Write Your Soundtrack

This invitation to write is the second of three created for the Morehead Writing Project’s Small Poems, Great Writers project. I thought National Poetry Month was the perfect time to share these invitations to write your own poetry. All three invitations were inspired by the #WalkMyWorld Project and a What If project I created for my students in Fall 2021. The Small Poems, Great Writers project includes writers in the Morehead Writing Project community from kindergarten through retirement so there should be something in every invitation to spark your muse.

The soundtrack invitation urges you to explore the sounds of your life and the music that inspires it. We began with two very different poems:

We then drew inspiration from the poet Jericho Brown. When Jericho Brown’s new book, The Tradition, was released, he took to Twitter to share a Spotify playlist. Called “THE TRADITION Poetry Playlist,” the description of it reads, “This is a list of love songs I seem to have needed when writing The Tradition. Looking at them now, they seem filled with a kind of expectancy and gratitude. I hope they are encouraging in that way. I hope that they show the tenderness and care it takes to live in a hard world.”

What major events have changed you, shaped you, influenced you, shook you? Are there times that were wildly happy or incredibly sad? What songs or playlists played a role in that time? For example, this song from the playlist: The Feeling We Once Had (lyrics).

Music connects humans across space and time. Music is an integral part of our human existence. It motivates us, calms us, inspires us, and at times irritates us. It serves as the backdrop against which we live our lives. Songs can bring vivid memories of persons, places, and events from our own past and serve to document our thoughts, feelings, and emotions at a given time or place. Music, expression, and identity can come in different languages and styles. Consider this musical journey around the world.

Instrumental music can also evoke emotion and memory. What does Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata make you think and feel? This sonata consists of three movements: Adagio sostenuto, allegretto (7:10), and presto agitato (10:10) – each offering a different mood.

Books for children offer a lot of inspiration for considering the sounds of our worlds:

What does your world sound like?

  • Inside your home – what does it sound like when you are in bed – either just as you waken or just before you sleep
  • Just outside your home when you open the door – what do you hear?
  • As you walk around your neighborhood or drive a much-traveled route in your community – what do you hear?
  • What sounds do you miss when you are away from home?

Another fruitful exploration is to consider your feelings about silence. Where do you find silence? Do you welcome or fear silence? Consider Meditation for the Silence of Morning by Adam Clay. What does silence look like? How does it move? What does it taste like? Can you touch it?

What is the soundtrack of your life?