The feeling it gave them

Saturday, July 20, 2019
I recently read an article about Miami Vice, the television show that premiered 35 years ago this fall. The show had a big impact on me, the city, other viewers, and the television and film industries. My favorite quote from the article by Craig Pitmann on the website Crime Watch summarized its popularity:

But people weren’t watching Miami Vice for the plots. They were watching it for the attitude, the visuals, the music—the feeling it gave them.

Breaking through to the emotions and feelings where people connect is a talent and a skill that artists struggle with throughout their careers. We want our work to touch people's lives with universal truth, but our perceptions, as well as those of the audience, can block the message.

For me to get to a state of writing from pure emotion, I need an image, sound, or information that speaks to me. Sometimes I view other forms of art like paintings, sculpture, or documentaries. Discovering the backstory of an artist I've never heard of is interesting, and helps me realize how much we are alike in trying to find connections in a physical or emotional space. Other times it's not so magical, and I hear a word or word combination from an advertisement for an everyday product like cheese that makes me think of that word or combination in a new way.

When I'm not inspired externally, I go inside to a quiet space to think. I ask myself about the feeling, compare it to something else, and (try to) describe it. I dig deeper. I define what I think and figure out how to represent those thoughts through words. Sometimes I read a few pages from a favorite book to remind me how words can work together beautifully.

Regardless, it's not easy finding the place where we keep all the feelings and connect on an emotional level. But when we get there, your readers will remember 35 years later.

Mary Horner is a freelance writer, editor, and teacher.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Only you could write a post with depth--a post that's inspired by Miami Vice.

First, back to 35 years ago. (Was it that long? Ack. That makes me feel old.) Yes, we didn't watch it because it was well written (it wasn't), the fact that it had surprising plot twists (it didn't), or that it was thought-provoking (it wasn't). We watched it for the men's suits colored like sherbet. The throbbing music. The background visuals.

You are right. For me, it's usually a sound, or more specifically, music. A song can result in an unexpected connection, as can a photograph or painting. I wish I could plan it. I wish I could dig--like you do--but it doesn't work like that for me.

(By the way, I'd love to read your poem--the one you mentioned in a comment on an earlier WOW post... if you'd be willing to share it.)

Mary Horner said...

Thanks Sioux, I already had the idea because I need to get there for an upcoming writing project, then I was having trouble so I was actually watching a documentary that didn’t lead anywhere for me, but was really good anyway, then checked my inbox for literary news and found the article on Miami Vice, which I did NOT think would help me, but it did! You just never know where inspiration will come from. Be open to everything! And I think the poem was one I posted in one of my April posts, but I’ll look for it and post it again in the comments.

Pat Wahler said...

Never underestimate the power of Miami Vice. The show also influenced fashion! :-)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Yeah, Pat. Thanks to Tubbs and Crockett, many men don't wear socks with their shoes. ;)

Renee Roberson said...


Great post. I didn't jump on Netflix's "Stranger Things" hype when it first aired, but the more I saw promos for season three and the clever 80s promos I decided I wanted to immerse myself! I'm almost done with the first season and am enjoying the nostalgia injected by the writers. I was pretty young when Miami Vice was out but I do remember the cultural craze it produced!

Mary Horner said...

Thnaks Pat, you are right, the power of Miami Vice lives on today! And Sioux, I think that's why I don't always wear socks with shoes! either! Renee, I started to watch Stranger Things, but couldn't get into it, but I know I am the only one who hasn't. I may try again. Maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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