The Mission, Music, Magic, and Writing
Netflix has become my new source of entertainment for when I fold laundry. Watching TV or DVDs has become so six-months-ago. Who wants to fiddle around with disks or bother muting commercials? Not me.
I first saw The Mission back in junior high where we watched it in one of my classes for educational purposes. Despite it being required watching, I loved it. It was beautiful and heartbreaking, made all the more sad for being based on truth. It’s one of those movies that I’ve revered as a favorite. Whenever I see a reference to it, I’ll sigh and think, “That was a good movie,” before moving onto whatever I was doing. I’ve felt this way about it ever since I first saw it, half a lifetime ago in those weird teenage years where you can’t really trust how you felt about anything back then.
Curious to see if I would still love it now as much as I did then, I watched it again.
I still love it.
I think, for me, one of the most powerful things in this movie is the music. When I saw this scene, my heart did weird things in my chest because I love it so.
It really resonated with me, partly because the music is beautiful, and partly because it brought to mind scenes from my own book. Even though music plays a small role in my story, and the scenes are different, the thematic elements are the same: music is universal. It can convey thought and emotion better than words. It can soothe wild hearts; it can save your life.
The scene is also an apt representation of my own relationship with music and how it’s evolved over the years. I’ve always enjoyed a rather broad spectrum of music, but the music I’ve come to listen to on a regular basis is much more narrow. I’ve found I increasingly prefer songs that calm my heart and mind; songs that take me places and inspire my imagination. I see myself in that scene in the movie, forgetting whatever turmoil I was carrying with me and just enjoying the melody.
Music for the Imagination
I’m still discovering the role music plays in my writing, but it’s certainly there. It keeps cropping up without any real intention on my part. I’m seeing it in the sequel to The Thirteenth Tower. It’s in The Forgotten Web—the series of short stories I’m currently working on. And while the role of music might be quite small in these stories, I still find it intriguing that it’s there at all.
So far, music in my writing seems to have a magical quality. It makes things happen in a way that magic often would in fantasy stories. I’m not sure why this is, other than I like to believe that music has power. It’s helped me past blocks in my writing. It recalls to mind memories and nostalgia—keeping certain moments in my life alive through the songs I listened to in those moments.
It often feels like I’m always looking for magic in this mundane world of ours. Maybe music is the closest thing we have to it. Or maybe it’s a bridge that takes us to magical places. Either way, it makes the world a little less dark. And that will always be a beautiful thing.