Inspiration Through Music: Sarah Fimm

Sarah Fimm is, hands down, one of my absolute favorite singers. Ever since I discovered her five or six years ago, I’ve hunted down music from her and listened to it for my writing. She is probably one of the most consistently inspiring musicians that I’ve listened to. Every song of hers evokes an emotion that can be difficult to pin down and her lyrics draw you in subtly the longer you listen to her. No matter what song of hers that I listen to, I see a lone main character, with very abstract thoughts coursing through their head. They are trying to make some kind of important decision at that very moment, too.

Sarah Fimm is a (for some reason) relatively unknown singer/songwriter from Woodstock, New York. She has nearly 8 albums out now, each one packed with a collection of gorgeous songs. What separates Sarah Fimm from other singers, for me, is her voice. She has a spell-binding and harmonious voice that always manages to suck me in to the song and to the feelings being evoked in it. It was very, very, difficult for me to choose a minimum number of songs to write about. When I started going through my library of them, I had close to 13 posted on here. I managed to narrow it down to 8 for you today.

Afraid: We open to a ramshackle apartment in Saigon, located above a shop. The character who lives there has done so alone for the last five years. They must do so secretly. Every time they leave, they use a different name than their own and they always make the same routine trips. On a bicycle, they take routes through the crowded backstreets, the busy markets, and toward one of the more upstanding hotels. There they watch a woman get into a car and follow her through the city, never once being seen. It’s their duty to watch out for her and this woman has no idea she’s being followed. The solitary person made a promise many years ago that they’d watch out for her. Little do they know that today they will finally be noticed.

Counting Waves: In a white room, one character sits in a pale green chair by the window, staring out at the ocean just across the street from their hotel room. They’ve just recently moved to this beach front tourist community with hopes of starting their life over. So far, things don’t seem to be going the way they planned. There’s a knock on her door from outside. She knows who it is but she remains where she sits. She knows what he said, what he thought. She wants to forgive him, wants things be the way they had been. But she needs her space first… she needs her time to think things through. So she’ll stay sitting in the chair, counting the waves slapping the shore outside. This is a scene from my U.P. project.

The Story of Us: This was the first song by Sarah Fimm that I heard and I instantly fell in love with her song style, lyrics, and her vocals. This song features in Book 4 of The Monstrum Chronicles. The relationship between several characters have become strained to the point that they can’t go on behaving the way that they had previously. Too much has been aired, and now it hangs out there in space, creating awkward walls between them. It throws the future into disarray and confusion. This song is very personal, tender, but also dark. It works very well for the scene I have in my head, one of the many times, I can see things in my head clearly when I listen to a song.

Yellow: The protagonist of this song sits in a room, pouring over all of the events that have happened to them in the last couple years. There is a type of madness in her thoughts, as though everything is circling the drain and sanity is no longer clinging to their thoughts. She doesn’t want to trust her eyes or her ears because strange things just continue to happen. One of the most prominent things to me in this song is the use of color. Color stands out for her in such a way that it begins to remind her of unpleasant things. So many unpleasant things have already happened to her that now, she can’t help but think of them. This song works for certain scenes in both Book 3 and Book 4. Both characters that I was thinking about for this song will eventually share their commonalities with one another and discover that they really aren’t as alone as they both thought.

Virus: This song is actually an inspiration for one of my upcoming short stories that will be released in September, Acquolina. The character is a younger woman who, pushed to the brink, makes a terrible and fateful decision that puts things in motion for the rest of The Monstrum Chronicles. This is probably one of my favorite stories that I’ve ever written. And the protagonist of this story is probably one of the only female characters that I’ve actually been able to get into the head of so easily. The ‘virus’ being spoken of in this song isn’t an illness as much as it’s a poisonous idea that’s been implanted in her, one that she can’t help but believe in.

Mercury: This character wants to know more about her origins, more about who she is as a person, more about the thing she’s become. But no matter who she tries to ask, she doesn’t get the answers she seeks. It seems to be a secret among everyone she has ever trusted. And when she finds someone who she thinks she can trust, she is betrayed once more though this time it is more of a desertion. He can’t get involved. He can’t help her find out what she wants to know because of his own agenda. In the end, she makes her own choice about who she is, a choice that could have dire consequences. This song is also an inspiration for Acquolina.

Don’t Let It Bring You Down: This song is very unlike most of Sarah Fimm’s music in that it has a kind of jazzy beat to it. I absolutely adore this song though. Once more, we have a lone protagonist, who is walking through a city that is completely deserted in the wake of destruction. Cars on fire, buildings falling down, bodies littering the street… this song works very well for the ending of a post-apocalyptic novel. And Fimm’s voice is so clear and strong that it really hits home when you listen to it. Once again, it’s easy for me to see everything when I hear this song.

Smoke: This song was an inspiration for my unfinished novel, Witherfall, a story that I started a couple years ago. I still hope to finish this one but it’s been put on the back burner indefinitely until I can get through The Monstrum Chronicles. The protagonist has a horrible revelation that everything isn’t as he thought and that everything he held close to him is now unattainable. I don’t want to give away anymore than that because to do so would be to give away the plot of the novel! This song burrows down deep and hits me under the skin when I hear it. The melody of the piano is especially haunting to me.

You can find out more about Sarah Fimm at her website here.

Next week, on Inspiration Through Music, I’ll be pulling selections from Normund Corbiel’s melancholy and painfully beautiful score of the game “Heavy Rain.” Stay tuned!

~KSilva

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