Musical Serendipity

The other day, our treadmill, much used to help me get at least an hour of cardio exercise a day, gave up the ghost, its drive motor fried. Sadly, the thing is old enough that the manufacturer has stopped making replacement parts years ago, and even if I found one somewhere, the cost of the motor, plus the labour would be prohibitive. And a new treadmill, what with the home renos I have to do, is out of the question.

So, I did what any sensible guy would do, I reactivated my membership with the city’s recreational facilities, which gives me access to all of the gyms, pools, classes, etc.  Since there are two facilities less than a ten minute drive from home in either direction, it was an easy decision. Better equipment, it gets me out of the house more often (isolation being a writer’s worst peril) and I would have to keep paying the membership fees for several years before it adds up to the cost of a new treadmill. As no-brainers go, this was easy.

These places always have music playing in the background, and on my first session, my ears caught an old favourite, well known by anyone who either grew up in the 70s or has watched that wonderful TV series, Supernatural. I’m talking about Carry On, Wayward Son, by the band Kansas. Right now, I’m two-thirds into Decker’s War #4, and sitting at the point where the action is about to go out of control. This means I’m usually stuck until I get the right soundtrack to inspire me into visualizing combat in the minutest details.

Funny thing… After hearing Carry On, Wayward Son in the gym two days ago, the song stayed with me all day, like the earworm from hell. And then, the dam burst. That night, I must have listened to it, in several variations, almost two dozen times, while my mind’s eye saw Decker do what he does best in the most explosive manner. Just like that, my writer’s block evaporated and I knew how the rest of the book would unfold.

Unfortunately, writing takes a lot longer than imagining and several thousand words later, I’ve still not reached the point where the song and the action kick in, so I keep hearing Carry On, Wayward Son in my mind. I suspect I will until that particular sequence has left my imagination to inhabit the page. But after today’s writing session, I’m just about there. The next time I sit down to work on that novel, the volcano will blow.

I call it serendipity. My home treadmill died to make Decker’s War #4 live. If I hadn’t gone to the gym that day and heard the song, I might never have grasped this particular thread of action to advance the story. Who knows where it might have ended instead. Do I believe in fate? I don’t know. Do you?

By the way, Like Stars in Heaven (Siobhan Dunmoore #3) is finally hitting the shelves this coming week. Watch for it to go live on Amazon in a few days.

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