Have you ever heard song lyrics that you’ve known for decades, but suddenly you really hear them for the first time? That happened to me the other day, riding in the car with my daughter. She’s in her mid-late 20’s, so the film Willy Wonka figured prominently in her life. Because I’m a music sponge, I absorbed all the songs, sang loads of them, but basically considered all those songs ‘kid songs.’
The song that played in the car the other day was performed by a group called Maroon5. Other notable artists since the 1971 film came out have recorded their own particular spin on it. Additionally it was featured in a Glee episode called Funeral. The Maroon5 version starts exactly as the arrangement did in the film with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, with a xylophone playing the first three notes of the song repeatedly. It’s a haunting beginning.
Then come the words that I had basically dismissed as relevant only to the children chosen for Willy’s bizarre shindig. Boy, was I wrong!
Come with me and you’ll be
In a world of pure imagination.
Take a look and you’ll see
Into your imagination.
We’ll begin with a spin
Traveling in a world of my creation.
What we’ll see will defy explanation.
If you want to view paradise,
Simply look around and view it.
Anything you want to—do it!
Wanna change the world?
There’s nothing to it.
There is no life I know
To compare with pure imagination.
Living there you’ll be free,
If you truly wish to be.
Of course song lyrics are a rich source of story ideas, and perhaps you’ve been inspired by part of the words. My purpose in using this song, however, is because creativity needs inspiration. And you never know where you might find it. Because I already knew the lyrics, even though they had, until that time, held no personal meaning for me, there is actually deep meaning for me.
I encourage you to read the words aloud and linger over them, even meditating over them. It’s that kind of a deep song.
“If you want to view Paradise, simply look around and view it.”
That line of the song, on its own, is profound. Wherever you are, look around and you will likely find Paradise. (If you’re in a war zone or someplace just as horrific, Paradise is probably the last thing you’ll find.)
The philosophy behind the song is a writer’s strength. Take stock of these lyrics and internalize them. You’ll be glad you did.