How would you capture the depth of the ocean in your writing? How would you creatively sculpt its darkness, its mystery, its vastness, and its beauty into words? How would you even go about composing such a piece? Everything about John Luther Adams “Become Ocean” does this. There is a natural grace, a gentle ambiance, and an escalating reverence that perfectly captures how mankind loves, venerates, disrespects, and is in awe of the ocean. But the song isn’t just about what the ocean is; it is about becoming it. It’s about transforming and transporting.
I was lucky enough to have been introduced to “Becoming Ocean” through the Discover Weekly playlist in Spotify, an online music program. The playlist updates weekly, introducing you to 30 new songs each Monday. Last week was when I was graced with “Becoming Ocean”. It is a collaborative effort of composer John Luther Adams, Ludovic Morlot, and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
I’ve always been a lover of ambient and orchestral music. I’m especially blown away when it’s not an over-the-top grandiose piece that’s trying to draw attention to itself and trying to be the center of attention. Some of it is very lovely and inspiring. But I really enjoy something I can melt into, something that I can get lost inside as I’m writing, something that doesn’t change too much in mood or intensity. While “Becoming Ocean” has a few places where the tension rises, it does so very slowly and it’s always a seamless change.
I’ve been working on my latest novel, The Wild Dark, where a character finds herself alone in the middle of a New England winter following a strange apocalyptic event. Patches of strange otherworldly forests have begun rapidly taking over much of the snowy terrain, wild vicious beasts roam the lands, and ghosts have returned but are only visible to the one person they were closest to in life. My protagonist finds herself visited by her old partner on the force who died shortly before she quit and left town. The book is definitely more character driven than anything else. Loneliness is one of the biggest themes of the book as are privacy, trust, intimacy, and friendship.
Listening to “Becoming Ocean” has really allowed me to view my character in her bleak circumstances. She is alone in this wintry land, alone in a vast ocean, if you will. It’s easy to imagine her as a speck among the snow, feeling small and helpless against the world turned wild around her.
Just dying for a listen? Knock yourselves out. You won’t regret it.
Click here to listen to Become Ocean on Youtube!
Stay tuned for next week’s Inspiration Through Music!