Pop Culture & The Meaning of Life

What Inspires You?

I’ve been underground lately, and for good reasons. More on that in the near future. In the meantime, I have a special weekend planned and want to take you with me.

Well, I can’t take ALL of you, just a piece. Specifically, an inspirational piece.

See, I’m going to Gettysburg this weekend for a unique time of reflection and writing. I’ve wanted to go stay in a house in the middle of nowhere for a long time but never did it. I finally buckled down a couple months back and researched possible towns to stay in. I’ve been to Gettysburg before, but as soon as I thought of it I knew I had my winner.

Then I set about checking out bed and breakfast type establishments. I’ve never stayed in one of those. I found one that actually doesn’t serve breakfast. This was actually a key attraction for me. Instead, they have a stocked kitchen and you just do your own thing. EXCELLENT if you know anything about my life and sleep patterns.

It’s also major off season. This means A) The rates are cheap and B) There’s no one staying there.

I literally get the entire house to myself because the proprietors (who are very nice) stay offsite nearby.

All this to talk about inspiration. I recently asked the Twitter world what music they use to get in the creative mood. A lot of the responses were movie soundtracks. I get that. Ellie Soderstrom and her husband Mike are all about the Tron soundtrack, so I’ve been playing that one recently.

I listen to a lot of rock, and that won’t change, but I’m open to new ideas! So I’d like to know, What Music Inspires You?

January 13, 2012 - Posted by | Life, Music, Writing


  1. Wow it sounds like the perfect getaway…I’ve tried listening to music but find the most productive is perfect quiet except for the sound of my thoughts and the keyboard. ENJOY!

    Comment by Bridgesburning Chris King | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • I’ve arrived and it’s nice for sure. I know a lot of people need quiet to work. I can’t do it!

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. i would have to say that it depends on what I am trying to accomplish. Any classical music gets my imagination running when creating art work. There is a station on XM that plays movie tracks. I love to listen to it and let my imagination go wild especially if I haven’t seen the movie.

    Comment by susielindau | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • I LOVE XM. Soundtracks are great for creating.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  3. Acoustical Rock….. The sound of some great Rock Classics done by the original artist with an acoustical guitar, there is nothing like it. Clay if you can get XM radio The Coffee House is the best for Acoustic Rock. I am not sure if it is the acoustics or just The Coffee House that brings me back to a time with Maynard G. Krebs on Dobie Gillis…..Time to get out the bongo’s

    Comment by Arty (Tinman) | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • I do have XM Arty. I’ll have to check that one out. I’ve seen it before.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  4. When I’m working, I need a Pandora station that plays something laid back and kind of dreamy, like Mazzy Star. Weird, huh?

    Comment by Todd Pack | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • I like different music for different writing moods, especially when I wrote fiction but even now when I want to be funny or edgy or moving. Haven’t thought of Mazzy in a few years.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  5. And here I thought your judging the first ever Ironic Mom Celebrity Lookalike Contest was your top secret news. You mean it gets better?

    I listen to classical piano music when I write. I can’t listen to anything I can sing along to, because then I end up just pretending I’m Adele and not writing. Or key lyrics end up in my writing. So weird.

    Comment by Meet the Buttrams | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • Well, that certainly is a big deal. But I do have other top secret stuff going on 🙂

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  6. Sometime Mozart or Bach (either one) or Vivaldi. Sometimes Alter Bridge or Metallica or Thriving Ivory. Sometimes the best music is silence. I try not to get too stuck on any one type of music because the sound I find most dischordant is the sound of stagnant.

    Great post, Clay.

    Comment by Gene Lempp | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • LOVE Alter Bridge. Listened to them driving out here in fact. I actually even have Thriving Ivory on my computer. Classical music isn’t in my head too often for writing but I did use it when I use to study during college especially.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  7. Why does your vacation sound like the beginning of a Stephen King novel to me?

    I get in the zone by reading what I wrote yesterday and then taking a nap. When I wake up ten minutes later, I know how to proceed. Then, I close my door and fight my urge for distraction until I’m so immersed that it’s impossible to distract me. Just hope the kids don’t cut off a foot or anything. I wouldn’t notice their screaming.

    Have a great time, Clay, and watch out for creepy children.

    Comment by Piper Bayard | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • That’s pretty funny Piper. It’s been referred to already as my Shining Weekend 🙂 REDRUM

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  8. Wow, I’m jealous. A weekend alone sounds like the stuff of fantasy for a SAHM. (IYKWIM)

    Like Jess, I can’t listen to music with lyrics when I’m working, so I have to go classical if I do music at all. But a lot of music inspires my writing even when I’m not actively doing it: Brandi Carlile, The Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, Frank Turner, The Civil Wars, and Bad Religion are probably my best go-to’s.

    Comment by Tamara | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • When I really get going I don’t even hear the music anymore, lyrics or anything. But that’s never been a problem for me.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  9. Inspirational music: Lucinda Williams (esp. “Side of the Road”), Lyle Lovett, Doug Sahm, Stone Temple Pilots, and Chris Cornell (love his acoustic songbook), and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    Have fun in the bed and breakfast. We’ve stayed in exactly one. It was a really neat experience. Of course, we were the only guests (off season, same stuff you’ve mentioned). If the house had been full of people, I can see where we might not have liked it so much.

    Good luck on getting lots of work done. 😀

    Comment by Catie Rhodes | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • Yeah, first time for me too. Good town for it. Hope I don’t get too distracted!

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  10. The B and B sounds fantastic.

    For inspiration I listen to Beastie Boys, of course. 😉

    Comment by Annie | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • You’ve gotta fight for that right Annie 🙂

      Comment by educlaytion | January 13, 2012 | Reply

  11. Switchfoot’s Nothing Is Sound album has always done it for me.
    That and an eclectic collection of classic rock, from Pink Floyd to Van Halen.

    The idea of time away like that sounds amazing. Enjoy, Clay!

    Comment by Larry Hehn | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • Switchfoot is good. I really like some of their stuff; other songs are just meh. Depends on my mood. Hello Hurricane is a good album too.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  12. I’m a big fan of Mumford & Sons. I’ve gone through multiple phases of wearing the CD out, then wanting to listen to it again, then wearing it out even further. I can’t wait for them to finally roll out their next album.

    Comment by Kevin Haggerty | January 13, 2012 | Reply

    • I have a couple friends who love them too. I’m from a different place I think. I listen to Alt Nation on Sirius Radio and like a lot of it but the Mumford & Sons I’ve heard doesn’t do it for me. I’m not hip.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 14, 2012 | Reply

      • Stopped back in. Just have to say that I am a huge Alt Nation girl, but as soon as Madison comes on, I have to switch to another station. Does the DJing make a difference to you or are you able to ignore the cat screeching, nails on chalk board voice?

        Comment by susielindau | January 19, 2012 | Reply

  13. This sounds like a great trip. I took a similar trip over the summer to Beacon, NY, a quaint little town along the Hudson River. I got a lot of uninterrupted time to work on my novel. So if I’m listening to music I like to listen to something that my characters would listen to. My story is set in the 1940s so I’ve been listening to some swing and big band. Not my first choice but it gets me in the mood of the story.

    PS – I recently saw the movie The Artist and I thought of you! You’re a fan of Gene Kelly, yes? Then I bet you’ll enjoy The Artist.

    Comment by Jackie Cangro | January 14, 2012 | Reply

    • That’s great for writing a particular era, using music to get the feel. And I’ll have to check out The Artist. I am a fan of Gene Kelly for sure.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  14. Life inspires me. The little things in a week that end up moving you forward. Enjoy your quiet time!

    Comment by Karen | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  15. Gettysburg is super close to me, and it’s just a bit farther to Baltimore. So…are we getting Captain Crunch pancakes?

    Comment by thoughtsappear | January 14, 2012 | Reply

    • You know I want them. Don’t tease me.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  16. Bed & Breakfast, Writing, TRON soundtrack–sounds like the perfect weekend to me! I also recommend mundane housework–ironing, vacuuming, dusting, dishes–those all are catalysts for creative thoughts. At least, they are for me. So perhaps the b&b owners would let you clean their establishment?

    Comment by EllieAnn | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  17. I’m excited to hear what you’ve got cookin’! I still laugh every time I think of your Michael Jordan greeting card.

    This is going to sound funny, but when I work on other writing projects, I actually like to listen to Robert Pattinson’s music. He doesn’t have an album, but there’s songs online and they’re really soulful and inspiring!

    Comment by gojulesgo | January 14, 2012 | Reply

  18. Bon Iver. A bit ironic, as the frontman for this band wrote his first album in a similar way that you’re going about things (he got away to a cabin out in the woods and just wrote and had some cathartic art time). This is music that inspires me and gets the creative juices a’flowin. Hope it’s not too late to add this to the playlist!

    Comment by Stephen Haggerty | January 15, 2012 | Reply

  19. Hope your weekend was successful! My recommendations are too late but I can’t resist a chance to talk music. All the artists on my current Ode to Friendship mix CD are worth listening to. If you want, I’ll email you the link. I love my indie bands but I need hard rock for sure- Breaking Benjamin, Muse, Saliva, Three Days Grace, 30 Seconds to Mars, and the like.

    Comment by HopefulLeigh | January 15, 2012 | Reply

  20. I may be really late for helping this weekend but I really like foreign music. It makes me feel exotic and words don’t distract me.

    Comment by Marianne | January 16, 2012 | Reply

  21. I love most music, but live and acoustic music particularly fuel me. While I’m writing, I can’t listen to a darn note. In between, however, it’s the best respite, getaway and juicer-upper. Hope your plans pan out well!

    Comment by August McLaughlin | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • I’m super late responding but glad you stopped by August. I actually find silence distracting sometimes!

      Comment by educlaytion | January 21, 2012 | Reply

  22. I wish I had read this last week! I hope you had a fund and productive weekend! Hands down favorite band for writing inspiriation is Explosions in the Sky. They don’t have any lyrics, but are certainly creative and speak to my soul. Do you do Spotify? Their albums are all there.

    Comment by Keri | January 17, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Keri! I was buried all week. Gonna try out Explosions in the Sky for some inspiration.

      Comment by educlaytion | January 21, 2012 | Reply

  23. Wow, reading down the comments reminds me that somewhere along the line I got old and lost my cool — the club hopping gal who knew the latest bands has morphed into “out of it” status and I don’t know a lot of the above-named bands and tracks… When I want inspiration I often play some Moody Blues. When inspiration is flowing and I want to keep it going I like Peter Kater’s Coming Home. Also fond of string quartets, especially Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Dvorak. As a yoga teacher/meditator, I have a lot of soothing, meditation music around and I sometimes play something like Deva Primal’s Moola Mantra or Steve Ross’s Give Peace a Chants or Seven Metal Singing Bowls of Tibet while I write. Interesting question!

    Comment by yogaleigh | January 30, 2012 | Reply

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