Thank you, James Horner

Back in my high school days, I had a ritual. I would get home from school, drop my overstuffed backpack, and take about 20 minutes to unwind from the day before getting on with the evening. It was a simple routine. I would put on some quiet music, lie down on my bedroom floor, and just zone out for the span of a few songs. It was an oasis of peace in an otherwise hectic day.

Why am I thinking back to those days again? Because even as a teenager I had a deep love for film scores, and the music I listened to most often during these little zen moments was from Braveheart. It was soulful and poetic and at times sorrowful, and lying on that floor with my eyes closed, I felt transported to the misty skies and green rolling hills of Scotland.

The soundtrack to Braveheart was composed by James Horner, a gifted artist who died yesterday.

Fast forward more than a decade and my love of soundtracks has only grown. I still use them to relax sometimes, but more often now I use them for inspiration. Music plays a huge part in my writing, and film scores are uniquely suited to the creative process. I’ve learned to love the work of composers like Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, Thomas Newman, Danny Elfman, even new and unique players like M83 and Daft Punk.

But after all these years, James Horner’s work is still a fixture in my writing playlists. It hits a spot inside that combines nostalgia with raw emotion and heartbreaking yet hopeful beauty. In order to help me create, a song needs to make me feel something, and James Horner’s music never fails to reach some deep corner of emotion.

I don’t have a big point with this post except to say how much I love and appreciate his work, and how sad it is that there won’t be more. What we have now from James Horner is all we have. The world is a little less beautiful today.

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