Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Music Tuesday - Using Fact to Inspire Fiction

PHOTO Tuesday will return next week - this was too good to put off another week!

Often we hear fact is stranger than fiction. What happens in the real world sometimes eclipses any story we could create. As writers, we always have to be on the lookout for true tales that could inspire our next great story!

To illustrate this, here's the real story that inspired the music, followed by the lyrics to an incredibly beautiful & epic song by Dream Theater:

"Can you tell us something about the Count of Tuscany?"

John Petrucci - "Yeah, that's another example of a story that I shared, you know, something that happened to me that I would tell my friends and family but I never really wrote about it. Yeah, it's sort of hard to follow the story but it's basically a few years ago when Dream Theater were playing in Florence or something and there was my friend who is my guitar tech, he's also wine importer, so he wanted to visit a winery in Tuscany, so he asked me if I wanted to come along. So, yeah, the guy who owned the winery is a count, he wasn´t the count of Tuscany, he is a count of something, anyway he brought us to this winery, it was a very old castle in the hills of Italy, it was very bizarre, you know just really weird stories the guy told, you know, like a mummified saint and a chapel, very strange and weird, I thought it would be great to tell that story, probably make a movie of it!"

The Count of Tuscany

Several years ago
In a foreign town
Far away from home
I met the Count of Tuscany

A young eccentric man
Bred from royal blood
Took me for a ride
Across the open country side

Get into my car
Let's go for a drive
Along the way
I'll be your guide
Just step inside

Maybe you recall
A cannibal curator
A character inspired by my brother's life

Winding through the hills
The city far behind
On and on we drove
Down narrow streets and dusty roads

At last we came upon
A picturesque estate
On sprawling emerald fields
An ancient world of times gone by

Let me introduce
My brother
A bearded gentleman
Sucking on his pipe
Distinguished accent
Making me uptight
No accident

I want to stay alive
Everything about this place
Just doesn't feel right
I don't want to die
Suddenly I'm frightened for my life

I want to say goodbye
This could be the last time
You see me alive
I may not survive
Knew it
From the moment we arrived

Would you like to see
Our secret holy place?
I come here late at night
To pray to him by candlelight
Then peering through the glass
I saw with disbelief
Still dressed in royal clothes
The saint behind the altar

History recalls
During times of war
Legend has been traced
Back inside these castle walls

Where soldiers came to hide
In barrels filled with wine
Never to escape
These tombs of oakAre where they died

Down the cellar stairs
I disappear
Like the angel's share
The end is near

Come and have a taste
A rare vintage
All the finest wines
Improved with age

I want to stay alive
Everything about this place
Just doesn't feel right
I don't want to die
Suddenly I'm frightened for my life

I want to say goodbye
This could be the last time
You see me alive
I may not survive
Knew it
From the moment we arrived

Could this be the end?
Is this the way I die?
Sitting here alone
No one by my side

I don't understand
I don't feel that I deserve this
What did I do wrong?
I just don't understand

Give me one more chance
Let me please explain
It's all been circumstance
I'll tell you once again

You took me for a ride
Promising a vast adventure
Next thing that I know
I'm frightened for my life

Now wait a minute man
That's not how it is
You must be confused
That isn't who I am

Please don't be afraid
I would never try to hurt you
This is how we live
Strange although it seems
Please try to forgive

The chapel and the saint
The soldiers and the wine
The fables and the tales
All handed down through time

Of course you're free to go
Go and tell the world my story
Tell about my brother
Tell them about me

The Count of Tuscany

Now that is taking advantage of an odd, weird, and unique opportunity! (I actually feel inspired to write the full story - except that it's already been done in song.)

Any unique occurance in YOUR life that would make for a fantastic story?

*And for those with some time to kill, because Count of Tuscany is over 19 minutes long, here's the YouTube vidoes:
Recorded live in Miami on Progressive Nation Tour:
Part 1 & Part 2
Studio music set to album cover:
Part 1 & Part 2


  1. That is fascinating. True to life factual accounts CAN be greater than fiction. And yes I do have experiences in life that are "greater than fiction," my memoir is a story that I couldn't have dreamed up a gripping and powerful story the equal of, much less better than.

    The Old Silly

  2. So true, Marvin - often our lives exceed imagination!

  3. Great example of true life being greater than fiction. My life was filled with events that made me feel as if I were living in a soap opera. Some of them made it into my memoir.

  4. Having lived in Italy, I can so picture the scene. I’ve book marked the video and will watch when I’ve got some time to kill. I’ve had some unique moments, but I don’t think I could express them quite so well.

  5. Fact is stranger than fiction. That's why I started that Wed. series on my blog called Life is Stranger Than Fiction.

  6. Thanks for the really crazy cool post!

  7. I know it's a bit outside the norm, but I thought the correlation between using life to write song lyrics and also write fiction was great!