Author Archives: Andrea R Huelsenbeck

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

Music/Story Exercise

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Music is a source of creative inspiration for me. When I taught elementary music, I occasionally passed out drawing paper and crayons and had the students draw a scene suggested by music I played for them.

Some authors make WIP-specific playlists that puts them in the zone as they work on their projects.

Yesterday I tried an experiment. I turned my iTunes on shuffle and hit play, then wrote down the scene I saw in my head as I listened. Here’s what came up:

  1. J.S. Bach, French Suite No.2 in C minor: Sarabande. Played on harpsichord. I imagined Marie Antoinette with her powered up-do swishing around her palace in one of her low-cut, full-skirted gowns.
  2. Peter Davison, Invoking the Warriorfrom Adagio: Music for Tai Chi. An instructor at a gym I used to attend had the best workout music. I fell in love with this piece and asked her what it was so I could buy it. While listening, I imagined a scene from The Last Samuri when Tom Cruise watched the warriors practice and then joined in and got the tar beat out of him.
  3. Muzio Clementi, Sonatina No. 3 in F Major, Op. 38, 1st movement, on piano. I imagined a piano teacher working with a talented young student, demonstrating trills and turns. The student struggles with them, keeps repeating them, and gradually is able to play them smoothly and up to tempo, to the delight of his teacher.
  4. Astor Piazzolla, Libertango. I imagined a scene where the camera alternates between showing the musicians who have a deep rapport really digging into the music, allowing each other to improvise solos, and then showing the dancers who are flirting with one another as they sensuously explore the nuances of the tango.
  5. Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. I imagined a young man walking along a shore while winds blew and dark clouds gathered and lightning flashed and finally rain came down in sheets. The man struggled to keep upright against the wind, and finally turned away from the sea and looked for shelter.
  6. Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Overture. Though this doesn’t relate to midsummer at all, I imagined a couple in a horse-drawn as snow came down. They sped silently through woods and fields with a sense of urgency.
  7. Simon and Garfunkel, The Sun Is Burning. This doesn’t match the words, but based on the guitar line and the soft voices, I see a little boy digging in a sandbox on a beautiful sunny day.
  8. Ludwig van Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 4, 3rd movement, rondo. Part of the music sounds martial in nature, and I imagined soldiers marching in a parade. But I didn’t know what to do with my soldiers when the music sounded less military. Making they could just take a break for a minute until the rhythm returns. . .

Any of these little snippets could be the germ of a short story or a novel. Now, someone else listening to this music could envision something entirely different than what I saw, and, of course, that’s wonderful. Inspiration is magic.

Now it’s your turn. Choose any of these pieces of music (or even something not on this list) and describe the scene that plays forth in your imagination. Share with us in the comments below.

Monday Morning Wisdom #276

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Monday Morning Wisdom #276

With God’s permission the enemy has sent poison and deadly dung among us, and so I will pray to God that he may be gracious and preserve us. Then I will fumigate to purify the air, give and take medicine, and avoid places and persons where I am not needed in order that I may not abuse myself and that through me others may not be infected and inflamed with the result that I become the cause of their death through my negligence. If God wishes to take me, he will be able to find me. At least I have done what he gave me to do and am responsible neither for my own death nor for the death of others. But if my neighbor needs me, I shall avoid neither person nor place but feel free to visit and help him.

~Martin Luther, in response to the bubonic plague endemic of 1527.

 

Photo a Day: Fruit Tree

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Netted for protection. Photo a Day challenge.

Sunday Trees/ Flower of the Day: Skyrocket Junipers and Bougainvillea

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On the grounds of St. Anthony’s Monastery, Florence, Arizona.

More Sunday Trees.

From the Creator’s Heart #273

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Hummingbird Habitat

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Over the past few months I’ve noticed that some of my friends have posted beautiful photos of the Hummingbird Habitat in Desert Breeze Park just a few miles south of my house. And the last time I ventured out of my house for a photo shoot was May.

So on Wednesday, I bravely drove to the park.

I love parks. Desert Breeze has a lot of nice features. There’s a lake for urban fishing. There’s a little train. (One evening around Christmas many years ago we took the kids for a train ride around the holiday-lit park and then drank hot cocoa.) There’s a playground with a splash pad where kids were cooling off from the heat. (This is Arizona, where it’s still summer, with 100 degrees + temperatures.)

The park is four acres, and I didn’t know exactly where the hummingbird garden is. The first parking lot I pulled into was next to the lake. I didn’t see anything that could be a hummingbird garden.

The next lot I visited was next to the train station. I could see tennis courts and the playground. I parked the car and looked for a directory to show me the way to the hummingbird habitat. I found none, so I started walking. How far could it be?

Besides the kids in the playground, I saw groundskeepers striding around and people jogging, but instead of flagging them down, I kept my social distance. With no idea where to go, I took out my phone and looked for a map of the park. Why didn’t I do that when I first got to the park? Well, I tried, and I asked Siri for help, but I’m new to smart phones and I don’t know what I’m doing. I managed to find a map, and tried to enlarge it. An annoying little dialog box kept popping up saying “Chandler Parks wants to know your location” and I clicked “Don’t Allow” several times while trying to get my bearings. Finally, I clicked “Allow,” and a dot appeared on the map. As I took a couple of steps trying to determine where I was on the map, the dot moved. The dot was me! Who knew?

Then it was a snap to walk to the Hummingbird Habitat. Too bad I’d walked in all the wrong directions. I would never have found it without GPS. But my efforts were so worth it.

There’s an archway with a giant hummingbird at the entrance to the habitat. And just inside is a pond complete with waterlilies and a little waterfall.

A giant tree sculpture with a circular bench offers a place to sit.

There are lots of live trees, too.

And other plants.

Hummingbirds love trumpet-shaped flowers. Due to the heat, there weren’t very many of these left.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see a single hummingbird. It was already nearly noon (this is Arizona, where it’s still summer, with 100 degrees + temperatures), so I suspect the birds were resting wherever they could find shade. Next time I’ll go earlier. Or later.

On the way home, I drove around the neighborhood until I found the way to the parking lot that is only steps from the Hummingbird Habitat.

Creative Juice #208

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Creative Juice #208

The sublime and the ridiculous, all worthy of your consideration:

In the Meme Time: Start Them Young

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Kammie’s Oddball Challenge: Discarded Fireball and a Penny

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More Oddballs.

Video of the Week #271: Non-Dominance

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