Tag Archives: Inspiration

Chris Cornell – 20/07/1964 – 18/05/2017

Update: I wrote this before I heard the circumstances of Chris’s death and considered altering it to make it feel a little more sensitive, however I think that depression is often not faced head on and, although my eulogy below doesn’t specifically talk about Cornell’s mental illness, I am going to leave it as I wrote it and let you find your own meanings in his words!


When I was a teenager I taught myself to sing by turning my stereo up loud and joining in. This is how I got to know Soundgarden, and Chris Cornell so well.

That was the 90s, around 25 years ago. Today I don’t sing so much but I still listen to many of the bands I picked up through my teenage years – Soundgarden included. Their most recent album, a bit of a surprise when it was announced because they hadn’t released anything for 16 years, was King Animal. There was nothing particularly surprising about it, it was still very definitely Soundgarden, but with more experience and insight into the workings of the modern world.

My favourite track from the album is Black Saturday, an incredible journey through old age and euthanasia, a subject which has been on my mind since Terry Pratchett covered it so eloquently in his documentary Choosing to Die. Sadly now, though, this is something that Chris Cornell will never have to consider.

Promise something,
Kill me right away if I start to get slow
And don’t remember
How to separate the worm from the apple
Don’t wait ’til tomorrow,
Kill me right away if I start to listen
To the voices
Telling all the mouths what they need to swallow

The thing I always found impressive about his lyrics was the way he managed to take everyday phrases and twist them round to make them mean something completely different, or nonsensical. For instance, in Superunknown he faced psychological issues head on.

If you don’t want to be seen
Well you don’t have to hide
And if you don’t want to believe
Well you don’t have to try

Which resonated with 17 year old me in a way I couldn’t quite put into words myself.

Now, as a forty-something year old man, I still listen to Soundgarden for their incredible guitar riffs, clever use of words, unusual time signatures and rip-roaring solos, but after today the songs will take on a new meaning for me and fire off memories of another talented life cut short and sorely missed.

Apologies if this isn’t the most coherent eulogy, but because the songs are so closely intertwined with my persona I find it difficult to untangle my feelings and thoughts.

I’ll leave you with a song of my own, one I’ve talked about before and the one, I think, in which I came closest to equaling Chris Cornell’s use of language.

Open

Open your mind,
What do you see?
Place your head in your hands,
And give it to me

Open your eyes,
What do you feel?
How can I show you,
That my love for you is real

Open your hands,
What do you know?
My deepest desires have chosen,
Now to show

Open your heart,
What do you say?
We cannot take it back now,
Come what may

Open your mouth,
How could you tell?
I took you to heaven,
And now we’re going to hell

Take my love and wrap it around,
Together we’ll get high but then we’ll come down,
You can take my world apart,
Or when life’s left we can try and start again

Open your mind,
What do you see?
Place your head in your hands,
And give it to me

Open your eyes,
What do you feel?
Now more than ever,
My love for you is real

Open your hands,
What do you know?
My deepest desires have chosen,
Now to show

Open your heart,
What do you say?
We’re going to be together,
Come what may

Open your mouth,
How could you tell?
I took you to heaven,
And now we’re going to hell

Take my love and wrap it around,
Together we’ll get high but then we’ll come down,
I can take your world apart,
Or when life’s left we can try and start again

Take my love and wrap it around,
Together we’ll get high but then we’ll come down,
You can take my world apart,
Or when life’s left we can try and start again


Inspiration

I am a big fan of the Internet! I should probably expand that statement a bit so you don’t think I’ve forgotten which blog I’m writing for.

I find the “clickthrough” nature of social networks and websites to be an incredible source of ideas for stories. Also for situations, technologies and future “stuff”. I also use news sites like the wonderful BBC and NetVibes to get my brain in gear for putting words on a page and pictures in my head.

The amazing thing is that I can use the web for inspiration for ANY kind of writing. Sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, historical fiction, kids stories, whatever. However storing all these thoughts I find in the ether isn’t an easy job, sure I could cut and paste into a document or keep the links in something like Evernote, but I did try stuff like that when I was starting out and it just didn’t float my creative boat.

Then, one day, one of my social network buddies posted a link to a tool they use called FlipBoard. Now if you haven’t seen it then you’re missing out, but in essence it is just an internet clipboard that stores all the links you post to it in a magazine story format. I have it on my phone and my tablet and the “+ Flip It” button installed on all my browsers.

Before you start shouting “sell out” and similar derogatory comments at your computer I’d just like to point out that I haven’t been cajoled or in any way remunerated for saying this. It’s just that, for me at least, this is a really handy tool for putting all those random bits of tat in one place and then being able to go browse through them at a later date, when I’m needing a bit of extra prodding in the synapses to get things moving.

Try it out, you might like it! And just to give you an idea of how it works I will selflessly post a link to my own FlipBoard page, which you can find here:

https://flipboard.com/section/writing-inspiration-bSWdsp