Tag Archives: John Williams

Friday Reflections: the Sun, the Moon, the Stars

I’m back after a long time, everyone! I’ve had a very busy couple of months, and though I’ve wanted to make my regular posts at the very least, I couldn’t squeeze them in; very sorry for the lack of prompts!

I had time enough tonight to actually do some stargazing, and I could see enough stars despite the city lights (plus, after many weeks, it hadn’t been too cloudy); so this Friday’s Reflection shall be to contemplate the stars! (or well, heavenly bodies in general.)

space

The Sun, the Moon, the Stars

You’re more than welcome to pick any one, two or all three of the above mentioned; you can explore related ideas such as “galaxy”, “universe”, “outer space”, or “the Heavens” — interpret the prompt in any way you’d like!

The skies mean something different for each of us. For me, stargazing gives me an immense sense of peace; I feel powerful energies emanating from them, too. And it’s always interesting for me to consider that the stars we can see may or may not exist presently, considering how long it takes for their light to travel all the way to us.

In some cultures, planets are also considered “stars“, so that’s another angle to look at it from. You could also consider the stars as multitudes of suns, much like ours, at great distances away. And of course, we know that even stars, long as many of their lives are, eventually fade/die; what about what happens to stars when they die – something that is determined by their size and nature? Many stars also provide light and sustain life (our Sun is a great example, though the Earth plays a vital role in letting that happen!).

Here’s an excerpt of a lovely poem by John Keats, especially famous for its first few lines:

Poem courtesy: Poetry Foundation

Poem courtesy: Poetry Foundation (click to read complete poem)

You could describe the sun/moon/stars as you see them today/tonight (I love watching the skyline during sunset and twilight, or cloud-watching generally) or how it affects you at that time — the burst of sunlight behind a tremendous cloud formation, the shades of red, orange and pink during sunset, the silver moon rising at twilight…perhaps even the cityscape lining the horizon! From where I live, the moon appeared as a very thin, hair of a crescent tonight — it was a lovely sight!

A lot of people consider the moon as a “friend” of some kind, who appears every night and gives them company if they’re in need of it 🙂 It has also been considered “inconstant” since we have new moons every month, when it’s not visible. Of course, it’s really always there, just not visible – you could consider that, too.

Similarly, the skies or Heavens are also said to “watch over” everything that happens on earth. In some cultures, people believe their ancestors are amongst the stars and protect/watch over them. Of course, people make wishes upon stars and shooting stars, too!

You could also explore the Heavenly bodies in various Mythic modes: there’s a character in almost every existing mythology who represents the Sun and the Moon, and perhaps various collective groups of stars too! Do you associate these bodies with what the characters symbolize? Why do you think these associations came into being? How do they influence us now? Do you have different associations you make with them? How are they appropriate to their natures?

Perhaps you could rewrite a short myth and give it a little twist – changing what that character symbolizes? 😉 Just consider why the change would be necessary!

On Constellations

Consider the spaces between the stars that are visible (tonight); what does the big picture look like? What do you make of constellations? (One of my recent poems was about a “journey” of sorts that I took along with a constellation character, across the skies.)

Do you like forming your own constellations? What do you base them on? Perhaps your writing today can be about the process of creating a constellation; perhaps what you write can reflect this process in its own way physically, too – try spacing out the words, arranging them differently, perhaps to resemble the twinkling of stars somehow? Can you capture the image with visual or aural onomatopoeia?

Write the Stars!

Whatever you choose your theme to be, make sure you step out and experience the sky for some time, let it sink in, and then reflect on what you’re watching 🙂 Sunsets have often been metaphors for “endings“, nightfall for the coming of some “darkness“, good or bad. Similarly, daybreak/dawn usually represent beginnings, the appearance of the sun again, and its light. Similarly, clouds have been entities that constantly “wander” adrift, and explore the world, and are sometimes even “messengers” in literature.

You are always welcome to interpret these differentlythe universe doesn’t fix these meanings, we do. We’ve come a long way from thinking the earth was the center of everything — the stars in the sky are a glimpse into the infinite expanse of the universe (or perhaps it’s finite?). At the same time, the earth is where we experience these things, and every day no less.

So go ahead, pick your stars, and write them 🙂 happy weekend, folks!

I’ll sign off by sharing this lovely musical composition (Across the Stars) by John Williams (here’s a video of a live orchestral performance) you can try to write to:

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8 Music Prompts

It’s been quite a few Reflection Fridays in succession, so I thought I’d put up something a little different today! 🙂

The best tonic for me when I feel a little low on inspiration is music. And while there are many wonderful, wonderful songs that work at just the right time, there are some compositions that work all-year-round for me – any day, any time, these pieces never fail to stir my spirit to write!

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here it is: (Warning: there are a lot of embedded videos up ahead. You can always choose to load the links individually instead!)

Johann Pachelbel: Canon in D

Easily one of the most uplifting pieces I’ve ever heard. String orchestra versions are my personal favorites, but there are plenty of versions around the internet that are just as wonderful, like this one.

Frédéric Chopin: Tristesse

I love most of Chopin’s compositions, but if I were to pick a favorite… Tristesse (Etude 3, Opus 10) bests Fantasie Impromptu by just a margin. Tristesse always touches me in that special way that tragedies do…never lets me go.

John Williams: Battle of the Heroes & Duel of the Fates

If I were to be honest, this would be a 9 Music Prompts list rather than 8 since I have chosen to mention two of Williams’ pieces. It’s very difficult for me to pick one over the other. In fact, I love Across the Stars just as much as Battle of Heroes and Duel of Fates. If you’re looking for romantic-epic music, I’d go for Across the Stars. The two mentioned here are battle-epic. They help me write climactic scenes (whether in prose or poetry) all the time!

Yanni: Enchantment

Enchantment was the first Yanni piece I ever heard, and remains my favorite. For me, it did exactly that: enchant. The music creates a sort of  magical mood. This somehow helps me write sensitive and earnest characters.

Mani Sharma: Thaye Yashoda (from the film ‘Morning Raaga’) (Singer: Sudha Raghunathan)

This would be one of the best Fusion (Carnatic/Western) pieces I’ve ever heard. Takes my breath away.

Utada, Hikaru: First Love (Piano/Instrumental)

I love the lyrics of the song, but the instrumental version is simply…sublime. This piano duet version is also lovely.

Kajiura, Yuki: Akatsuki no Kuruma

Rarely is there a composition by Yuki Kajiura (also the pianist in this video) that I do not enjoy from start to end. Akatsuki no Kuruma (Japanese) was my first experience with her music, and combined with Yuuka Nanri’s soulful voice, this song achieves such a depth -both its music and its lyrics- and it always leaves me wanting to write poetry. This Live version is the best one I know, possibly better even than the studio recording. I don’t know if there’s a translation that could go it justice, but do look it up if you’re interested! Beauty of music is, though, that it can be understood (to some level at least) even if it’s a different language.

Happy Writing!

That’s all folks! I think it’s been quite a long list, looking back – hope at least one or two pieces resonated with you and helped you write! 🙂 Happy weekend, folks, and happy writing! And three cheers for music~ 😉