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Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday's Muse~Veteran's Day

This picture of the Vietnam Memorial has always touched me deeply so I thought it would be a very appropriate picture for this Monday's Muse. I wish I knew who painted it so I could give them credit, but I despite my research I couldn't find out who. If you know please leave me a comment and I'll give them credit. My father served in Vietnam and though he didn't die in the war, he died because of it many years later. It was cancer caused by exposure to the chemical agent orange. Many of the soldiers who survived Vietnam and the severe PTSD that followed, finally succumbed one of the numerous cancers caused by this chemical.

So what does this have to do with my writing muse? And how on earth can something so depressing be inspiring? Since you asked. . . Like pictures, writing is all about the emotions it evokes in us. Actors often use powerful events in their own lives to elicit emotion when they need it. We writers can, and should, do the same thing. Emotion is what draws me to the pictures I choose to feature on Monday's Muse. When you're working on your novel think about what emotion you're trying to elicit from the reader. If you're having trouble with a chapter try finding a picture that brings out that emotion in you. You might be surprised by how much it helps!

This week's song for my muse is appropriately, Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones: http://www.amazon.com/Paint-It-Black/dp/B0016CVICU

Happy Memorial day to all of America's soldiers, their families, and the loved one's who support them. I appreciate your efforts and your sacrifice, each and every one of you.

14 comments:

  1. Heather, what an empowering picture! Incredible. There are so many people who served in the war and carried home with them physical and emotional mementos that we all wish could have been left behind. I am so sorry about your father.
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful picture and the reminder how pictures can instill such incredible feeling. I have always used music... but will now look for a picture as my muse too.
    Thank you!

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  2. Thanks Karlene. I'm so glad I've inspired you to use pictures as your muse! Artists of all kinds need to share in each other's brilliance!

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  3. ~~ Memories and Respect are Powerfull....This Day, and Always.... TKS... s

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  4. A very powerful image...and a good reminder that the price of freedom is extremely high. Thanks to all those who have sacrificed their lives...and continue to sacrifice...in our wars. They have made the lives we enjoy possible.

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  5. So true, thank you Jule and TKS for honoring the fallen with me.

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  6. Great picture, and great post. The painting has a Norman Rockwell look to it, but I don't know if he actually painted it or not. I remember a fun writing exercise in middle school used old pictures from Life magazine and we had to make up a story to describe what was going on in the powerful photos.

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  7. That's a fantastic painting, and a great choice for Memorial Day. My dad and stepdad were both in Vietnam but made it out safely (even though my stepdad's plane was shot down, and he had to hike it out of the jungle on foot!).
    You are so right that stories are about emotion, about feeling something for the characters and their circumstances. When a writer invests their own emotions in the words, the reader feels it, and the effect is all the more powerful.

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  8. Love this vivid portrayal of remembrance. So thankful for your dad's sacrifice and those like him.

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  9. It does kind of have a Norman Rockwell feel to it doesn't it Alissa? I'm pretty sure it's not him but I'll it's someone who respected his style. I love that writing excercise idea! I might try that.

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  10. You can always tell the difference in a book when a writer is emotionally invested in it and when they're not can't you Lorel? You're right, it makes such a huge difference! That's amazing that your stepdad's plane was shotdown. What a story!

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  11. Thank you so much Samantha, that's incredibly sweet of you.

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  12. It's a beautiful painting. I was so sorry to read of your loss of your father ...

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  13. The painting is "Reflections", a portrait of the Vietnam Memorial by Lee Teter.

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