitude to elicit their wows;
He serves up heaping piles of crepe papery, fragile vows.
In TV interviews, he’ll sit behind the desk and grin,
his voice of chunk spewing sugar coated promises, wafer thin.
But it works — just like giving candy to a child.
So thee you go -- Create52 number three: "Voice of Chunk" in three parts. With both my thanks and sincerest apologies to John Lurie and The Lounge Lizards for any misuse of their title.
Thank you very much for stopping by and reading!